Premier League Round-Up

//Premier League Round-Up

Premier League Round-Up

Manchester United continue their reign at the top of the premier league with an impressive performance over a struggling Leicester side. United dominated the majority of the game as they racked up a 69% possession rate, they used the wings when going forward in the first half but couldn’t seem to convert despite the creative play from Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Prolific striker Romelu Lukaku did his best to add to his tally of goals already scored in this year’s competition with numerous chances in the first half, however the defensive prowess and solid structure from Leicester centre-backs, Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire, was too much for the Belgian international. The second half was a different story, the red devils came out running at the Foxes and not long into the half they received a penalty courtesy of a deliberate hand-ball from Danny Simpson. Although it certainly wasn’t to be Lukaku’s day as his attempt was saved by Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. Not long after this, Marcus Rashford came on as a substitute and opened the scoring for the game with a nicely curled striker on the 70th minute. The game was firmly in United’s hands at this point, Leicester’s best element of the day were their defence, they were showing shades of the titles winning team of 2016, but after the first goal they began to lose focus and will by the looks of things. Another smart substitute made by United manager, Jose Mourinho, was the introduction of Marouane Fellaini as he put the tie to bed on the 82nd minute when he got onto the end of a shot from Jesse Lingard to steer the ball past Schmeichel. It was good sign of awareness from the Belgian midfielder, although a lot of people thought he might have strayed a slight bit offside, the goal remained intact. It was clear to see that Leicester’s attack wasn’t up to scratch, with both strikers, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki, being rendered useless by the end of the game. Manager Craig Shakespeare will have a lot to dwell on going into the next game if he wants to start getting results, transfer deadline day could be a sorry one for him also with rumours of Vardy and Riyadh Mahrez seeking a move away from the club.

The other team in Manchester also continued their winning ways, but with some difficulty as they barely made it past Bournemouth in the Vitality Stadium. The match started with pace and excitement as Charlie Daniels put the home side ahead on the 13th minute with a delightful half volley from the edge of the box. This enthusiasm from Bournemouth was short lived however as City responded with a goal of their own from Gabriel Jesus, Jesus was put in as the main striker as Sergio Aguero was unfit to start. The Brazilian knocked the ball past Bournemouth keeper with ease after a fine ball through from David Silva just 8 minutes after the home team opened the scoring. The sky blues went on to dominate the rest of the half despite their goal being their only shot on target until that point, they applied constant pressure and gave Bournemouth very little room going into half time. After the break both teams showed signs of scoring, with Bournemouth’s Joshua King coming close with his attempt hitting the post, City centre-back Nicolas Otamendi also hit the post for his side when trying to put them ahead. King could have shocked the fans and put his team ahead when he jostled his way past Benjamin Mendy and found himself in front of goal, unfortunately for manager Eddie Howe it wasn’t to be as he sent the shot into the hands of the Man City goalkeeper, Ederson. The winner in the game came soon after when Raheem Sterling put the ball in the net on the 7th minute of injury time to give City the win. Despite the result, the talking point that most people took from the game was when Mike Dean issued Sterling with a second yellow card for excessive celebration after his goal, subsequently suspending the player from the match. An incident like this hasn’t happened in the premier league since Piquionne was sent off for the same reason in a game for West Ham back in 2011. Former Chelsea and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer shared his thoughts on the matter, “I think Mike Dean has got that one wrong,” and when discussing the challenge Nathan Ake made earlier in the game, “Ake should have been sent off.”

Paul Clement, Swansea City manager, will be delighted to have marked his team’s first points on the board after their win over Crystal Palace. Swansea had been having a lot of problems with their attack up until this point, having not had one shot on target yet in the campaign, things were to change for the welsh side when they faced Palace however. Both teams went into the game not having scored in their first two games, so a goal fest wasn’t to be expected. Swansea should good promise throughout the game, the front pair of Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew linked up very well to create exciting chances. The Swans were in control for the majority of the first half and their efforts were not put to waste when Abraham put them ahead on the 44th minute when he got on the end of Leroy Fer’s cross and slotting a low shot past Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey. The two teams went into the break at 1-0 although this small lead didn’t last long when Jordan Ayew doubled their lead on the 48th minute. Palace seemed to only kick into gear after the second goal went in but it was too late, substitute Yohann Cabaye came on in the second half and was close to scoring after playing a lovely one-two pass with Jason Puncheon and setting himself up for a shot only to be blocked down by Mike De Hoorn, Andros Townsend also nearly scored for the home side after his shot barely rolled wide just five minutes from time. The win was fully deserved for Swansea as they showed new life in this game in both attack and defence, something they were lacking leading up to this point.

Huddersfield hosted Southampton at the weekend and what turned out to be a lacklustre performance by both teams at the Kirklees Stadium. The Terriers moved into the top spot of the premier league for a short time before United won their game on the Sunday, a feat that no Huddersfield fan would have predicted going into the season. They had much of the chances in the game and could be argued that they deserved to go ahead on a few occasions, with Stevie Mounie and Elias Kachunga both having threatening opportunities. Southampton went into the game without lead defender, Virgil Van Dijk which played a factor in their performance as they were vulnerable at the back at times. Van Dijk has been tied up in a transfer saga with Liverpool FC for most of the summer but appears to be staying at the saints. The game went back and forth in the second half and Huddersfield almost lost their third clean sheet in a row when Ryan Bertrand did his best to put his team ahead with a header in injury time, however Tommy Smith was on hand to make a goal line clearance for the home side. David Wagner, Huddersfield manager, was happy with how his team has played so far in the premier league, “We have three clean sheets in the premier league so I am very proud… We wanted to show that we are brave. I am very happy.”

Newcastle got their league campaign up and running with a convincing win over West Ham at St James Park. Newcastle, one of the newly promoted sides, were in search of their first win at the weekend, something that critics didn’t believe was possibly as they were still without suspended captain Jonjo Shelvey, as well as an injury list beginning to build up already. The Toon got the game started and it was reasonably slow paced and uneventful until Joselu put the home team up 1 goal to nil when he finished off a well put together move combining Mikel Merino and Christian Atsu. It seemed as though Newcastle now were in the driver seat as they were exuding confidence now, despite not having much of the ball they were a lot more resourceful with the chances that they created. The next goal came from defender Ciaran Clark when he headed Newcastle two goals up on the 72nd minute, it was a matter of time before the ball went into the net as West Ham looked clumsy on the ball and continued to make plenty of mistakes, inevitably leading a second goal. Striker Aleksander Mitrovic firmly put the tie to bed four minutes from time when he navigated the ball around West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart and placed the ball in the net. The performance overall was a lot more promising for boss Rafa Benitez, the Spaniard has been in charge of Newcastle since March 2016 and guided them to top tier football last season and therefore will be eager to make a mark on their first year back at the top, more outings like this will make this happen. Slaven Bilic, the Hammers manager, will be rethinking his strategy after this game as it has been three defeats from three now, one of the worst starts West Ham have had in the premier league in years.

Brighton travelled to Vicarage Road on Saturday to take on Watford in a bid to claim their first points of the season. It what was an uneventful game, the main focus point to take from the game was the challenge of Miguel Britos on Brighton’s Anthony Knockaert. A reckless challenge by the Uruguayan seen him be handed a red card, it was high and regarded as completely uncalled for by former Tottenham striker Garth Crooks, “I have no doubt in my mind it was a red card. I have not seen a tackle like that in 40 years.” Despite the attention gathered from this incident, Brighton picked up their first point in a game that they were unlucky to win as they dominated possession and created more chances than their opponents. Watford went down to 10 men on the 24th minute, from then they pulled their defence tighter and done their best to keep Brighton from finding space. Brighton also had appeal for a penalty when Abdoulaye Doucoure put in a dangerous foot when tackling Knockhaert, however referee Graham Scott didn’t agree and refused to award the penalty. Troy Deeney was introduced for Watford towards the end of the game to try and scrape a goal anyway they could but he was unable to produce anything.

Chelsea shook off their negative woes after their opening loss to Burnley as they beat Everton at home in what was a dominant performance by the Blues. Everton struggled from the outset and seemed a fatigued and slowed side having played out a draw on the previous Monday against Manchester city and again in the Europa league on Thursday night. Chelsea came out at the beginning of the game as if they had something to prove, passing the ball around well and causing trouble for the Toffees. The first opening came for Spanish international Cesc Fabregas when he slid a delicate shot past Jordan Pickford after taking down a headed pass from Alvaro Morata. The Spanish forward continued his contribution to the team when he spotted in a goal of his own, a strong header which sailed past Pickford to double the blues lead. Morata has played 2 games for Chelsea and has already provided two goals and two assists, showing everyone why he was a wise buy for manager Antonio Conte. Everton didn’t show much conviction throughout the game having few chances, they only managed to trouble Thibaut Courtois 3 minutes from the end when Gueye had the chance to score but was unsuccessful. Chelsea had the main chances in the game and arguably should have scored more, Victor Moses was straight in on goal and hit the ball straight into the keeper’s arms. The Merseyside club were bad all over the pitch, Wayne Rooney was especially poor despite having a good start to the league with two goals, new signing Gylfie Sigurdsson also failed to impress and found it difficult to link up with his new teammates, a point that boss Ronald Koeman will want to work on going into the next fixture.

With two wins already secured for West Brom they were eager to go out for another win and join United at the top of the table when they took on Stoke City at the Hawthorns. There were chances for both teams in which was an exciting game, the shots weren’t as dangerous as the fans had hoped for as there was only one on target before Jay Rodriguez kicked the game into life when he scored on the 61st minute. Kurt Zouma had the shot on target prior to this, but it was to no avail as a heavy deflection prevented it from going in. Just when the Baggies thought they had another three points, Peter Crouch made his way into the box to take advantage of a mistake made by both Hegazi and Ben Foster and headed home to bring the match to a draw. Tony Pulis continues to go unbeaten but will feel hard done by when he seen that Stoke goal go in, it was more so two points lost than one gained.

Liverpool produced the show of the weekend when they completely dazzled everyone watching when they completely bulldozed through a very weak Arsenal team. It didn’t take long for the reds to start their demolition of the London club when Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino headed goalward from a cross by Joe Gomez on the 17th minute. It was a dream start for Liverpool, Arsenal were finding it incredibly difficult to find their feet in the game and were subsequently punished for doing so, Sadio Mane showed his class when scoring Liverpool’s second as he stroked a curled shot into the corner of the net past Petr Cech to double their lead. The blitzing didn’t end there either, Mohammed Salah proved his worth to his fans when he showed brilliant pace and power and bolted a good length of the pitch to put away another goal for his new club and to put the game to bed. Things went from bad to worse for the Gunners when Liverpool substitute, Daniel Sturridge reminded everyone that he hadn’t gone away by scoring a fourth of the game when he diverted a cross from Salah into the net. It was a horrible display from start to finish from Arsene Wenger’s side, his decision to rest record signing, Alexander Lacazette was clearly an ill-advised one as they had all but no attacking threat. They have lost two of their three games so far this year in the premier league, and having made no further signings to bolster his side, Wenger will definitely have trouble in the coming games. For Jurgen Klopp there were many positives to take from the game, in particular the display by Senegal international Sadio Mane, he showed his class and potential throughout the game and continued to give Klopp a reason to start him week in week out.

After a disappointing game against Chelsea last time out, Tottenham Hotspur were aiming to get back to winning ways, this wasn’t to be the case however as Burnley scraped a goal in injury time to earn a point. Due to Spurs building a new stadium they are forced to play their home games at Wembley, which has been a curse for the London team as they have had trouble scoring there in the past. Tottenham seemed to have the upper hand in the game as they had more possession, they created a few chances with Harry Kane almost scoring twice only being prevented by Burnley goalie, Tom Heaton. Dele Alli added to his tally when he opened the scoring just after the break by executing a subtle, well timed finish into the opposing goal. Heartbreak loomed for Tottenham however when Wood placed the ball past Hugo Lloris after connecting from a fine Robbie Brady cross to grab a point. Mauricio Pochettino was adamant that it wasn’t Wembley that cost Tottenham the win, it was a lack of conviction and poor defensive choices.

By | 2017-09-01T21:59:33+00:00 September 1st, 2017|Football|Comments Off on Premier League Round-Up

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