EPL WEEK 4:
DISAPPOINTMENTS, CALAMITIES, CONCERNS AND POSITIVES
LEICESTER CITY v LIVERPOOL – Liverpool continued their 100% start to the season sitting at the top of the table with 4 wins out of 4, though not without a few concerns from the performance: Salah looks to be struggling to consolidate on his incredible performance and achievement last season. He squandered the first chance of the game and never really got going until KLOPP made the big call at the 71st minute to substitute him. Liverpool continues to look more and more they’re up for it this time, with superb all round field performance and especially good decision-making and game management skills. It was a controlled performance, always keeping the opponent where they wanted them for the most part. The team looked better balanced and are set up to play with more caution and sensitivity to danger while it looks like KLOPP has finally solved the CB problem with VAN DJIK and GOMES continuing their flourishing partnership the calamity at their back persists. The 75m dollar ALLISSON followed in the steps of the previous shot stoppers and gifted LEICESTER a goal after being pressed by IHEANACHO.
LEICESTER, started the game without a natural goal scorer and it played into their opponents hands, with them not being able to stretch the play. Though they came alive after about 20 mins, they stepped it up and caused a few scares. The introduction of IHEANACHO and moving gray to the side to create width, caused LIVERPOOL immediate issues and LEICESTER suddenly came close a few times to getting a goal notably the miss by MORGAN. Eventually they were gifted a goal by ALLISSON. In the end it was a comfortable 2-1 win for LIVERPOOL.
CHELSEA v BOURNEMOUTH –
Another confident and controlled performance from the SARRI men. Chelsea was in a very confident and professional mood and ran away 2: 0 winners, though it took 70mins to get the first goal through PEDRO followed by HAZARD. As mentioned few weeks back, PEDRO looks to be very key to CHELSEA having any success this season, while MORATA continues to show he is not the man to lead the lines for the team. Defensively, CHELSEA still has work to do, as they tend to cave in when pressed especially from the sides. They allowed so many cross into the box, and was lucky the CHERRIES failed to capitalize. Chelsea must be considered as genuine title contenders this season.
CITY v NEWCASTLE –
another not convincing display from the CITIZENS. They managed a 2:1 win over NEWCASTLE that has only 1 point from their 3 previous games. STERLING delivered a very superb individual goal to give CITY the lead. It must be said again that CITY is finding it very hard to replicate their form of last season. Another issue I feel affecting CITY is the fact that a few key players who have been consistent in their recent success are aging (KOMPANY, DAVID SILVA, AGUERO AND FENANDINHO) this might be having effect in the intensity the team usually plays with. We shall know more after a few more games.
CARDIFF v ARSENAL –
Though without a win so far, (2 draws and a loss) and not having scored a goal so far this season, it was still anticipated to be a difficult game for ARSENAL, and it was justified so, for a reasons. UNAI’s insistence to play out from the back and yet sticking with CECH, presented CARDIFF with an early easy chance to take the lead after just 5 minutes, with CECH being the culprit once more. It took just 5minutes afterwards for ARSENAL TO take the lead. CONTRARAY, to expectations, CARDIFF pressed from the front and caused all sorts of problems to the GUNNERS, who had no effective shape, were cut open a lot of times and allowed a lot of crosses into the box. Cardiff were rewarded with a goal in the injury time of the first when, ARSENAL’s inability to manage games was highlighted by XHAKA’s poor diagonal pass, which crowned CARDIFF’s belief and growth into the game. AUBA opened his account for the season with a superb goal and restored ARSENAL’s lead though it lasted just 8 minutes. LACA restored the lead again to open his own account as well with a superb striker’s goal in just 10 minutes of CARDIFF leveling. This match, once more showed what TORREIRA will offer this team, as ARSENAL looked a better balanced side after he was introduced. He could smell danger, looked to play quick forward passes and even got the assist on LACA’s goal. He improved XHAKA’s game and the defense became more solid and better protected. One of the tasks for EMRY now, is to get him ready to start games. The much clamored AUBA/LACA starting partnership was also seen in this game and gave ARSENAL better structure going forward, and delivered 2 goals. Having scored 8goals in 4 games ARSENAL only needs to sort out their defensive struggles to be able to achieve any set goals for the season. ARSENAL finally gets an away league win in 2018. One thing not lacking in this team is mentality, belief and togetherness
BURNLEY v MAN U –
After the shocking defeat to SPURS last week, MAN UNITED, showed desire, tenacity and intensity in this game. Though BURNLEY didn’t look bad, MAN UNITED was never really threatened. The big call of the game was FELLANI starting as the deepest lying midfielder behind MATIC and POGBA, a role he dispatched in a sparkling manner. Without glamour he was outstanding and always kept it simple MOURINHO got this spot on, I guess this was to offer additional shield for the CBs for threats from CHRIS WOODS for BURNLEY’s long balls. LUKAKU stepped it up today with 2 goals while POGBA missed a penalty.
WATFORD v TOTTENHAM –
though WATFORD has had a perfect start to the season, it was still a shock to get a win over SPURS, after SPURS beating MAN UNITED at OLD TRAFFORD last week. SPURS conceded 2 spot kick goals after taking the lead through an own goal from DOUCOURE. Their manager called it a wake-up call, now they know that beating UNITED even in a not too solid performance, means they can also loose in similar circumstance. WATFORD gave it a real go and this yielded result. This WATFORD might become the BURNLEY of the league last season for this season. You can feel the belief and together in the team, with full commitment all round.
This week saw the top 3 teams on the table consolidating their positions with wins. Strong indications of would be contenders emerging and signs of teams that will struggle to stay up this season is building up. WEST HAM are already in a state of emergency, after huge investment during the summer. They really need to start picking up points, with 4 losses out of 4, loosing at home to WOLVES conceeding 9 goals and scoring a paltry represents a potential crisis situation. MANUEL PELLEGRINI must now come up with different ideas to remedy this situation and justify the huge investment and confidence the owners put in this squad.