WEEK 5, EPL:
CONSOLIDATION, RESURGENCE AND REALITY CHECK
SPURS v LIVERPOOL– SPURS needed a win to recover from their surprise loss to WATFORD a fortnight ago, having destroyed Liverpool on the same fixture last October (4-1), which was a nightmare experience for DEJAN LOVEREN. Liverpool on the other hand is basking in confidence having won all of the previous 4 matches and sitting on top of the table. KLOPP made a big call in the starting 11, leaving out team captain J. HENDERSON. SPURS had a very shaky start to the match and were guilty of so many misplaced passes that gifted LIVERPOOL with a few scoreable chances. Though SPURS grew into the game and became strong in the midfield but never troubled LIVERPOOL. You could feel that POTCHITTINO has a huge task to harness and galvanise his army to start performing. The past couple of weeks have become a reality check for SPURS, considering that they did not add or refresh the squad in the summer. Almost all the starting 11 played to the second half of the world cup last summer, which is suspected to be affecting their freshness and fitness. They looked like in recent past quite far from the team that started this season. While LIVERPOOL once more had a very high-level concentrated, controlled and organized performance. LIVERPOOL as well had a very strong midfield display with KEITA, WIJNALDUM and JAMES MILNER. KLOPP has really adjusted his approach to games, setting them up, better organized, playing with a better sense of security and good attitude off the ball and concede lesser goals, infact they have had the best defensive record in the league since October last year. Conversely this seems to be having negative effect on SALAH. The pace of LIVERPOOL game has dropped and is making it difficult to catch teams on the break. If SALAH wishes to replicate his performance/record of last season he might have to adjust his game. FINAL SCORE ended LIVERPOOL 2- SPURS 1.
MAN CITY v FULHAM-It took just 97 seconds for FULHAM to present CITY with gift of a goal. Their big SUMMER signing MICHAEL SERI, had a moment he will never forget, a mistake that culminated in a dream first start of the season for LEROY SANE who scored the first goal of the encounter. FULHAM started with a “go for it approach” attempting to match CITY toe-to-toe, which left them open and proved ineffective. PEP seems to have rejuvenated his team. There was renewed hunger, sense of urgency and injected pace/intensity in their game.
He dropped MAHREZ to the bench and gave SANE his first start of the season, which he grabbed with both hands and delivered a very stern performance. He provided pace, strength and directness.
CITY looked close to what we saw of them last season and if this can be sustained, then we are in for a fierce competition for the rest of the season. RAHEEM STERLING looked to continue with his inability to convert chances after some very hard work and good performances, having missed a few chances, but managed to grab the third of the match.
This one ended CITY 3 – FULHAM 0.
CHELSEA v CARDIFF-CARDIFF who has lost 2 and drawn 2 in their first four games of the season, were visitors to STAMFORD BRIDGE on this one. They looked up for it in the opening stages of the game, matching CHELSEA in every area of the field. They went further to shake THE BRIDGE by grabbing the opener in the 16th minute. This goal highlighted the negative side of JORGINHO, when he found himself out-muscled on CHELSEA’s goal-line. After the goal, THE BLUES grabbed an equalizer and took the lead before the end of first half, with 2 goals from HAZARD and both assisted by GIROUD. From then on the SARI BALL took over. BLUES pulled away with another goal from HAZARD on the spot and a beauty from second half substitute, WILLIAN.
NEWCASTLE v ARSENAL-UNAI EMRY got his 3rd straight win and 2nd consecutive away games beating NEWCASTLE 2goals to 1, being that THE GUNNERS didn’t manage any away win in this calendar year before the arrival of EMRY. It was a flat first half, with both sides having no intensity in their game. But the second half was a different game entirely. UNAI made his what has become a trademark half-time substitute by bringing on , TORREIRA for the teenager, GWENDUOZI, which immediately as in previous games, we saw the impact.
The pace of the game increased and ARSENAL began to ask questions and ultimately grabbed the lead through a stunning free-kick from XHAKA and second from OZIL, the two most criticized ARSENAL players. NEWCASTLE never really troubled, though managed to grab a late consolation. With this result, ARSENAL will sustain their winning streak and resurgence under UNAI EMRY.
WATFORD v MANCHESTER UNITED-Prior to this one, WATFORD had been the surprise team of the season, winning all 4 of their games including a win over SPURS. They started the game in a confident mood, and were up for it, causing MAN UNITED all sorts of problems. MOURINHO continued with his new found formation of playing FELANI behind POGBA and MATIC. This has proved very effective. This has given POGBA some freedom and restricted the level of defensive expectations from him. Generally speaking, MAN UNITED still remains disappointing in the quality of their game, though won this one.
EVERTON v WEST HAM-WEST HAM stunned EVERTON to earn their first win of the season with 3 – 1 win, after four times of trying. From the first whistle, it was evident that THE HAMMERS meant business and showed discomfort with their winless situation. Winning just 1 but drawing 3 games, EVERTON haven’t really got going this season after the huge investment in the summer. Lack of concentration and carelessness caused EVERTON the first 2 goals, meaning they had to chase the game. PELLEGRINI stuck with his PHILIOSOPHY of playing attractive football, which paid off this time. The quality of his work and the players at his disposal was quite evident in this one.
EPL WEEK 5 RESULTS
SPURS 1 LIVERPOOL 2
BOURNEMOUTH 4 LEICESTER 2
CHELSEA 4 CARDIFF 1
HUDDERSFIELD 0 CRYSTAL 1
MAN CITY 3 FULHAM 0
NEWCASTLE 1 ARSENAL 2
WATFORD 1 MAN UNITED 2
WOLVES 1 BURNLEY 0
EVERTON 1 WEST HAM 3