EPL WEEK 13: THE SARI BALL EXPOSED AGAIN
CONTRIBUTED BY: UKANDU ONYEGBADUO
With the international break over, the premier league is back with three of the unbeaten teams facing a tricky but familiar away fixtures.
Manchester City with a trip to Westham that sits thirteenth on the table having collected 12 points out of possible 36 points with couple of players out nursing injuries and facing the champions who at the moment are running rampant in the premier league, seemed a tough mountain for the hammers to scale.
If there was any hope of the hammers putting up a fight on their tuff in this contest that notion quickly fizzled out in the eleventh minute with a tap-in by David Silva, from a deflected Raheem Sterling cross to put the citizens in front.
Manchester City were direct, sharp and clinical in attack and within thirty minutes in the first half the game was literally over. They soaked the midfield with ball possession and passing as they always do and stifled any attacking threat from the hammers. They completed an emphatic display with a sublime goal in the ninety third minute from Leroy Sane, his second of the day for a 4:0 win against Westham United to consolidate their position on top of the table.
However, at Vicarage road with Jürgen klopp facing a crucial encounter on Wednesday away at PSG before a Merseyside derby at home against Everton and with Watford sitting 7th on the table fans expected a tough game from Garcia men having had off and on in form all season. But, after pressing for a long time Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock in the 67th from 10 yards out after a shout for penalty was declined by the referee two minutes earlier against Liverpool. On a closer look though that seemed a wrong call after showing the player was tripped inside the 18 yard box which obviously could have changed the course of the game for Liverpool.
Shortly after Liverpool doubled their advantage with a sublime free-kick from 20yards by England International Alexander – Arnold to ensure a perfect start of the season by Jürgen klopp. The evening was marked with mixed feelings with Jordan Henderson being sent – off in the 82nd minute from a second bookable offense which means they won’t have their influential captain for the Merseyside derby this weekend.
Meanwhile, at Wembley any hope of Chelsea making a 13 conservative game unbeaten under Sarrismo was dashed with a commanding display from an city – rival Tottenham with eight minutes into the game spurs were on top with a set piece From Erickson which was headed in by Dele Alli. From there on spurs made it difficult for Chelsea to come into the game. Spurs put twice more energy in the game than their counterparts. Pochettino playing a 4:2:31 formation exposed the weakness of Chelsea in the midfield by Dele Alli dropping deeper and constantly harassing Jorginho denying space and time, Spurs were able to nullify any hope Chelsea getting into the game and before half time spurs doubled their advantage from their talisman Harry Kane way from deep which showed David Luiz moving away from the ball as Kepa ( Chelsea keeper ) remained unmoved. The second half started just like the first with Chelsea midfield of Nkolo Kante, Jorginho and Korvacic unable to contain H.son, Dele, Alli and Erickson and in the 54th minute a brilliant run from H.Son saw spurs up by 3:0. Chelsea did manage to get one back in the 85th minute by Oliver Giroud it wasn’t enough because they were outclassed in every area of the game. Spurs were sharper, aggressive and more direct in their approach which have seen them third on the table with thirty points.
It was boos and jeers at Old Trafford at the end of regulation time, which saw united share the spoils with Crystal Palace. With lack of urgency and intensity from Manchester United, Jose Mourinho decided he had seen enough of his star man Paul pogba and yanked him off twenty minutes before end of the game and with Romelu Lukaku having gone eleven games without a goal it is inconceivable to believe that the special one won’t be worried about his job as Man united manager. Like pogba, Sanchez, Martial, Mata, lukaku and others in the team whose confidence has hit a new low and with Jose Mourinho’s assertion that United will be in the top four by the end of the year seem a long shot at the moment. Crystal palace lack of ruthlessness in front of goal this season will cost them points and Andros Townsend huge miss in the final stages of the game will further compound enough pressure on former England boss Roy Hudgson.
Buoyed with confidence with 15 unbeaten runs in all competition Arsenal knew that three points at Bournemouth will close the gap on top four. The gunners came out slow in the opening minutes and a goal from the home side wrongly called offside rejuvenated the gunners and in the half hour mark a superb cross from Kolasianic was powered home by Lerma as an own goal. With Lacazette and Ozil out Gunners attack lacked force and cohesion and before half time a counter attack from Bournemouth with a sublime finish from King saw the home side level.
In the second half the Gunners came out swinging with a masterful display from the center backs and added weight from the wingbacks the Gunners were able to topple the cherries with another assist from Kolasianic to Aubameyang for a sliding tap in for his eight goal in the premier league which have Arsenal fifth on the table just one point shy of Chelsea in the number four.
Unai Emery will be delighted with the result knowing fully well that their next two away fixtures at Tottenham and Manchester United will be very decisive in the title race.