4 TALKING POINTS FROM THE PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHDAY 3
It was an action packed weekend in the Premier league which saw loads of goals, controversies and red cards. Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and Watford maintained their perfect start to the season while champions Manchester City dropped points away to Wolves, Arsenal got their first win of the season against West Ham under new manager Unai Emery, Fulham and Leicester got all three points against Burnley and Southampton and there was a share of the spoils between Bournemouth, Everton, Huddersfield and Cardiff respectively. Not forgetting United who were totally battered at home by Spurs. So we talk a look at the biggest talking points of a pulsating weekend of premier league action…
- LIVERPOOL’S MUCH IMPROVED DEFENCE
For much of last season, the red side of Merseyside had to watch as a brilliant Liverpool side beat the league big boys but managed to drop points against much weaker opponents. Much was said about their defending which cost them valuable points last season against such sides, however since the €75m capture of Virgil Van Dijk in January and the €65m capture of Alisson from Roma, they have strengthened their obvious weakness at the back and are reaping rewards in folds for it. They remain the only team in the league yet to concede a goal this season and are much confident while defending their lead in matches. Against Crystal Palace last week, once they scored never looked like throwing it away like they did for majority of the matches last season. Again against Brighton, they seized the initiative, defending confidently and seeing out the match in a way champions do. An 89th minute save from Alisson from close range to keep their lead and record of being the only team yet to concede would do their confidence a whole lot of good heading into other matches. Combined with a fearsome attack and a robust midfield, this might be the year they get their hands on the premier league title for the first time since 1992. Attack wins you matches but defence wins you titles, this lesson, Klopp and the Kop must have learnt the hard way.
- MANCHESTER UNITED’S WOEFUL DEFENDING COST THEM YET AGAIN.
The Manchester United team sheet for the match against spurs raised quite a few eye brows, United manager Mourinho opting to play a three man defence with his trusted lieutenant Ander Herrera playing at the left side of a back three to strengthen a position which was badly exposed last week against Brighton. The new look defence managed to keep Kane and co at bay in the first half impressively until defensive lapses in the second half cost them again. Anthonio Valencia deciding to drift from the near post which he should have guarded and Phil Jones not putting enough pressure on Kane allowed him head the ball into the far corner for the first goal. An obvious lack of communication by Chris Smalling and make shift defender Ander Herrera played Erikson onside and allowed him time and space to drift into the left hand side of the defence to whip in the cross for man of the match Lucas Moura to make it 0-2. Chris Smalling made little effort to stop Moura sprinting ahead of him to make it 0-3 with less than twenty minutes to go. These defensive mistakes put a dent on an overall encouraging performance by the red devils and see them six points adrift of Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Lindelof could have made matters worse when he gifted Dele Alli a chance to score when he under hit a back pass to goalkeeper David De Gea. By this evidence, it becomes clearer why Jose Mourinho badly wanted a new center back over the summer, the ones at his disposal he has have to make do with till January at least. Who knows how many more mistakes and far behind United would be by then. Time will tell.
- SARRI BALL IS HERE
The last match of last season saw Chelsea lose 3-0 to Newcastle, a result that further dampened the mood around the club as faith was lost in then manager Anthonio Conte. However, with his sacking and appointment of Mauricio Sarri, a fresh breath of optimism is radiating all over the club with his brand of attacking football being appreciated by all connected with club. Results also have been impressive with Chelsea maintaining their 100% record in the league with a 1-2 league victory over Newcastle. The match saw Chelsea dominate for large spells of the game, having a lion share of possession and squeezing out all 3 points against a well drilled and organised Newcastle side who put men behind the ball and broke fast on the counter. To further state Chelsea’s dominance, new man Jorginho completed more passes (173 with 158 successful) than the entire Newcastle team with Chelsea breaking their league record of the highest number of passes in a league match. The blues are still adapting to their new coach’s style of play, but Sarri’s influence is very well evident on their constant movement of the ball. Once his new style and attacking brand is well drilled into his players, Chelsea would undoubtedly be one of the exciting teams in Europe
- FULHAM SUMMMER SIGNINGS PROVING THEIR WORTH.
Aleksander Mitrovic, Jean Micheal Seri and Andre Schurrle, all summer signings were on the score sheet as Fulham claimed their first league win since returning to the Premier league. Jean Micheal Seri since swapping OGC Nice for the London club has hardly put in a foot wrong and in the fourth minute rifled a spectacular long range effort beyond Joe Hart and into the top corner. Mitrovic scored twice in the space of three first half minutes near the end of the first half, heading in crosses by Tom Cairney and Luciano Vietto, another summer signing to take his goal tally to 3 in as many matches for the man from Newcastle. Andre Schurrle, a loan signing from Borrusia Dortmund made sure of the win with a strike from close range. Its promising signs from the men from craven cottage as they seek to ensure survival in the English top flight. Having spent more than €100m in the transfer window, much has been expected from them and from the evidence of last match’s showing; it seems like money well spent. In matches and weeks to come, fans will expect more from their team and are sure to get the desired if they are to cement their place in the premier league. With more matches under their belts, they are sure to progress and gel firmly as a team. For their fans, there is every cause for optimism; and rightly so.