We look at this week’s talking points featuring Liverpool and Chelsea who maintain their winning starts to the season, and a host of individuals who lit up last week’s matchday. A disappointing Burnley who remain winless and Jose Mourinho’s United who ended Watford’s unbeaten run on their own turf.
- LIVERPOOL LIVING UP TO THE HYPE
Having invested heavily in the summer, Liverpool was touted as the nearest challengers to City’s premier league crown. However, after matchday 5, Liverpool leads the pack after seeing off Tottenham Hotspur in the premier league curtain raiser for the week at Wembley. Liverpool boss, Jurgen Kloop had prior to the match never won a single match at English football’s biggest stadium, having lost to Bayern Munich in the champions league final, to City in the league cup final and 4-1 in the hands of their Saturday’s opponent at the ground last season. The reds emerged victorious from a game everyone thought was a step too far for Jurgen’s profligate reds. The reds dominated from the onset and their 2-1 success flattered Spurs as the margin could have been even bigger if not for some wasteful finishing and lack of communication between Liverpool’s front three. For the first time since 1990 Liverpool have won their first five matches and with big games coming up this month, the victory would do their confidence no harm. They might finally get their hands on a premier league trophy that has eluded them for over a decade, but first they have to survive a tricky run of fixtures this month.
- CHELSEA AND HAZARD DESTINED FOR BIG THINGS UNDER SARRI
Chelsea also maintained their perfect start to the season under Sarri with a convincing comeback 4-1 win over Cardiff at Stamford bridge. The blues made it five wins from five matches as Star man Eden Hazard helped himself to a hatrick in the rout over Cardiff, propelling himself to the top of the goal scoring charts with 5 league goals already this term. The introduction of a new style of play under the Italian coach seems to be getting across to the players really well, with Chelsea’s excellence in possession allowing players like Hazard and Wiliam to thrive in attacking positions causing problems for opposition defence. The Italian boss claimed his star man can score 40 goals this season and stake a claim to be the best player in Europe. With 5 goals and 3 assists this season, the Belgian can well and truly be on the way to justifying his boss’s claim. Great things await this Chelsea side and Eden Hazard should they maintain their form. Too early to say but Hazard might have one hand on the PFA player of the year already.
- YES ZAHA, YES PARTY
It has been a case of no Zaha, no party for Crystal palace for some time now. They say that stats don’t lie, and a run of no victories for the Eagles without their star man since September 2016 have shown their over reliance on the Ivory Coast international. His importance to his side is stunning. Crystal Palace has played eleven games without Zaha in the side- and has lost every single one of them. Zaha was cast straight back into Palace’s side, after missing the home defeat by Southampton because of a groin injury from which he has not fully recovered. He responded by hitting the winning goal in his side’s win over Huddersfield with a stunning solo run and a wicked shot to give his side all three points. He has been the target of opponents over the last few weeks with him blasting match officials after the match saying ‘’he has to get his leg broken before someone gets a red card’’. Roy Hudgson and Crystal Palace will be earnestly praying it never gets to that considering his vast influence on team results. That’s being said, he deserves more protection from referees.
- TROUBLE FOR BURNLEY
Burnley remains without a win in 11 matches in all competitions this season, after their Europa league exploits. They have lost their last four premier league games- the last time that happened the Clarets were relegated from the top flight, finishing bottom of the table in 2015. The 1-0 score line against Wolves at the Molineux stadium flattered the visitors, who remained in the game following the brilliance of veteran Joe Hart who denied Helder Costa, Otto and Ruben Navas before being beaten by Jimenez in the 61st minute. Much of the traits which made them a side most teams did not want to face last season have been found wanting this season. In their last three league games the Clarets have faced 76 shots, with 32 of them on target. Burnley finished seventh last season scoring just 36 goals in 38 matches. They did so because they conceded just 39 goals in 38 matches. If the defence creaks and the number shoots up as it is threatening to do, and the goals do not flow at the other end, then the Clarets really could find themselves in trouble. A relegation battle beckons if Sean Dyche and his men do not turn a corner, and fast.
- MANCHESTER ARE UNITED
If anything should be taken from the win over Watford at the Vicarage road, it is that Jose Mourinho has not lost the dressing as it is being stated in the media. The red devils picked up an impressive 3 points on their travels as players showed they were ready to fight for their manager. The atmosphere around Manchester united is a far cry from the tense, negative atmosphere which had engulfed Old trafford in recent weeks. With consecutive wins in the bag, the critics have been forced back into their caves as United look forward to open their Champions league campaign this week. The players gave their all to ensure victory and the traveling fans made their voices heard chanting their manager, Jose Mourinho’s name. Lukaku was on the score sheet again, notching his fourth goal of the season and seven in all competitions. Smalling scored a Zlatanesque chest and finish as United raced to a two goal lead in the first half. However, Andre Gray pulled one back for the hosts in the second half as Watford pressed for an equalizer late on in the game. United had to call on David De Gea in the last minute of the game to ensure victory with a stunning save. United will look to push on in their chase of their rivals and a possible 21st premier league crown with the assurance of a united front of players, manager and fans.
Obi Chukwuka C