The 6th week of Barclay’s Premiere League concluded yesterday and it was BAU for once; as there were no surprising results so as to say. Such has been the case of EPL this year. Quite frankly I don’t know which teams to be called as the top 5 as there has been a lot of shuffling up there; the league is no more a monopoly of the Red’s and the Blue’s. As good as this gets it’s been flapdoodle for some of the top teams this year. Let us summarize their performances over the weekend.
THE KOPs WERE STUNNED AT THE 11th HOUR
Liverpool 1 – 1 Everton
Firstly, we travel to Anfield where in an early kick-off, Liverpool clashed with Everton in the 223rd Merseyside Derby. Claimed to be one of the most ill-tempered and explosive derby matches of the Premiere League; the match lived up to its expectation only for the first few minutes as Gareth Barry was shown a Yellow Card in the 2nd min of the match.
Though Liverpool looked to be pressing more both the teams failed to create any clear chances in first half. Ballotelli came close to scoring from a freekick; that was saved by Howard. Henderson for Liverpool had a decent first half and combined well in the midfield.
Liverpool took an hour to breach the weakest defense of the Premiere League this season. It was the Liverpool captain Stevie G with a stunning free-kick on the 65th minute that gave the KOP’s an advantage that almost lasted. Yes, almost!!!
Lukaku came close to equalizing for Everton the very next minute; he missed a sitter of a header. A minute later, Ballotelli was spoon-fed from the wing but he amazingly missed a close range effort. However, the dram was yet to unfold. I don’t know how and why; but these Derby Matches always seem to give those thrills, always.
Phil Jagielka stunned the Anfield faithfuls with his 90th minute strike to give Roberto Martinez’s side another draw. What a strike it was!
THE BLUES REMAIN UNDEFEATED
Chelsea 3 – 0 Aston Villa
Stamford Bridge and Jose Mourinho; I won’t say anything more than this. He has an almost perfect (yes almost perfect – Mourinho has suffered only a single defeat at Stamford Bridge as a Chelsea Manager) record at the Bridge and Saturday proved another strole in the park for the Blue’s as they continued their undefeated run by 3 – 0 win over Aston Villa. This was Chelsea’s 2000th Home League Game.
Mourinho made a single change in the line-up that played against Manchester City, the previous weekend with Oscar in for Ramires. And well, Mourinho’s 250th match as the Chelsea manager had no surprise elements as Oscar opened the scoring for Chelsea in the 8th minute. Ivanovics’ brilliant ball through the right channel found Willian whose shot was saved by Guzan. Willian quickly fed the ball to Oscar who scored.
The history between the two clubs recently gives bitter memories for the Blue’s as the side from the Midlands had registered a 1 – 0 win over Chelsea that gave a major blow to Chelsea’s title hopes last season.
However, Chelsea settled in quickly and just before the hour mark Premiere League’s Top Scorer Diego Costa scored another one for Chelsea to take his tally to 8 this season. A fabulous cross by Azpilicueta and a thumping header from the Brazilian.
The free-scoring Chelsea side went for the kill soon as Willian netted the 3rd Goal and gave a much deserving victory for the Blues. Guzan initially parried away the shot from Costa only to land the ball in Willian’s path who scored.
UNITED WIN – SLOW AND UNSTEADY
Manchester United 2 – 1 West Ham United
Lois Vaan Gaal might have an impressive record as a Manager or rather he has; however this is the Premiere League and am sure for him the taste at this moment might just be bitter. Recovering from a 5 – 3 disaster at the King Power stadium, United were quick as their fierce captain Rooney opened the scoring with just 5 minutes on the clock.
With the Red Devils facing defense debacles and injuries, 19 year-old Paddy McNair was called in from the reserve team to fill in the lapses Van Gaals’ failed to oversee. However, the 5th minute Rooney goal settled some nerves and United looked at their attacking best as they did with Leicester City. This was Rooney’s 209th goal for United.
Midway through the first half United seemed to be cruising as Van Persie doubled their lead after Radamel Falcoa fed him an unmistakable pass. United this season have had a powerful attack with the signings made, however their defensive vulnerabilities have overshadowed their attacking prowess and teams have capitalized on this.
West Ham did the same as Diafra Sakho scored from a corner in the 37th Minute to pull one back for his side. Demel’s power header hit against the crossbar and Sakho pounces on the rebound. Though United responded with an attacking attitude West Ham finished the first half on a positive note.
The second half gave jitters to the crowd at Old Trafford as they saw Rooney being sent-off after a malicious tackle on Downing. Over the years Rooney has had his crazy moments on the field and being the United captain, this was the last thing they wanted. What was he thinking? The kick-out at Downing now means that the skipper will not feature in the next 3 league games viz. against Everton, West Brom, and Chelsea.
West Ham were fantastic in the Second Half, of course they had an advantage; however United seemed resolute and held on to their lead giving Van Gaal the 2nd Win as the United Manager.
MAN CITY SCORE 4 AGAINST HULL
Hull City 2 – 4 Manchester City
Man City travelled to the KC Stadium with no wins in their last 3 league matches, and so was the case with the hosts, as well.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side started brilliantly as Aguero gave the visitors a lead with his 7th minute goal owing to a Zabaleta header from the edge of the penalty area.
Man City get very dangerous once they get in the groove and 4 minutes later Dzeko fired a rocket past McGregor in the top right hand corner. Just 15 minutes into the match and Hull City seemed clueless.
However, a Eliaquim Mangala own goal, gave the hosts a chance to come back in the game. A cross by Rosenior after beating Clichy on the left wing, was headed straight into the net by the Man City defender.
The horror for Mangala continued as 10 minutes later, he gave away a penalty. Abel Hernandez stepped up for Hull City and slotted the ball confidently in the bottom left hand corner. Hull were right back in the game. The crazy first half concluded with no more goals at either end.
It was only after an hour that the courageous defending by Hull was broken by Dzeko as he capitalized on a superb pass by Silva. And then came the veteran Frank Lampard. As he did against his former club Chelsea in his previous league game, he scored in the 87th minute to make it 4 – 2 for Manchester City.
HONORS EVEN IN THE NORTH LONDON DERBY
Arsenal 1 – 1 Tottenham
I started this article with a Derby and am going to end this with another. Arsene Wenger had faced 12 different Spurs Manager previously and Mauricio Pochetinno was the 13th when Arsenal met Tottenham Hotspurs at the Emirates stadium on Saturday.
Both these London clubs have had a mixed start to this season with Arsenal being the only other side apart from Chelsea that is yet to suffer a loss. But with 3 draws and 2 wins the start hasn’t been impressive for Arsenal’s liking.
Arsenal’s story over the years has been injuries, injuries, and injuries!!! The match didn’t show up any surprises as the Gooners’ skipper Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey were substituted owing to sustaining injuries in the first half.
Just before the hour mark, Nacer Chadli who has been tremendous this season for Tottenham put the visitors ahead against the run of play so as to say. Arsenal got punished for being too unconcerned in their defense as Flamini lost possession in the midfield giving Lamela a chance to slip in Chadli to score.
However, the Gooners kept pressing and were rewarded with a goal as Cazorla’s shot ricocheted off Kaboul and Chamberlain smashed the ball in the net to level the score.
The derby produced 9 yellow cards in all and the ref had to keep a check on the tackles coming in from both the sides. Another draw for Arsenal already leaves them 6 points adrift of the leaders Chelsea, who they face in their next match at Stamford Bride.
And that’s about it for this week. Hope you feel I made justice with the teams here. Yes, I say so for one reason – me being a die-hard Chelsea fan (yeah yeah – The Blues) – it’s easy to get carried away, ain’t it!!!
Keep reading this space for a weekly analysis of the top teams in the EPL and your valuable comments are much appreciated.