After returning from the International break, the hard-hitting Premier League season continued with Game Week 5. Some sides will be happier than others however, especially those at the top, as Chelsea yet again threw away points. Here’s how the contenders faired this weekend…
Manchester United vs Liverpool
The £36million hole in Manchester United’s wallet was sweetened as Anthony Martial helped sink Liverpool in a 3-1 victory that had all the hall marks of the proverbial game of two halves. Whilst the 1st half was tense and slow, the entertainment came in the 2nd half of the game – and a brilliant attacking performance from Manchester United is promising for their hopes this season. The arrival of the French youngster received a lot of scepticism, mainly in response to the huge price tag. However his performance overshadowed the poor showing from another of United’s big money signings, Memphis Depay, who is struggling to execute the sort of performance United fans have been expecting from him.
Danny Murphy mentioned on Match of The Day that Liverpool shouldn’t be panicking about the struggle they’ve had this season – and a 3-1 defeat to United is nothing to be embarrassed about. If Benteke’s finish from his overhead kick is anything to go by, Liverpool have the fire power to grab a decent run of form – but Rodgers needs to establish his starting attack as there does seem to be a lack of chemistry at the moment.
There is no doubt they will finish in the top four this season if they continue in this vain. It seems like the question of how United would fair if they were to lose the availability of Wayne Rooney has been answered in the form of the 19 year old Frenchman.
Here we go again…
Chelsea once again faltered, this time to Everton, who staved off Chelsea’s attempt to claw their way back from 2-0 down after Matic blasted in from outside the area. Everton were too good though, with a quality performance from Scotland International Steven Naismith who grabbed a hattrick against Mourinho’s struggling side.
Is Mourinho under pressure? If you’d have asked me a couple of weeks ago I would have suggested Chelsea fans remain calm. However a third defeat this season surely means he needs to find an immediate cure to start rescuing points.
Sherwood Still Learning
Claudio Ranieri’s experience outsmarted Tim Sherwood’s Aston Villa as Leicester City overturned a 2-0 deficit within the last 25 minutes. Aston Villa looked certain to win after Jack Grealish and Carles Gil both scored their first Premier League goals. However, at 2-0 up and cruising, Sherwood brought on Jordan Ayew which seemed to weaken the midfield and allowed Leicester to get back into the game.
Leicester worked hard throughout, as their fans continued making noise all the way through. Mahrez caused an array of troubles for Jordan Amavi on the right hand side, as Gokhan Inler provided a serious touch of class and solidity in the midfield. I had them down as relegation candidates at the start of the season. After 3 wins from 5, they remain undefeated.
It’s time for sides to start picking up points…
Spurs finally managed their first win of the season against Sunderland. Sunderland are very good at getting draws, but goals do get conceded. Ryan Mason managed to break through a weak defence to score and The Black Cats failed to trouble Tottenham upfront. But it was a slow burn – and questions still have to be raised about this Tottenham team, that would like to be considered challengers for a Champions League place. Harry Kane still hasn’t netted for Spurs, and the rest of the attack didn’t impress either. Whilst Son created a few decent opportunities, he looked weak and struggled with the pace of the game so is going to need time to adapt.
They won’t struggle alone though; Stoke City and fellow North East counterparts Newcastle United also sit in the relegation zone with two points after soft defeats this past week. Newcastle faltered to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of in-form West Ham, as Payet pulled off another terrific performance. McLaren likes to think of himself as a tactical genius; but he still has a lot of work to do if he’s going to get this talented squad to pick up some points.
Stoke City weren’t necessarily expected to pick up points against Arsenal, as Mark Hughes’ side came up against an Arsenal team that exectuted their performance almost to perfection. Cazorla and Coquelin proved just how well they work together in midfield, and Mesut Ozil produced one of his trademark assists, putting through centre-forward Theo Walcott. Arsenal are picking up the points and putting in the sort of performances their fans would have been hoping for at the start of the season– if they play like this for the rest of the season, they may well push for the title.
Man City also picked up a routine victory, this time over Crystal Palace who were sitting in 2nd place before the game. It was a difficult game for City, and it required a goal from academy graduate Kelechi Iheanacho for the 1-0 win. It’s commendable that Pellegrini is attempting to bring through young players despite the sort of money City have available to them. Whilst City didn’t start too well in a 4-4-2, Aguero’s injury forced De Bruyne’s debut as they reverted to 4-2-3-1 and caused havoc for Palace. That’s an 11th straight league win for Man City now.
Norwich picked up three points against Bournemouth as Wes Hoolahan showed he could still cut it as a top attacking midfielder, setting up one goal with his shin pad in his hand. Watford also showed their Premier League credentials with a 1-0 win over a high-riding Swansea City side in what was the shock result of the weekend and West Bromwich Albion picked up a point, holding Southampton to a 0-0 draw.