WEEK 4 EPL

Andddd what a week it was in the English Premier League. I know i may be using that expression almost everytime….but guys! Its the EPL after all and the results across the weekend really do throw you off and your tips! (Like mine).

NEWCASTLE UNITED 0 ARSENAL 1

There is nothing better than heading to St James on a saturday afternoon as Newcastle take on a top 4 team. There is nothingless than a tough, fought out win, draw or loss expected when these 2 confront eachother. Am i the only one recalling Tiotè’s equalizer in the 4-4 draw in the 10/11 season?
But to break the Toons’ hearts, we didn’t get that type of game on Saturday. Arsenal ran out winners 1-0 away, continuing there very fine away record this season, thanks to a deflected shot by the Ox that went off Coloccini’s boot, into the bottom left corner leaving Krul helpless. Nothing worse than a deflected shot *angry face* i mean, it was not a real, real goal as some would say however, the scoreline may have been misinterpreted to some…..

Arsenal set up: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Sanchez, Ox, Ramsery, Cazorla, Coquilen,  Walcott.

Strong line up put on by Wenger, i know what majority lf fans and press were thinking “Walcott playing upfront….really?” And so was i. If this was Walcott’s chance to show Wenger how versatile of a player he can be for him this season, boy did he fail……and boy did Wenger make a huge mistake leaving Giroud on the bench when he is a man in form.
The game started how it would when these 2 meet with eachother, a handful of free kicks in the first 16 minutes and a yellow card or so….Sissoko, and then Mitrovic making his home debut which to his reputation ended faster than you can say Rooney finally scored…..a foul on Francis Coquelin, studs up challenge on the ankle ended Mitrovic’s day against the gunners which meant there were 75 minutes left for Newcastle to handle the bombardment of Arsenal attacks. Lets just say it wasn’t even that scary or even looked dangerous…..

Newcastle line up: Krul, Haidara, Coloccini, Mbemba, Jaanmat, Sissoko, Colback, Anita, Thauvin, Wjinaldum, Mitrovic.

Newcastle in my opinion are still finding their strongest XI. The coach for me made a mistake in not starting Ayoze Perez. Played absolutely fantastic against United and tocontinue with great momentum he should have started because he gives the game more creativity and at times he can produce something out of nothing (as he proved last season). Maybe on for Wjinaldum….

Yes, 16 minutes into the game where the referee looked like he was testing his whistle every 5 minutes was the norm it and did get heavy. As both teams wanted the ball so much it seemed as though they were inpatient. Lets face it, am i the only one that though every time Arsenal were in the final third it never really looked promising? Sanchez did what he could with what he got, cannot discard his workload, ever, Coquelin gave that DM zest to win every ball, but nothing. Flat is the word. I mean, you have the whole game against 10 men and you can’t at least expose space in behind somewhere? Pace there was lack there of, The Ox, Sanchez and Walcotty. On the creative side Arsneal didn’t  do much and to be honest there wasn’t sufficient movement = Walcott. Wow, i finally have mentioned Theo. To put it bluntly….Wenger what were you thinking?

Tactics is a word that at times is an excuse for fans and managers to come out and say “they weren’t the right tactics which cost us the game”. Yeah, you got that right. Walcott, a traditional wide player, comes in to play ST? Again i use the word ‘flat’. He gave the arsenal midfield really nothing to work with. They had as i said 74 minutes to capitalise on the score board.

Stats. Arsenal 74% to Newcastles 26%
Arsenal 22 shots to Newcastles 1.
Arsneal 9 on target and Newcastle 0.

Arsenal’s majority of shots did come from outside of the box but when they there in and around the 18 yard box no goals came. So Giroud was maybe robbed of a couple goals at the least if he was on to put it lightly…..

Newcastle, all Newcastle could do was defend and defend and yes they defended brilliantly. Newcastle are a tough team to breakdown, even more so when they are playing with 10 men. 4-4-1 played to their favour leaving every tackle or blocked shot a sign of “You shall not pass” and that also goes to Tim Krul when he was called up he answered every time. At times they looked vulnerable. Jaanmat losing the ball at times where Newcastle look good attacking and as he does too many times, taking too many touches lead to a Alexis Sanchez counterattack and then a FK. With the 24% possession they had there is no wonder there was only 1 shot.

The goal game in the 52nd minute. And from there same of the same. Chances not being converted, noy enough clear cut chances being created and yellow cards and cards..

Yet another awa win for the visitors and a defeat for Newcastle. Arsenal need to sharpen up and from this performance the international break came at the right time. Newcastle on the otherhand, have the XI, pace and strength and a goalscorer who they will miss but you have Perez, the future who can score them goals (we hope)

See you in 2 weeks!

CHELSEA 1 CRYSTAL PALACE 2

“The Champions are back at home to face…..” “Chelsea the title holders are here to defentd their epl trophy against….” am i the only one who is getting bored of these introductions when in my opinion they aren’t really living up to them the pasr few weeks with flat out champion like games? Not discrediting Crystal Palace in any way because they arrived at Stamford Bridge with everyting and hey, they left with all.

Chelsea line up: Begovic, Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Ivanovic, Fabregas, Matic, Pedro, Hazard, Willian, Costa. |Mourinho

Crystal Palace line up: McCarther, Souare, Delaney, Dann, Ward, Puncheon, Cabaye, McArthur, Zaha, Sako, Wickham. |Pardew

As both teams lined up with their strongest XI watching this game, you really could not keep your eyes off it.

Chelsea, the Champions, started off slowly as Palace entered the game stronglyapplying early pressure to the shaky Ivanovic to concede an early corner. And from there on it was really almost like a tennis match. Both teams were looked unlikely to give up the ball easily but when you have players like. Matic and Fabregas that was a tough task for Palace to handle.

As i described the games’ first 20 minutes as a game going back to back it was. As attacks mounted led to corners, free kicks were won on both defensive halaves to either slow the game down, (calm the storm of attcks from both sides) corners, then another couple freekicks, shots mostly from outside the box not reallt theatening McCarthy’s goal or Courtouis’ it wasn’t the prettiest firsthalf display but it was entertaining and as the first half came to a close, the teams entered the sheds locked at 0-0.

The 2nd half began as the first one finished. Both teams did not lose their momentum in continuing to fight for the first goal. As many freekicks one by both teams, neither of them could capitalise from them. It took until tje 65th minute for Palace to to ope  the scoring with the man on form Sako!. This goal was wonderfully worked by Palace. Coming off a blocked shot from Pedro on the otherside, Palace worked the ball up and a right foot shot by Sako into the roof of the net was enough to put them in the lead and hey, Chelsea really needed that goal. Chelsea finally began showing ‘some’ urgency….”hey, we’re playing at home maybe we should score….”. And Mourinho realised also. Subbing on, Falcao, Kennedy and Loftus-Cheek was a bit of an attacking sign….

“Dunn, Dun, Duuuuuun” they worked! But it only took them 15 minutes to reply. Wonderful work by Pedro on the right sde who sends in a low cross in search of Falcao who showed no signs of cold feet in the 6 yard box placing a beautiful low header into the corner of the goal, and Chelsea were back in the game!!! (& so were my tips!)

The fans didn’t have enough time to soak in the goal, and us also finally Falcao scored! And the fact that we had a very nervous 10 minutes awaiting us, the game could have gone anywhere, and amidst all that thought just 2 minutes later on the 81st minute, Chelsea playing “all out attack” were left short at the back and Joel Ward scores. 1-2 to Palace. Close range header, keepee couldn’t do anything..

As the game drew to a close, yes there was some sought of ‘onslaught’ attackingly by Chelsea but nothing to big to frighten the away Palace fans were absolutely fantastic.

Palace left the Bridge with 3 well earned points and Chelsea emty handed. Comizserations Mourinho and my hat off to you Pardew.

MANCHESTER CITY 2 WATFORD 0

Back to the Etihad we went and back to another wonderful performance by the sky blues. However, it was really one of those games against Watford. Those tough Championship teams who resurrect into the Premier League to really at times, ‘shake things up’ if not early in the season or later…..

The score line reads City winners and yes as an avid City fan it was at times a very frustratinf game to watch.

Manchester City’s line up: Hart, Sagna, Mangala, Kompany, Kolarov, Toure, Fernandinho, Sterling, Silva, Navas, Aguero. |Pellegrini

Watford’s line up: Gomes, Holebas, Cathcart, Prodl, Nyom, Abdi, Behrami, Capoue, Ighalo, Jurado, Deeney. |

For the City fans and players it was a game of patience. Patience a word that does not go to well with us football fanatics but when your 4 games into the season sitting top and on the verge of breaking yet another record for the Club then hey, City do have patience.

Verseing newly promoted teams early in the season can be a blessing in disguise and also to lose against may be the game in the long run thay ‘could’ cost you the title. Now, we are 4 games into the season and it may ne too early to have those thoughts but it is true. This was not a walk in the park for City it did finish 2-0 and a very fought out result. Watford to their credit defended very well and boy are they a tough outfit to pkay against.
We are used the past few weeks seeinf City their alusive possession based games, their beautiful one touch, 2 touch passes outside the 18….well this game sort of shut them out many times.

Possession 54% with an astonoshing 92% accuracy City had that, chances blocked(5) there were many, chances created not a lot, there was no way breaking down Watford.

First half ended on a very odd note. Yes chances were created but Watford has everythino deal with them. Watford were running and chasing any loose ball they could find, defend their heart out and all City fans could question, “this couldn’t last them the entire 90 minutes right?”

Second half begins in a very fast pace. 2 minutes in, City doing all things right down the right hand side with Sagna delivering fhe perfect cross into the feet on Sterling and the most expensive english player does what he does best and scores into the bottom left corner with a perfect shot past Gomes and City are finally up 1-0! The relief in the stadium was immense and more so, new boy Sterling finally opens his account and the celebration said it all. We are sure to expect many more this season.

To Watford’s dismay, they couldn’t deal with that all afternoon and it was only a matter of time. The possession from City continued and Pellegrini switched things up with subbing Navas for Nasri.
Sadly 10 minutes after City’s goal in went the other. A player who is in fine form and very much  underrated, Fernandinho scores a beauty. If it is one thing he has showed us the pasr few weeks is he has boot on him and his knows where to place and finish. A beautiful right foot shot into the bottom right corner makes it 2-0 and Watford are out…..its only the 53minute but we never really saw a fight back from Watford.

City broke records. 4 games, 12points, 4 wins, 10 goals, 0 conceded, coming off last season that is 10 sraight victories! I know it is ver early into the season but wow, they are really looking to take this season out.

Watford, it is alway hard for any team to go to the ETIHAD and leave with at least a point or 3. But theg can leave with positives, defending like they did continously and moving that up the pitch can really make them a team to keep an eye on.

LIVERPOOL 0 WESTHAM 3

Yes you read that correctly, Liverpool were beaten at home by Westham 3 goals to 0. Who can blame them, Westham were on fire. As a unit, West Ham have everything to fight to finish in the top 6 and when you have a no nonsense coach of Bilic there is no one standing in your way.

Liverpool line up: Mignolet, Gomez, Lovren, Skrtel, Clyne, Milner, Lucas, Can, Coutinho, Benteke, Firmino. |Rodgers

West Ham line up: Randolph, Creswell, Ogbonna, Reid, Tomkins, Noble, Obiang, Kouyate, Payet, Sakho, Lanzini. |Bilic

Reading the scoreline makes you shocked, believe me watching it was better because finally we saw a WestHam who can really take it to the the likes of the top 4 teams at their home grounds.

The XI chosen by botch coaches show this was a no nonsense game. With the pace of Liverpool’s front 3, the strength and also pace of the Hammers’ mid and front 3 also made  this up to be the game to watch.

Liverpool could not have asked fot a worse way to begin the game at Anfield. 3 minutes in Lanzini on the top of the box fires in a perfect shot into the right bottom corner and WestHam are up 1-0. Liverpool however, responded how any homeside down 0-1 would have
Immediately shots were flying. Coutinho trying his best from outside the box, next up Firmino unluckily hits the post with this shot and from there on West Ham were also showing they can do have the ball and slow it down when need be.

15 minutes in and it was very much box to box this game, a corner to the Hammers then one to Liverpool, a foul here a foul there, but of course this just cannot all happen with at least one of these 2 sides to capitalise…..
GOAL WESTHAM, Noble sneaks the ball into the bottom corner and the Hammers are up 2-0! What Liverpool defense? I didn’t see the Gomez, Lovren doing their respected jobs to defend this…..liverpool looked in all sorts, no organisation, zest….nothing.

0-2 down at home can reallt bring the tempers fly hight and who wouldn’t when you have beem mediocre the last 3 weeks and your home fans are getting bored all you want to do as a player is get the ball back as soon as possible…..Coutinho brings down a player and is booked for his rash challenge; a player who is carrying Liverpool already this season and last at only 21 years of age obviously wil get restless when his other 10 teammates aren’t rallying also. A bad challenge on 52mins lands Coutinho a second yellow and is off. Liverpool with 10 men.

I know what you might have thought, West Ham could have easily rounded off the game now, holding the ball, maybe score a couple goals, but hey, they are at Anfield, a very tough place to play and the game from then onwards was very back and forth, defensively and attackingly. As the game progressed, tempers do get tested and if you have Mark Noble on your side then he’ll be right in the mix of things. And he was. 78′ Noble gets a red card for violent conduct. Game on?

12 minutes left….and nothing from Liverpool in the attacking sense. No threat, i mean at this stage Danny Ings is on who is a prolific goal scorer was just not receiving the right service. Maybe if Coutinho was still on the pitch he could have changed the game….again we are talking about 1 man!!! Where are the other 10?
If things couldn’t get worse they did…..Sakho converts the 3rd goal. 0-3 to West Ham at Anfield.

West Ham have one and go home with all 3 points well earned against a very average Liverpool side.
Bilic’s men also walk away from a historic win, beating Liverpool at Anfield after 60 odd years!!!

Ohhh Liverpool boy did the international break come at a good time for you lot.

FIXTURES
LEI 1 BOU 1
AST 2 SUN 2
TOT 0 EVE 0
STK 0 WBA 1
SOU 3 NOR 0
SWA 2 MANU 1

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