Often football’s greatest talents are forged in some of Europe’s less popular leagues.
The Premier League is possibly the most entertaining competition to watch in world football. As things stand at the moment, it’s possible for a bottom ten team to beat one of the top teams. Sheffield United defeated Arsenal – you wouldn’t know that they were newly promoted to the Premier League at the start of this season.
Liverpool dropped points for the first time this season and Manchester United are less than three points above the relegation zone. There were a total of four draws from the ten games played, which shows how tight the Premier League is. Find out why there was so much to discuss following the completion of Matchday 9.
1. Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) – Manchester City played attacking, attractive football to watch against sixth placed Crystal Palace.
2. Marco Silva (Everton) – Marco Silva was under immense pressure prior to the game that was between Everton and West Ham and he answered his critics, at least for one week.
3. Chris Wilder (Sheffield United) – Sheffield United won against Arsenal who are one of the big clubs – Wilder implemented the right tactics to win the game.
4. Frank Lampard (Chelsea) – Chelsea controlled the game against Newcastle United, despite only winning the game 1-0.
5. Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) – Leicester came from behind, showing character and resilience to beat Burnley – the Foxes are now title contenders.
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham Hotspur) – Tottenham couldn’t beat bottom placed Watford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United) – Manchester United still sit just two points above the relegation zone, despite drawing with top placed Liverpool.
Everton v West Ham
Everton win entertaining clash
The game can be summed up by the two teams having a combined total of fourteen shots on target. It was a great game of football to watch from the perspective of a neutral spectator.
Magic moments: Tom Davies had a shot brilliantly saved by West Ham goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez early in the game, then Everton’s Bernard Duarte opened the scoring with a goal scored from a near impossible angle. Angelo Ogbonna of West Ham had a shot superbly saved by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford when the game was in the balance late in the piece and Gylfi Sigurdsson put the result beyond doubt with a stunning strike from outside of the box.
Who stood out from the pack? Jordan Pickford did well to keep a clean sheet, which was one of the reasons why Everton won the game and move out of the relegation zone.
What went right? Everton’s Theo Walcott had his first start of the season and the selection paid dividends with Walcott providing the assist for Bernard who broke the deadlock in the first part of the opening half. The gamble to start Gylfi Sigurdsson on the substitute bench worked as he scored the match winning goal in stoppage time.
What went wrong? Richarlison de Andrade hit the post near the midway point of the first half from a tough angle, nearly doubling Everton’s lead. He also had a goal ruled out for offside early in the second half – which was the correct decision – but it was a poorly timed run. Theo Walcott hit the bar from outside the box, which was unlucky as it would have been a goal to remember.
Aston Villa v Brighton
Game goes down to the wire!
There was a total of thirteen shots on target and three goals scored in what was a scintillating game to watch. Both of Aston Villa’s goals were scored in stoppage time – one goal in each of the respective halves. The game was in the balance for its entirety.
Magic moment: Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane forced Brighton goalkeeper Matt Ryan into a reflex save, before Matt Targett scored a goal in the final moments of the game – which proved to be the matchwinner – in what was a clinical finish.
Who stood out from the pack? Jack Grealish of Aston Villa finished the game with a goal and an assist.
What went right? There was a total of forty-four shots for the game – which is almost one every two minutes – which shows how exciting the game was to watch.
What went wrong? Aston Villa’s marking was poor for the first goal that they conceded – scored by Brighton’s Adam Webster from a free header – with Aston Villa not tracking back well enough. Aaron Mooy was given two yellow cards within the space of five minutes in the first half, which meant that Brighton were forced to play with ten men for the majority of the game.
To be fair, Mooy may have been tired from playing in the Socceroos World Cup qualifiers. Shortly after the referee disallowed what appeared to be a certain goal for Aston Villa, due to what he ruled to be a free kick against Villa.
Bournemouth v Norwich City
Scoreless draw tells the story
Both teams squandered opportunities to score and failed to provide much in the final third in what was a game that wasn’t of Premier League standard, with both teams having a game that they would be thankful to come away from with a draw.
Magic moments: Dominic Solanke of Bournemouth had a shot brilliantly saved by Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul. Teemu Pukki of Norwich City had their only shot on target of the game, which appeared destined for the back of the net but was well saved ay Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Who stood out from the pack? Nathan Ake proved that he is one of the best defenders in the Premier League with a solid performance for Bournemouth.
What went right? In a game that was very even from a statistical perspective, a 0-0 draw was probably a fair result.
What went wrong? There was a total of three shots on target for the game, in what was a fairly monotonous contest. The three shots on target came from a total of twenty-one shots – meaning only one in every seven shots were on target – which isn’t an acceptable ratio at Premier League level. Teemu Pukki also squandered a good chance to score early in the game.
Chelsea v Newcastle United
Chelsea claim all three points – just!
This was a game Chelsea should have won comprehensively – when the game is analysed from a statistical perspective they had eight shots on target and more than two-thirds of possession.
Magic moment: Marcos Alonso scored a clinical goal that proved to be the decisive moment of the match.
Who stood out from the pack? The result would have been more one sided than the solitary goal that separated the two sides if not for the intervention of Newcastle United goalkeeper, Martin Dubravka.
What went right? The team that deserved to win the game from a balance of play perspective – Chelsea – left with all three points, despite the fact that the goal that was scored to break the deadlock was scored late in the second half.
What went wrong? Newcastle United failed to have a single shot on target from their five shots.
Leicester City v Burnley
Are Leicester City contenders?
Leicester City proved that they are a quality team, coming back from a one goal deficit after conceding shortly after the midway point of the first half to win a game that they looked like losing.
Magic moment: Chris Wood of Burnley finished off some good lead up with an intelligent run and a clinical header that deservedly broke the deadlock.
Who stood out from the pack? Harvey Barnes finished the game with both assists for the two goals that were scored by Leicester City.
What went right? The game was controlled by Leicester City from a possession perspective and they claimed what was probably three points that they deserved when the game is analysed from that point of view.
What went wrong? Chris Wood somewhat controversially had a second half equaliser ruled out due to a contentious free kick that was deemed to have been given away by himself, which was a spot of rotten luck for Burnley.
Tottenham Hotspur v Watford
Want to know why the Premier League is so enthralling?
A team that is referred to as one of the big six nearly lost to a team that is situated at the bottom of the Premier League table – as it currently stands. That’s what makes it such an exciting league to follow. It could be a sign that Tottenham Hotspur are going to battle this season, or that Watford are on the up. That’s the great thing – no one can categorically predict the future.
Magic moment: Serge Aurier did brilliantly when he prevented a Watford goal with a crucial tackle on Roberto Pereyra – who was a chance to score if not for Aurier’s intervention – early in the second half.
Who stood out from the pack? Watford’s Abdoulaye Doucoure scored a clinical goal early in the match, which may give them some hope that they can get off the bottom of the ladder and outside the relegation zone.
What went right? The game was in the balance from start to finish. Tottenham Hotspur probably deserved to get something out the game in terms of points given they had over two-thirds of possession and five more shots than Watford.
What went wrong? Neither team had enough of an impact in the final third as there was a combined total of four shots on target – two from each team. Son Heung-Min hit the bar with a powerful shot early in the second half, which was unlucky. Despite being a goalkeeper that I rate highly, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster made a terrible error that led to Dele Alli scoring the equaliser for Tottenham Hotspur late in the game.
Wolverhampton v Southampton
Both teams will view this game as two points lost
This was a game that both teams would have perceived as a possible three points as neither of them sit in the top ten following the completion of Matchday 9. A draw would be seen as not adequate in terms of both teams endeavouring to be in the conversation for a possible relegation battle.
Magic moment: Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse had a brilliant free kick that was somehow saved by Wolverhampton goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Who stood out from the pack? Rui Patricio made some crucial saves, which meant that Wolverhampton left the game with a point.
What went right? There was just one goal scored from open play, with Wolverhampton scoring the equaliser from the penalty spot thanks to a good finish by Raul Jiminez. The ball ended up in the back of the net despite Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn guessing the right way.
What went wrong? Wolverhampton had more possession than Southampton, yet they only had one shot on target compared to Southampton’s five. Raul Jimenez handled a ball shortly after the midway point of the first half that would have led to him breaking the deadlock had he not done so. Wolverhampton had a goal disallowed shortly before half time, due to VAR deeming that one of their players was offside in the lead up to the goal. Danny Ings of Southampton was gifted the opening goal of the match thanks to some poor Wolverhampton defence shortly after half time.
Crystal Palace v Manchester City
Palace avoid shellacking!
Crystal Palace would have had high hopes of getting something out of this game as they had only lost two games from their first eight of the Premier League season, but that hope was extinguished in the first half with two Manchester City goals.
Magic moment: Gabriel Jesus had a shot fairly late in the second half that was well saved by Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Who stood out from the pack? Without Wayne Hennessey playing the margin there would have been a lot more than two goals.
What went right? Crystal Palace somehow avoided being decapitated on the scoreboard, keeping Manchester City scoreless in the second half – despite Manchester City controlling the balance of play – which meant the end result was a respectable 2-0 loss from a Crystal Palace perspective.
What went wrong? The game was one sided from a statistical perspective with Manchester City having more than two-thirds of possession and ten shots on target to Crystal Palace’s two.
Manchester United v Liverpool
Liverpool stumble – their winning streak is over!
Liverpool may have controlled the game but they were lucky to claim a point as they scored an equaliser late in the piece, which was the first time this season that they have dropped any points.
Magic moment: Liverpool’s Sadio Mane did brilliantly to keep the ball in and provide an exquisite cross that deserved to finish in a goal – but didn’t – in the first half. Unfortunately for Liverpool, Manchester United broke the deadlock thanks to Marcus Rashford shortly after.
Who stood out from the pack? Marcus Rashford scored the all important first goal of the game.
What went right? The game was in the balance from start to finish when analysing it from a scoreboard point of view.
What went wrong? Mohamed Salah didn’t feature at all due to injury, which proved to be a big loss for Liverpool as Salah is arguably their best player. Sadio Mane had a goal ruled out shortly before half time because he was deemed to have handled the ball. Adam Lallana of Liverpool was left unmarked and punished Manchester United for their lack of discipline with the equalising goal late in the game. Liverpool had more than two-thirds of possession and four shots on target to Manchester United’s two, which indicated that they should have claimed all three points.
Sheffield United v Arsenal
Sheffield United upset Arsenal to move into top ten!
Newly promoted Sheffield United moved into ninth on the Premier League table with an unlikely win over fifth placed Arsenal – proving why the competition is so exciting to watch, as anyone can beat anyone.
Magic moment: Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka had a long shot that was somehow saved by Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Who stood out from the pack? Lys Mousset of Sheffield United broke the deadlock, which was pivotal as it was the only goal of the game.
What went right? John Fleck had an audacious long shot on goal just saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The possession stats prove how little it matters as Sheffield United were victorious despite having less than one-third possession.
What went wrong? Nicolas Pepe missed what should have been a certain goal for Arsenal, shortly before the midway point of the first half. Lys Mousset was left unmarked and made Arsenal pay for that in the thirtieth minute by opening the scoring.