It was a treat to sit back and enjoy the 1970 World Cup Final that SBS slotted into its programming last week.
The Premier League is alive and well – there were almost two big upsets with Aston Villa leading Liverpool 1-0 at half time at home and Southampton leading Manchester City by the same score also away from home.
In the second half both Aston Villa and Southampton went into their shell, sitting back too deep and defending instead of trying to score a second goal. Consequently, they both conceded two goals – with the second goal they conceded to leave them empty handed from a points perspective coming late in the game.
Watford were unlucky not to claim a point at home against the high flying Chelsea with a near last gasp equaliser from goalkeeper – yes, goalkeeper – Ben Foster, who was denied a goal from a superb save by Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalga. In a moment of sportsmanship the two goalkeepers shared an emotional hug, which showed that football can transcend society and bring people together – it was a heartwarming moment as it proves how powerful the sport is.
There were a total of twenty-seven goals scored in ten games, but more importantly there were no scoreless draws – not that goals make a game played of a high quality, but goals do change games. The Premier League is such a popular league as the tempo is high and every team is competitive – and with three teams being relegated every season, everyone is hungry for survival.
Watford currently sit last on the table, but they have claimed a result in five of the 12 games they have played in – albeit only having drawn all of those five matches which leaves them winless. Matchday 11 sums up why the Premier League is such a successful league, and I will show you why.
1. Chris Wilder (Sheffield United) – Sheffield United were outstanding against Burnley, not only scoring three goals in the first half but leaving Burnley with no shots on target.
2. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) – Bournemouth performed extremely well to defeat Manchester United – Howe outcoached Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
3. Nuno Espirito Santo (Wolverhampton Wanderers) – Wolverhampton Wanderers outplayed fifth placed Arsenal and can count themselves unlucky not to claim all three points.
4. Graham Potter (Brighton and Hove Albion) – Brighton couldn’t have played much better as they played against Norwich City in what was a potential danger game for them – but Potter coached well and Brighton had a 2-0 victory.
5. Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) – Leicester City did well to claim a victory over Crystal Palace in what loomed as a tough task, but the players stayed motivated the first game after they obliterated Southampton 9-0.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United) – It’s a no brainer that Solskjaer should be under pressure after Manchester United’s performance against Bournemouth, where – while they may have only lost 1-0 – their tactics were deplorable as their ball movement was too slow.
Unai Emery (Arsenal) – Despite Arsenal sitting fifth on the table, they have drawn their last two games and aren’t playing good football.
Bournemouth v Manchester United
Bournemouth born again
Magic Moment: The only goal of the game came just before the half time interval for Bournemouth thanks to Joshua King, who somehow controlled the ball and scored a goal that went through the legs of the Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. .
Who stood out from the pack? Nathan Aké was inspirational in the heart of the Bournemouth defence, curtailing many of the potential Manchester United raids into the final third.
What went right? After three games in the Premier League without a goal, Bournemouth finally hit the back of the net. The team that deserved to win the game was victorious with the Cherries finishing the game with six shots on target to four. They played with great spirit and appeared to be more up for the contest than Manchester United.
What went wrong? The Red Devils may have controlled the balance of play from a possession perspective with 57.4 per cent, but the tempo they played at was far too laborious.
Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Arsenal wonder how
Magic Moment: Wolverhampton’s Diogo Jota had a good strike on goal well saved by Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno shortly before half time, which meant that the Gunners went into the half time break leading Wolverhampton 1-0.
Who stood out from the pack? Bernd Leno helped his team grab a point in a 1-1 draw – it was a game that Wolverhampton controlled and really deserved all three points.
What went right? Wolverhampton didn’t sit back and try and get a draw. They attacked hard and played an expansive game where they finished with twenty-four shots – albeit one third of which were on target – which indicated that their intent was right.
What went wrong? I believe that Sead Kolašinac is a quality defender and therefore should have been in the starting line up for Arsenal. They may have controlled possession with 57.5 per cent yet they had just four shots on target to Wolverhampton’s eight, which indicates that Arsenal were inefficient and that they were vulnerable defensively.
Aston Villa v Liverpool
Another Houdini act by the Reds
Magic Moment: Liverpool scored a late winner thanks Sadio Mane scoring in stoppage time to make the score 2-1 in favour of the Reds.
Who stood out from the pack? Liverpool’s Sadio Mane finished the game with a goal and an assist, proving a pivotal part of both goals scored by the away side.
What went right? The team that deserved to win the game from a statistical perspective did so. Liverpool had almost three-quarters of possession and twenty-five shots to Aston Villa’s four. Remarkably, Liverpool only managed to break the deadlock in the eighty-seventh minute thanks to the aforementioned goal from Mane.
What went wrong? Aston Villa had the opportunity to take the game by the scruff of the neck when they went 1-0 up, but they did the opposite – they defended and sat back. The biggest risk is to take no risk at all and that’s exactly what they did. Liverpool would also be worried that they had to wait until late in the game to claim an unlikely – at least from a scoreboard perspective – comeback win.
Brighton v Norwich City
It’s panic stations for Norwich
Magic Moment: Brighton’s Neal Maupay had a shot superbly saved by Norwich City goalkeeper Tim Krul shortly after the midway point of the second half.
Who stood out from the pack? Brighton captain Lewis Dunk led from the front with a solid display in the Brighton defence.
What went right? Despite appearing to be in the fight for relegation earlier in the season, Brighton have moved into eighth place on the Premier League table after the completion of Matchday 11.
What went wrong? Norwich City didn’t register one shot on target. The Canaries have just three results from their opening eleven games of the season and their game against Brighton this week typifies why.
Manchester City v Southampton
A week is a long time in football
Magic Moment: Manchester City’s Kyle Walker – yes, Kyle Walker – scored a rare goal that couldn’t have been any more crucial for his team, an 86th minute winner to make the score 2-1 in their favour.
Who stood out from the pack? Kevin De Bruyne was pivotal in Manchester City claiming all three points, playing a key role for his team in the midfield.
What went right? Southampton were competitive against the second-placed team on the Premier League table – especially following their nine goal hammering last week against Leicester City. Despite the fact that they had less than a quarter of possession for the game, they led 1-0 until the seventieth minute equaliser from Sergio Aguero. Southampton can hold their heads up high – even though they could have tried to attack more – since it must have been tough from a morale perspective following a nine goal loss.
What went wrong? Manchester City had just four shots on target from twenty-six shots, meaning just 15.38 per cent of their shots were on target. Like Aston Villa, Southampton failed to attack enough – sitting back too deep instead of pushing forward – and they weren’t brave enough from a tactical perspective.
Sheffield United v Burnley
Sheffield United put on a first half show
Magic Moment: Sheffield United’s John Fleck made the scoreline 3-0 shortly before half time in what was a clinical finish by the Scotsman, putting the ball in the bottom corner.
Who stood out from the pack? John Lundstram finished the game with two first half goals.
What went right? Sheffield United move into the top six on the Premier League table. They had six shots on target to Burnley’s nil, despite the fact that they had less possession than their opponents.
What went wrong? Burnley didn’t take enough risks from a tactical perspective. They brought a defender on for a defender in the forty-fifth minute when they should have thrown caution to the wind and brought on an attacker. They should have risked losing by more in order to make an unlikely comeback, but instead they did the opposite as they failed to test Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
West Ham United v Newcastle United
Newcastle win battle of the United’s – yet West Ham show that they are fighters!
Magic Moment: Newcastle United’s Jonjo Shelvey made the score 3-0 with an unbelievable free kick from distance early in the second half.
Who stood out from the pack? Jonjo Shelvey’s free kick separated the two sides, with the scoreline 3-2 in Newcastle’s favour.
What went right? Yet another game in Matchday 11 that proved how deceptive stats can be, where the team that won the game had considerably less possession than the winning team. West Ham United had more than double the amount of possession than the Magpies, yet they still managed to lose the game.
The two teams had a combined total of fifteen shots on target from twenty-eight total shots, which equates to more than half the shots being on target. West Ham United fought back from a 3-0 scoreline to score two goals and nearly claim a point when they could have easily sat back and tried to keep the scoreboard respectable.
What went wrong? The Hammers finished with six shots on target to Newcastle United’s nine, which indicated that they were more inefficient than their opponents.
Watford v Chelsea
Watford nearly grab a point
Magic Moment: As mentioned earlier, Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster nearly scored from a header in the final moments of the game, but was denied by a super save from Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalga.
Who stood out from the pack? Tammy Abraham finished the game with a goal and an assist.
What went right? The game was in the balance until the final whistle – for all of Chelsea’s dominance of possession and having had ten shots on target to Watford’s three, the Hornets almost grabbed a last gasp equaliser.
What went wrong? Chelsea weren’t clinical enough in the final third, as the game should have been put beyond doubt but wasn’t.
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Leicester claim another three points on the road
Magic Moment: Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy made the score 2-0 in Leicester City’s favour thanks to some good lead up work and a clinical finish by the star striker.
Who stood out from the pack? Vardy was a pivotal part of Leicester City winning the game, scoring the all important second goal for his team.
What went right? Leicester City made it eleven goals for and no goals conceded in their last two Premier League games. What would please Brendan Rodgers is that they kept a clean sheet against a top ten team in Crystal Palace, immediately after their 9-0 victory last week. They could have been complacent against the Glaziers, but they weren’t.
What went wrong? From a Crystal Palace perspective, they would be disappointed that they didn’t get at least one point with the game in the balance until late in the piece and going into the halftime break at 0-0.
Everton v Tottenham Hotspur
Injury to Gomes grabs all the headlines
Magic Moment: Everton substitute Cenk Tosun scored the equaliser for his team in the seventh minute of stoppage time with a clinical header.
Who stood out from the pack? Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur scored the goal that broke the deadlock early in the second half, which helped his team claim a point.
What went right? The referee gave twelve minutes of injury time, predominantly due to Everton’s Andre Gomes being stretchered off and the time taken up by that – which was good refereeing. Everton managed to score an equaliser in the 97th minute through substitute Cenk Tosun.
What went wrong? Andre Gomes injured his ankle due to a challenge from Son Heung-min, who received a straight red card. The injury to Gomes appeared to be serious at the time, which isn’t a reflection on Son Heung-Min as he isn’t a malicious player. In fact, the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder was in tears following the incident as it looked like a horrific injury. There wasn’t enough quality in the final third for both teams – despite each team scoring one goal, there was a total of just five shots on target for the two teams combined.