Kieran Davies stands back from a week of basketball hybrids, defensive frailties, and the return of the Roy.
There is one thing we have learnt this week if we did not know already, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have the worst defence since Oscar Pistorius thought he heard an intruder. For all their quality in the attacking third, the German’s side are playing the game like some football/basketball hybrid game where they just try to outscore their opponents. The mistakes the defence are making in conceding goals, you wouldn’t accept in a pub match on a Sunday morning. Players on hundreds of thousands of pounds per week are making errors that are not excusable on any level. What is going on at Liverpool that turns good defenders into dazed clowns as soon as they pull that jersey over their heads? Judging by what we are seeing from the stands the only plausible answer is that they have employed Paul and Barry Chuckle as defensive coaches. Last weekend Pep’s Man City took Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season in style with a 5-0 hammering of the Merseysiders. With noisy neighbours United dropping points at Stoke City, the Manchester rivals go into this week’s fixtures joint top of the table. Both sides will feel they have very winnable games this weekend and will be able to continue their surge at the summit of the table.
After a shocking start to the season, Conte’s Chelsea have managed to turn things around. With a solid win away against Leicester, they now find themselves third in the table. After a confidence boosting win in Europe, Chelsea will be going into this weekend’s game against Arsenal in high spirits. Wenger’s side got back to winning ways with a 3-0 win against Bournemouth at The Emirates but have not got the best of records when travelling to Stamford Bridge. It has been a rollercoaster week for Brighton and their manager Chris Hughton, winning their first game of the season last weekend against West Brom, they go and crash to defeat in the Friday night game at the hands of Bournemouth. Jermaine Defoe grabbing the winner to show what a shrewd signing he was by Eddie Howe and giving The Cherries their first win of the season. They still sit in the bottom three and no other results will change that this weekend. They will be watching the early kick off keenly as Crystal Palace, the only pointless answer to the topic ‘Premier League Teams’ host Southampton.
While De Boer wasn’t even given enough time to see out a six-month tenancy agreement, the powers that be seem to think that Roy Hodgson is the answer to their pwoblems. For me, Hodgson is a highly overrated manager. The biggest club appointment he had, he failed miserably and was sacked. He looked well out of his depth. Hodgson told us all this week how happy he was to be managing a team he has supported for many years. You’d think he give us more credit than to believe that when asked the question ‘who do you support Roy?’………’Cwystal Pawace’ is probably not the best of choices given his quirks. Even though we are only four games into the season, this game against Southampton could really dictate which way Palace’s season goes. The home faithful will need to act as a twelfth man to try and bring the three points home for The Eagles. After taking some of the seemingly constant pressure off manager Bilic, a tough trip to West Brom stands in front of them trying to claw their way out of the bottom three. Pullis will be looking to see his Baggies side put last week’s first defeat of the season behind them and get back to winning ways.
After some though fixtures to start the season Leicester find themselves dangerously close to the bottom three. Travelling to newly promoted Huddersfield this weekend will be no easy win. The Terriers have made a dream start to their first season in the top flight, with two wins and a draw in their first four games. Wagner’s team will be looking to copy the model of Stoke City and making their home ground a difficult place to go if they plan on continuing their stay in the Premier League. Liverpool entertain Burnley at Anfield needing to give their fans something to cheer about after a humiliating defeat at Man City followed by a disappointing home draw with Sevilla in the Champions League. Dyche’s side find themselves above Klopp’s Liverpool, should they still find themselves so by Saturday evening, he will feel they have had a good day. Can they exploit Liverpool’s defensive frailties while nullifying their attacking options.
With Koeman’s Everton travelling to Old Trafford to take on Jose’s rampant United side, if they can’t avoid defeat here they may find themselves in the bottom three by the time Match of the Day airs. Not the return the owners will have been looking for given the huge outlay they spent on transfers in the summer. While many new faces have been brought in, it is questionable as to whether they have replaced Lukaku’s goals. Their former striker could send them into the bottom three with a big performance from the Belgian. Newcastle play Stoke City at St James’ Park hoping to improve on their position in mid table currently. At home in front 50,000+ fans, Benitez’ side need to start making this more of a fortress. While they are still finding their feet in their return to the Premier League, this is most definitely a game they will have pinpointed as winnable. They will need to keep all eleven players on the pitch if they are to take this game to Hughes’ Stoke side.
After a fantastic win over Dortmund in the week, Pochettino’s Spurs side will fancy a comfortable victory at their new temporary home, Wembley, with Swansea City the visitors. Having made few additions in the summer, the fact they have quite a stable, settled side is working in their favour. With Harry Kane the most in form striker in Europe and the other creative outlets in their midfield, Tottenham will take some stopping this season. Having lost Sigurdsson and Lorente Clement’s side are struggling to re-adjust at the moment. Bony hasn’t found the form of his previous stint and Sanchez is still trying to settle into the Premier League. The league is that competitive that a few surprise results could change the shape of the table completely. One thing we can guarantee is that referees will make mistakes, linesman will give bad offside decisions and your missus is going to make you watch X-Factor in the evening. As Rafa would say……..FACT!