Kieran Davies looks back on a week of Fury-ous defending and holidays to Syria.
Finding out the Premier League has taken a back seat due to an international break is like finding out the other half is away on business, you know there is an alternative but you know it will make you feel dirty! So all football fans up and down the country breathed a sigh of relief as the real game we love returned to our weekends. However by 3pm Leicester fans must’ve wished they were watching England get a sketchy win over Malta after their defence of the title continued have a bit of the Tyson Fury about it. Another heavy defeat, this time at Stamford Bridge against Conte’s blues. What really rubbed salt into the wound was Kante getting man of the match. He’s now looking like he woke up late and missed his boarding time on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Only two points off the relegation zone, Foxes fans will tell you they are concentrating on the Champions League but despite their group looking more like a Europa League group, like Arsenal this excuse won’t wash after the obvious first knockout round exit. Talking of Arsene Wenger’s side, they managed an impressive sixth win a row by beating Swansea City at home. The result wasn’t as convincing as they would’ve liked as they struggled to put the visitors to bed in this one and even ended the game with ten men. It’s three points that matter though and with other results going their way, they find themselves top of the table with Man City with only goal difference separating them. Like City, Arsenal look good going forward but frail at the back and will always give opponents hope of getting at them.
Guardiola’s side struggled at home against Koeman’s Everton. While Toffees fans will feel this is a game they could’ve won after taking the lead in the latter stages, their performance was more akin to the British Army’s defence of Rorke’s Drift against the attacking Zulu army. City even missed two penalties before Nolito cancelled out Lukaku’s opener. A hiding in Camp Nou won’t have boosted morale for Pepe’s side and caps off a very difficult week for their new manager. For all the money they’ve spent, specifically on defenders, City fans will be concerned how they get opened up easier than a Subway franchise. Tottenham missed the chance to go top of the table after they struggled to find the back of the net at The Hawthorns. The writing seemed to on the wall as Nacer Chadli netted for The Baggies to haunt his old employers until Delle Ali grabbed a last minute equaliser to keep Pochettino’s unbeaten start to the season. This is Tottenham’s best start to a Premier League season and without their main striker Harry Kane, Spurs fans will be overjoyed that they have managed not to miss their injured player. There’s a long way to go and they will have to shake off their tag of being the Ricky Hatton of the Premier League and not being able to go the distance.
Bournemouth managed to make it three wins in a row at home with a 6-1 rout of Hull City. As the goals flowed, Mike Phelan did not seem to be full of the glee of a man celebrating having got the manager’s job on a permanent basis. This was a long afternoon for the ex Utd man and he will be concerned that not only are they not scoring goals but they are conceding a lot at the other end also. It will take a lot for Hull to avoid their Premier League stay being a temporary one and they need to re-capture their form from the beginning of the season.
Considering he was a lot of people’s favourite to be the first manager for the chop, after a creditable draw at Old Trafford last time out, Stoke managed to secure their first win of the season at home against Sunderland. In form Joe Allen, not usually renowned for his goalscoring prowess bagged both goals. The Welshman is showing on loan striker Wilfried Bony how to do it currently. Still in the bottom three, Hughes knows there is still a lot of work to do. Crystal Palace saw their recent good form come to an end with a surprise home defeat against West Ham. Bilic will take all he can get at the moment and this was a big three points for the Croatian. He does have Palace striker Benteke to thank also after the big Belgian skied a penalty and a chance to get something out of the game for Pardew. Since his unsuccessful stint at Liverpool, Benteke has found it difficult to re-discover his Aston Villa form. Middlesbrough have a real issue to address currently, they are creating less opportunities than Tata Steel. Their strikers aren’t scoring but in their defence, chances are about as rare as a heatwave in the North East at the moment. Watford took advantage of this and claimed all the points with a 1-0 win. The win propelled The Hornets up the table and more importantly further away from being dragged into an early relegation dogfight.
Charlie Austin must be wondering what he has to do to get an England call up as he added another two goals to his season’s tally. It wont be long before Matt Le Tissier is on his soapbox jinxing the Saints’ season with talk of Europe as the win took them into the top half of the table. With Jay Rodriguez back from a long term injury lay off, it will take him a while to get back into the groove so no doubt Austin will be key to any success they have this season. Burnley did give them a slight worry as they clawed a goal back but couldn’t get that second goal to make it a nervy end to the game. The most anticipated game of the weekend’s fixtures came on Monday Night Football with a match up which is still one of the most watched games globally…………Liverpool versus Man Utd. Klopp against Mourinho. Everyone hoped for a game of free flowing football, end to end stuff like a basketball game. Well if this is what we had appetite for, we were left still hungry after the game. Considering his record and success as a manager, Jose Mourinho is more negative than someone who has won an all inclusive, all expenses paid holiday…………TO SYRIA! In 90 minutes of football I don’t believe Liverpool’s keeper had a single shot to save. One thing worth a watch however were the two world class saves made by David De Gea. Man Utd technically played a 6-3-1 in this game looking to come to Anfield to get a point from the outset. After the final whistle they celebrated like they had just got through to the Champions League final. How times have changed. He may still be sat in the stands, looking a bit older, but it’s fair to say the Fergie days are long gone and on this basis they won’t be back for some time yet!