We are now nine games into what has unquestionably been one of the best and most unpredictable seasons the Premier League has ever produced. Just when you think you’ve figured out certain trends or can accurately predict what will happen, things get turned upside down again. As the Men In Blazers like to say, the Premier League script writers really are something else.
Earlier this season I compared the Premier League to that of a sports movie, as in we know how it’s going to end, we just don’t know how it’s going to get there. Never has that been more true than this week.
We’ve had teams like West Ham win games at the Emirates, Anfield and the Ethiad, but lost home matches to Leicester City and Bournemouth. Leicester City, a team everyone thought would start slow after a rough summer and be in a relegation fight all season have become the team that just won’t die. They’ve lost just one game all season (to Arsenal) and have come from two goals back at halftime to win or draw three times this season against Aston Villa, Stoke and Southampton.
And then of course there are the champions, Chelsea. Despite some people sensing that Chelsea were in for a regression this season their campaign began with a ‘shock’ 2-2 draw against Swansea at home. That draw became less shocking when Chelsea began losing to anyone and everyone. Whether it was a thorough beatdown by Manchester City and Everton, or a home loss to Crystal Palace, Chelsea’s stars couldn’t beat anybody.
The Premier League had seemingly packed an entire season of craziness into just the first two months. How much longer could this possibly last? The answer apparently was until this past Saturday.
With the only ‘big’ match this weekend being Tottenham and Liverpool battling for a chance to maybe finish fourth this season, the slate was filled with the traditional big clubs all playing smaller clubs.
In a season as unpredictable as this one has been, you would be forgiven for thinking that anything could happen this week. Instead, for the first time all season, everything played out exactly the way you would have expected it to.
Manchester City, despite their injuries, blew lowly Bournemouth out of the water. Despite being a better side, Tottenham were unable to do anything against Liverpool, who as expected came out better under new manager Jurgen Klopp.
Manchester United were out to turn things around after being handed one of their worst losses ever by Arsenal at Goodison Park, a place where they’re usually successful but have lost three in a row. The team turned in a vintage performance, thoroughly dominating every aspect of the game against Everton. The only thing unusual that happened was that Wayne Rooney scored a goal, which was just the second time he’s scored at Goodison Park he left in 2004.
The rest of the mid-day matches also seemed to play out just as expected. West Ham visited Crystal Palace in a match between two teams that are very good away and pretty bad at home. Wouldn’t you know it… the away team won.
By the time Arsenal and Watford kicked off in the late game it looked as if Watford would be our last hope of seeing something crazy happen this Saturday. It wasn’t meant to be, though, as Arsenal woke up in the second half and squashed any chance Watford had, running away with the match over the last 45 minutes.
After such a crazy start to the season it was a nice change up to see normalcy return on Saturday. Of course, the Premier League can only take so much normalcy at a time. The very next day Newcastle, who have yet to win a game all season, thumped Norwich 6-2 in a performance exactly zero people saw coming.
Those Premier League script writers always have something up their sleeve.