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Premier League

Premier League Matchday 11: The Good, Bad and Bizarre

(Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Throughout the Premier League season, Sebastian Noren will provide analysis from the week of games, talking about the good, bad and bizarre.

The 11th week of Premier League action is over and fans were treated to another round of some great games, bad games and bizarre situations. Jose Mourinho continues to go off the rail as Chelsea fell to Liverpool, Arsenal keeping pace with Manchester City at the top of the table, and Arouna Kone ended up scoring a hat trick as Everton demolish Sunderland.

 

Mourinho Not In A Talking Mood After Another Chelsea Loss

What Happened: Liverpool took a 3-1 win over Chelsea in the early game on Saturday after goals by Philippe Coutinho as Christian Benteke. Coutinho got a brace in the win, which was Jurgen Klopp’s first league win as Liverpool manager. Ramires gave Chelsea the lead after an early goal in the first half, as the Brazilian midfielder found the back of the net after just four minutes. But Liverpool took over the game and after Coutinho’s late equalizer in the first half. Liverpool dominated the second half and grabbed the three points.  

Seb’s Take: Jose Mourinho said “I have nothing to say” over and over again in a T.V. interview after the game, despite the reporter’s best effort to get something out of the Chelsea boss. Mourinho has clearly gone off the deep end and was handed another fine by the English Football Association on Monday for his actions during halftime in Chelsea’s defeat to West Ham.

 

Man United Scoreless Once More

What Happened: Manchester United traveled to London for a meeting with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, but Louis van Gaal and his men left the pitch scoreless for the second league game in a row as the game ended in a 0-0 draw. Palace had the better chances, so United can’t be too disappointed to at least get a point out of the game. United sits in fourth place with 21 points, four points behind Manchester City and Arsenal. Palace meanwhile sits in 10th place with 16 points.

Seb’s Take: United’s scoring drought is worrisome, especially as the team has a lot of troubles in creating scoring chances. Anthony Martial has been pushed out to the wing, with Wayne Rooney playing in a central striking role, something that clearly isn’t working. It’s getting more and more obvious that United will have to go out on the transfer market in January to try to get a goalscorer in to bolster the squad.  

 

City Stay Top With Narrow Win Over Norwich

What Happened: A late winner by Yaya Toure secured the three points for leader Manchester City over Norwich City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday. Nicolas Otamendi gave City the lead in the 67th minute as Norwich no longer could withstand the barrage from the home side.

City had almost 80 percent of the ball possession throughout the game, but Norwich defended valiantly. Cameron Jerome tied the game up at one a piece in the 83rd minute, and at that juncture it looked like Norwich could steal a point. But a late penalty spoiled the day for the Canaries as Toure scored from the spot to secure the win for City. It could have ended 3-1, but Aleksandar Kolorov missed a penalty in stoppage time.

Seb’s Take: City dominated the game, but with their leading scorer Sergio Aguero out with an injury, they did have some difficulty scoring and had to rely on a penalty kick to get the three points. But a win is a win and the City supporters won’t complain as they stay top of the league.

 

Scoreless Between Newcastle and Stoke

What Happened: Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the post in the  28th minute, and that was the closest we got to see a goal at St. James’ Park as Newcastle and Stoke played a scoreless draw. Newcastle had the majority of chances and had seven shots on goal compared to Stoke’s one. Newcastle will be kicking themselves after this one as a win would have taken them out of the relegation zone.

Seb’s Take: The Magpies have played better as of late and manager Steve McClaren has a squad that should be doing a lot better. Mitrovic was brought in to score goals, and he almost got on the scoresheet against Stoke, but ended up being denied by the post. Newcastle are still in the relegation zone on 18th place, one point behind Bournemouth in safety.

 

Arsenal Dominate Second Half In Win Against Swansea

What Happened: Arsenal are keeping pace with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after a strong second half on the road against Swansea City on Saturday. Olivier Giroud gave the Gunners the lead in the 49th minute. Laurent Koscielny made it 2-0 in the 68th minute after winning a hard aerial challenge against Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Joel Campbell, who made his first Premier League game from start, finished up the scoring in the 73rd minute. Mesut Ozil finished the game with two assists.

Seb’s Take: Arsenal is spreading out the scoring, something that makes them extremely dangerous. Manager Arsene Wenger has instilled some great confidence in his side, despite being hit with several injuries.

 

Ighalo’s Brace Secures Watford Win Over Hammers

What Happened: Odion Ighalo has been Watford’s guardian angel on several occasions this season, as his two goals in the 2-0 win over West Ham on Saturday meant that Watford stay on safe ground in the middle of the table. Watford also kept their fifth clean sheet of the season, which for a newcomer is extremely impressive. Ighalo scored his first of the game in the 39th minute and added his second in the 48th minute to secure the win.

Seb’s Take: Watford is continuing to impress as the other newcomers has fallen down to Earth, with both Bournemouth and Norwich now being dangerously close to the relegation zone.

 

Vardy Continues To Score For High-Flying Foxes

What Happened: Leicester City are in third place after beating West Bromwich Albion 3-2 on Saturday on the road. Jamie Vardy got the game-winning goal and Riyad Mahrez scored twice as the Foxes continues to defy all the experts that predicted that Claudio Ranieri’s side would struggle this season.

Vardy now has 11 goals in 11 games and leads the Premier League in scoring. Salomon Rondon gave WBA the lead in the 30th minute, but Leicester came back and scored three unanswered goals in the second half. Mahrez scored in the 57th and 64th minute before Vardy got on the scoresheet to make it 3-1 in the 77th minute. Rickie Lambert pulled one back for WBA from the penalty spot in the 84th minute, but Leicester held on for the win.

Seb’s Take: Leicester relies a lot on Vardy and Mahrez, but as long as the pair continues to produce, the Foxes has the quality to stay in the race at the top. The team is brimming with confidence and has shown time and time again that they can come back and win games after going down.

 

Kone With A Hat Trick As Everton Spank Sunderland

What Happened: Everton ran over Sunderland 6-2 on Sunday, with Arouna Kone scoring a hat trick for the Toffees. Sunderland was coming off their first win of the season against Newcastle, but Everton put them back in their place in this one. Everton were clinical in the final third, scoring six goals on eight shots on target. Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku also got on the scoresheet for Everton, and they also got help from Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates who scored an own goal.

Deulofeu gave Everton the lead in the 19th minute and Kone made it 2-0 12 minutes later. Jermain Defoe got Sunderland on the board right before halftime, and Steven Fletcher tied the game in the 50th minute. But after Coates’ own goal in the 55th minute it was all Everton.  

Seb’s Take: Everton is slowly but surely picking up points and climbing up the table. The win over Sunderland was a great way to bounce back from a narrow loss to Arsenal the previous week. Kone scored his first hat trick for Everton, and you can’t help to feel good for the Ivorian striker who has battled back from a potentially career-ending injury.

 

Southampton Pours On Misery For Bournemouth

What Happened: Southampton had two shots on goal and scored on both as they took a 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Sunday at St. Mary’s Stadium. Steven Davies and Graziano Pelle scored for the Saints as they climb to seventh place in the standings with 17 points after 11 games. The game wasn’t much to look at besides the spell in the first half where Southampton scored their goals. Davies opened up the scoring in the 31st minute and Pelle made it 2-0 five minutes later.

Bournemouth played better in the second half, but they are so decimated by injuries that it never really felt like they were going to get anything out of this game.

Seb’s Take: Southampton looks to have found their groove as they are riding a seven-game unbeaten run in league and cup play. Manager Ronald Koeman was particularly pleased with the performance in the first half and the plays leading up to the goals.

 

Tottenham Dispatch Of Lowly Aston Villa

What Happened: Tottenham picked up another win as they defeated Aston Villa 3-1 at White Hart Lane on Monday. The Spurs dominated the game and took a well deserved victory. Mousa Dembele gave the home team the lead in the third minute. Dele Alli made it 2-0 before halftime and at that point this one felt like it was over.

Villa did put some nerve back into the game in the 79th minute when Jordan Ayew got on the scoresheet, but Villa’s hope of a comeback were crushed in stoppage time when Harry Kane made it 3-1 with a beautiful shot from inside the penalty area into the top corner.

Seb’s Take: Spurs fans are celebrating as Kane seems to have found his scoring touch. With eight goals in the last two games, and Kane getting four of those, Tottenham will be filled with confidence as they try to keep up with the teams at the top. The Spurs sit in fifth place with 20 points.

 

The Good: Arouna Kone

The 31-year-old Ivorian striker missed more than a year with a difficult injury shortly after signing with Everton in 2013. He made his comeback in late December 2014, and scored his first hat trick for Everton over the weekend in the 6-2 victory over Sunderland.

It’s a feel-good story when a player comes back for a potentially career-ending injury and is able to perform in one of the toughest soccer leagues in the world. Kone gives Everton another offensive weapon as they try to make it back into the European cups after a disappointing 11th-place finish last season.

 

The Bad: Manchester United’s Offense

United has two scoreless games in a row in the Premier League, which is not going to cut it if the Red Devils wants to stay in the title race. The lack of imagination in the offensive third is troubling, and manager Louis van Gaal’s decision to keep playing Wayne Rooney as the central striker is infuriating a lot of United fans.

More and more signs point to United going onto the transfer market in January to get another well-established striker, but a tweak in the tactics could prove more useful in the long run.

 

The Bizarre: Jose Mourinho

For the third week in a row, Mourinho’s behavior puts him on the list. Mourinho gave a truly bizarre postgame interview after the loss to Liverpool, which can be compared to Marshawn Lynch’s infamous “I’m here so I won’t get fined” interview leading up to Super Bowl XLIX.

The question has to be raised now if Mourinho has lost control over his team and if it isn’t better for Chelsea to move on from the Portuguese manager. Reports from ESPN FC say that the next two games will determine Mourinho’s fate at the club. He was also handed another fine on Monday for his behavior at halftime in the loss against West Ham last weekend.

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