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Premier League

Premier League Matchday 7: The good, bad and bizarre

Barclays Premier League. Liverpool versus Manchester City James Milner of Liverpool celebrates his goal (Photo by David Blunsden/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)
(David Blunsden/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)

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

The Premier League has finished up its seventh week of play. Chelsea picked up a clean sheet as they snapped a three-game winless streak with a 2-0 win over Swansea, while Tottenham handed Manchester City their first defeat of the season. Here’s a full rundown of what happened over the weekend.

 

Everton Held To Draw By Palace

What Happened: Everton had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on Friday. The Toffees had the chance to go up to second place in the standings, but a goal from Christian Benteke in the second half spoiled the fun for Ronald Koeman and his side.

Everton took the lead in the 20th minute after a well-struck free kick by Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker has been in fine form, scoring five goals in six appearances. His fellow Belgian international, Christian Benteke tied things up in the 50th minute with a powerful header. Benteke has enjoyed a good start at his new club, scoring three goals in five league games, since joining from Liverpool in the summer.

Seb’s Take: Everton has enjoyed a great start to the season under new manager Ronald Koeman. Defensively the team looked weak last season under Roberto Martinez, but Koeman has done a good job fixing things at the back.

 

Comeback Win For Liverpool Over Swansea

What Happened: Liverpool managed to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 win over Swansea City in the Liberty Stadium on Saturday to keep their good run going.

The Reds have picked up four straight wins in the league, beating Leicester, Chelsea, Hull and Swansea. They fell behind early against the Swans on Saturday, with Leroy Fer giving the home side the lead in the 8th minute.

But after an inspiring halftime talk by manager Jurgen Klopp where he expressed his anger, as Liverpool were the dominant side, they came back out and turned things around in the second half. Roberto Firmino tied things up with a header in the 54th minute, and left back James Milner grabbed the winner from the penalty spot in the 84th minute.

Seb’s Take: Liverpool is on a good run, and Klopp might have found that level of consistency that he’s been looking for since he took over the club. They head into the international break full of confidence, and it’s clear that the lack of European football is benefiting the team.

 

Chelsea Snaps Three-Game Winless Streak

What Happened: Chelsea took a 2-0 win away to Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on Saturday to snap a three-game winless streak in the league.

The Blues has had some troubles at the back in recent games, giving up five goals in the losses to Liverpool and Arsenal, but they managed to keep their second clean sheet of the season. After a scoreless first half, where Hull arguably had been the better side, Chelsea got the breakthrough in the in the 61st minute through Willian.

Chelsea, who failed to put a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, played much better in the second half. Diego Costa has been in good form the for the Blues, and the Brazilian-born Spanish international made it 2-0 in the 67th minute with his fifth league goal of the season.

Seb’s Take: Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is still trying to work out how to play with just two central defenders. At Juventus and with the Italian national team, he was blessed to have an excellent back three of Andrea Barzagli, Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. We’ll see if he tries out a back three when John Terry gets back from injury.

 

Sunderland Rescues Late Point Against WBA

What Happened: Sunderland is still without a win in the Premier League after playing a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

After seven matches, the Black Cats are sitting at the bottom of the table with a mere two points. On Saturday at the Stadium of Light, they fell behind in the 35th minute after a goal by Nacer Chadli, who has enjoyed a good start with West Bromwich since joining from Tottenham over the summer.

Sunderland showed some spirit as they didn’t get too down after the goal by Chadli in the first half. They kept plugging away and got something to show for it when Patrick van Aanholt saved a point for the home side with a goal in the 83rd minute.

Seb’s Take: Sunderland are in big trouble. Manager David Moyes did a lot of shopping during the transfer window, bringing in 10 new players, but it’s clear that things haven’t gone according to plan. They will need to start picking up the points soon if they are to have any chance of avoid relegation.

 

Honors Even Between Watford And Bournemouth

What Happened: Watford and Bournemouth had to settle for a point each after playing a 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

The visitors started the game on the front foot, and Callum Wilson got the go ahead goal for Bournemouth in the 31st minute with his second league goal of the season. Troy Deeney tied things up in the 50th minute and gave the home fans some hope that they would be able to come back and grab a win, but a goal by Joshua King in the 62nd minute gave Bournemouth the lead once again.

Isaac Success, who joined Watford from Granada in the summer, scored his first goal for the Hornets three minutes later to rescue a point for the home side.

Seb’s Take: Both teams have enjoyed a decent start to the season and sits with eight points each after seven games. With Sam Allardyce leaving the England national team position, rumors have started back up that Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is one of the names on the FA’s shortlist.

 

Payet Saves Point For West Ham

What Happened: West Ham United broke a five-game losing streak thanks to a wondergoal by Dimitri Payet in the 1-1 draw to newcomers Middlesbrough on Saturday at the London Stadium.

The Hammers have been extremely poor to open the new campaign after finishing in seventh place last season. They managed to break the streak of defeats, but they still sit in the relegation zone, with a disappointing four points in seven games.

On Saturday they fell behind to Middlesbrough after a goal by Christian Stuani in the 51st minute. The goal was awarded with the use of the goal line technology system.

Payet stood for an extraordinary individual performance to tie the game up six minutes later, dribbling past several Middlesbrough players before slotting the ball into the back of the net.

Seb’s Take: West Ham needs to start picking up wins, and manager Slaven Bilic must take advantage of the international break to work extra on the defensive side of the game. Payet showed once again how valuable he is for the team, and the Frenchman will earn the Hammers more points on his own.

 

United Squander Chances Against Stoke

What Happened: Manchester United only got a 1-1 draw against Stoke City at Old Trafford on Sunday after missing a lot of quality scoring chances.

United dominated the match and created a lot of good scoring opportunities, but failed to be clinical enough in front of net. The Red Devils did take the lead in the 69th minute through Anthony Martial. The Frenchman came belting into the penalty area and got fortuitous ball from a Stoke defender that tried to dispossess Wayne Rooney. Martial, who scored 11 Premier League goals last season, has been out of form and will surely be happy to have scored his first goal of the season.

Stoke kept lingering around and got a lucky break in the 82nd minute. United goalkeeper David De Gea spilled the ball on a shot and the rebound managed to find its way to Joe Allen who scored from close range.

Seb’s Take: United were extremely wasteful in this one. Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba had opportunities to scored that they would make 99 times out of 100. It wasn’t United’s day and Lee Grant in the Stoke net played out of his mind. Stoke still looking for the first win of the season.

 

Tired Leicester Held Scoreless

What Happened: Reigning champions Leicester City had to settle for a scoreless draw at home to Southampton on Sunday.

The Foxes played midweek in the Champions League, taking a 1-0 win over FC Porto. Manager Claudio Ranieri admitted after the game against Southampton that his side might be suffering from a bit of fatigue.

The Saints were clearly the better side, and had several good chances, with Charlie Austin having the best of them. Kasper Schmeichel had a good game in net for Leicester, making six saves.

Seb’s Take: It’s clear that Leicester won’t be anywhere near the title race this season. They had a phenomenal year last season and won the title, and this year they’re enjoying playing in the Champions League, but the best they can hope for domestically would be an Europa League spot.

 

Tottenham Picks Up Big Win Over Man City

What Happened: Tottenham grabbed a 2-0 win over league leaders Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday to gain some ground at the top of the standings.

Spurs got off to a good start, as they got the lead through an own goal by Aleksandar Kolarov in the 9th minute. Kolarov was unlucky to get on the end of a cross by Tottenham left back Danny Rose and put it into his own net off the bar. Tottenham did a good job a pressing City high up the pitch and drive up the tempo.

Dele Alli, who was voted PFA Young Player of the Year last season, made it 2-0 in the 37th minute after making a nice run inside the penalty area on a nice feed by Heung-Min Son. Spurs had the chance to go up 3-0 in the second half when they were awarded a penalty, but Erik Lamela’s attempt was saved by Claudio Bravo.

Seb’s Take: Tottenham played a magnificent first half, pressuring City all over the field and hitting them on the counter attack. The game had a frenetic pace that suited Spurs better, as their young players managed to just keep running. It will be interesting to see how City reacts to their first defeat under Pep Guardiola.

 

Arsenal Pulls Out Late Winner

What Happened: Arsenal took a hard-fought 1-0 win over newcomers Burnley at Turf Moor on Sunday thanks to a late goal by Laurent Koscielny.

The French centre back scored the lone goal of the game in the dying seconds of stoppage time as he deflected a shot by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into the back of the net.

Burnley had stood up well throughout the whole game and kept the Gunners at bay. The Clarets had the best scoring chance prior to the late goal by Koscielny, as Michael Keane hit the bar with a header in the 77th minute.

Seb’s Take: Burnley should be feeling a bit gutted. They did almost enough to get a point, and in the manner in which the goal was scored, with a clear handball on Koscielny, it’s easy to understand Burnley’s disappointment. Arsenal will just take the three points and run.

 

The Good: Tottenham

The Spurs put in a clinical performance against Manchester City and showed that they are capable of beating any team when they’re firing on all cylinders. What makes the win even more impressive is that they did it without Harry Kane and Mousa Dembele, and with Eric Dier starting on the bench.

 

The Bad: Manchester United

You can’t afford to squander as many chances as United did against Stoke. They were taking on a team in the relegation zone at home and should have had a comfortable victory. Ibrahimovic and Pogba both missed absolute sitters, and those are two points lost that could prove costly when we look at the table in May.

 

The Bizarre: James Milner

Milner is showing that he’s the ultimate team player and a very versatile player. He’s been at left back by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, and has done a good job since making the switch from midfield. He’s also shown that he’s a great penalty-kick taker, scoring three goals from spot so far this season.

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