From Manchester City to Sunderland – what a contrast
Four game weeks have now been completed in this season’s Premier League and what a contrast in week four from Manchester City’s performance in the first half at Manchester United to Sunderland’s defensive show against Everton.
It’s easy, looking back at the recent games, to focus on the Manchester derby at Old Trafford. Just about every media outlet did, even having you believe there were no other games on. I didn’t see too much of it before leaving for our game against Hull, but what I saw was City better than United by some considerable distance.
It was billed as Pep Guardiola v Mourinho and for virtually the whole of that first half it was Pep who was on top and I’m sure he was delighted with the three points and his team’s overall performance perhaps but for the goalkeeping of debutant Claudio Bravo who was not quite so inspired.
United lose at home; it was always going to be followed by the ridiculous ranting of Mourinho. Once wounded, as Burnley and Ashley Barnes found in February last year, this distasteful man will lash out at all and sundry to deflect the criticism. He must be made of Teflon given how none of the criticism ever sticks.
This time it was referee Mark Clattenburg, referees are a constant target for him, and also his players. While Guardiola praised his goalkeeper, offering him as much support as he needed; Mourinho opted to lay into his players, notably Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard, both of whom were hauled off at half time. Maybe he should have tried playing Bastian Schweinsteiger.
He’ll probably get success at Old Trafford but given my affection (or lack of it) for him and his current club, I would dearly love to see it all fail.
Elsewhere, Liverpool got their first home win having played all the three previous games away. They beat, no they hammered, champions Leicester 4-1. They’ve now played the top three from last season with two wins and a draw, their only disappointment came a the hands of last season’s Championship winners.
The new big stand was open – I have to say I don’t think I’d like to be sat on the back row, it does look to be a long, long way up.
It’s all kicking off at West Ham, on and off the pitch. They led 2-0 against Watford with goals from Michail Antonio but according to Troy Deeney they then decided to engage in a bit of mickey taking. Watford weren’t too keen on that idea so replied with four goals.
It’s not a happy place right now isn’t the London Stadium. One West Ham director was spat at by a supporter, the home fans were fighting among themselves and the Watford fans also got involved. West Ham want police in there but the stadium owners have so far not bothered with that idea. I don’t think that the Chas & Dave of the porn business and Mrs Peschisolido thought it was going to be like this when they did the deal of the century.
I don’t often have much sympathy for Chelsea, not even with the Portuguese manager gone, but you do have to wonder how on earth Andre Marriner didn’t see the foul on Gary Cahill that led to Swansea taking the lead against them. It was Leroy Fer again. He’s been getting away with murder all season and yet still gets the chance to score goals. This one, unlike the one at Burnley, was not a winner; Diego Costa, who had scored the game’s first goal, got another to earn his side a point.
Stoke have been much improved since Mark Hughes replaced Tony Pulis but it hasn’t started well this season. Hughes must be grateful for the vote of confidence he’s received from Peter Coates who had already blasted the players as they fell to a 4-0 home defeat against Spurs.
As for Pulis, he’s not even had a vote of confidence. He remains at war with his club over the transfer window. It seems the players brought in were not the players he wanted. Have they dared bring in someone under 6ft 2ins who doesn’t wander around elbowing players?
The weekend fixtures ended at the Stadium of Light where Everton won 3-0 with Romelu Lukaku (pictured scoring his second) getting the season’s first hat trick. I’d like to report on Sunderland’s defending but given it was non-existent I’m unable to do that.
Sean Dyche was linked with the Mackems in the summer of last year. Had he gone and they’d defended like that he’d have been pulling his hair out had he had any. Already the Sunderland Echo are suggesting it will be a career high for David Moyes if he keeps this side in the Premier League.
“The conceded soft easy goals,” said Gary Neville on Sky. It’s wonderful to have his technical insight back with us at the Premier League games.
As an aside to the football, there has been a debate on the message board over the last two days regarding the minute’s of applause we are getting often now for supporters who have passed away.
Last night one was held at Sunderland for a young five-year old Sunderland supporter by the name of Bradley Lowery who was mascot for the night. His parents are trying to raise £700,000 to get their son treatment in America for a cancer treatment. He suffers from neuroblastoma.
Everton left with all three points and third place in the table, but they also left a £200,000 donation towards the target. What a fantastic gesture.
With those four games now played, Goalscorers-Discipline-Attendances has now been added to Season Stats which can be found on the top menu. It will show the leading goalscorers in the Premier League and each club’s red and yellow card counts (domestic games only). That’s followed by a list of each club’s average home attendance. The ten highest and lowest attendances have not been included this season, because of the size of the various grounds, it would merely eventually be showing nothing other than ten Manchester United and ten Bournemouth games.
Game Week Five Fixtures
Friday 16th September
Chelsea v Liverpool (20:00 kick off)
Saturday 17th September
Hull v Arsenal
Leicester v Burnley
Manchester City v Bournemouth
West Brom v West Ham
Everton v Middlesbrough (17:30 kick off)
Sunday 18th September
Watford v Manchester United (12:00 kick off)
Crystal Palace v Stoke (14:15 kick off)
Southampton v Swansea (14:15 kick off)
Tottenham v Sunderland (16:30 kick off)