From very good to not so good in the Premier League
All but one of this weekend’s Premier League games has been played with Burnley still to face Watford, and it’s been a weekend of superb football from the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United with good news for us from the bottom three of West Ham, Stoke and Sunderland.
Arsenal scored three goal against Chelsea playing some superb football, albeit against a defence that looked at times as if they hadn’t been introduced to each other. Watching Sunday Supplement today, Martin Samuels from the Daily Mail suggested Gary Cahill can’t play without John Terry. I tend to agree but, probably more importantly, anyone would struggle to play alongside Bransilav Ivanovic right now.
But Arsenal were superb in their 3-0 win as were Manchester United against Leicester and Liverpool against Hull as both won 4-1. Hull might have gone down to ten men but it wouldn’t have made any difference; it’s only Burnley who have found a way to stop Liverpool this season. It certainly wasn’t a happy 54th birthday for Micky Phelan who, it seems, is still no nearer taking over.
Has Mourinho finally lost the plot? That was the theme of one touchline conversation at yesterday’s youth game. I got home just as the second goal went in and in no time it was 4-0. Leicester, like Chelsea, looked awful defensively. They’ve now lost as many Premier League games as they did last season.
It’s the other end of the table that concerns us most. We started yesterday with four teams below us and only Bournemouth of that group have passed us with a 1-0 home win against Everton with Junior Stanislas scoring. It’s his fourth Premier League goal for Bournemouth and two of the other three came in the same fixture last season.
He might not have done us a favour, but another ex-Claret has this afternoon. Had West Ham picked up a point they’d have been behind us only on goal difference, had they won we’d have dropped into the bottom three. So thanks Charlie Austin who gave Southampton the lead (see picture) at the all standing London Stadium. West Ham never looked as though they might get back into it and went down, eventually, to a 3-0 defeat.
Stoke got a point nearer with a 1-1 home draw against West Brom yesterday. It might have gone unnoticed to many but with Shay Given dropped, it gave Lee Grant a Premier League debut. He’d got into stoppage time without conceding but his clean sheet went out of the window when he and a defender hesitated and West Brom won a corner from which they equalised.
As for Sunderland. With an hour gone at the Stadium of Light they were moving above us with a 2-0 lead courtesy of two Jermain Defoe goals. The home fans were buzzing but by the end the atmosphere had changed, certainly for the few left inside. Palace got back into the game and then, deep into stoppage time, they did exactly what we did last week and gave away a needless free kick and Palace scored from it to take all three points.
The league table is already establishing itself with a familiar look. The ‘supposed’ big teams, the ones Sean Dyche calls the super powers, are all at the top with the rest, except Palace who are seventh, below them.
Whatever happens tomorrow, West Ham, Stoke and Sunderland will be in the bottom three. A win though would take us up to 13th at least and things would look a bit better given that Arsenal are our next opponents.
Game Week Seven Fixtures
Friday 30th September
Everton v Crystal Palace (8 p.m. kick off)
Saturday 1st October
Swansea v Liverpool (12:30 p.m. kick off)
Hull v Chelsea
Sunderland v West Brom
Watford v Bournemouth
West Ham v Middlesbrough
Sunday 2nd October
Manchester United v Stoke (12 noon kick off)
Leicester v Southampton (2:15 p.m. kick off)
Tottenham v Manchester City (2:15 p.m. kick off)
Burnley v Arsenal (4:30 p.m. kick off)