There was another big week in the Premier League but most attention was drawn towards Stamford Bridge where Liverpool put their 100% record on the line against Chelsea. A 1-1 draw ensued, leaving the path open for current champions Manchester City to climb almost unnoticed to the top of the table.
In a packed Saturday of top flight action, there were also wins for Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham, but many of the Sunday headlines focussed on Jose Mourinho’s woes after his Manchester United side went down 3-1 at West Ham. Has the Portuguese boss reached the end of the road at the Theatre of Dreams?
Stamford Bridge Stalemate a Fair Result
In the biggest match of the weekend Jurgen Klopp hoped his side would extend their impressive winning streak when they visited Chelsea on Saturday evening. In a hard-fought but entertaining encounter it was Maurizio Sarri’s team that struck first thanks to Belgian wizard Eden Hazard, who is in red hot form at present. It was Hazard’s sixth Premier League goal of the season already, making him the sharpest shooter in the division.
Liverpool stuck to their task though, and despite their main goalscorer Mohamad Salah having to endure something of a rough patch at the moment, the visitors saved a point thanks to a moment of brilliance from substitute Daniel Sturridge. The former Chelsea man only entered proceedings in the 85th minute but he made a dramatic impact, curling in a cracking strike from 25 yards with just a minute left on the clock.
The draw was widely regarded as a fair result based on the balance of play and both managers seemed to accept as much after the game. Whether either can mount a successful bid for the title remains to be seen, but these could be the closest to Man City come May.
Pep’s Men in Cruise Control
Before the game even kicked off at Stamford Bridge, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side were already sitting pretty at the pinnacle of the table after a routine 2-0 triumph over Brighton at the Etihad. Goals for Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero sealed the win, and given that the home side enjoyed a whopping 80% of possession and mustered an impressive 28 shots, it really could have been a lot worse for the Seagulls. City are perched at top of the table on goal difference, with the Citizens and Liverpool both on 19 points with Chelsea two points adrift.
Meanwhile, Arsenal secured their fifth straight league victory when Watford made the short trip to the Emirates. Unai Emery was rightfully pleased with his side’s assured 2-0 win, which moves them to fifth in the table level on 15 points with fourth-placed Spurs who have a better goal difference.
Indeed the white side of north London was also celebrating after their side also won 2-0, at Huddersfield. A Harry Kane brace was the difference between the sides, and Spurs fans will be hoping the England man will have played himself into a rich vein of form after what has been a rather indifferent start to the campaign by his albeit high standards.
Mourinho On Borrowed Time?
The wheels are beginning to fall off the Mourinho project at Manchester United after his side were defeated 3-1 at West Ham on Saturday. It has now been their worst start to a league campaign for 29 years and comparisons are being made to the David Moyes era. In short, there might not be long for Jose to turn things around before being shown the door at Old Trafford. This could be one of the biggest tests of his managerial career, and there is no certainty he will pass it.
West Ham, however, appear to have found some form after a tricky opening period of the season. Manuel Pellegrini has never been one to panic and his assured approach has helped his side beat Everton away, draw with title contenders Chelsea, hammer Macclesfield 8-0 in the EFL Cup and now get the better of Mourinho’s United in the space of a couple of weeks.
Wolves Continue to Impress as Cardiff and Newcastle Falter
Wolverhampton Wanderers have continued to shine in the top flight under the capable guidance of Nuno Espirito Santo. Their latest win came at home against Southampton, Ivan Cavaleiro scoring with his first touch after coming on as a substitute. Jonathan Castro Otto smashed in to complete the 2-0 victory, and Wolves are starting to look more like competing for a European spot than battling against relegation this season.
Sides that will already have the fear about the drop on their minds include Cardiff City and Newcastle United, both of whom lost for the fifth time in the league at the weekend. Cardiff went down 2-1 at home to Burnley on Sunday while Newcastle also lost on home soil, 2-0 to Leicester.
Monday night’s match saw a valuable 2-1 victory for Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth over Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace. The former England boss Hodgson was not a happy man after the game, but he could not deny that the 87th minute penalty that was awarded to the home side was a rather clear cut affair.
Elsewhere, Everton posted a decent, if expected, 3-0 win against newly promoted Fulham at Goodison Park. Marco Silva’s men certainly needed the three points after a couple of defeats, and they were good value for it. Two goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and one from Cenk Tosun made sure the points stayed on Merseyside and moved Everton up to 11th place in the table.
In the week ahead we have more Champions League and Europa League action to savour, with Spurs versus Barcelona being one of the highlights. Then as the weekend approaches there will be plenty of attention for the big match on Sunday as top of the table Manchester City visit second placed Liverpool at Anfield.