After two weeks of boring international football, fans were glad to see the Premier League return and the seven Premier League matches on Saturday certainly did not disappoint. While Arsenal and Chelsea entertained audiences in their wins, Manchester City and Tottenham were held for draws.
As football fans sat through a tedious two-week international interregnum, they pined for some real league drama. None of this sterile world cup qualification rigmarole, they wanted the blood-and-thunder of mistimed tackles, last minute goals, feverish crowds, and spittle-laced tribalism. And the seven Premier League matches on Saturday certainly did not disappoint.
Arsenal pip Swansea in Emirates Bollywood flick
The Gunners’ encounter against bogey team Swansea followed the trajectory of tinsel town’s finest. Theo Walcott, that hero who does a few good arthouse films before burning the public’s nasal hair with his stink for the next two years, wooed the metaphorical damsel by coming up with two fox-in-the-box goals. Granit Xhaka, the hero’s treacherous best friend with lecherous thoughts, set his machinations in motion by giving the ball away and allowing Swansea back into the game.
Mesut Ozil, in an SRK-like cameo appearance, set the hero on the right path with an
Arsene Wenger will hope the next game against Middlesbrough has a much more vanilla love story vibe.
Battle of the ex-Barca cadets ends all square
Ronald Koeman and Pep Guardiola are no strangers to each other, both featuring heavily in the Barcelona side that ran through opponents like a juggernaut in the 90s. This meeting was more adversarial than amicable, however, the two men occupying opposing dugouts as high-flying Everton met higher-flying Man City.
It was very much a case of Man City attack versus Everton defense. The home side dominated possession, shot count, and corner count, but both Everton and the score-line refused to budge. The Everton performance was made even more impressive by the fact that Jagielka had a very poor game.
Earlier in the game, Romelu Lukaku had continued his excellent form by bearing down on the left wing, turning Clichy inside out, and slotting the ball confidently
Leicester fairytale takes grim turn as Chelsea run riot
To be fair, no one would have expected Leicester to repeat last season’s heroic showings with similar drive and aplomb. But after keeping most of their star players together and purchasing a bevy of attacking reinforcements, the Foxes’ current lower-table travails are also unexpected. Ranieri’s men suffered
Conte’s Chelsea, in their re-jigged 3-4-3, didn’t take long to start scoring. A corner was flicked on, Morgan let Costa go, and the feisty Spaniard swept home his seventh league goal of the season. Then Matic played a hopeful vertical pass that two Leicester defenders collided over, letting it run to Hazard who rounded the keeper and got his third goal in eight league games.
As for Leicester, they aren’t making the table-topping position their own at all.
Bournemouth’s vitality too much for Hull
It was coming. Bournemouth
When Junior Stanislas’s free-kick hit the woodwork, Bournemouth fans could have been forgiven for heaving sighs of resignation. But
From that point on, it was all Bournemouth. First Stanislas fired home a penalty before half time and then banged in a second from the edge of the box. Star striker Callum Wilson scored Bournemouth’s fifth with a strong header, and substitute Dan Gosling curled in the sixth to complete the rout. After a shaky start, Bournemouth now
As for Hull, Mike Phelan was officially confirmed as manager this week, and he has his work cut out. His team has conceded 17 goals in its last four league games; points total notwithstanding, that is the defensive record of relegation candidates.
Unbeaten Spurs motor along
Tottenham spent most of
They came pretty close to being beaten at the Hawthorns though. When a scuffed shot from a corner in the 82nd minute was saved by a combination of Lloris and the post, old Spurs boy Nacer Chadli glided in and slammed the ball into the roof of the net. With the clock ticking down and Pochettino’s men staring down the barrel, England youngster turned elder statesman Dele Alli rose to the occasion. Son, who has led the line well in Kane’s absence, twisted and turned in the box before feeding Eriksen, who had a shot blocked before passing to Alli to expertly guide home.
The finish with the outside of his boot, if Alli meant it, demonstrated a calmness and confidence that belies his tender years. If last year’s failed title tilt has hardened Tottenham’s youngsters, they might not fade away so easily this time.