After a torrid two weeks of watching England struggle against Lidl United and sack of unwashed potatoes, the Premier League is finally back.
It’s only week four and already it’s crunch time in the BPL. Two teams reached the unhappy milestone of losing their opening four league games whilst Manchester United dropped their first points of the season at a resolute Stoke.
Somehow Slavan Bilic’s was able to cling onto his job after West Ham earned their first points of the season. On the other side of London however, Frank de Boer was given his marching orders after Palace suffered a one-nil away defeat to Burnley. It took him just 77 days to get the sack.
City and Liverpool were involved in another, slightly unexpected, goal fest, just as minnows Brighton finally had some sun to go with the seaside. They put on a solid performance to beat West Brom at The Amex.
Well, it’s back.
Game of the Week: Manchester City 5 Liverpool 0.
It seems that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian can’t catch a sodding break. His last game for Arsenal ended in a four-nil battering to Liverpool and Saturday saw The Red’s taste their own humiliating medicine.
The first fifteen minutes looked set to be a repeat of the Arsenal drumming. Salah and Mane were causing all kinds of problems for City’s back line and more than once Otamendi looked rather uncertain. Mane’s sending-off (yes, yes, the debate will be later) was certainly the turning point but there can be no excuse for the woeful Liverpool defending that followed.
The usual suspects, quite literally, lined up for Liverpool’s downfall. Klavan and Moreno were all at seas as those complicated and impossible defensive tasks like, oh, marking and tackling just deserted the Scousers. Klopp may have a clinical attacking force but his defensive line is full of holes.
On the other hand, City were clinical. Aguero was able to glide between the Liverpool centre-backs and take it round Mignolet to score the opener. His striking partner Jesus looked in a similarly dangerous vein of form the floodgates were blown open. Jesus scored twice with little effort before the German power-house, Sane, added a curled beauty from the edge of the box.
Losers of the Week: Crystal Palace.
The Pool and their entire back four were certainly in contention here. However, Liverpool have actually put in some sterling performances this season which is more than can be said for The Eagles.
Palace were nothing short of terrible in their first three league games. The fourth wasn’t much better and an inability to find the net this season speaks volumes. Benteke has looked clueless up front whilst the fast flowing wing play of Zaha and Puncheon simply deserted the team as the season began. Before Saturday’s game it wasn’t just Palace’s players and their reputation on the line but De Beor’s P45.
They created twenty three chances, most of them off-target and were still unable to unseat The Clarets on Sunday. A lazy back pass set up Chris Wood for the first goal, proving that an inability to avoid glaring mistakes has also blossomed as a serious issue. After a fourth consecutive defeat, Frank de Beor was sacked on Monday. Monday morning to be precise. So, he was sacked in the morning. Sacked in the morning.
Mighty Minnows: Brighton and Hove Albion
Promotion is a scary thing. Sides can so easily crash straight back down to the Championship after promotion, especially if it’s their first BPL outing.
Chris Hughton may have feared for the Seagulls as they went into the international break having not scored once in their three BPL games. A one in nine point return wasn’t great either and whilst it’s still early doors, Hughton must have been concerned that the goals simply weren’t going to arrive.The Amex drew a collective sigh of relief on Sunday when, German midfielder, Pascal Gross smashed home a close range effort in the 45
The Amex drew a collective sigh of relief on Sunday when, German midfielder, Pascal Gross smashed home a close range effort in the 45th minute. Whether by determination or sheer force of will, this spurred The Seagulls on and they were then able to carve open a decent West Bromwich side, adding two more goals before James Morrison’s conciliation effort.
BHA looked much more like the smash and grab side that they were last year. Whilst Gross caused all sorts of problems for the Baggies’ defence, Tomer Hemed was equally as prolific. The Israelite’s powerful header doubled Brighton’s lead and he also bagged a vital assist. They looked confident and bold, a sure sign that, with repeat performances, Premier League survival could be on the cards.
The tricky first goal and first win hurdles are now cleared. Let’s hope that the Seagulls can build on this.
Controversial Calamity: Mane and the high boot…
If you are reading this a week after Saturday’s game, a month after Saturdays game, a thousand years after the death of the sun, I guarantee you that this will still be a topic of debate.
Mane’s first-half red card against Manchester City on Saturday has split opinion across the League. Managers, players, pundits and club legends have all had their say. Mane’s high boot on City’s Ederson saw the Senegalise striker rip into the keepers face with his studs as he attempted to control the ball. Mane’s was instantly sent off whilst Ederson was sent off to have nine stitches put in his angular cheek. They’re angular that’s just a fact, get over it.
Many have speculated that it was a high boot that Mane only had eyes for the ball etc. Others have speculated that Ederson received six studs to the face. Contention really came to the fore after Newcastle’s drab one-nil win over Swansea. The Magpies winger, Matt Ritchie, committed a similar high boot challenge, avoided injuring Swansea’s Alfie Mawson by a hairs breadth. Ritche received a yellow and Scouse Twitter literally melted. Good old Twitter.