Another Saturday of Football is in the history books and that means the return of 5 Good, 5 Bad. A mixture of hangovers and other issues mean I have been on a brief hiatus but without further ado, let’s review yesterday’s action.
- Liverpool get their first win under Jurgen Klopp in the Premier League and what a scalp it was at Stamford Bridge, after going 1-0 down 3 minutes in I thought it was pretty much game over as I couldn’t see where the goals were going to come from. But to their credit they shattered that prediction and managed to run Chelsea ragged especially in the second half. Did they get a stroke of luck in Lucas not being sent off? – most possibly but with Coutinho pulling the strings and Benteke adding an extra impetus to the attack line once coming off the bench between them they offered the sucker punches which could knock Jose Mourinho out of his time at Stamford Bridge. A steady start for Klopp at The Kop is now starting to gain pace, promising sings are now showing for the red half of Merseyside.
- Manchester City stay top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win over Norwich, although they made it much harder than it needed to be. An awful blunder by Joe Hart (more of that later) nearly turned 3 points into 1 but thankfully some more bad goalkeeping at the other end (again more of that later) meant the advantage was restored soon after. Kolarov could and should have made it 3-1 but his missed penalty sort of summed up the afternoon for City. Not the most memorable of matches but City will be glad they came away with all 3 points without Sergio Aguero, with the Argentine only due to miss one match through injury they’ve pretty much come through this spell unscathed
- Arsenal are hot on the heels of Manchester City and only sit second in the league on goal difference. After the league cup defeat and injuries to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain in midweek, Swansea could have been a potential banana skin but in the end it turned out to be a comfortable win for The Gunners. Joel Campbell looked lively out wide and will have no doubt delighted Arsene Wenger with not only his goal but his all round contribution. Maybe they had a stroke of luck with their second goal but as the old addage goes you must always play to the whistle so Swansea have no one else to blame but themselves there. Next up it’s the North London Derby next Sunday, this will be a real acid test as to whether Arsenal are going to be bonified title contenders. A win there and they will already enhance their claim at being Manchester City’s nearest title rivals.
- Jamie Vardy – who else? Now an 8th goal in consecutive matches for Leicester. Great news for Leicester, even better news for me as I had him in my FPL team and honestly thought that was going to be the jinxing of him but thankfully he managed to break that hex and deliver another crucial goal for The Foxes. Amazingly they now sit 3rd in the League, people (me included) were very quick to right off Leicester before the start of the season once the appointment of Claudio Ranieri was announced but they have exceeded even the most craziest expectations with the form. It’s not even a good start as we’re now 11 matches in and they have managed to sustain it, also key to this is Mahrez who has been a revelation this season and his 6 goals have fired Leicester up the league. I think Leicester are 95% going to be a Premier League team next season bar a horrendous drop off in form, the next task is can they keep hold of Vardy and Mahrez in the January transfer window.
- Watford move up to the top half of the table with their second win a row. The Hornets now sit 9th and are there mainly due to the goals of Odion Igahlo, his 6th and 7th goals of the season yesterday were the difference over a West Ham side who seemed to be hungover after their win over Chelsea last week. If you’re a promoted side as long as you have goals in your side you always have a chance, Watford are proof positive of this whereas Bournemouth who lost Callum Wilson through injury are proof of how hard it can be when the goals dry up.
Still Wilson’s injury is not Watford’s concern and as we move to November will be delighted with how the season has shaped so far. If they get Deeney scoring regularly as well then they could have Premier League survival wrapped way before April/May.
- Where else do you start but Stamford Bridge. Is it Chelsea that were bad or Jose Mourinho, I think it was more the players yesterday but ultimately it’s the (not so) Special One who could find himself out of a job in the next few days. A bright start was reflected by a dismal end and if there was one game that spell the end for Mourinho then it seems quite fitting that this abject performance could be the one. His press conference at the end of not saying hardly anything speaks volumes really, will he get to be in charge for Chelsea’s Champions League clash against Dynamo Kiev in the week if he does and there’s another defeat at Stamford Bridge then surely it has to be no way, Jose!. Also spare a thought for Eden Hazard hauled off early in the Second Half, in his head it looks like he’s signed for Real Madrid but if he keeps this level of performance up he is more likely to be playing for Rayo Vallecano next season.
- Manchester United – another blank. That’s 300 minutes without a goal in League and Cup and the 3rd league blank in 4 matches. Seriously what does Wayne Rooney have to do to get dropped these days, some sources say that contractually if he is fit then he isn’t allowed to be dropped but surely anyone can see that him playing up front is to the detriment of the team. You have Martial’s talent being deployed and pretty much wasted with him playing wide left. The United team at the moment looks so laborious and it’s no surprise that United fans are chanting “attack, attack, attack” as these performances aren’t what you would label “United” performances. With every blank they register they look less and less like title challengers, I think it’s going to be 3rd for The Red Devils at the end of the season.
- Goalkeepers and more importantly England ones. Joe Hart had an absolute nightmare yesterday with his howler that gifted Cameron Jerome the easiest goal he will ever score. Then John Ruddy said anything you can do I can almost do better as he gifted the opportunity for City’s shot that lead to Russell Martin’s Goalkeeping of his own and subsequent Red Card. Bit of a worry that that was England’s Number 1 and arguably Number 3 goalkeeper on display yesterday, I suppose the only saving grace was the fact that England’s Number 2 was performing heroics at St James Park yesterday to keep Stoke in the game. As for Fabianski well the less said about that the better.
- West Ham – not just blowing bubbles, but blowing hot and cold. It’s all very well beating Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea this season but here is where it gets frustrating when they then slip up against Watford. If Andy Carroll was the hero last weekend then this weekend he was the villain, if ever there was a perfect example of “get rid” then yesterday was it, his dallying in the box lead to Watford’s first and after that The Hammers never looked liked getting on top. A bad day at the office was rounded off by James Collins trying to boot a lump out of Ighalo which rightfully saw him receive his marching orders. Yesterday served up a bit of a reality check for West Ham although with them being in 5th place they can’t have too many complaints. They just have to make sure this was just a rare blip it was has been an exceptional start to the season.
- Two 0-0’s, Match Of The Day was a bit of a tough watch once the Watford game had finished.