Manchester United have set up a solid lead for their chasing pack to follow, while some of the Premier League new boys have managed to get some much-needed points in their potential fight to stay in the top flight. Let’s have a look at the second week’s highlighted fixtures below:
Swansea v Manchester United : 0 – 4
After last week’s season opener many fans wondered if United’s emphatic start was an anomalous blip – it turns out it wasn’t. Although Swansea managed to frustrate them for long periods, keeping the score at 1-0 until the 80th minute, once United’s second went in courtesy of Romelu Lukaku, the flood gates opened. Pogba added a third on 82 minutes and substitute Anthony Martial matched last week’s scoreline by adding the fourth and final goal in the 84th. While it wasn’t as dominant a performance as last week United’s presence and ability to close out games was an aspect of their game they lacked last season. They’re well and truly setting the pace for the others to follow, but they have yet to come up against a real challenge
Liverpool v Crystal Palace : 1 – 0
Palace has been a stumbling block for Klopp’s Liverpool in the past and for a while it looked as though they may be again. Without the substantial attacking talent of Coutinho to break down a well-organised Palace defence, Liverpool struggled to create clear openings. Both sides traded jabs throughout the first half, threatening one another’s goals every now and then but not truly testing either keeper, the clearest chance actually came from a Christian Benteke effort that he blazed over the crossbar after some solid work down the wing by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, formerly of Chelsea. The only goal came from a bit of a scramble during a Liverpool attack that found the ball falling fortuitously to Mane who managed to poke the ball home and secure all three points. This will be a fantastic victory before Liverpool face Arsenal next week.
Stoke City v Arsenal : 1 – 0
Arsenal managed to escape with all three points last season, but didn’t manage the same feat against stubborn opposition this week. Arsenal was arguably the better side for the first half, stringing together competent attacks, but never managing a lethal touch to give them the lead. Two minutes after the break, ex-Real Madrid and Paris St. Germain forward Jese slid a neat shot underneath Petr Cech. Arsenal reacted well to going behind, and the combination between Welbeck, Lacazette, and Ozil created a number of decent chances, but Stoke stayed resolute and saw the game out. Arsenal will face Liverpool next weekend, with the Gunners likely going in the less confident side after this loss.
Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea : 1-2
After their bizarre loss at home to Burnley, Chelsea needed a strong reaction to arrest any development of a Mourinho-esque meltdown, and Spurs aren’t exactly the team one wants to face when low on confidence. As was the case with most games between the two London rivals have recently, it was an extremely physical affair, with biting tackles from Wanyama and Alli from Spurs and David Luiz and Kante from Chelsea flying in from the first whistle. The opening goal would come as a result of a near-perfect free kick courtesy of Marcos Alonso, followed by back and forth attacks from both sides. Neither side managed much until deep in the second half when Michy Batshuayi scored an unfortunate own goal – which would stretch both teams as they tried to score a winner. Unluckily for Tottenham, Chelsea were better on the break and in the 88th minute a very assured finished from Alonso once again grabbed all three points for the Blues. This victory will provide a much-needed boost of confidence for Conte’s men against a tough opponent.
Manchester City v Everton : 1 – 1
After a very active transfer window for Everton, a visit to the Etihad comes as their first real test for life after Romelu Lukaku. Rather poetically, it’s the man who came in to replace Lukaku, Wayne Rooney, who opened the scoring against City with a calm side-footed finish after great work from the flank. The game soured right before the end of the first-half when Kyle Walker was given an extremely soft second yellow and sent off; prompting some changes from Pep Guardiola for his City side in the second half. City showed fantastic fight during the second-half and dominated for long periods, keeping Everton on the backfoot. All their attacks failed to find the mark until the 83rd minute when a badly cleared cross fell to Raheem Sterling, who thumped a volley into bottom right corner. The teams would balance out after an equally questionable second yellow was given to Morgan Schneiderlin on the 88th minute, seeing the two sides share the points after an incredibly dramatic and hard-fought match.
United managed to maintain their momentum and Chelsea redeemed themselves after last week’s disappointment, with some mediocre results for Arsenal and City keeping them on 4 points each. The eye-catching fixture for next week sees Arsenal visit Anfield to take on a revitalized Liverpool side. Can Klopp add to Wenger’s woes or will the Gunners manage to get back on track after this weekend’s loss?
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