After this week’s round of fixtures, the top 6 is beginning to take shape as the Manchester clubs continue their positive start and Chelsea records a massive away victory to put them in third, with Spurs and Liverpool breathing down their necks. We’re going to count down the weekend’s five biggest fixtures!
West Ham 2 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
Both Spurs and West Ham have had some trouble finding their grooves at home with their recent moves to new stadiums, and this fixture unfortunately didn’t solve any of West Ham’s concerns. Kane got Spurs into a comfortable 2-0 lead in the first half, and Eriksen put them 3-0 up on the hour – but after a Chicharito goal for West Ham, and a Serge Aurier red card, Spurs found themselves down to ten men and facing a West Ham resurgence. Despite Kouyate getting the score to 2-3 in the 87th minute, Spurs managed to hold on for all three points, but their own defensive frailties were exposed and Pochettino will need to figure out how to plug the gaps.
Manchester City 5 – 0 Crystal Palace
City’s attack is currently the most impressive in the league, and coming up against the side with no points is probably ideal for City and a nightmare for Palace. Hodgson’s Palace side managed to frustrate the Citizens for the first half, but Sané managed to open the scoring at the end of the first 45 with a fantastic chipped finish. In the second half, the floodgates opened and City’s sweeping attacks drew blood again through two goals for Raheem Sterling, one for Aguero and another for Fabian Delph. City’s goal difference now outstrips United’s and they’re looking to be the most in-form team in the league by quite a stretch at the moment.
Stoke City 0 – 4 Chelsea
Despite all the doubts people had about his ability to adapt to the English style, this game was all about Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata. The Spaniard has been finding it tough to physically compete against Premier League defenders, but he found his feet against Stoke this weekend. The 24-year-old opened the scoring almost straight after kick-off after he controlled a brilliant long-ball and passed it beyond the keeper, which was followed by a goal from a Stoke mistake that Pedro dispatched easily. Morata then added two more on 77 and 82 minutes respectively to log his first Chelsea hat-trick and steer the Blues to a comfortable, confidence-boosting away win.
Leicester 2 – 3 Liverpool
This was likely to be a tough fixture for Liverpool after they lost during the week to Leicester in the league cup, and it turned out to be a tough challenge for the Reds to navigate. Despite the fact that great goals by Salah and Coutinho gave them a 2-0 lead by the 23rd minute Okazaki managed to pull one back just before the end of the half, which made for a nervy second period for both sides. Liverpool improved their lead to take the game to 3-1 in the 68th and almost immediately conceded a minute after, but managed to see out the game and get a much-needed victory. The frequent defensive inconsistencies are hampering Liverpool’s ability to stay within touching distance of the leading pack, and will definitely be causing Klopp some headaches.
Arsenal 2 – 0 West Brom
Arsenal have had a history of being outmuscled by sides like West Brom, but rather than be outmuscled, they showed a spirited and energetic performance. Their opener came from some quick-minded decision-making by Lacazette after a Sanchez free-kick ricocheted back into the 6-yard area, and the Frenchman headed the wayward ball into an open net. The second, also scored by Lacazette, was a penalty that was won by Aaron Ramsey after he was fouled inside the box following a strong run down the wing. Arsenal aren’t known for their ability to grind out tough wins, so this will be a welcome result for Wenger and the fans.
Next week’s headline fixture sees Manchester City visit Stamford Bridge – can Guardiola’s men see off fellow title challengers or will Conte claw back some ground against the league leaders?
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