The Premier League saw a full complement of games this weekend as attentions turn to another yawn-inducing international break.
The big game of the weekend was to be found at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea hosted Arsenal. Unlike last year’s 6-0 mauling, Chelsea lacked verve and energy up front. Despite repeatedly winning the ball in midfield, they failed to counter-attack with any pace or conviction. However, they did fight from back to front, unlike their opponents who were physically, mentally and tactically inferior.
The two managers had a spat on the touchline after Gary Cahill committed a late and clumsy tackle on Alexis Sanchez. Arsene Wenger waltzed into Jose Mourinho’s technical area spoiling for a fight, which only served to rouse a lethargic Chelsea, as Eden Hazard swiftly dribbled through the Arsenal defence to win and bury a penalty. A game of few chances, Diego Costa finished Arsenal with a late goal following a delicious long ball from Cesc Fabregas!
Arsenal should have had four players sent off; Laurent Koscielny for his penalty foul on Hazard, Callum Chambers for deliberate obstruction when already booked, Danny Welbeck for a two-footed lunge on Fabregas, and Alexis Sanchez for a violent punch that connected with Branislav Ivanovic.
Post-match, Wenger degraded himself by stating that the team with the most money won. An undignified excuse, and partially incorrect considering Arsenal now have a higher wage bill than Chelsea, and let’s not forget Arsenal’s £108,000,000 four-man attack, which cost £80m more than Chelsea’s back five yet could not manage a single shot on target throughout the entire game.
At Old Trafford, Man Utd looked potent going forward, but Everton ran them close after another nervous defensive display from the home side. David De Gea had his best game for the club, with several outstanding saves, including a penalty, helping Utd to a 2-1 victory.
Mauricio Pochettino, meanwhile, showed signs of successfully implementing an attacking philosophy during Spurs 1-0 victory over Southampton. Emanuel Adebayor held the ball up top, while Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli and, pick of the bunch, Christian Eriksen, rotated in attacking positions.
Liverpool and Man City also recorded wins, beating West Brom 2-1 and Aston Villa 2-0 respectively. Pool boss Brendan Rodgers preferred Ricky Lambert to Mario Balotelli who will need to adapt his style of play if he is to be a success at the club – presuming he can be arsed.
Hull beat Crystal Palace 2-0, a late goal from Nikica Jelavic preventing the sort of comeback that Hull are susceptible to, while West Ham reached the dizzying heights of 7th following an impressive 2-0 win over QPR, where Harry Redknapp finds himself entrenched in another battle for survival.
For the second time in a matter of weeks, Pape Cisse threw Alan Pardew a lifeline with two goals – this time at the Liberty Stadium, although Newcastle could still not achieve victory. Burnley also showed some fighting spirit to rescue a point at Leicester in the weekend’s other 2-2 draw.
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