Five Things We Learned: Martial is ‘worth every penny’ and Pards still loves a ruck
Jen Offord picks out five key talking points from another horror-weekend for champions Chelsea, as Manchester United’s new boy makes a splash and Leicester leave Sherwood all mixed up.Embed from Getty Images
Computer Says No
Everything was against Chelsea, according to boss Jose Mourinho, this weekend – including his computer apparently, which broke down, thus inexplicably preventing his pre-match tactical talk. It didn’t get any better for the Blues, as their worst start to a season in 20 years continued and a hat-trick by Steven Naismith denied them a point in a 3-1 defeat by Everton.
With the transfer window now closed, Chelsea target John Stones reminded his would-be employers what they were missing. It was another great performance by the Toffees’ young defender, in a match that a lesser player might have buckled under the pressure of.
Chelsea looked unimaginative as the game wore on and this is now their worst start to a season in 29 years. Better de-fragment your hard drive, Jose.
Worth Every Penny…
New – and widely ridiculed – signing Anthony Martial, who set the Reds back a cool £36m to make him the most expensive teenage player in the world, at least momentarily silenced critics with a goal on his debut. It was the third and final goal in their 3-1 defeat of Liverpool and a goal reminiscent of Thierry Henry in his Arsenal pomp.
On his team’s defeat, Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers commented, insightfully, “technically we need to be better to keep the ball more”. That is, broadly speaking, the game plan, it’s true.
Leicester Are Loving Life
It was a great day for Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City on Sunday, as his team came back from two goals down to beat Aston Villa by 3-2, to take them second in the league. It’s hard not to love Ranieri when he always seems so chipper, but with a run of nine undefeated league games, why wouldn’t he be? He may have had a slightly different demeanour in the locker room at half time, whatever his stance, before the Foxes put away an impressive three goals in the second half. But he’s not complacent. “We have 11 points and we still need 29,” he commented after the match. “At the moment we want to think only about the safety of the team”.
One man who was categorically not looking chipper was Villa boss, Time Sherwood, who had “never felt this bad” after his team’s shock defeat. In a comment to rival Brendan Rogers’ insightful words on tactical improvements, he offered “we have got to stop letting in soft goals”. Also very much in the game plan.
Alan Pardew loves a ruck
Described by Palace boss Alan Pardew as “a tough game”, it wasn’t just the players getting physical in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. A minor tussle ensued between the two managers after Pards – the Premier League’s very own Tyler Durden – marched into Pellegrini’s area of the dugout to protest a rough challenge by City’s Yaya Toure on James McArthur. He was physically escorted back to his side of the technical area by Pellegrini, who did not like the cut of his jib.
Of course it’s not the first time Pards has had words with the Chilean, and was reprimanded by the FA back in January last year after lambasting him with a tirade that my editors probably wouldn’t even let me write if I starred out every offending letter. (Ed. Oi, we’re not having that. Shut your noise, Jen, you ******* old ****!).
Theo Walcott “too nice” says Shearer
Arsenal secured another three points after a 2-0 victory over Stoke City on Saturday, with goals from Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott, with the latter starting up front.
But many, including Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer (who branded the Londoner “too nice”), still have their doubts over Walcott’s lack of aggression as a striker – the player’s preferred position.
On his goal – the 11th in 11 Premier League games – Walcott said he had “repaid the faith” of manager Arsene Wenger for believing in his ability to play in the front three positions. Though he did not manage to convert all his chances into goals, Walcott believes if given the opportunity he hopes he’ll go on to score “many, many more goals”. Let’s hope so.
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