Jen Offord picks out the five key talking points from this weekend’s Premier League action, including Reds beating struggling Chelsea, Watford exceeding expectations and crazy scorelines in unexpected matches.
Normal One trumps The Special One
When asked to compare himself to beleaguered Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho during his first press conference as the new Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp said he was the “Normal One”. But there was nothing normal about Liverpool’s 3-1 victory away at Stamford Bridge, if their recent form was anything to go by. Sadly for Mourinho, on the same basis, this result must have felt pretty normal to him.
Though Chelsea took the lead just four minutes into the game thanks to a header by Ramires, Mourinho was already on his way to the dressing room for half-time, when he turned back just in time to catch Philippe Coutinho’s equaliser. The Brazilian scored again as the game started to wind to a close, while Christian Benteke sealed the deal not long after with the third. Chelsea looked defensively weak, but, yet again, there were whimpers of mistreatment as decisions went against the Blues – just like Mo’ reckons they always do.
Diego Costa was lucky to avoid getting sent off after seemingly deliberately booting Martin Skrtel in the ribs after they wound up in a tangle together; although the Slovakia ace did well not to take the bait. Later on in the match, Lucas Leiva was not reprimanded for what looked like a hip barge against Ramires. Mourinho felt “unable to express” his feelings afterwards, before going on to express, in great length, what are sounding like the increasingly paranoid ramblings of a manager under great pressure.
No sign of Norwich’s twelfth man
Norwich looked to be doing a half-decent job, holding their own against league high-fliers, Man City, on Saturday; particularly given they’ve only managed one clean sheet in the league so far this season.
Canaries boss Alex Neil changed his team’s structure to play more defensively against a side that have seen some impressive scorelines this season, but even with Delia Smith present to conjure their “twelfth man”, it wasn’t enough to secure them a point.
Wilfried Bony missed some opportunities early on, and it wasn’t until the 67th minute that Norwich momentarily nodded off to allow Nicolas Otamendi a goal. Cameron Jerome equalised thanks to Joe Hart’s butter fingers, dropping a saved ball at his feet. Despite holding City to one goal apiece for another 22 minutes, it was in the 89th minute that Norwich’s Russell Martin was dismissed for a handball in the penalty area, which Yaya Toure converted into their second and final goal of the match. It could easily have been a third goal to City as another penalty was awarded in their favour, just moments later, but Aleksandar Kolarov failed to convert it.
Jamie Vardy on fire
Despite a decent run of clean sheets this season, West Bromwich Albion couldn’t hold out against Leicester on Saturday as the Foxes’ Jamie Vardy scored his eighth consecutive league match. The England striker became only the third man to have done so, after Daniel Sturridge and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Vardy’s goal in the 77th minute, alongside Riyad Mahrez’s earlier double, put the Foxes in front. Although West Brom fought back hard with a goal and spot-kick, but it wasn’t enough to secure a point.
Are Watford the one to watch?
Premier League new boys Watford continued their strong start to the season with a 2-0 victory over West Ham. It’s hard to imagine manager Quique Flores’ remit extending much beyond “just try to keep them up”, when he was appointed in the Summer, but in fact, they are the only newly-promoted team to see their points in double figures so far this season.
It was Odion Ighalo’s brace that secured the three points before James Collins was dismissed after a bad challenge on the hitman. And given the near fracas that ensued, West Ham were not happy about it but Hammers boss Slaven Bilic did concede his men had not been the best team on the pitch.
Unpredictable scorelines galore!
This term seems to have been all about red cards and goals so far. Admittedly, things you would expect football seasons to be about, but this is one of the most exciting starts to a campaign I can remember in ages. With newly-promoted teams and various one-time league minnows holding court in the middle and even top half of the table, while established sides like Newcastle and even Chelsea languish, we’ve also seen some absolutely bonkers results.
It’s not hugely surprising to see Sunderland lose but it was a shock to see them thrashed this weekend by the same number of goals as they currently have points – six. Their misery amplified by one of the Everton goals being netted by Sebastian Coates.
Standing level on two goals each after the Black Cats’ equaliser from Steven Fletcher, their second half went from bad to worse after the 55th-minute own-goal and a rapid barrage of Everton goals. Arouna Kone bagged a hat-trick and Romelu Lukaku completed the rout.
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