Jen Offord picks five key points from this weekend’s Premier League action, including the Cherries damage Chelsea’s top-four ambitions, Louis van Gaal strikes back and magic Mahrez halts Vardy’s incredible goalscoring run.Embed from Getty Images
Murray inflicts Mour misery
Jose Mourinho cut an understandably desolate figure after losing 1-0 at home to Bournemouth on Saturday. In the closing minutes of the game, Glenn Murray came on just two minutes before he scored an arguably offside goal to transform the Cherries’ fate. Usually the king of deflection, Mo’ didn’t even have the heart to take his victors to task on this, admitting he “didn’t see” it, as though he had lost his fight and is now maybe resigned to his team’s fate.
Ok, sure, we’re not talking relegation (though 14th is an undeniably uncomfortable position for a team of Chelsea’s pedigree), but the defeat was enough for the Blues boss to cast doubt over finishing in the top four, admitting “maybe now we have to think about top six”. Considering no Premier League team to have won only 15 points in 15 games has ever finished higher than eighth, even this would be optimistic.
No Vard feelings
One team we might be surprised to find contemplating a continental future are Leicester City, who went top of the table again this weekend following a three nil drubbing of hosts Swansea. In another unpredictable twist in the Foxes’ tale, none of those goals were scored by golden boy, Jamie Vardy, preventing him from equalling the English top-flight record for goals scored in consecutive games.
Instead Riyad Mahrez, who you might consider to have taken some slightly greedy opportunities, was the hat-trick hero. Still, with Vardy himself setting up the final goal for the Algerian international, maybe there weren’t crossed words in the changing room, after all.
It was a bad day for Swansea boss, Garry Monk, too, who looks like an increasingly risky bet to stay on. In what can only be described as an utterly incompetent game for his side, it was really only thanks to luck that the Swans didn’t lose by another couple of goals.
Stoke are Man City’s bogey team?
Life was also full of surprises for Stoke City, who inflicted a damaging defeat on Manchester City on Saturday, though having lost only once in their last eight home games against Man City, perhaps it should have been less surprising. But it would be easy to dismiss the result as a “bogey team” scenario.
Top of the table prior to Saturday’s match, City were without Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure, who joined the ever growing list of their injured players, including Vincent Kompany. And these were losses Stoke were happy to capitalise on with European duo, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic assisting and scoring both of Stoke’s goals, respectively. On the other side of the pitch, City could not compete in the attack.
Van Gaal goes on the attack
Louis van Gaal once again bemoaned Manchester United’s absence of a striker after failing to impress against West Ham at Old Trafford. Though on form defensively-speaking, having kept nine clean sheets, United fans have been frustrated by an absence of goals from the side so far this season. They’ll doubtlessly be frustrated by their 0-0 draw with Hammers, in that case, although it could’ve been much worse had Bastian Schweinsteiger been suitably reprimanded for his elbow in the face of Hammers’ defender, Winston Reid.
Speaking after the game, Van Gaal explained to anyone who’d been living under a rock, that the basic principle of football to score goals; an aspect of the game his team were currently struggling with. Pretty insightful stuff. He added that a Luis Suarez or Aguero would have scored in that game. Well, you do have a couple of quid so why not buy one and stop expecting a defensive midfielder to bring home the bacon?
Dummy Campbell has reason to celebrate
It was an emotional rollercoaster of a game for Olivier Giroud taking on Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium. The Frenchman managed to hit the back of the net twice, though only once for his own side.
Arsenal were missing injured Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla and looked a little ropey at times, but it was a comfortable win for the Gunners nonetheless, with a further two goals from Joel Campbell and Aaron Ramsey. It was a rare appearance for Costa Rican, Campbell, who we’ve only seen four times prior to the match this season. Maybe it’s the threat of that creepy dummy goal celebration that keeps him out on loan so much.