Gameweek 5 of the Premier League saw different teams square up against each other in the marathon race to the Premier League title.
While Bournemouth and Eddie Howe finally got their first three points of the season, Crystal Palace continued to endure their barren run of form. With their defeat at the hands of Southampton, they set a new record by becoming the first Premier League side to lose their opening five games without scoring.
It was a gameweek of draws as 5 out of the 10 games played ended up being draws. That being said, how did England’s “big five” perform this past weekend?
- Arsenal: Surprising
While analyzing the game between Chelsea and Arsenal on radio, we asked folks who were listening to predict the result of the game. In all fairness, there was the overwhelming agreement that Chelsea would put Arsenal to the sword. And why not?
Arsenal had failed to beat Chelsea in the Premier League since 2011. And most people thought the “Premier League trend” would continue. For the first 15 minutes of the game was Chelsea’s as the Gooners found it hard to stamp their authority on the game.
But from that minute on, Arsene Wenger’s men began to find their foothold in the game, as their goalscoring chances increased as the game wore on. Ramsey seemed to be running the show in the middle of the park while Kolasinac made sure that nothing got past him. In the end, it ended in a surprise draw.
Though there was the little issue of Alexis Sanchez starting from the bench and Alexandre Lacazette having a tough game, Arsene Wenger will take a lot of positives away from this one.
- Chelsea: Ordinary
I think it’s fair to say that the Blues must have gotten themselves familiar with the statistics of this game. Unbeaten by Wenger’s men in the Premier League since the end of 2011, the Blues started the game in such amazing fashion.
They started so well, I only caught a glimpse of Courtois after 15 minutes of the game had been played. They put on the pressure, with Pedro and Willian asking the early questions. But as time passed in the game, Conte’s men let Arsenal dominate the game.
Maybe their fans should not be surprised by the scoreline. The one was meant to be getting the goals was too busy playing like one who wasn’t sure which foot is stronger and which is weaker. Alvaro Morata had his own fair share of chances but they weren’t clear-cut enough.
Bakayoko and Eden Hazard were brought on but could only do so much. In the end, the Blues seemed ordinary and Arsenal took advantage of it and ran away with a point.
- Liverpool: Frustrated
Liverpool fans had to endure yet another frustrating draw when their game against Burnley ended in a 1 – 1 draw. Of course they had to be wary of bad history repeating itself – conceding the first goal – and their famed reputation of losing to the “smaller sides” in the Premier League.
This and many more must have convinced them to go all out in the game and dispatch their opponents as quickly as possible. But try as they may, it was impossible to make the most of the 35 goal attempts. A frustrated Jurgen Klopp, asides labeling the week as the most frustrating of his Anfield reign “results-wise”, was quoted in his post-match conference as saying:
“We made seven changes and still played this type of football – no one should take this for granted. There were a lot of positive things although I don’t feel any positivity at the moment.”
Two draws in their last two games, unable to get a win in their last three, it’s safe to say the Liverpool fans must be frustrated too! They will be hoping their luck improves in their next Premier League game against Leicester City. They will also be hoping to see more of Philippe Coutinho.
- Manchester City: R.A.M.P.A.N.T
While the mouths the world over were left ajar by the dominant display of Manchester City, Pep has come out to say that he wasn’t expecting “to win this way.” You would have also expected him to be completely satisfied. But the former Barcelona manager still thought the corner-kicks and the free-kicks could have been better.
Typical Pep Guardiola.
Even though City thrashed Watford 5-nil in the last game of the 2016/2017 season, it was unsure how this one would play out. There was a new manager in Marco Silva and they had churned out some impressive games since the season began.
But all questions were laid to rest when Manchester City scored three in each half and also kept a clean sheet. Yes, some of the goals – two actually – that Man. City scored came from players who were in offside positions. Silva also talked about the penalty call that his team refused to get in the game.
But it was not a matter of wrong calls. It was a matter of how good Manchester City was on the afternoon. Pep’s side wasn’t just good, they were rampant.
- Manchester United: Four-tified
One would have thought that with the way Everton played Mourinho’s side, they would have easily gotten the win that they wanted. Ronald Koeman was smart enough to use Rooney in the middle of the park to pull the strings that would make the Everton puppet dance.
And the former Manchester United man did his job well. But going forward, they just couldn’t find the answers to open up the Manchester United defense. As for Man. Utd, they also struggled at first to break down the trio of Keane, Williams and Jagielka.
When it looked as though Valencia’s strike in the first half would be the lone goal of the game, Manchester United pulled a rabbit out of their hat – three rabbits actually. And yes, Romelu Lukaku made sure he got into the scorers’ sheet on the afternoon.
Yes, the win was a comfortable one. But it could have been more comfortable if Paul Pogba had played. He would have reduced the workload on Nemanja Matic. He’s out injured. Now Manchester United have to be wary of teams that can dominate the midfield and are also good at unlocking defenses.
What about you? How would you describe the Premier League’s “big five” after seeing them in action over the weekend? What names do you want to use? Share your thoughts with me in the comments section below.
Cheers to an amazing week ahead!
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.