Liverpool win, again. Am I starting to sound like a broken record? Most people will tell you that Leicester deserved at least a point. But the sign of a true Premier League champion is grinding out messy, difficult wins, and that’s exactly what this was for Liverpool. A positive for Leicester, other than their impressive performance, will be another goal from their starlet, James Maddison. What an absolutely cracking right foot this lad has.
Last week I talked about Manchester City being arguably the best team in the world. I was very forthcoming with my praise. And what did they do this weekend? They get beaten 2-0 by Wolves. 8 games in and Man City are dropping too many points. They’re already 8 points behind in the title race. I can’t help by worry that Pep and his team are going to pour their energy into the Champions League, leaving the title clear for Liverpool. A major European trophy still remains elusive for the Citizens. Take nothing away from Wolves though. They played with organization and confidence. Raul Jiminez is one of the finest players in the leauge, and he’s proved it again with 2 beautiful assists. But credit to Adama Traore. In my mind Traore has always been an impossibly fast, but technically lacking dynamo player. But scoring two late goals against Ederson proves there’s more to him than just pace.
Chelsea and Arsenal both won, showing that the “big” teams aren’t just going to roll-over as some new-boys come knocking on the door of the top 4. In the past Chelsea have ignored their youth in favor of expensive superstars. But their young players are proving that they have more to offer than just being financial fodder. Abraham and Mount opening the scoring for Chelsea. The transfer ban that many predicted to hamper Chelsea and new manager, Frank Lampard, looks like it may be a blessing in disguise.
Crystal Palace and Burnley both continued their quietly good form and are chasing a top 6 spot and a place in Europe. Despite losing to Palace, West Ham sit in 8th spot and are chasing their own European berth.
Manchester United are proving to be a dream opposition for teams this year. You get the confidence boost of beating the mighty boys in red, without any of the challenge. As a Manchester United fan I want to make it clear that I am 100% in the “Ole In” crowd. I think we’ve proven that firing and hiring managers isn’t the solution, behind Ole is Kieran McKenna, Mike Phelan and Michael Carrick. No doubting the football minds that are in charge of this team. But the squad needs to be overhauled. It’s a 3 season project, minimum. Ole may be taking the brunt of the blame, but I can’t count more than 3 or 4 players that could even compete for a place in the squad from 2008. Jones, Young, Pereira, Lingard, Rojo, Fred, Matic & Bailly are all dead weight. Get rid of those 8 logs and add in 8 to 10 good players and that’s a totally different team. At the risk of making this whole post about Man Utd, I’ll take a deep breath and move on.
Tottenham find themselves in a similar vein of form to Manchester United. After conceding 7 goals against Bayern Munich, they concede 3 to Brighton. They’ve lost as many games as they’ve won this season. For a team that possesses undeniable talent, they shouldn’t be floundering in the middle of the table. Pochettino is a talented manager, I hope that the owners stick with him. What makes me nervous is that if Tottenham can’t recapture some form, their superstars may start looking at door. They could find themselves a few players short in January.
The international break is a time that I always dread. But for once, I whole-heartedly welcome the break. Man Utd desperately need some time to practice together and get their confidence back, and having Shaw, Martial, Pogba and Wan Bissaka return will be a welcome boost. Pep will be working on catching Liverpool and Klopp will be hoping his side can maintain both their form and their energy. International breaks always result in unwanted injuries so we could see a very different league when it kicks back off in two weeks.
One of the more beautiful stories from this weekend was Newcastle’s midfield pairing. The Longstaff brothers. Lifelong Newcastle United fans starting together in the middle of the park. And young Matty Longstaff scoring the winning goal must’ve sent the Longstaff household into raptures.
And soccer fans, rejoice! Sunday 10/20 is Manchester United vs Liverpool. A famously heated affair and the boys from Manchester will be desperate to recoup some form. It will be so, so sweet to be the ones to break Liverpool’s winning streak.
Lloyd Edwards – (@lloyd.speaking)