Round eight of English Premier League has concluded and it would be hard to say it was anything but an exciting week of top tier English football. And a handful of upset wins, close and high scoring fixtures only helped make this round a more memorable one.
Manchester United and Spurs continue to struggle
Manchester United seem to have found themselves in a downright spiral, which is slowly but surely taking them towards the wrong side of the table. By holding onto a 2-3-3 record and sitting at 12th place eight rounds deep into the season, it’s clear the Red Devils are not where they want to be. There is clearly something that is not clicking in this team and the whole ordeal became that much more obvious last week when Man United lost to Newcastle, a team that was two days ago sitting in the relegation zone with a 1-2-4 record.
The man of the match that day was Newcastle debutant Matty Longstaff, who scored a 72nd-minute goal and helped the fire underneath Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seat burn brighter and stronger, as his future at Man United remains hanging by a thread. While it’s hard to praise Manchester United too much for what they have shown, Newcastle on the other side deserves all the praise they can get. Their strategy was clearly defensive-minded, with five players in the back, which obviously worked against Man United, who failed to look threatening. What does future hold in store for Red Devils and most importantly their head coach is yet to be seen, however, we can be sure the future is not bright.
While not in such a bad spot as Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur can’t be too happy with what they have produced so far into this season either. Expectations were high for Mauricio Pochettino’s side following their historic run in UCL last season, when they reached their first-ever finals appearance, yet they failed to deliver this term. The season is still young, but with one bad performance after another, the gap between Tottenham and league leaders grows with each passing week. As it stands now, Tottenham are sitting at ninth place with a 3-2-3 record and 11 points, which means they are 13 points behind Liverpool and three points behind the top five. This week, Tottenham suffered what can only be described as one of the worst defeats following their 0:1 loss to Colchester in EFL on September 24, 2019.
This Saturday, Tottenham’s poor start of the season went from bad to worse as they suffered a 0:3 defeat at the hands of Brighton at the Amex, just three days after they suffered a humiliating 2:7 defeat against Bayern Munich in UCL group stage. The opening goal of the match was scored barely three minutes in when Maupay took full advantage of Lloris’ mistake who failed to clear the ball from the penalty box. In the same attack, Lloris also badly landed on his hand resulting in an injury that will sideline him for a yet undisclosed time. With a new goalkeeper, Tottenham hoped they can turn the fixture around, but instead suffered another goal in 32 minutes this time the courtesy of Connolly who scored his first of the season.
Match continued into the second half and while many expected Tottenham to retaliate, the visitors failed to look dangerous. Instead, it was Brighton who continued to put pressure on Pochettino’s men and scored their third goal of the night in 65th minute. A lot of credit for Brighton’s success goes to Ryan who was phenomenal in the goal and surely deserves all the praise for Brighton’s second win of the season.
Liverpool continue to build the gap ahead of Man City
There are already eight points separating Manchester City and Liverpool on the standings and from the looks of it, the gap will only further increase as we get deeper into the season.
Last weekend, Liverpool managed to produce their eighth consecutive win of the season against Leicester, meaning Klopp’s side are now holding onto a perfect 8-0-0 record ahead of round nine. That being said, Liverpool can count themselves lucky they walked away victorious, seeing how they managed to win due to a 90’+5 minute penalty. Nonetheless, it was an exciting match where we saw Liverpool produce a solid effort to derail Leicester, who have shown they deserve to reside among the top teams of EPL. Mane scored the opening goal in 40th minute, Maddison answered in 80th minute and as mentioned, Liverpool earned a 90’+5 minute penalty to raise above Leicester and earn three points. While seeing the Reds won the match due to a late penalty would suggest they did not deserve to win, it would be hard to argue with the fact Liverpool looked much stronger and should they be only slightly more efficient with their chances, Klopp’s side would have won with by a higher margin.
While we talk about luck and good fortune, Man City surely hope they will receive some love in the upcoming fixture following their painful 0:2 defeat against Wolves at Ethiad Stadium. Entering the round eight of EPL five points behind Liverpool, Man City knew they can’t afford any upset defeats, however, that was exactly what happened. Wolves, while known to be extremely strong against top EPL teams did not look too sharp this season, leading us to believe Man City will have an easy time against them. However, the reality was different. Man City while heavy favourites failed to produce anything noteworthy, which caused a lot of frustration among the Sky Blues, who accumulated five yellow cards in the second half alone. That being said, their frustration reached new heights in the 80th minute, when Traore scored a goal, which gave Wolves a well-deserved lead. To that, he added another goal in 90’+4 to help his team finish the match with an impressive 2:0 win over the reigning EPL champions.
It’s safe to say Man City v Wolves was an exciting fixture, with plenty of opportunities on both sides, yet it was Nuno Espírito Santo’s side who managed to use their chances far better. That is not to say Man City did not have exceptional chances, but when it came to the execution, they failed to deliver.
As it stands now, Liverpool continue to lead the league with 24 points, followed by Man City with 16, and Arsenal at third with 15 points to their name. Leicester, Chelsea and Crystal Palace remain tied at third with 14 points, whereas Burnley and West Ham trail behind with 12 points at seventh and eighth place. Our sore losers Man United sit at 12th place with nine points, whereas Tottenham dropped down to the ninth place with 11 points to their name.