This Week’s Definition of the Premier League’s Big Five (Gameweek 3)

The Premier League

Another weekend of Premier League action has now come and gone. The world’s most-watched league is 3-games old and its table is gradually taking shape. Some will try to counter and say it’s still early days. That’s true but then again, there’s something about the early birds, right?

No, I’m not picking favorites to win the league just yet. After all, “nine points after three matches is nothing different… because we did that last season,” a famous manager said over the weekend.

With the Premier League set to take the backseat for international football and the grand finale of the long summer transfer window, I present to you this week’s edition of the definition. I will be taking a closer look at how the big teams in England fared, probably suggest encouragements for the superb ones and “medications” for the ailing ones.

Okay. That was just me joking. Let’s get to the meat of this article.

Ozil reacts after Arsenal lose 4-0 to Liverpool.

  1. Arsenal: Disastrous

Seeing my description of the Gooners, you’d think it’s harsh and unforgiving. But when you think of how others used words like “abject,” and “a bunch of schoolboys,” you’d rethink your judgment of my own description.

It was as if the Arsenal players had never seen Liverpool play. It was a shambolic performance by Arsene Wenger’s men. And some fans are looking past players like Ozil, Sanchez and Chamberlain and pointing accusing fingers at the French gaffer, blaming him for the heavy loss.

Why field players whose hearts are already miles away from the Emirates?” one said to me after the game. Names like Alexis Sanchez may be suspect for a poor showing on the day but, what of Hector Bellerin’s miscue that led to the third goal?  And how do you begin to explain not registering a single shot on target in such an important game?

Arsenal failed to attempt a single shot on target against Liverpool

Thierry Henry was right when he said they were “unwatchable.” Moves have to made, and quickly too, or else, the downward spiral may just have begun.

Chelsea vs Everton: The statistics

  1. Chelsea: Comfortable

What else is more comfy than beating your opponents? Maybe outscoring them on the day and making sure they don’t come anywhere near “your yard.”  And that’s what exactly Chelsea did.

In a bid to put the “blues” of losing to Burnley behind them, Antonio Conte’s side scored two first half goals – for security reasons I guess. It was all Chelsea from then on as the Evertonians could only manage three touches in the opposition box before the 85th minute and four in the final five minutes (and injury time).

Oh, there was little case of Morata setting a Premier League record too.

  1. Liverpool: Fast, Furious and Dangerous

Famed for the blistering fast attack that they boast, names like Mane and Salah didn’t hesitate to put Arsenal to the sword when the chance presented itself. In all honesty, I thought Liverpool and its shaky defense would concede at least a goal.

But the reverse was the case as the stats showed. Jurgen Klopp took full advantage of a dysfunctional side and successfully scored 2 in each half. If it was a case of Arsenal being the worse of the two sides is hard to tell.

But, it was Liverpool’s 3 points on the day. And boy did they win it in some style.

Saved by Sterling

  1. Manchester City: Struggling

For a while now, Pep has been accused of overly complicating things at and for Manchester City. Maybe that’s what made him switch to a back four against Bournemouth, playing a four-man midfield behind Gabriel Jesus.

With all the quality they possess, they still struggled to breakdown the Bournemouth defense and needed a 97th-minute Raheem Sterling goal to seal the deal. Maybe Eddie Howe’s side sat in too deep for City’s comfort. Maybe I can blame Man. City’s poor performance on that.

Bu then again, why did De Bruyne have to play so deep? Why can’t Bernardo Silva play 90 minutes? Can Yaya Toure play more often? These are just some of the questions – plus the others I asked on my Instagram page – that makes it obvious Pep Guardiola’s side are struggling.

Apart from killing games off as quickly as possible, the players need to soak up Pep’s philosophy as quickly as possible. Or maybe Pep should just learn to be flexible and switch his style of play.

But we all know Pep won’t change his style of play.

Jose Mourinho is the man.

  1. Manchester United: Marching On

In his post-match conference, Mourinho said, “I think we played well.” In all honesty, it’s hard to tell whether he was playing down the importance of 3 wins on the bounce or he really meant what he said.

The Red Devils put another foot forward in the right direction with a 2-0 win over Leicester. Unlike their last two games, it wasn’t the most glamorous of wins but then again, 3 points is all that matters, right?

Jose Mourinho’s men are being touted as favorites for the 2017/2018 Premier League title already. Why not? After playing 3 games, scoring 10 goals and keeping three clean sheets, it’s hard to argue about their title-winning chances.

There will be no Premier League games this weekend as it’s time for the international break. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon will fare against each other. Hopefully both games will produce good football and I shall be entertained.

Which of the international games are you looking forward to seeing? Leave me a comment and lets get talking!

This Week’s Definition Of the English Premier League’s Big Five

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The new Premier League season has started with a bang. It’s just a MatchDay old but there’s been a lot to talk about already.

Brazilian flair, Cruyff turns, lovely through balls, incredible free kicks, outrageous goals from distance and some breathtaking piece of footwork have been the order of the day.

Of course there’s also been some open-eyed rantings, back slapping, hugs, fists bumping and exciting celebrations.

But, after Matchday 1, how have the big names performed? How did they fare?

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Arsenal: Not Ready… Yet
Arsenal lost their opening day game against Liverpool. And it did not exactly come as a surprise (especially if you’re an Arsenal fan). What more can a team that almost did not function in the transfer window do? And although the mart is still open, it’s unsure if Wenger will splash the cash.

And that is what the Gunners need, now that the Arsenal infirmary is getting filled again. After Wenger’s men succeeded in conceding 3 goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half against Liverpool, it’s obvious that plenty of work still needs to be done. “Arsenal are not ready physically for the title,” Wenger said. And, so far so good, he’s

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Chelsea: CONTEgious
As witnessed against West Ham, Chelsea’s new manager showed all of the above. After his team’s 89th minute winner, he went bonkers! It’s said that a man’s true creation will carry a mark that identifies with his character. And Chelsea’s display yesterday, – their urgency and decisiveness – against one of the teams that performed very well last season, showed marks of Conte’s organisation and ruthlessness.

Certainly if you’re being coached by the man that threatened to kill his players during the Euros (it’s not just a game), you’d definitely play to instructions, whether you’re Hazard or Costa. We’ll definitely see more of his energy being replicated amongst the Chelsea squad or… just maybe he’ll kill someone after all.

Liverpool: Deadly… and Conceding.
Jurgen Klopp’s men scored 4 goals against Arsenal… in just 20 minutes. And that was only their first game of the season. You can see where I’m going with this one, right?

Liverpool started the season with a powerful statement: “We’re now a team!” The build-up to Lallana’s goal, the break-neck pace of Mané and the jubilation that followed, will make them a nightmare for any club this season. And although the three goals conceded was a dent on the side, Liverpool, so far, have proved that they can outscore their opponents. Watch out!

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Manchester City: A New City
When Manchester City starts their Premier League campaign with their new and expensive signings, it’s not much of a surprise. But when the Cityzens kick off a Premier League campaign without Yaya Toure and Joe Hart, then you know something’s up!

Pep Guardiola is what’s up! The Philosopher has transformed the Man. City side and has turned it into his own team. Players like Fernandinho played in defense against Sunderland, Caballero was the first choice goalie, there was the 3-man defense formation and the “keep the ball” play. They needed a McNair own goal to win but it’s obvious: Manchester City is a different team now.

And given that they scored four goals in an European competition, for the first time, under Pep, it’s sign enough that this City is a brand new one.

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Manchester United: A Winning Start
New Man. Utd coach, Jose Mourinho, kicked things off with a win against Bournemouth. It was one that was expected and the Red Devils did not disappoint. What’s more, their big names shone bright… except one.

Zlatan got his debut goal, maintaining his record of having scored a debut goal at any club he’s joined. Bailly performed well. But the expensive did not feature. #PogBanned was all over social media as Pogba was not eligible to play for United. He was to serve a one-match suspension for getting two yellow cards in the Coppa Italia final. José has started well. And he’ll want to keep it up!

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (26-12)

We’re now down to our last 26 questions that will be asked and hopefully, answered this new English Premier League season.

Wondering where the other questions are, you can quickly read them up here and here.

Done reading them? Let’s continue…

Q26: Tottenham: Flash In the Pan Or…?
After the performance of Pochettino’s men last season, how they chased after Leicester, knocking down every opppsition in the process, this question will definitely be asked. Yes, Mauricio has proved himself a good coach. But it remains to be seen if he can do the same with the Spurs in the Champions League.

Q25: Who Will be the Pressing King?
Gen gen pressing or pressure play? Klopp’s version or Pochettino’s way? There is also Southampton (not sure about life under Puel though), and maybe Everton (say Koeman) in this mix to relentlessly pursue and hassle their opponents.

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Q24: Was Mourinho’s Bus Destroyed at Chelsea…
…or did he bring it along to the city of Manchester? You’ll remember how José knew how to “park the bus” back at the Blues, right? Is he going to deploy such tacts at the Theatre of Dreams? When the going gets tough, we will find out.

Q23: Crazy Bets: Are You In?
Last season, it was all about that Leicester fan who put his money on his team to win the league, journalists betting with the hair on their heads and fans promising to walk around naked if their team lose. Will there be more of the crazies? Who knows! Just in case you’re wondering, Burnley’s at 1000/1 to win this season’s English Premier League trophy.

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Q22: Best Dressed Coach?
Leaving Jurgen Klopp out of this one, the contestants will be names like Antonio Conte, Pochettino and Mourinho (if his outfit in the Community Shield game is anything to go by). Of course the race for the gold in this one will be between Senõr Pep and err… Alan Pardew. Who will come out tops?

Q21: Clash of the Titans?
When the big teams and big coaches square up against one another, will it feature excitement that will get us through the season or will it feature a bus and fury at referees? I’m almost certain there’ll be no talks of character… or maybe there will?

Q20: What Next For Swansea Now?
After Stones left for Manchester City, Everton quickly swooped on Ashely Williams. He was obviously the replacement they had in mind with the way they went about the move. That being said, how will the Swans cope with the absence of their captain? Add to that the absence of Andre Ayew, and it may not be hard to see the Swans swimming in relegation waters this season (pun intended). Or maybe not?

Q19: Flop of the Season?
Who will rival supporters laugh at? Which of the big money names will be scorned or become a punchline? Will it take players like Pogba, as long as his transfer took, to settle in?

Q18: How will the Champions Fare in the Champions League?
New additions yes.. but departures can upset the balance of a team. It will be interesting to see how the champions of England handle their self-esteem against Europe’s big boys. Will they play like all’s at stake? Or will they go out there to have fun?

Q17: Which Will Be the People’s Team?
The year of the enigma called Suarez, it was Liverpool(though they didn’t win). No matter how you hated the club, it was just fun to watch SAS play. Last year, it was Leicester and they went on to win. Which team will be the peoples team this season?

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Q16: What Now for Rashford?
Ibrahimovic and Martial are the big names. No one really knows Rooney’s position. Plus Mourinho’s record with youngsters is impeccable (like he’d like us to believe). Will there even be room enough for Rashford to prove to the world that last season wasn’t a fluke?

Q15: OLIVIER twist For Giroud: Will Arsene Regret It?
A certain Frenchman playing at the Emirates took a long vacation from his goal-scoring activities last season. He just would not score… no matter how important the game was. The fans obviously didn’t like it and some called for his head. But the coach seemed undisturbed. And with his transfer dealings this summer transfer window, he seems to trust (and want more of) his fellow countryman. Will this move come back to haunt him when January and February arrive? An Arsenal fan has described his beloved club as, “…not only standing still but we are in reverse.” Will Arsene Wenger prove him wrong?

Q14: The Pep Evangelism: Who Will Be Converted
One of Josep’s strong point is his conversion skills. No he’s not a striker. But he knows how to take a midfielder and make him into a world-class defender (hello Javier). And he knows how to reverse the above-named reaction: take a defender and convert him into a midfielder (sound the aLAHM for this great guy!). Now that he’s in the City, who will become what? Who will have to adapt to a new position? Fernando or Fernandinho in central defense? John Stones in midfield? Toure on the bench position or the “Straight Outta City” position? Speaking of Manchester…

Q13: Will Manchester be United or Will it Remain the Same Old City?
This is like asking: Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho? Red or Blue? Or, in simple terms: Who will dominate Manchester? Who will come out on top in the derbies? Who will finish above who?

Q12: Will We Crumble After December?
This one’s a yearly question that highlights the situation among the fans of the Gunners. They’re always hoping injuries and bad luck don’t reear their ugly heads and ruin their chances, again! Will this season be different?

Liverpool vs Man. Utd: Van Gaal CAN’T Beat His Chest, His Children or Around the Bush!

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Liverpool beat Man. Utd 2 - 0 in the first leg of their Europa League clash. Photo credit: SkySports

Again and again and again it had happened. It had become the norm. Everytime this season Liverpool came up against half decent teams (no offense Fergie), their opponent’s goalkeepers turned out to be the best player of the day.

Thursday night in the Europa League was not going to be different. The trend would continue. De Gea was in goal – and you know how good the Spaniard is. Another goalie and Liverpool would have won by four of five!

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Saviour of the Day but not Man of the Match

Liverpool was in control of the game from the first minute (the Anfield effect). They played brilliant football and their first goal of the game was a testament to that. Some intricate passing left Depay no better judgement than to foul Firminho in the box, after which Sturridge stepped up and put Liverpool one up from the spot.

Manchester United was absent in this game. It was like as if they didn’t show up – more like they were chased out by Liverpool… lol). Even when they sought to settle into the game, Liverpool controlled it some more. Who to blame? I’m not even going to mention Louis Van Gaal’s name.

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One loss in my last 5 against Liverpool? Not bad eh? Let Ferguson and Ferdinand catch you

Marcus Rashford smarting from his Arsenal and Mitdjelland heroics could only contribute to this game by throwing himself at Sakho and falling to the floor whilst Sakho held the ball unperturbed. Praise is deserving for the entire Liverpool team as they stepped up to the plate.

Talk of Clyne who was in lethal form,  bossing his position and throwing in wonderful tackles whilst Moreno kept stealing the ball when United decided to switch flanks. Sakho and Lovren were solid at the back in what is fast becoming a lovely partnership whilst Mignolet only had routine saves to make. Firmino and Coutinho were a class act that was constantly dribbling, passing and wrecking havoc while Henderson and Emre Can bossed the entire midfield (and to think Uncle Louis spent that much buying midfielders…)

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*sips maltina*

The second goal came from an intricate passing (intricate again!) and pressing game which saw Firmino continue his fine goalscoring form. Liverpool got Anfield bouncing on one of the glorious nights that usually makes its history while United’s contribution was the same sorry displays they have been associated with in the English Premiership since Sir Alex decided to retire. For Liverpool fans, Klopp defeated the flop in front of the Kop.

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Never a dull moment!

My good friend @Kopainzy, a Liverpool fan, said before the game: “Van Gaal can’t beat his chest, his children or around the bush…” and Uncle Louis did not disappoint. As usual he saw something wrong with the game’s officiating and claimed – correctly though because Henderson, in the build up to the goal, was offside  –  that Liverpool’s second goal should have been cancelled. But then, what’s that compared to your team being completely outplayed? Maybe I should not talk about playing Baby Rashford against an eternal rival. I’d leave the Man. Utd fans to decide that.

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Act like Van der Saar and come out of retirement Paul! Save us!

Another friend of mine, Akanji Olakunle, rightfully predicted on the blog’s Whatsapp group, before the game: “Van Gaal doesnt know how 2 beat any1… Moreover Klopp seems 2 b a better cup manager”. Two fantastic predictions! (Maybe I’ll start asking him for some betting tips.) And Klopp showed just that. Liverpool fans are in good hands. Can’t say the same about Manchester United.

P.S: Wondering about this group? Want to join a group where you can express yourself footballically and talk all day long about football, even all night long sef? You can hit me up on twitter @rotdav. I’ll add you to the group and you can meet the football guys.