This Week’s Definition of the Premier League’s Big Five (Gameweek 2)

It’s a late post that describes how the big guys fared in the second MatchDay of the 2017/2018 Premier League season. Scoring 8 goals and conceding 3 among them, I continue from where I stopped last week by reviewing the performances of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Premier League (Gameweek 2)

 

Arsenal: Sloppy and Standing Still

I have chosen to use the words of Steven Gerrard and some other pundit whose name I either missed out on or I’m forgetting to remember. Sounds harsh? Considering the way Xhaka gave the ball away in the build up to the Stoke City goal and how the Gooners failed to convert those chances, maybe not.

The inclusion of Welbeck by Wenger is still a mystery. Playing three at the back (most of which were full backs) is another mystery too. Selling Gabriel to Valencia? I’ll rather not talk about it. Since a defeat in the first game of the season was avoided, I thought it’d probably come later. Now that one L is on the books, hopefully Liverpool won’t rub salt on their injury this coming weekend.

Chelsea: Still a Team to be Feared

In his post-match analysis, Thierry Henry said, “There was something about Chelsea today. We asked them questions, and they answered.” He said this while he was talking about the way David Luiz took the ball off of Wanyama and started off the move that saw Marcos Alonso grab his second of the day.

Yes, there may be some arguments about Tottenham playing on “unfamiliar grounds.” But after losing to Burnley, Antonio Conte seemed to find a way to revamp his side psychologically. While most thought the Burnley loss was the beginning of the end, Conte found his way around and surprised all, me inclusive.

Yes, I expected Spurs to put the final nail in the blue coffin but the champ has refused to die that easily. I’ll pretend I didn’t see that Batshuayi own goal.

Liverpool: Well MANEd

Just like in their game against Hoffenheim where Mane was at the centre of everything that the Reds had going for them, Mane was the centre of attraction in the game against Crystal Palace.

The difference between the two sides was crystal clear as chance after chance fell to names like Firmino, Salah and Sturridge. Maybe they should have been more clinical than they were but they weren’t wasteful.

Yes, before I forget, there’s the argument that they’re missing Coutinho. Maybe in the game against Watford but not against Benteke and co. Mane proved Liverpool are more than just Coutinho.

 

Manchester City: Great but can be Better

Right after the game against Everton, I mentioned something about how Pep Guardiola’s side and Manchester United were the most deadly sides in the Premier League. And one reason why City appears on the list is this: the number of chances they create in games is mind blowing.

See the number of shots? The last time I saw Manchester City this rampant was they played FC Barcelona and Luis Enrique quipped, “City pressed us to the stands.

For the most part of the game, City dominated but were wasteful – a problem that just won’t go away. The Kyle Walker red seemed to wake the sleeping giant as they played like a side on fire. Sterling, Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne were all amazing.

Yes, they survived the first home game of the 2017/2018 Premier League season with a draw. But some other teams won’t balk like Everton did when they come visiting. They will make Pep pay for making that wrong selection.

Manchester United: On the Rampage

Eight goals in the first two games is not a number to overlook. When you consider the fact that Mourinho’s side have not conceded any goals this season, those numbers carry even more weight.

While the Swans were able to keep the Red Devils at bay for the most part of the first half, they weren’t able to complete the job. One way or the other, Man. Utd managed to score 4 goals on the day – 3 inside the final 10 minutes of the game.

Leicester City must be wondering how to stop them from scoring because this Red Devil is one on a rampage!

 

About Author

Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav

 

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (11-2)

Our countdown continues. So far, we’ve had three posts in this series. If you’ve missed any of them, you can catch up on the questions you’ve missed here, here and here.

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Q11: How Will the English Teams Fare in the Champions League?
Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City aren’t exactly the strongest of names in Europe’s premier competition these days. Of all the teams, City is the only club with a coach that has won it. Will England get a beatinghis time around or will the teams show why the English Premier League is said to be the best in the world?

Q10: Is This Really the Hardest Season To Win the Premier League?
Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying this year’s Premier League title can be won by at least nine clubs. Tough eh? With names like Mourinho, Pep, Conte, added to the mix, the reasons for Wenger’s prediction is not far-fetched. Will it be one of the regulars to lift the title or will it be hard for every team, making the fans wait until the final day?

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Q9: Who Will Be King of the Touchline Drama?
Last season’s champ in this category was of course Jurgen Klopp. His fiery-looking face and his demeanour was always a beauty to behold each time the Reds stepped out. But with names like Conte now in the mix, it’s hard to tell who will be this Premier League season’s best actor cum coach. Will there be a poking of the eyes? Coaches pushing each other? Or will the other British Klopp in the Palace win this category? (Hello Alan!).

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Q8: Is This Pep’s Toughest Challenge Yet?
This one has a general answer alreasy among the fans of the league: a resounding Yes! Strong teams, high spending power, world class coaches, ahem… no Messi, Iniesta or even Xavi. No Dortmund to buy from and systematically make weaker. Three competitions to play in. But is this really the toughest challenge of a coach who has been quoted as saying, “The big coaches help me reach another level… they’ve made me better.”? Will Pep fare well or will he be forced into another sabbatical, forced to say, “Farewell” early?

epa05011455 Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, 04 November 2015.  EPA/PETER KNEFFEL

epa05011455 Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, 04 November 2015. EPA/PETER KNEFFEL

Q7: What If…?
What if Arsenal do not have injuries? What if Sturridge is fit? What if Conte’s 3-5-2 does not work? What if Leicester do the double? What if Pogba fails to shine? What if Pep finishes outside of the Top 4? What if…?

Q6: Can We Get Another Leicester?
The Foxes turned a foolish dream into reality. People said it was impossible. Ranieri proved them wrong. Now, can we find another team that can pull it off? That can stun the world? Burnley? Middlesborough? Stoke? I think the answer is no but you can never tell this things can we?

Q5: Is This Our Year?
This is one question that every fan will be asking. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City fans will be asking this in connection with the Premier League title. Fans of Burnley will be wondering whether they can stay up this year? Everton and West Ham fans will be wonderinf if this is the Champions League year

Q4: Formations At the Ready?!
Tiki-taka? Le Professor’s way or Pep’s way? All-out attack or Park the Bus? Who will be the masters of passes this season? 4-4-2? 4-5-1? 3-5-2? 4-3-3? Or maybe an outrageous 2-3-5?

Q3: Who Will Be Relegated?
Predictions are rife already! Many pundits and analysts have churned out predicted standings. So who will stay up and who will be down and out? Names like Hull City, Burnley and Middlesborough are being touted to return to the Championship. But names like Watford and West Brom could go down too, right?

Q2: What Will Be Leicester’s Fate?
Blame us not for concentrating excessively on the Foxes. But the spotlight’s always on the champ. Will Ranieri get another Champions League qualification? Maybe it will be the Europa this time? Will he be able to master-mind another league title win? Or, will they finish in the bottom half? How will they cope without Kante? How will Ranieri’s men thrive?

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (51-42)

New Season, New Questions: The new English Premier League kicks off on the 13th of August

New Season, New Questions: The new English Premier League kicks off on the 13th of August

With every new football season comes questions begging for answers. And these questions don’t come in bigger sizes anywhere else than in the English Premier League.

The clubs have been heavily involved (regardless of whatever that French Economist does) in the transfer markets. Players have switched allegiances. Some clubs now have new managers.

With all the above, questions arise. Different kinds. That’s why we’ve put together a team of three writers who are already asking questions. Let’s bring them to the front shall we?

Q51: Will Asano and Olivier be Enough To Win the Title?
Forgive me if I seem to have overlooked whichever name maybe coming out of the academy ranks of the Gunners. But, it took Giroud a long time to wake up in the second half of last season, which has consistently been Arsenal’s Achilles’ Heel. Wenger noticed the need for a new striker and brought in the Japanese. Will these two be enough or, in the voice of the Arsenal fans, “Should we expect another?”

Q50: Can Bournemouth Stay Up Again?
With new signings like Nathan Ake (Chelsea), Lys Mousset (Le Havre) and Jordon Ibe (Liverpool), Eddie Howe doesn’t seem interested in relegation battles this time. He will depend heavily on Ibe and Lewis Cook who won the Football League Young Player of the Year to keep his side in the top flight. But can they achieve this?

Q49: “Dear Burnley, Business or Pleasure?”
Sean Dyche, during the 2014/2015 EPL season, pulled off some major surprises (still can’t forget that win over Man. City). But it wasn’t enough to keep them alive. They carried their energy to the EFL and finished the season top of the league. Now they’re back in the PL. Are they here to stay or is this just another “top-flight visit?”

Q48: CONTEnders?
Will Conte perform his Italian magic in the EPL too? He went on a roll in the Serie A and he’d be willing to get straight into the mix in the EPL especially with the signings he’s made. Moreover with Roman reigning, there’s no excuse.

Q47: Who Will Pardew Upset This Season?
Alan Pardew may not have the biggest names in his squad. Unbeaten runs may not be his specialty. But one thing Alan know very well is how to beat the big names when it is necessary. And this season, the question remains: Who will be his victim?

Q46: The New Noisy Neighbours: Loud Enough?
Everton, since their acquisition, have silently been punching above their traditional weight in the transfer market. And with a Koeman at the fore, should Liverpool be prepared to have sleepless nights yet?

Q45: Who Will Replace Bruce?
It’s still unfathomable, how Steve Bruce made a U-turn and quit his Hull City position. It shocked all. Helping promote a team from the Championship AND HELPING THEM REMAIN in the top-flight is every coach’s dream. But Steve has left Hull hanging. With barely a few days to the srart of the new season, who will lead the Hull calvary?

Q44: Leicester Again?
Everybody involved and watching the EPL is certain to be curious about where Leicester will finish after they turned a foolish dream to reality. With new tasks of being involved in more competitions, can theynretain their title? Maybe a Top 4 finish? Or Top 10?

Q43: Is This Our Year?
Klopp has been quoted as saying, “this is now my team.” Most of the players around were brought in by him. The questions the fans will be asking now will be, “Is this our year?” “Will Klopp win us a trophy this time?”

Q42: What Will The Philosopher Win For the Citizens?
Pep Guardiola is finally in England. The one who tinkers with all kinds of formation will be out to show he can cope with the pressure and perform in England. But will the Spaniard be able to win the EPL in his first season? Is he even that good?