7 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW13
1 Nov 2022
A Chelsea capitulation and Liverpool stuttering again were just some of the key talking points to come out of the weekend’s action, as it is looking more and more like a two horse race for the title. We rounded up some key action points from game week 13 of the Premier League.
Nightmare at Stamford Bridge Shows Chelsea’s Defence Needs a Makeover
When Chelsea lost Antonio Rüdiger and Andreas Christensen, it wasn’t going to be an easy fix, and new man Graham Potter has his work cut out to fix this leaky defence. Brighton absolutely cut apart this Chelsea team and for fans, it was a horror show they will want to forget. In time for the spooky season, their defence looked stunned and terrified as they had no answers to Brighton’s persistence.
Thiago Silva may have made some great goal-line clearances, but it was his defensive mistake that allowed Kaoru Mitoma to find Leandro Trossard, who danced past Kepa and finished nicely. Ruben Loftus-Cheek made it two, with his knee finishing off a corner and leaving him with egg on his face. A lovely through ball gave Pervis Estupiñán the opportunity to play across the box, which was finished nicely by Trevoh Chalobah (just a shame it was his own goal). While Chelsea had a glimmer of hope
when Conor Gallagher’s sensational ball was headed in by Kai Havertz, it was soon 4-1. Édouard Mendy showed why he’s been on the bench, parrying away the first shot, before clumsily spilling the second and allowing Pascal Groß to score.
This was an absolute shambles for Chelsea and not the return to the Amex that Graham Potter would have liked. The first home win for new Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi will have certainly put a smile on his face. Kepa’s recent heroics couldn’t save them, and while Thiago Silva was equally helping and hindering his team, his other defenders seemed to be asleep at the wheel. Chelsea’s defence has lost its spine and stability, and it needs to find it again and fast.
Gunners Bounce Back Against Misfiring Forest
Arsenal encountered their first real wobbly period, failing to beat a shaky Southampton side last weekend and suffering their second defeat of the season away to PSV on Thursday. Nottingham Forest at home would normally be the perfect rebound fixture, but buoyed after their 1-0 defeat of Liverpool at the City Ground, the tie looked a much trickier prospect.
In reality the Gunners had nothing to worry about. Within 5 minutes they found themselves running to the corner celebrating after Saka found his partner in crime Martinelli with a delicious low cross, which the Brazilian headed home with aplomb. The game was completely one sided. In contrast to Liverpool, Forest had no desire to get forward, instead setting up to shut Arsenal out for as long as possible in hopes of snatching
a point. It didn’t work, but they were nearly gifted a chance to return to when Arsenal defender Gabriel picked out Jesse Lingard with a wayward pass in his own box. Lingard of 3 years ago may have made Arsenal pay but his shot was heroically blocked by Ben White to spare his teammate’s blushes.
The Gunners have really struggled to put teams away despite their dominance and it looked like more of the same as the sides went into the break with just the one goal between them. With Saka off injured and replaced by forgotten prospect Reiss Nelson the situation felt precarious for the North London side. Again they shouldn’t have worried, after a slick and punchy move Nelson sent two defenders, sent a shot into goalkeeper Dean Henderson before collecting the rebound and rifling into the Forest net. From then on it was a procession with Arsenal players lining up to write their name on the scoresheet. The pick of the bunch a bending effort from Thomas Partey reminiscent of his goal against Spurs a few
weeks back. An easy 5-0 victory before a battle at the Bridge next Sunday. Nottingham on the other hand look almost a sure bet to be going back down to the championship and are doing it in embarrassing fashion.
Spurs Show Rare Forward Thinking As Bournemouth Buckle Under Pressure
Bournemouth hosted Tottenham at the Vitality stadium on Saturday afternoon; a 5 goal thriller that had so many qualities of a great game.
Bournemouth shocked Spurs in the 22nd minute, with a lovely well worked move being stroked into the bottom right corner first time by Wales international Kieffer Moore, who went on to double the Cherries’ lead in the 49th minute with a fantastic header, putting them in a fantastic position for the remaining 40 minutes. However, something we have seen rarely is a Tottenham side with an extreme urgency to attack – Conte ball is predominantly shaped around defensive play and scoring the first goal to sit back and see the game out – they aren’t used to being two goals down. Relentlessly trying to get back into the game, Tottenham produced spells plan of heavy pressure, with Ryan Sessegnon grabbing a goal back in the 57th minute with a good finish into the bottom right corner. An equaliser from Ben Davies from a corner in the 73rd minute made things all square going into the last twenty minutes, before Bentancur won it at the very death of the game in added time, again from a corner.
The biggest take away from this game is that Bournemouth need to desperately work on their set piece defending. Both goals conceded from Tottenham’s set pieces were poor – and had they managed to be more organised and in shape at the corners, they would have seen out an important point at least over one of the league heavyweights.
Newcastle Keep Europe In Their Sights After Aston Villa Dismantling
Eddie Howe has got his Newcastle side playing to the best of their abilities right now, brushing aside Aston Villa in a sensational four goal performance. While a lot has been made about the spending ability of the North East side, Howe has bought sensibly and has resisted the temptation of signing big names for the sake of it. This has proven to work wonders, as the Toon Army have gelled quickly and are performing excellently both as a defensive and offensive unit.
The caretaker manager bounce for Aston Villa only lasted one game, as Callum Wilson terrorised the claret and blue backline. Although on another day he could have claimed his hat-trick, he was joined on the scoresheet by Joelinton and the man of the moment, Miguel Almiron. Newcastle now sit in the top four spots and will be looking to consolidate their place there. Callum Wilson will be hoping that his scoring streak is enough to maintain their European push, as well as get his name on Gareth Southgate’s shortlist for the England squad.
Klopp In Crisis As Liverpool Lose To Leeds
Jurgen Klopp has brought great times for Liverpool fans and the best era for the club since the late 1980s/early 1990s. But, having been title challengers several times, won cups, and even a league title, this historic era may be reaching its climax. Liverpool are underperforming and many claim this is similar to how Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund side collapsed in their seventh season of his tenure.
This collapse is nowhere near as bad as that, but Liverpool were once again beaten by an inferior side in a Leeds team who are seen as one of the favourites to get relegated. Joe Gomez didn’t help his side with an awful pass to his goalkeeper, instead finding Rodrigo, who finished into an empty net. However, Liverpool were persistent, and Mo Salah finished with his side foot from Andy Robertson’s curling ball, a truly effortless goal. However, Illan Meslier battled Darwin Núñez for the rest of the game, and that 1 v 1 decided the final outcome. The Leeds GK took advantage of Núñez’s hesitancy, and dealt with his first effort, while later shots were saved well by this very talented shot-stopper.
It was Leeds that had the last laugh, as some static defending allowed Wilfried Gnonto to find Patrick Bamford with a pin-point pass before he found Crysencio Summerville who finished nicely into the far-right corner. It’s safe to say he enjoyed his 21st birthday the day after the match.
This wasn’t exactly a collapse by Liverpool, but a symptom of their season: sloppy and static defending, not finishing their chances, and relying too much on Mo Salah. For Leeds, this was a big win in their fight to stay up, but for the famous reds their fans may be wondering if a change is on the way.
De Bruyne Too Much For Feisty Foxes
Leicester have admirably fought back and recovered from the early season form which saw them sit bottom of the league, but a visit from the imperious Manchester City is a battle in and of itself. A fact which Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers wholeheartedly acknowledged, setting his team up to sit deep and frustrate their free scoring opponents. No one could suggest this approach by an under pressure manager facing the best team in the league was cowardly and if not for a wonder goal they very likely would have left the game with a well earned point.
In fact Leicester proved to be a real nuisance for City in both defence and attack, creating havoc on the counter. Unfortunately you have to be as ruthless against City as they are with you, something the confidence lacking Leicester forwards just weren’t. Manchester City lined up for the first time this season without league top scorer Erling Haaland, and while he’s been the one taking all the headlines this season, it was the equally
unstoppable Kevin De Bruyne who Pep looked to in his absence. De Bruyne and co had been repelled for the whole first half, finding no real joy against a determined defensive unit.
When Rodri’s shot flashed by the post early in the second half it looked like it wasn’t going to be City’s day, at least not from open play. Step up KDB who thumped a majestic 49th minute free-kick in off a post for the 3 points. Youri Tielemans tried to match his Belgium teammate’s effort shortly after sending a splendid volley from the edge of the D crashing off the crossbar instead of into the net. Leicester put up a valiant effort against the title favourites, a performance which will put them in good
stead going forward.
Rashford Rejoices In Hard-Fought Win Against Hammers
In what has been a tumultuous start to Erik Ten Hag’s reign at Old Trafford, the United boss will take comfort in the fact that his side are starting to display a mentality that was not present last season. Marcus Rashford put the hosts ahead of West Ham late in the first half, rising highest to plant a header into Fabianski’s net.
After his 100th goal for the club, Rashford epitomises the change in mindset between this Manchester United side, and the dismal performances served up under Ole Gunnar-Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season. There is a desire to improve and battle both in and out of possession that just wasn’t there last year. Furthermore, Lisandro Martinez has completely transformed the United back line and has made them a formidable team to take on. David De Gea produced some heroics late on to deny the excellent Declan Rice, but Martinez has a commanding presence for someone of such small stature, and has brought with him a much needed leadership that will help them defend as a unit.
Not everything has clicked into place for Ten Hag since his arrival in the North West, but his players are starting to buy into his ideas, and he will be hoping that the distraction of Cristiano Ronaldo’s childish behaviour will be gone in January. As much as they were a laughing stock at the start of the season, United have a really chance of getting themselves into the top four.