8 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW10
18 Oct 2022
A battle between two of the top coaches, further Arsenal success, and danger at the bottom for the Midlands clubs, here is what we made of GW10 of the Premier League:
Salah Returns To Form As City Stutter
Off the back of a bruising 3-2 defeat to Arsenal the prospect of coming up against Manchester City and the cyborg that is Erling Haaland would have left most Liverpool fans feeling disheartened. In actuality it was City fans who should have been worried as the Reds pulled off a 1-0 victory with their best performance of the campaign in a high octane spectacle.
The first half was a tight affair played in the high intensity spirit we’ve come accustomed to seeing in this fixture. The game looked to be heading for an excellent scoreless draw before Phil Foden found the net in the 55th minute but VAR cancelled the goal thanks to an earlier foul by Haaland in the build up. From then on, the two football heavyweights slugged it out going back and forth until the final whistle.
Out-of-form superstar Mohammed Salah got his mojo back, coming off the bench to score a 6 minute hat trick in Liverpool’s midweek spanking of Rangers in the Champions League, and he really did look back to his devastating best. Ederson had produced a brilliant save to deny Salah in a one-on-one situation earlier but was helpless when a superb long pass from
goalkeeper Alisson landed at Salah’s feet, who pirouetted away from the last man and raced to his goal before slotting beyond Brazil’s number two.
Anfield continues to be an unconquerable fortress for Pep Guardiola. Often accused of going “big brain” in big games, his decision to push chief playmaker Kevin De Bruyne higher up the pitch and move Joao Cancelo to RB proved to be a costly mistake. Both players saw their influence on the game diminished and it was a defensively exposed Cancelo who Mo Salah expertly beat to score his match winning goal. With Haaland’s supply line cut he fed off scraps instead of the luxury service he’s become accustomed to. Bernando Silva and Foden played valiantly but with how shaky Liverpool’s backline have been recently it felt like City left a really useful weapon in Riyad Mahrez on the bench.
Despite Trent Alexander-Arnold returning to the pitch after suffering an injury last week at the Emirates, Liverpool can’t seem to catch a break as Diogo Jota left the match on a stretcher. Their injury woes however won’t take the shine off of what was a well deserved triumph over the best team in the land.
Arsenal Win Ugly At Elland Road
There’s hardly been a bad thing to say about Arsenal all season, and with their great form and consistent run of results, Mikel Arteta’s men are looking like serious contenders for the top spot this season. The Gunners travelled to Leeds on Sunday afternoon and fought out a hard earned 1-0 win, courtesy of another Bukayo Saka goal coming in the 35th minute.
The only goal in the game came from a strange decision by Rodrigo, who attempted a curled pass across the pitch that was subsequently intercepted by Saka, who played a sharp one-two with Odegaard before lashing the ball into the roof of the net. Leeds looked more dangerous on the attack creating a lot of chances, however Arsenal must be praised for their improved and compact defensive structure and consistency, despite looking quite ropey and ‘last ditch’ at times.
Arsenal fans will be more than impressed with their start to the season so far, but will definitely be taking the stance of ‘take each game as it comes’. The quality at the top of the table is so competitive that just one poor result could pave the way for another team to capitalize. Jesse Marsch’s men will look to make amends when they face fellow strugglers Leicester this upcoming gameweek, in a fixture that could act as a turning point for either side.
Solanke and Mitrovic Cancel Out At Craven Cottage
Bournemouth and Fulham battled it out in an entertaining score draw at Craven Cottage. Dom Solanke opened the scoring inside two minutes before the Cherries were pegged back by an Issa Diop header.
Solanke continued to cause Fulham problems, and played a leading role in setting up Jefferson Lerma to put Bournemouth back in front. Bournemouth’s number nine has been excellent over the last month, working tirelessly to press the back line of the opposition and linking up well with Philip Billing in possession.
Bournemouth’s chances of securing all three points however were squandered when Lerma gave away a penalty in the second half, with Aleksander Mitrovic coolly slotting home. Mitrovic and Solanke were written off before the start of the season, but both strikers have more than proved their worth since the beginning of the campaign.
Fulham battled hard to secure all three points but Gary O’Neil’s side have been defensively resilient since their heavy loss at Liverpool. If the caretaker boss does not get the job on a permanent basis, he has done no damage to his CV and can be expected to be granted an opportunity in the future.
The New Wolves Manager Has Work To Do
Following a poor start to the season, Steve Davis continues as Wolves interim manager and helped them to just their second win of the season. It was a fairly dominant performance, but just like under Bruno Lage the scoring was low.
Wolves had several chances with Adama Traoré showing some of the quality that earnt him that failed loan spell at Barcelona, setting up Rayan Aït-Nouri, who headed just over, and Max Kilman who hit the post. Forest rarely threatened, being cut open by the pace of the Wolves passing and wingers, clearly a sign that too many signings equals not a lot of chemistry.
The breakthrough finally came for the Midlands side, after Traoré was given too much space and his powerful effort was deflected wide by a Forest hand. Once VAR gave the penalty, fans of the East Midlands side would have hoped for some more Dean Henderson heroics. Unfortunately for them, Rúben Neves’ powerful effort couldn’t be stopped. Forest had a penalty of their own with the ball striking Traoré’s upper arm, making it a bit more dubious, despite VAR overturning the referee’s decision. Brennan Johnson’s tame effort was saved José Sá and their best chance was wasted.
While Wolverhampton Wanderers had gotten their own back, following Forest’s claim the match would be ‘playtime’ for them, there are still cracks in the armour. Diego Costa was rarely involved, and the lack of goals is still a worry. Nottingham Forest will also be feeling the pinch of potential relegation due to poor form, but it’s clear the next Wolves manager has some work to do to get this team into at least 3rd gear.
Mason Mounts Pressure On Gerrard and Villa
Chelsea made the trip to Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, digging deep to claim a 2-0 win against Steven Gerrard’s struggling side. Two goals from England starman Mason Mount in the 6th and 65th minute counteracted Villa’s spells of pressure and attacking football and an inspired performance from Kepa Arrizzabalaga helped see out the game for all three points.
Graham Potter has started his life as Chelsea manager in great form – and is yet to lose a game since his appointment last month. The English chemistry is thriving within the squad, and the 47 year old is proving to bring the best back out of Mason Mount, who has performed consistently over the past few games.
Steven Gerrard and Villa will find the defeat a tough pill to swallow, with the side having double the expected goals and chances than Chelsea, despite having less possession and control of the game. Results are necessary for Gerrard in the next run of games, or the club may be forced into a change of management.
Gianluca Scamacca Is Not Another Premier League Flop
Gianluca Scamacca was written off from day one when he signed for West Ham from Sassuolo for £30.5 million plus add-ons. After a tricky start and the fact many Italians have struggled in this league, he was already seen as a flop. But, as shown on Sunday, there’s a player in there and West Ham have made a smart piece of business.
In the past, West Ham have had the pace, but not the technical ability or consistent finishing of a centre forward, but while Scamacca hasn’t scored bags of goals yet, he can provide in other ways. He showed great strength to bring a ball down in the first half, before turning the defender and crossing for Lucas Paquetá to head over. He also tried a tasty flick from Jarrod Bowen’s ball in which narrowly went over the bar.
The game was quite close between two sides battling it out in mid-table. Kyle Walker-Peters caused all sorts of problems with his throw-ins and eventually some lacklustre defending saw Romain Perraud’s deflected effort creep into the corner. Che Adams also showed the weaknesses in the West Ham defence but was denied twice by Łukasz Fabiański. The Hammers came back into the game thanks to the efforts of Scamacca and Bowen, before a one-two between Declan Rice and Saïd Benrahma, saw the captain’s curling effort go in from outside the area.
It was a very even game and showed both sides have a way to go before they hit top form. But, for those who doubted him, Gianluca Scamacca is here to stay and once he finishes more consistently, he’s going to be a problem for Premier League defences.
VAR Under Scrutiny In Old Trafford Stalemate
Manchester United and Newcastle battled it out at Old Trafford in a game that was marred by some questionable refereeing decisions. Both sides would feel aggrieved at not receiving penalties, with Callum Wilson seemingly taken down in the box by Raphael Varane in the first half, before Jadon Sancho was tripped over in the second.
At least the referee and VAR official were consistent in their refusal to award penalties, but it is fair to say their has been a huge lack of consistency across Premier League refereeing this season. Referees have become overly reliant on VAR to overturn decision, which has led to a grey area where fouls that would previously have been given in the pre-VAR era are now not clear and obvious enough to be overturned.
A draw was probably a fair result and seems an honest reflection of where both sides are at in their respective projects. Erik Ten Hag has made his Manchester United side difficult to beat, without necessarily offering too much going forward as of yet. Eddie Howe on the other hand has got his side working excellently together in a press-heavy tactical style, and his Newcastle team have only lost one game across the season so far. He will be hopeful that Allan Saint-Maximin can return from injury soon and add some attacking flair to his front line.
Rodgers On The Brink After Poor Palace Performance
Leicester’s bad start is proving to be more than just a momentary blip, as they conspired with Crystal Palace for one of the more boring games so far this season. Only spared the ignominy of being rock bottom of the league by goal difference, the Foxes’ had real incentive to come out all guns blazing against another side falling short of expectations.
Rodgers has the tools to be offensively potent or at the very least competent with players like Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Patson Daka and Harvey Barnes. It must therefore be maddening for Leicester fans all over when they spent the weekend ruing tame shots and speculative efforts. From an actual football perspective there isn’t much if any to say about this game. Desperate to create something of value by hook or by crook, James Maddison produced the most mildly entertaining part of the game failing to con the referee with a
perfect ten dive in the box.
For Patrick Vieira’s Palace this season remains an oddity. Having earned themselves many congratulations for competing against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool they have struggled to pick up points against the lesser sides too. For now most are happy to chalk up the dissonance in their perception as one of the better sides in the league with their actual position on the table but that won’t last very long.
For Rodgers however, he is coming very close to eroding all goodwill – finding himself in a seriously precarious situation and in need of a quick remedy.