8 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW9
11 Oct 2022
We are finally starting to see the Premier League table take shape as we edge closer to the winter break. A good week for the North London clubs and a difficult week for sides at the bottom, here’s what we learnt from Premier League Game Week 9:
Arteta Outclasses Klopp As Liverpool Learn Harsh Lessons
Arsenal continued their title charge with an excellent performance against Liverpool at the Emirates. Mikel Arteta’s men soared into the ascendency after one minute, with Gabriel Martinelli providing the finishing touches to a slick breakaway goal. Although Liverpool grew into the game in the first half as Darwin Nunez, who looked lively all game, ended his goal drought, Bukayo Saka continued his fine form by tapping in at the back post on the stroke of half time.
Liverpool found a way back into the game through Bobby Firmino, before Saka again found himself on the scoresheet, this time from the penalty spot. While the scoreline suggests that the game was open and end-to-end, Arsenal would have felt relatively comfortable throughout, showing more grit and defensive prowess than they have demonstrated in previous seasons.
Jurgen Klopp’s side on the other hand look a shadow of their former selves. Martinelli terrorised Trent Alexander-Arnold before he was forced to come off at half time. Elsewhere, Mo Salah struggled to effect the game, and the Liverpool midfield were totally outclassed by Odegaard and Partey. Although Liverpool fans could feel rightly aggrieved by some refereeing decisions, it feels as if this is a season of rebuilding, with midfield reinforcements a necessity next summer.
Ronaldo Returns To Help United Unravel Everton
Everton’s new found resilience was put to the test against a resurgent Manchester United team. Both sides looked to build on fairly positive recent results which have quietened some of the early season doomsday coverage at the start of the season. In truth there are a lot of parallels between the two northern clubs right now. Both are clubs in transition trying to find their feet, while still getting results that their performances might not necessarily warrant.
It was Everton who struck first blood as United new boy Casemiro’s complacency on the ball was punished, losing possession before the ball found its way to comeback hero Alex Iwobi, whose sweet strike from the edge of the box nestled into the top corner of De Gea’s goal. A fine finish from a fine player who many Toffees fans had written off before the end of last season. Everton boast the best defensive record in the league and at Goodison recovering from going a goal down is tall order.
However the underlying stats suggest the Toffees are far from the impregnable wall they flatter to be. Once the emphasis on attack shifted to Ten Hag’s men, cracks started to appear and it was two in form players who broke the game open again. Anthony Martial, back in the starting line up after recovering from injury, played through his name sake Antony who curled home his 3rd goal in 3 games for the Red devils. As if the football gods weren’t done making a mockery of this season’s narratives, it was Ronaldo, coming on for the injured Martial, and Casemiro, who rolled back the years – linking up like they still played for Real Madrid as CR7 latched onto the Brazilian’s inch perfect pass finishing in vintage Ronaldo fashion.
A late onslaught from Everton very nearly saw United fumble the victory but a vital intervention from Raphael Varane denied goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the ultra rare satisfaction of a goal in stoppage time. The biggest take away from this game is that the Prem season is long, and full squad utilisation will be key for every team. Don’t write off and rubbish players so quickly.
Spurs’ Change In Formation Provides A Change Of Fortunes
After disappointing results in the North London derby and Europe, it was back to winning ways for Antonio Conte’s men. The key change was a switch to a midfield five and playing with two strikers, which allowed Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur to control the midfield at the start. And
that early control was rewarded when an unmarked Son Heung-min was allowed to curl a ball in that was headed home by Harry Kane. With 8 goals in 8 games, Kane remains in contention for the golden boot despite the sensational form of Manchester City’s new man.
Brighton did grow into the game and had some big chances, most notably Lewis Dunk’s header from a corner and Solly March’s drilled effort, both narrowly going wide. Danny Welbeck was also very lively and just lacked in his finishing. The second half was much more controlled, with Hugo Lloris not
really troubled, and with Eric Dier and Cristian Romero forming a brick wall at the back, helped by the efforts of their fullbacks. Ryan Sessegnon stood out for being a nuisance in defense and attack, appearing to come good on the promise he showed as a youngster.
In what was an emotional week following the sad passing of fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, you can see how much this win meant to the Spurs players and their manager. Brighton will feel a good performance was not rewarded, but formation changes worked wonders for Spurs and may help them kick on this season.
Mount Dismantles Wolves As Potter Impresses
Yet to lose a game since joining Chelsea last month, Graham Potter’s Blues cruised to a comfortable 3-0 win on Saturday afternoon, in a game that also saw the return of Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Havertz, Pulisic and a first Chelsea goal for Armando Broja made the difference in a game that only really had one outcome. Chelsea dominated the ball with 57% possession and posted more than double Wolves’ shot attempts, a typical Potter performance. Mason Mount stood out as one of the best players on the field, and really has stepped up to the plate since the sacking of Thomas Tuchel – claiming 2 assists and creating 5 chances throughout the 72 minutes he was on the pitch for on Saturday.
The result on its own shouldn’t cause a great deal of concern for Wolves, knowing they will be getting in a new manager sooner rather than later, with the sacking of Bruno Lage last weekend coming after the poor run of results they’ve had so far this season. However, that being said, they currently sit in the relegation zone, having won only 1 game from 9 played so far this season. A new appointment is needed desperately.
West Ham Stars Help Sink Strikerless Fulham
Any derby is a big occasion, but it’s not often you can say a match between West Ham and Fulham would be one littered with big time players. With Aleksandar Mitrovic out injured it was the Hammers who brought the big guns to this game, lining up with Declan Rice, Lucas Paqueta and Gianluca Scamacca. All three represent some of the brightest and most revered players from their nations. For West Ham to be the home of England, Brazilian and Italian internationals highlights the massive growth the East Londoners have had under David Moyes in his second stint as boss there.
And it is that same pedigree that proved too much for Fulham in the end. The Cottagers did however start brightly, taking the lead from a delicious left foot strike by Andreas Pereira blazing past a helpless Fabianski in the fifth minute. If not for the intervention of the crossbar Fulham would have found themselves up 2-0 after Dan James’ left foot strike rattled the woodwork not long after. Ultimately, those moments proved to be the best Fulham had to offer on the day.
After a brief spell of back and forth, it was West Ham who eventually took control of the game. Paqueta and Scamacca continued to fortify their burgeoning partnership combining numerous times to test the busy Bernd Leno in Fulham’s goal. The Hammers went in level at the break thanks to a Jarod Bowen penalty earned by some jiggery pokery on the part of Craig Dawson and, eventually took the lead halfway through the restart. Declan Rice’s incisive pass found Paqueta who instinctively found Scamacca with a classy chipped pass. The silky Italian (after the help of his arm) deftly floated the ball over the head of Leno capping off a fine sequence. It was the kind of goal West Ham fans are starting to get accustomed to, smooth manoeuvring from highly technical operators. Funnily enough it was the man who represents the antithesis of that who put the game away. Michail Antonio, known for his bumbling prowess, grabbed the Hammers third with a goal showcasing his trademark loose touch, inconsistent finishing but steely determination.
In the end it was a mixture of quality and persistence which won the day, something fast becoming the new West Ham way.
Palace Punish Leeds At Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace secured a valuable win at home to Leeds on Sunday, coming back from a goal down in a spirited second half performance. Leeds had the better of the early proceedings, as Jesse Marsch’s side pressed with intensity and forced Palace into errors in possession within their own half. Their hard work paid off when Pascal Struijk opened the scoring, thanks to some impressive work by Brenden Aaronson on the wing.
All of Leeds’ hard work was undone by a fine set piece from Michael Olise, allowing Odsonne Edouard to head home before the end of the first half. Leeds struggled to match their high octane style they showed in the first half after the break, and Palace were able to pick off the Leeds defence with a quality team move, finished off by Ebe Eze.
The result begs the question as to whether Jesse Marsch’s style is sustainable for a full 90 minutes, as if the Yorkshire side are unable to be clinical early on, they can be susceptible to fatigue in the latter stages of games. Patrick Vieira however will be pleased with the result, as well as the fact that he was able to play all of his flair players without the final third feeling congested.
Brentford Errors Lead To Slump at St. James’ Park
Brentford took the long trip to St. James’ Park on Saturday afternoon to face Newcastle – only to be on the wrong end of a 5-1 defeat, with Eddie Howe’s men coming out on top throughout the fixture.
The Magpies found themselves 2-0 up at half time thanks to Bruno Guimaraes and Jacob Murphy, despite an early scare with Mbuemo’s 10th minute strike being ruled out by VAR for an offside. Ivan Toney made it 2-1 in the 54th minute from the penalty spot, yet a swift Newcastle response resulted in them putting another three past David Raya in the sticks, courtesy of Guimaraes again, Almiron and a Pinnock own goal.
A shocking defensive display from Brentford that showcased a lack of defensive structure which was certainly to blame for the heavy defeat. Where Brentford opted for a 3-5-2 formation with wing backs, Newcastle’s 4-3-3 allowed the Magpie’s to expose pockets of space between the wide centre backs and progressive wing backs, creating the opportunities for counter attacks and ability to edge possession. Eddie Howe will be super happy with his teams performance this weekend, whereas Thomas Frank will be franticly going back to the training ground to rethink his defensive option.
The Brendan Rodgers Era Is Crashing and Burning
Brendan Rodgers has brought many good times to Leicester fans with top 4 challenges, European nights, and that famous F.A. Cup win. But the Foxes are now collapsing and with a relegation battle likely, it appears the Rodgers era may be at its end.
After last week’s lifeline win over Nottingham Forest, it was a good start for the East Midlands side, after Patson Daka moved well to finish after Harvey Barnes’ deflected effort. Unfortunately for the foxes, balls in from Timothy Castagne and James Maddison could not find a meaningful touch, and eventually the game took a turn. Bournemouth had failed to test Danny Ward in the first half, but in the space of 3 second-half minutes, they scored twice. First, Dominic Solanke catching Wout Faes unaware, as he ran through him into the box and his shot was saved but fell to Philip Billing who smashed it into the top corner.
The second goal was a result of some truly lackluster defending as Ryan Christie’s effort went in, with little effort to stop it from Faes. This once-strong Leicester defence is a shadow of what it once was, looking weak and lacking structure. For Bournemouth, their good form continues under Gary O’Neil, who has helped produce a remarkable recovery for the Cherries after that 9-0 battering by Liverpool. For this broken Leicester side, they seem out of ideas and relying too much on the few talents left at the club, with the sack
looming for Brendan Rodgers. One thing’s for certain, that dream of managing Manchester City one day is toast.