Lee Davy brings you a full update of the ninth week of Premier League action including two new managers, a goal glut at Newcastle and an opinion on video replay technology.
After battling through hordes of Irish and Argentinean rugby fans on my way through Cardiff, today, I found myself comparing the two sports of rugby and football. Three things came to mind, one of which was brought on by the weekend’s Premier League action.
For one, the supporters were all sharing a beer while watching the Australia v Scotland match. Football fans have been known to share the odd beer glass, but not the contents.
The second major difference is the way the matches are refereed. In rugby, the man in the middle is the boss. The players know it, the managers know it, and the fans know it. It makes for a faster-flowing game. Decisions are not contested. Respect is the number one priority. Giants of men, full of testosterone, know their place within this hierarchy.
Football is the complete opposite. The referees are a laughing stock. Managers and media ridicule and belittle their ability, players continually pester and abuse them, and they have zero support from the governing body bringing me nicely to my third point.
In rugby, the game can be stopped anytime so the referee can ask his team to take a second look at contentious issues. It doesn’t impede flow. Instead, it creates a compelling added dimension. The will he or won’t he give it scenario is pure entertainment.
Once again, a gluttony of goals were incorrectly declared offside, goals that were offside were allowed to stand, and some clear penalties weren’t given. These incorrect decisions, captured at the moment, would change the trajectory of football matches. Newcastle may not have gone on to beat Norwich 6-2 if the Canaries were given a penalty for a clear Janmaat jersey tug, and Man City may not have romped home to a 5-1 win over Bournemouth had the officials not missed several critical decisions.
Elon Musk has created rockets that now fly to the International Space Station (ISS), and return to earth in one piece, and he is currently working on a Hyperloop transportation system that will get you to LA from Vegas in 10-minutes. I’m pretty sure we can manage video replay technology in Premier League football matches.
Rant over; on to the football.
Week 9 of the most open Premier League race in living memory saw the introduction of two new managers. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool adventure began with a goalless draw at White Hart Lane. Statistically speaking it was a great start. His team made more sprints and covered more ground than at any other time this season. Klopp will be pleased with that after only a few training sessions under his belt.
The other new boy was Sam Allardyce. In for the departing Dick Advocaat, Big Sam was left under no illusion of the challenge ahead of him when he lost by a goal to nil away at the usually impotent West Brom. The games only goal was one of those contentious moments that would not have counted had video replays been in use. The calamitous Costel Pantilimon being barged off the ball by Saido Berahino, who then went on to also kicked the ball out of his hands to score from a few yards out.
Sunderland replace their arch-rivals Newcastle at the bottom of the table, after Steve McClaren’s team won for the first time this season. The 6-2 scoreline was flattery. Norwich played exceptionally well for large parts of the game. Georginio Wijnaldum scored four goals to halt Newcastle’s worst start to a league season in 117 years.
Aston Villa continues to look brittle after a two-goal defeat away at Stamford Bridge. While there’s no shame in losing to the champions, oddsmakers make Tim Sherwood odds-on for the boot in the next few games. He remained bullish after the game saying he wouldn’t want anybody else in Aston Villa’s corner but himself. I don’t think Randy Lerner will agree with that sentiment. Chelsea’s Diego Costa scored on his return to the side, as Chelsea move up the table.
There was only one positional change in the top six positions. West Ham swapping places with Crystal Palace, to move into the top four, after another sterling away performance. West Ham won 3-1 to claim a fourth away win of the season. Things made a little easier after Dwight Gayle was sent off for two bookable offences. Alan Pardew later embarrassed himself by trying to defend the indefensible.
Man City scored five goals for the second successive Premier League game after hammering Bournemouth 5 v 1 at the Etihad. It’s going to be difficult for Bournemouth to survive this season. They have a small squad, and the injury to Callum Wilson was a massive blow. It was great to see Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe given a new contract in the week. Raheem Sterling showed that he could stick the ball in the back of the net with his first senior hat trick. Wilfried Bony also bagged a brace in the absence of Sergio Aguero.
Man Utd bounced back from their drubbing against Arsenal in style. Goodison Park has never been a good stomping ground for the Reds, and Everton had won the last four meetings at home against Louis Van Gaal’s men. Wayne Rooney scored his 187th Premier League goal in a 3-0 win. It pulls him level with Andy Cole in the All-Time Premier League Goalscoring charts. Alan Shearer remains uncatchable with 260. Newcastle players should watch a replay of the match and pay particular attention to the work ethic of Anthony Martial, as he worked tirelessly up and down the pitch to null the threat of Seamus Coleman.
The Gunners continue to look impressive. Even Theo Walcott is starting to look like he can do more than just run quicker than everyone else. Three goals in an 11-minute spurt put away a stubborn Watford in a 3-0 win. Alexis Sanchez scoring his 10th goal in his past six games for club and country. Aaron Ramsay celebrated Wales qualification to the Euros with a goal, and Olivier Giroud continued to put pressure on Walcott by coming off the bench and scoring yet again.
It’s not often you can say that the most eagerly awaiting game on Match of the Day is Southampton v Leicester such is the excellent progress both sides have made this season. It was a goal glut. I wasn’t expecting anything less. Southampton will be kicking themselves, though. Jamie Vardy scoring for the sixth game in the row hitting the next twice in the 66th and 91st minute to salvage a point after going two goals down.
Week 9 Results
Tottenham 0 v 0 Liverpool
Man City 5 v 1 Bournemouth
West Brom 1 v 0 Sunderland
Chelsea 2 v 0 Aston Villa
Crystal Palace 1 v 3 West Ham
Everton 0 v 3 Man Utd
Southampton 2 v 2 Leicester City
Watford 0 v 3 Arsenal
Newcastle 6 v 2 Norwich City
Premier League Standings (After 9 Games)
1st. Man City – 21 pts.
2nd. Arsenal – 19 pts.
3rd. Man Utd – 19 pts.
4th. West Ham 17 pts.
5th. Leicester City – 16 pts.
6th. Crystal Palace – 15 pts.
7th. Spurs – 14 pts.
8th. Southampton – 13 pts.
9th. Everton – 13 pts.
10th. Liverpool – 13 pts.
11th. Chelsea – 11 pts.
12th. West Brom – 11 pts.
13th. Swansea – 10 pts.
14th. Watford – 10 pts.
15th. Stoke – 9 pts.
16th. Norwich – 9 pts.
17th. Bournemouth – 8 pts.
18th. Newcastle – 6 pts.
19th. Aston Villa – 4 pts.
20th. Sunderland – 3 pts.
Matches Still to be Played
Swansea City v Stoke