A roundup of the Week 6 Premier League news including the perfect 10 for Manchester City, a Wayne Rooney free Manchester United destroy the champions, and Sunderland drops to the foot of the table after capitulating at home to Crystal Palace.
Pep Guardiola entered English football under a thunderous fanfare, but not even the greatest manager in the world could have expected a start like this. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager extended his start in English football to a ten-game winning run, in all competitions, after a hard fought victory over Swansea City, at the Liberty Stadium.
Can anyone stop them?
On the evidence of their most recent showing in South Wales, the answer is yes. Guardiola’s success is without question, but he has never played or managed in the Premier League. Every game is a battle, and the Swans pushed them all the way.
The Blues welcomed Sergio Aguero back into the fold, after a three-game suspension, and he continued his tremendous start to the season with another two goals, making that 11 in 6 games. His first came in the ninth minute after some good work on the right by Bacary Sagna. The Frenchman crossed low, and Aguero took out two defenders with his first touch before rifling the ball between the legs of Lukasz Fabianski. His second came in the 65th minute from the penalty spot.
Swansea equalised in between those two strikes thanks to a thunderbolt from Fernando Llorente. But Raheem Sterling put the game out of sight in the 77th minute after a magnificent solo goal that once again showed his continued growth under Guardiola’s tutelage.
It was the sixth Premier League win on the spin for Guardiola – a record for a new Premier League manager – and for Swansea it was an excellent performance but another defeat. According to news reports, Francesco Guidolin is one defeat away from the sack with the untried and tested United trio of Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, and Paul Scholes waiting in the wings.
Swansea faces a red-hot Liverpool side in Week 7.
Arsenal And Spurs Keep Pace
The only other unbeaten team in the league, Spurs, made sure City remains in earshot by maintaining a four-point gap to second with a victory over Middlesbrough. Harry Kane’s injury meant a start for Vincent Janssen, but it was Son Heung-min who dazzled in the English frontman’s absence with two beautiful goals.
The South Korean has now scored six goals in his last six games (four in the Premier League), with Janssen looking like one of those strikers that manager’s buy who never seem to find themselves in a position to score. Ben Gibson gave Spurs an unnecessary sweat in the final 25-minutes after converting a Stewart Downing free kick, but they couldn’t find that second goal. Mauricio Pochettino’s men have now taken 14 points from their first six games. It’s their best start to a top-flight league campaign for 51 years. It was Middlesbrough’s third defeat on the trot.
Across the road, Arsenal moved into third after a 3-0 demolition of Chelsea. Arsene Wenger was facing his 12th Chelsea coach during his reign at the club, and as it turned out Antonio Conte gave him one of his easiest rides.
It was a disastrous performance for the Blues who looked every inch the horrible mess that started the campaign last term. Arsenal, on the other hand, put in one of those world class performances that gets you wondering why on earth they haven’t won the Premier League since 2003/04?
Alexis Sanchez was the main man. Wenger chose to play him through the middle for his 100th game at the club, and he repaid him with the opening goal in the 11th minute. Not for the first time this season, Gary Cahill had his pocket pinched at his most vulnerable time, and the Chilean raced through on goal before calmly chipping the ball over the onrushing Thibaut Courtois.
Arsenal’s second goal was pure quality. The Gunners strung together six lightning fast passes around the edge of the box before Alex Iwobi found Hector Bellerin, and Theo Walcott was on hand to get on the end of the Spaniard’s low cross, to finish neatly. Walcott has scored in consecutive games for the first time since May 2013.
Chelsea could have pulled one back when Willian dragged a shot wide, but Arsenal put the lid on the coffin just before half time after a breakaway goal saw Sanchez and Mesut Ozil combine before the German half-volleyed the ball beyond the Belgian keeper.
Arsenal looked like title contenders.
Conte looked like abject misery on the sidelines.
North West News
Liverpool continues to look like title challenging material with a 5-1 thumping against Hull at Anfield. Adam Lallana scored the opener in the 17th minute – his fourth goal in eight games and as many as he had scored in his previous 42. James Milner made it two from the penalty spot after Ahmed Elmohamady prevented a clear goal-scoring opportunity by stopping Philippe Coutinho’s shot from reaching the back of the net with his hand. A red card jumped out of the referee’s pocket, and Hull was down to ten men.
It was all Liverpool from that point onward; Sadio Mane missed two golden opportunities before turning smartly in the box to score his third Premier League goal of the season. Hull pulled one back in the 51st minute after David Meylor took advantage of a penalty box scramble, but Philippe Coutinho pulled the teeth out of the tiger’s jaw a minute later with his usual high standard Hot Shot Hamish finish from outside the box. James Milner completed the rout with his second penalty in the 71st minute after Andrew Roberston was judged to have brought Daniel Sturridge down in the penalty area. Liverpool moves into fourth.
Merseyside neighbours Everton suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season losing by a goal to nil at Bournemouth and what a goal it was. Junior Stanislas pulling the trigger in the 23rd minute after some great work by the industrious Harry Arter. Ross Barkley and Enner Valencia both missed golden opportunities to leave Dean Court with a point. It was Everton’s second successive defeat after losing to Championship side Norwich in midweek.
Jose Mourinho finally found his balls and dropped Wayne Rooney and to good effect. Rooney was one of four changes made by the United manager who needed a win after losses to Watford and Man City in previous weeks. Marouane Fellaini was the other notable absentee as Mourinho went with pace instead of sideways and backwards passing.
United destroyed the Premier League champions who are starting to look a little shell shocked. Three of the four goals all came from corners with Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba scoring their first goals of the season with two cute headers. Marcus Rashford scored the other goal from the corner after some smart work by Daley Blind and Juan Mata. The Spaniard celebrated his return to the team with a goal of his own, and Demarai Gray scored a goal of the month contender for Leicester.
The Bottom End
Stoke City moved off the bottom of the table after a point at home against West Brom, although Mark Hughes’s side will be kicking themselves after conceding a soft corner in the 91st minute that allowed Salomon Rondon to head the equaliser when it looked like Stoke would take all three points. The Stoke goal came in the 73rd minute courtesy of Joe Allen.
Sunderland drop into the space vacated by the men from the Potteries and they will also be wondering how on earth they lost when they wake up this morning. Sunderland looked like they had secured their first three points of the season after a Jermain Defoe brace had handed the Black Cats a 2-0 lead with 30-minutes remaining, but Palace had other ideas.
Joe Ledley, who was at fault for the first Sunderland goal, made amends with a deflected goal in the 61st minute; James McArthur headed home the equaliser in the 76th minute, and Christian Benteke was allowed a free run into the box in the 94th minute to score the winner from a corner kick. After the match, David Moyes put the blame squarely on the shoulders of his players. I can’t see the former Everton and Man Utd man at that helm for very much longer.
Here are the rest of the results.
Premier League Results (Week 6)
Man Utd 4 v 1 Leicester City
Liverpool 5 v 1 Hull City
Bournemouth 1 v 0 Everton
Swansea City 1 v 3 Man City
Stoke City 1 v 1 West Brom
Sunderland 2 v 3 Crystal Palace
Middlesbrough 1 v 2 Tottenham
Arsenal 3 v 0 Chelsea
To Be Played (Sunday, 25 Sep)
West Ham v Southampton
To Be Played (Monday, 26 Sep)
Burnley v Watford
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 18
2. Tottenham – 14
3. Arsenal – 13
4. Liverpool – 13
5. Everton – 13
6. Man Utd – 12
7. Crystal Palace – 10
8. Chelsea – 10
9. West Brom – 8
10. Watford – 7
11. Leicester – 7
12. Hull – 7
13. Bournemouth – 7
14. Southampton – 5
15. Middlesbrough – 5
16. Swansea City – 5
17. Burnley – 4
18. West Ham – 3
19. Stoke City – 2
20. Sunderland – 1
Premier League Title Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City -165
Man Utd +900