English Premier League: Gameweek #8 review


Liverpool lock up an eight-point lead, Manchester City are fed to the Wolves, while the Red Devils’s travel hell continues at St. James Park as Steve Bruce ends his personal hoodoo.

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City

english-premier-league-gameweek-8-reviewThe Premier League title can’t be won in October, they say, but it can be lost. The question is: if everyone else who was in contention has already lost and only one club remains, haven’t they, by default, won it?

After eight straight wins at the start of the season, Liverpool look almost certain to walk away with their first top-flight title in 30 years, and on the evidence of the first quarter of the season, they’re unlikely to be involved in any titanic battle for supremacy such as the one they blew last year when a 7-point lead evaporated after January.

What’s different about this year? It’s only one point, and Manchester City have more time to make up the difference. But shorn of Kompany (who left for Anderlecht), Laporte and Stones (both through injury), City look susceptible, and while Liverpool have had to deal without their first-choice ‘keeper Allison, they retain the services of all of their key men. Van Djik and the holy trinity of Firmino, Salah and – most importantly – Mane are all flying.

While Leicester rattled Liverpool at Anfield, with Maddison equalising Mane’s opener, a late, late penalty – one which looked debatable – was coolly converted by James Milner, a player ironically rejected by Manchester City just a few years ago.

Manchester City 0-2 Wolves

While Liverpool look solid, plugging along to victory after victory, Manchester City suffered a second defeat in their opening eight games, and a home one at that.

Two late goals saw City sunk, and without Kevin de Bruyne’s mercurial talent, they were, in Guardiola’s admission, ‘nervous’. David Silva hit the bar, Raheem Sterling came close, but the goal could not be found. When Adam Traore galloped clear in the 80th minute – and subsequently, the 94th minute – he exposed the weaknesses in City’s ailing, patchwork backline.

Guardiola knows that while the cavalier attacking forces have always sold tickets at every club he’s managed, he could always rely on a captain at the back, a centre-back or two who would challenge brick walls in order to keep the opposition out. He’s currently relying on Nicolas Otamendi and a converted midfielder in Fernandinho to keep out teams who are smelling blood.

The Manchester City of last season would crusade to three goals without thinking of what would happen behind them if they missed chances. This season, they are playing like a team who know they need to score three to get the three points.

Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United

A drab, dreary game at St. James’ Park saw Newcastle beat Manchester in the battle in the Uniteds. While Manchester United started with a first XI missing messrs Pogba, Martial, Shaw, Wan-Bissaka and Lindelof, The Magpies started with two brothers in midfield – Sean and Matthew Longstaff.

With the former having been touted as a Manchester United target in the summer, it was the younger brother who scored aged just 19 on his debut to settle game, a low, sweeping strike from the edge of the box that the visitors’ goalkeeper David De Gea couldn’t lay a glove on.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer faced an uphill battle in the long-term to bring the glory days back to a giant in danger of falling asleep. He now faces a more immediate fight to retain his job as the coming weeks see the Red Devils face a variety of big teams, starting with Liverpool at Old Trafford in Gameweek #9.

Gameweek #8 results:

Brighton & Hove Albion 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Burnley 1-0 Everton
Liverpool 2-1 Leicester City
Norwich City 1-5 Aston Villa
Watford 0-0 Sheffield United
West Ham United 1-2 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth
Manchester City 0-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Southampton 1-4 Chelsea
Newcastle United 1-0 Manchester United