What we learned this week­end

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

MANCH­ESTER City, Arse­nal and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur all dropped points as Chelsea en­sured an un­com­fort­able re­turn to Stam­ford Bridge for Jose Mour­inho with a 4-0 rout of Manch­ester United.

Here are five things we learned from the Pre­mier League this week­end.

Back to draw­ing board for Mour­inho Af­ter a run of six matches with­out de­feat in all com­pe­ti­tions, Jose Mour­inho ap­peared to be turn­ing a cor­ner with Manch­ester United, who had lost three games in suc­ces­sion in Septem­ber. But his team’s re­cov­ery came crash­ing to the ground at Stam­ford Bridge, home of his for­mer club Chelsea, as United fell to a scar­ring de­feat. A team who ap­peared to be grow­ing in con­fi­dence sud­denly looked en­tirely bereft of it, Chris Smalling and Da­ley Blind pro­duc­ing er­ror-strewn per­for­mances in de­fence, Paul Pogba turn­ing in a com­pletely anony­mous mid­field dis­play and Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic go­ing a sixth league game with­out find­ing the net. Com­pound­ing mat­ters, cen­tre-back Eric Bailly was forced off with what could be a se­ri­ous knee lig­a­ment in­jury. Changes could now fol­low, with club cap­tain Wayne Rooney and un­der-used new sign­ing Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan among those press­ing for in­clu­sion in the start­ing XI.

No Vardy, no prob­lem for Le­ices­ter Fol­low­ing eight games with­out a goal, and hav­ing been dogged by a groin com­plaint dur­ing the week, Jamie Vardy was left on the bench for Le­ices­ter City’s home game with Crys­tal Palace. Bench­ing Vardy, em­blem of last sea­son’s fairy­tale ti­tle win, was a gam­ble by man­ager Clau­dio Ranieri, whose side had gone three league matches with­out vic­tory. But it paid off as goals from Ahmed Musa and Shinji Okazaki, plus a scorch­ing late Chris­tian Fuchs strike, se­cured a 3-1 win. Vardy en­tered the fray as a sec­ond-half sub­sti­tute, but by that point his team­mates had demon­strated that they are per­fectly ca­pa­ble of scor­ing, and win­ning, with­out him.

Stones er­ror sign of the times It ap­pears Manch­ester City fans may have to get used to the kind of mis­take that saw Eng­land de­fender John Stones set up Southampton’s goal in the Pre­mier League lead­ers’ 1-1 draw when his care­less back­pass across the face of goal was seized on by Nathan Red­mond. With City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola de­ter­mined to play a pass­ing game and the ball-play­ing Stones of­ten lauded for all as­pects of his game ex­cept his ac­tual de­fend­ing, merely clear­ing the dan­ger will no longer cut it at East­lands. As Red­mond told Sky Sports, “From watch­ing them in prepa­ra­tion we knew they would give us chances. They only play three at the back.” Stur­ridge faces win­ter of dis­con­tent There was a con­spic­u­ous ab­sence as Liver­pool’s for­wards cel­e­brated the sec­ond of their goals in a 2-1 home win over West Bromwich Al­bion. Af­ter vol­ley­ing in Roberto Firmino’s cross to put Liver­pool in front, Sa­dio Mane freed Philippe Coutinho to dou­ble the hosts’ ad­van­tage. Mane, Coutinho and Firmino, grins as wide as the River Mersey, cel­e­brated the sec­ond goal with a light­hearted dance. Daniel Stur­ridge’s goal-cel­e­bra­tion wig­gle used to be a reg­u­lar sight at An­field, but he was dropped to the bench as man­ager Jurgen Klopp re­called the fit-again Adam Lallana to his start­ing XI. Klopp ap­pears to pre­fer Firmino to lead the line and when he turned to his bench for ex­tra fire­power in stop­page time it was Divock Origi who was told to get ready. Not for the first time, tele­vi­sion cam­eras caught Stur­ridge look­ing non­plussed. A long win­ter beck­ons for the Eng­land striker.

Arse­nal lapse a worry for Wenger Arsene Wenger’s 67th birth­day proved a damp squib as Arse­nal were held to a 0-0 draw by strug­gling Mid­dles­brough. Wenger was hop­ing to toast his birth­day by watch­ing Arse­nal ex­tend their win­ning streak in all com­pe­ti­tions to eight matches. But there was no cel­e­bra­tory drink for the man­ager. “When you win, you de­serve it [a drink]; when you don’t, you need it,” Wenger said. Fol­low­ing their swag­ger­ing mid­week rout of Lu­do­gorets in the Cham­pi­ons League, Wenger had warned his play­ers to stay hum­ble, but this lethar­gic ef­fort was typ­i­cal of the stum­bles that cost Arse­nal any chance of win­ning the ti­tle in re­cent sea­sons. – AFP

Photo: AFP

Chelsea’s Span­ish mid­fielder Pe­dro (sec­ond from left) takes the ball around Manch­ester United’s Span­ish goal­keeper David de Gea (in green) on his way to scor­ing the open­ing goal at Stam­ford Bridge in Lon­don on Oc­to­ber 23.

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