Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Table After Week 3: All Hail Leicester; Fortress Anfield; The Good, The Bad, The Chelsea; Wolves Tamed

Top of the Table 

Leicester stands alone atop the Premier League following their 5-2 dismantling of Manchester City. Ageless Jamie Vardy scored a hat trick and now has eight goals in his last nine matches against Pep Guardiola’s club. The Foxes have scored twelve goals in their three games to date and sit alone atop the league with a better goal differential than similarly thrice perfect Liverpool and Everton.

Liverpool extended its unbeaten streak at Anfield to 61 matches. Newly acquired forward Diogo Jota provides yet another attacking option for the Reds and delivered the final goal in the 3-1 win over Arsenal. 

Everton are level in the standings with their Merseyside neighbors following a third consecutive victory. Calvert-Lewin notched his fifth goal of the season in the Toffees’ 2-1 win against Crystal Palace which was decided on just one of several controversial handball penalties awarded over the weekend. 

A surprise in fourth place is an undefeated Aston Villa team which just barely avoided relegation last season. Jack Grealish opened the scoring for the Villains in a 3-0 pasting of Fulham. 

Despite their first loss of the season, Arsenal played well at Anfield and forward Alexandre Lacazette had several opportunities for the Gunners only to be thwarted by outstanding Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker. 

Rounding out the top six is a Crystal Palace team which had won its first two before the weekend loss to Everton. The Eagles will hope to see more from acquisitions Eberiche Eze and Michy Batschuayi in coming weeks to improve their attack. 

Tied on points with Crystal Palace but lagging on points differential is a newly promoted Leeds team which has won two of three games with the only blemish being an exciting loss to champion Liverpool. Patrick Bamford scored his third goal of the season for a Leeds team which posted a clean sheet against Sheffield United after having conceded seven goals in their first two games.

Mid Table

Spurs, Chelsea and Newcastle fill spots eight through ten in the table with each team experiencing a win, loss and draw in three games.

A controversial handball call led to a game tying late penalty kick for Newcastle against Spurs. Jose Mourinho had already angrily stormed from the field before the tying spot kick had nestled in the net. As expected, Newcastle Manager Steve Bruce had his defense set up in a low block which continually frustrated Spurs in the clubs’ 1-1 draw.

Chelsea provided one of the weekend’s more exciting games, roaring back from a three-goal deficit to gain a point in a 3-3 final against West Brom. Any enthusiasm from the comeback is tempered by the question of how a team with Chelsea’s wage bill could fall three goals behind a limited Baggie side. Chelsea is quite poor on defense and can be quite explosive in attack. The insertion of a fit Ben Chilwell can hopefully address the struggles of Marcos Alonso at left back but that may not be enough of a fix for the Blues. The acquisition of West Ham defensive midfielder Declan Rice is again being rumored.

Meanwhile, the galaxy of young Chelsea attackers was on full display in the second half as all three goal scorers for Chelsea (Mount, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi) were age twenty-two or younger. 

Six teams sit on three points. Leading that pack in eleventh place on goal differential is West Ham which engineered a surprising 4-0 taming of Wolves. Jarrod Bowen, acquired from Hull City in January this year, posted two goals for the Hammers who had failed to score against Wolves in their previous four meetings. 

Brighton and Hove Albion conceded a penalty (yet another handball) at the final whistle to lose their second game of the season against Manchester United. The final disappointment followed the Seagulls frustratingly rattling the woodwork on five different occasions. The Red Devils are now knotted in the table with their crosstown rivals as both Manchester clubs have a win and a loss in two games played. But for a moment of individual brilliance by Marcus Rashford, Manchester United looked sluggish in attack. The defense also looks vulnerable, allowing eighteen shots against Brighton. 

Manchester City has defensive issues of its own and reportedly hopes to finalize an acquisition of Benfica center back Ruben Dias this week. 

Southampton picked up its first win of the season on a Danny Ings goal at Burnley. 

Wolves played like they were wearing sheep’s clothing in their 4-0 defeat to West Ham. Wolves wing back Nelson Semedo, recently acquired from Barcelona, must be feeling shellshocked as his teams have now conceded twelve goals in his last two appearances.

Bottom of the Table

West Brom appeared as surprised as anyone to be leading Chelsea by three goals and barely held on to secure their one point this season. The Baggies have allowed the most goals of any team this year, conceding eleven. 

The three current occupants of the relegation zone who have yet to earn a point are Burnley, Sheffield United and Fulham. Burnley may finally have approached the limit of its ability to survive on limited resources as injuries have been crippling this year for the thin Claret squad. Manager Sean Dyche, though, has worked magic in the north before. 

While looking more solid defensively in their 1-0 loss to Leeds, Sheffield United is going to need to eventually score a goal. The Blades have now been clean sheeted in all three of their games this season. 

Fulham appears overmatched this year and the organization seemed on the verge of panic with the club issuing apologies to fans after Monday’s loss to Aston Villa. The season, after only three games, looks long and ominous from the bottom of the Premier League table.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: