Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Premier League Week 3 Results: Survival of Fittest As Darwin And Ten Man Liverpool Down Newcastle; Close Shave For Manchester City Against Blades; Hammers Strike Again; Gunners Fall Off Highwire; Chelsea Delivers; Red Devils Chop Down Trees; AngeBall Working For Spurs

Newcastle had a goal lead and a man advantage before a half hour had passed at St. James Park on Sunday. An all too typical error by Trent Alexander-Arnold and a far rarer red card assessed to Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk in the 28th minute put Eddie Howe’s Magpies in good position for a second win of the young season. Instead, Newcastle was to stumble against a top club for a second consecutive week. Liverpool gamely defended, stops were made by both goalkeeper Allyson and the woodwork, and the Magpies were stymied from delivering the much-needed insurance goal. The match evolved into survival of the fittest and Liverpool employed its own Darwin to win the day. Darwin Nunez, the Uruguayan international who has struggled to find his way since joining the Reds last year, delivered two lightning strikes in the 87th and 93rd minute to steal the match for Liverpool. The 24-year-old Nunez had only entered the match in the 77th minute and notably became the first Liverpool player in Premier League history to score both the equalizing and winning goal as a substitute.

Newcastle Manager Eddie Howe, who has rarely put a wrong foot forward in his time as the Magpies’ manager, will receive criticism for his own questionable substitutions in the match. Goal scorer Anthony Gordon, forward Alexander Isak and vaunted midfielder Sandro Tonali were all lifted from the match by Howe prior to the Nunez heroics. The brilliant insertion of Nunez by Klopp and the questionable moves by Howe accentuated an eleventh consecutive Premier League victory by the German over Howe, a league record for managerial dominance.

Things were less dramatic and more methodical in West Ham’s match at Brighton, which is just the way Hammer Manager David Moyes prefers it. West Ham surprised the high-flying Seagulls with a 3-1 victory on the south coast, repeating the disciplined, counterattacking scheme which helped the Hammers defeat Chelsea by the same score last week. James Ward-Prowse scored his 50th Premier League goal and first for West Ham one week after registering two assists in his Hammer debut. West Ham stalwarts Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen scored the other two goals in front of subdued Brighton supporters. While the Hammers can still use some added goal scoring options, the additions of Ward-Prowse and Edson Alvarez, the defensive midfielder who made his first start Saturday, cast a positive light on West Ham’s transfer business done to date following the sale of Declan Rice. Meanwhile, the coronation of Brighton Manager Roberto De Zerbi will have to wait after he was outfoxed by wily veteran Moyes whose team delivered three goals despite ceding 80% of the possession to the Seagulls on Saturday. Brighton’s conquests over lesser opposition in its first two matches now look far less impressive after this weekend’s clunker at home versus a West Ham side which remains undefeated and has won two of its three matches so far.

Chelsea responded to their own pounding by the Hammers by giving their supporters renewed hope for a rebound season. Raheem Sterling scored twice, Nicolas Jackson notched his first Premier League goal, and the Blues posted a clean sheet in a 3-0 defeat of Luton Town at Stamford Bridge. Luton looks already headed for the door this season, but Mauricio Pochettino will be more than satisfied with Chelsea’s performance on Friday.

Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta, on the other hand, could not be less satisfied with his Gunners dropping points at home in what should have been a mismatch against Fulham. The Cottagers, down to 10 men, scored on a late Joao Palhinha goal as Arsenal miserably failed to preserve a one goal lead in a 2-2 draw. Arteta’s club, after courting danger in surviving close calls in its first two wins, had received praise for having the character to close those games. Saturday’s draw, however, highlighted inherent problems which were evident from start to finish in this match. A sloppy start leading to a Fulham goal just one minute into the match was bookended with conceding the winner on a set piece in the 87th minute despite a man advantage following Fulham defender Calvin Bassey’s red card. The opening minute goal made Arsenal the first club Premier League club to concede an opening minute goal three times in one calendar year while the late concession resurrected bad memories of the poor defending which derailed Arsenal’s title bid last season.

Manchester City recovered from conceding a late goal to survive 2-1 over a surprisingly game Sheffield United side. The newly promoted side would have just 21% of the possession in the match but frustrated the powerful Manchester City attack for much of the contest. Erling Haaland missed a first half penalty but later would find the net to give Manchester City a second half lead. The Blades’ Jayden Bogle then scored in the 85th minute to put Sheffield United on the verge of taking an unexpected point from the defending champions. City’s championship mettle, however, once again came to the fore when Rodri drilled home the winner for the Citizens three minutes later.

Supporters at Old Trafford were horrified to see Nottingham Forest catch fire and take an early two goal lead on Manchester United inside of four minutes. The next 86 minutes went much better for the home side as the Tricky Trees were eventually chopped down in a 3-2 Manchester United comeback victory. Christian Eriksen, deputizing for the injured Mason Mount, got on the scorecard first for United. Casemiro would follow with a second half goal and Bruno Fernandez would strike the winning penalty kick at the 76-minute mark. Taiwo Awoniyi scored in his seventh consecutive match for Nottingham Forest, but he and his mates were silenced after their early fireworks and forced to play with 10 men after a 67th minute red card.

Everton was silenced for a third consecutive match as the Toffees remain the only Premier League club not to score this season after a 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton. For the first time in 33 years, Everton has three consecutive losses to open the season. The Toffees did show some life in front of the Goodison faithful, and a spectacular save by Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa was required to extend Everton’s scoreless streak. Wolves, themselves no offensive juggernaut, took all three points when striker Sasa Kalajdzik scored an 87th minute winner shortly after entering the fray.

Burnley could be battling with Everton and Wolverhampton for survival at the bottom of the table this season. The Clarets were 3-1 home losers to Aston Villa on Sunday. Fullback Matty Cash scored twice for Villa with summer transfer Moussa Diaby contributing a goal and an assist for Manager Unai Emery’s club.

Tottenham Hotspur Manager Ange Postecoglou remains undefeated, and Bournemouth Manager Andoni Iraola is still looking for his first win after a 2-0 Spurs victory over the Cherries on Saturday. A newly constructed midfield featuring James Maddison, Pape Sar and Yves Bissouma has been the engine for the early season success of undefeated Spurs and the “AngeBall” attacking style of their new manager. Maddison went from creator to finisher on Saturday when Sarr set him up for the England international’s first goal of the season on Saturday. Maddison and Sarr have been involved in five of the club’s eight goals as Spurs have opened the season by taking seven of nine points under their new manager.

Brentford Manger Thomas Frank could only shake his head at the way his Bees dropped two points in Brentford’s 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace. Lumbering Palace defender Joachim Andersen was inexplicably allowed a clear path to drive on the Brentford goal in the 76th minute and the Danish center back beat the keeper with an awkward attempt that resembled a slide tackle more than a shot on target. Goal starved Crystal Palace was grateful for the point provided from an unexpected source though Saturday’s match again highlighted their desperate need for a more conventional goal scorer.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: