As the “Normal One” sat in the dugout for his first Premier League game, the “Special One” who was under intense scrutiny got Chelsea their third win this game week. This weekend was all about the fight between the title contenders and their immediate rivals. As United unexpectedly strolled across at the Goodison, Arsenal showed their supremacy at Watford. The following were some of the key takeaways this weekend from the world of the English Premier League.
Tottenham V Liverpool:
This was the game that was spoken about the most this weekend. Jürgen Klopp taking over the reigns at Anfield raised strong positive opinions from the Kop supporters. Liverpool started the game on a high. The first 20 minutes Liverpool pressed high up the pitch and made life difficult for Tottenham, but it was the second half in which the game opened up with both sides creating a handful of chances yet both the sides failed to hit the back of the net. Liverpool is a big club and with the history they have, it is critical for English Football that the Kop wake up from an extended spell of hibernation that has seen the club go into a steep decline. With the determination of Klopp and a strong financial backing from the owners, I as football supporter hope to see Liverpool competing for top honors next season.
Everton V Manchester United:
With Arsenal having slammed Manchester United last weekend, Louis Van Gaal’s United had a point to prove to be considered genuine title challengers and the convincing margin of the 3-0 victory at Goodison must have lifted the dressing room. David De Gea was yet again excellent, but the player to watch out for United was undoubtedly Ander Herrera. Playing in the number 10 role, Herrera displayed great vision by creating a plethora of chances and also by scoring Manchester United’s first headed goal of the season. Everton, on the contrary, could not lift themselves over the sad and unexpected demise of their great manager Howard Kendall. With United playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation, and Rojo at left back, Roberto Martinez made a tactical blunder playing in Lennon instead of the in-form Deulofeu. Most football pundits got this result wrong.
Watford V Arsenal:
Arsenal having outplayed Manchester United comfortably last weekend came into this match with a lot of self-belief and their talisman Alexis Sanchez did not disappoint the Gunners supporters. Like last weekend, Alexis scored a brilliant goal that took his goals tally to 6 goals in 8 starts this Premier League season. Watford under Quique Sánchez Flores were good in different short periods of the game but did not manage to threaten Cech during the game. With this convincing win, the Gunners held on to their 2nd place in the table after 9 games with 19 points, 2 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who won 5-1 in the early kick off against Bournemouth.
The Premier League Table after Gameweek 9:
What to expect during the mid-week?
With the UEFA Champions League returning during the mid-week, Arsenal facing the German champions Bayern Munich, United traveling to Moscow and City facing Borussia Mönchengladbach, the English clubs would again be under intense scrutiny because of the drop in the ranking coefficients for the clubs.
My predictions for the mid-week are as follows:
Arsenal V Bayern Munich:
The Bavarians have won all 9 of their German Bundesliga games and come to the Emirates in a rich vein of form. Guardiola’s men have nothing to fear about against the Gunners. It remains to be seen if the Gunners can reciprocate the form they displayed against Manchester United. But this would be a mouth-watering clash for any football lover.
My Prediction: 1-3
CSKA Moscow V Manchester United:
Louis Van Gaal’s men have dropped points against PSV Eindhoven and after a not so convincing game against Wolfsburg, the Red Devils will be looking to strengthen their position in the group. CSKA Moscow defense has leaked goals right through this season, and they will have to play out of their socks if they are to get away with anything this mid-week.
My Prediction: 1-2
Dynamo Kiev V Chelsea:
Jose Mourinho’s men still don’t look convincing, and this is a difficult match for a team that has struggled for form this season. Kiev, who lies 2nd in the Ukrainian League would give a tough fight to Londoners, but I think Chelsea have enough quality to go over the line in this one.
My Prediction: 1-2
Manchester City V Sevilla:
Manuel Pellegrini’s men were incredible this weekend against Bournemouth, and I expect them to sail through this one. City even without Aguero and Silva has played remarkably well, all thanks to the two new signings, Raheem Sterling, and Kevin De Bruyne. With captain Kompany expected to return for this tie, I expect City to win this one comfortably.
My Prediction: 3-1
This article is written and prepared by Abhishek Sharma of PGPB4 in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of MISB Bocconi.