Round 3 of the Premier League has come upon us and the teams are starting to grow into the season nicely. We’ve seen teams and players get off to a roaring start, only to be brought back to reality, we’ve seen teams that some (me) thought might not get off the ground go powering through, and we’ve seen some bore draws that everybody knew would be a bore draw. So, through illness and feeling like I’m close to death this weekend, I’ve managed to muster up the strength to get this weeks review out there!
Liverpool Push Through Tough Test That United Couldn’t Manage
As a United fan, I’m hoping that this won’t become a habit, but Liverpool have impressed during their opening three games, scoring 7 goals without reply. They have now got a sturdy defence and have got through tough games at Palace and Brighton where, last season, they might well have bottled it and let in a couple of goals. I wrote last season about Liverpool’s defence, how it was extremely frail and needed someone like Van Dijk in there to settle it and I’ve been proven right and yesterday’s result was the perfect example of it. They went up against a team coming off the back of a monumental win over United and, again, they got up in their faces and tried to create as many problems for them as possible. This was most notable late in the game as Brighton were only denied a point by a huge save from Alisson where someone like Mignolet or Karius might have failed (much to my delight). Last year, it was a consistent problem for them but, since Van Dijk’s arrival, they have kept 11 clean sheets in 18 games which is the most in the league since then. If that doesn’t please Liverpool fans then I don’t know what will.
Another talking point from this game is how quiet Klopp has been about Liverpool’s title chances up to this point. Obviously, this is a question that’s going to be put to him quite a lot this season, but he’s keeping a cool head and refusing to talk about it right now, which I think is probably a smart move. Not because I don’t think they’ll be up there and challenging, but because Liverpool in the Premier League have often heaped way too much pressure and expectation on themselves, so for the manager to attempt to take shoulder that pressure after some good outings is quite astute from the German. In recent years, Liverpool have all too often grown for the big games and then bottomed out against the mid-table and relegation sluggers, with Palace being one notable bogey team for them, so I’m sure that if they can keep this going, a run at the title is looking highly likely (and I am positively cacking my pants about it!)
A Chink In City’s Armour? Or A Sign Of Things To Come From Wolves?
Now, while this may not be the stunning victory that Brighton pulled off last week, but a point against a team who broke the points record last season has to be classed as huge for any newly-promoted team and some real food for thought for Pep Guardiola. I, for one, thought City were going to steamroll this game and actually tipped them to win 4-1 on an app that shall remain unnamed. Guardiola will certainly not be happy at seeing Wolves become only the third team since the beginning of last season to reach double figures in attempts on goal against them. Okay, they lead through a goal that actually went in off Boly’s hand and City had over 70 percent possession but the point is that, when they had the ball, they went toe to toe with City and came out with a point which is probably more than they ever dreamed of before kick off. Guardiola said afterwards that it was a “very good point”, but I’m absolutely certain his players may have got an unkind word or two in their ear after having to come back from a goal down against a team who still have yet to win.
On the other hand, I was reading an article this week about how Wolves may well try and emulate City’s rise to the top. Looking at the ambition in their current signings, and the fact that they have rich Chinese owners, I can’t say that I disagree with that being the final aim of their project. The mere fact that they brought in two players from Champions League team Porto to the Championship speaks for itself! I picked them out as one of the teams I had my eye on to do well and, although they haven’t won yet, they’ve put in two damn good performances so far and, if they keep on like this, they’re sure to pick up a win soon and give themselves a good platform going into Christmas and, eventually, the end of the season.
Bournemouth And Everton Bosh It Out For Champions League
This was another of the games I had my eye on this week, as Eddie Howe looked to improve on two straight wins and an unbeaten start against an Everton side who were unlucky not to have the same record. Bournemouth are experiencing some dizzying heights this season so far and I’m sure they’re absolutely loving seeing their team in the top 4 spots (even if it is only for a short time). This was a game of huge drama, going from high to low to high to low for both sides. Many people have moved Richarlison into their fantasy team this week I’m sure (I definitely know of one unlucky guy in my league) but they will not have been impressed with him this week and he may well get transferred back out just as swiftly after his early bath. At this point I thought Bournemouth might make it 3 out of 3, before Everton got 2 quick goals and the Cherries also earned themselves a red, which made me make the utterly foolish decision of counting Eddie’s men out. They proceeded to score 2 replies to come back and draw a hugely enthralling contest and show some tough upper lip against a team packed with quality that might serve them well this season. This is one of the reasons that I love Eddie Howe, his teams play gutsy football. It may not always be the prettiest of things to watch, but my lord do they play with some heart for him and I honestly believe that, should Sir Gareth want to step down at some point, Eddie should be first in line as he knows how to make a team play for the shirt which you don’t see a lot these days.
Conversely, Marco Silva will again be rather displeased at his team’s lack of discipline and he’s now had 3 games as Everton boss and 2 of those have ended up with his team finishing the game with 10 men. I mean, you’ve got to give it to Richarlison, the boy knows how to make the headlines as he is always a talking point! I feel Silva must be quite disappointed with his players thus far as his team has now lost 4 points from winning positions, and even in their one win against Southampton they faced a nervy ending after being 2 goals clear. One thing here is for sure, teams are going to feel they have a licence to attack the toffees right now as their back line is looking anything but sure of themselves and this is something that Silva is going to have to rectify at some time or another. For now, they still have an unbeaten record this season, but should they keep conceding these goals willy nilly that may well turn around fast.
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