Well, that as they say is that, the weekend is over and all the football has been played (at least until Boxing Day, I love Christmas), so I guess it’s time to look back and see what we can take from the results. If you haven’t already, I implore you to check out THAT Andros Townsend strike vs Man City, it is an utterly sumptuous strike!
Wolves 0-2 Liverpool
To begin, however, I’m going to start by looking at the first game from the weekend, Friday evening’s Wolves vs. Liverpool. When I predicted this game, I always thought that Liverpool would win, but I also believed that Wolves would give them a fight for the points and my lord did they put up a fight! For the first and last ten minutes of the first half, Wolves absolutely battered the Liverpool goal and, had they been a bit more ruthless and taken their chances, they could have put their visitors in real trouble. Adama Traore was, for me, one of the standout players, his powerful running making life a little awkward at the back for Liverpool. The away defence, however, withstood this barrage of attacks with the confidence that this season has given them and they looked a lot of times assured, even when under pressure.
I know it’s been said probably a million times this weekend, but I must give props to Virgil van Dijk, who apparently was even a little bit under the weather. Nonetheless, he was alert and strong whenever he was called upon, not putting even so much as a toe wrong and he really impressed me, despite me already knowing how good he was. A friend of mine (who, fair enough, is a Liverpool fan) said to me that he thinks that van Dijk is probably the best defender in the league right now and, if I’m completely honest, I didn’t really have a retort ready, only the feeling of disappointing agreement! He has steadied the Liverpool defence, combined with the addition of Allisson, and now Liverpool are the only team in the league to have conceded less than 10 goals so far, very impressive.
Overall, this was an impressively managed game from Liverpool who didn’t panic under pressure and then took it easy for the last half an hour when they felt they had the game won. Jurgen Klopp has instilled in them a confidence and a maturity that Liverpool sides of the past have not seemed to possess. In all fairness, Wolves deserved at least a goal for all the probing they did, yet another good performance where they just haven’t been clinical enough to come away with more points but, should they play like this against any other side, I’m sure they would’ve got a goal or two to their name.
Manchester City 1-3 Crystal Palace
Next up, it must be the major shock of the weekend (other than United winning easily of course) in Crystal Palace’s victory over City at The Emirates and my lord did they deserve it! They pushed City, frustrated them and attacked them, almost as if they were expecting to score. I said it myself, Hodgson has made a frustrating defence an art and he is a master of it. As soon as his side took the lead with that sublime strike from Andros Townsend, in fact can we just take a minute to appreciate the flight of that ball? I haven’t seen a ball hit that true for a long time, it reminded me a little of that Cristiano Ronaldo free kick against Portsmouth years back, of course that was from a free kick and this was picked out perfectly on the volley. WOW.
Anyway, back to the game itself, City were not at their imperious best at any point during the game yesterday. They went 1-0 up as expected and then seemed to get a bit arrogant, as if the game was over and they had won. I was very unimpressed to be honest, I thought Guardiola had trained his team to perform better than that, they are normally focused on the game and willing to do anything to get the win. Even if they go 3-0 ahead, usually they would make sure to ensure the clean sheet but yesterday they looked rather discombobulated and that’s the only word that I can think of to convey my true feelings. It also perfectly describes how they played, never seeming to flow in their football, always looking as if a couple of cogs were loose.
They lost a couple weeks ago and they lost yesterday, Pep is going to have to do some work to make sure that these slips don’t become a habit, Liverpool are playing well, looking strong and not like they’re going to drop a lot of points. That means that City cant be handing them freebies like this if they want to make a title chase, especially with Liverpool looking so confident like yesterday. Sort it out Pep!
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