Chelsea 1- Manchester United 0
Chelsea gets a big win over Manchester United with a bullet header from Morata ten minutes into the second half. Many were expecting another performance where Mourinho would park the bus in a big road game, but the bus was nowhere in sight. The game was a classic intense game where both teams could have ended up with the result.
The game saw the return of Ngolo Kante and we saw the return of form for the team. After getting beaten 3-0 in the midweek versus Roma, the Frenchman brought in a big motivation into the midfield. It freed up Fabregas and Bayako in the midfield who were struggling dealing with the brunt of the defensive issues. Both look freed up and better on Sunday. Fabregas, in particular, had struggled to come into the game but he led the blues in touches, having 94 of the teams 668 in the game, he was the team heartbeat. He set the pace for Chelsea in possession and Kante was again amazing in ball recovery.
The Blues also saw huge improvement upfront with Morata and Hazard finally looking well together and getting interlocking play by reading each others’ runs. In the game, their combinations didn’t end up in goal but it seems to be coming along very quickly. Morata finished a header off a lob pass by Azpilicueta, it was his seventh goal in 10 games so far playing for the Blues. He is on pace to score more than 20 this season. Hazard is looking like he is in top form and was creating chances left and right. Chelsea is now back and sits a point of second place.
From the United point of view, they came into the game confident they could outplay Chelsea, but got humbled. Besides Rashford no one in the front line was really able to find space and create opportunities. Mourinho went back to the back three he used last week and Phil Jones was found as the clear weakness in the back line, losing mark of Marrtial on multiple locations and losing a lot in the air. Many criticize Mourinho’s pragmatism in recent weeks. Yet, when he went away from that mentality is when United dropped points. United with the loss stay in second place but now have a huge gap from first place and have the field right behind them.
Manchester City 3 – Arsenal 1
Manchester City now has an eight point gap at the top when they handled Arsenal 3-1 at home. The Gunners might feel the referees were against them. There was a harsh penalty that was given against them and an offside call missed in the third goal leaves the north London club a little upset by the result. Yet, Manchester city was by far the dominant side in the game as they had 58 % decent of possession in the match and had 807 touches compared to Arsenal’s 618. They outshot the Gunners and always seemed in control of the match.
The first goal came from Kevin de Bruyne who had a classic give and go with Fabian Delph, tacking a low shot between four Arsenal defenders and finding the bottom corner. The second goal came when Nacho Monreal bumped into Sterling and he hit the ground. There was contact but to many pundits, the call seemed harsh. Too that point we saw the Manchester City that we have seen all year creating chances after chances with ease, passing the ball around the box and pressing when they lose it. They still look very shaky at the back, and this game gave no indication that the defensive issue is getting any better.
Arsenal got into the game when Lacazette was brought in, he brought movement in the front line that pushed the Man City center backs. He was the only real threat the gunners had. Which brings up the question about Weger’s starting lineup for the game. Alex Iwobi was chosen over the Frenchman in the big road game. You would expect Wenger to start his big money signing but he went with the youngster. This is the second big game he has decided to keep Lacazette on the bench, after not starting him at Anfield.
Now Arsenal sits in fifth place tied on points with Liverpool. With Chelsea’s win, Arsenal sits four points from Champions League spots and look like they have to improve if they want to challenge getting into the top four. They only have four points on the road this season. Manchester City, on the other hand, continues their amazing start and are in prime position to get the title. They have only dropped two points so far this year and are playing an amazing brand of football.
Liverpool and Tottenham maintain pace
Liverpool played West Ham out of the park in a 4-1 win at London stadium, a result that got Slan Bilic sacked. Liverpool looked dominating and scary in counter-attacking they continue the form they have had this year against opponents they should beat. They are right now in sixth place, but are still in the middle of things to get in the champions league spot next year. Liverpool will have to continue this form and prove that they can perform this way against the top of the league.
Tottenham held on to a 1-0 win versus Crystal Palace, it wasn’t the best performance but it was one that showed maturity for the squad. The goal came from a rebound that Son put in the corner, Spurs were in control but looked shaky at times and were saved by a fine performance by their keeper. Gazzaniga had three fine saves that help Spurs maintain their lead. Palace was able to create clear chances but no one was able to be decisive up front.