Kevin Friend isn’t Villa’s friend, Isaac Hayden – the one that got away, Mane has had enough, Kane spot-on again, and we take a pause for our first international break of the season on the Scorecard.
31 goals, 42 yellow cards and 3 red cards; it was definitely a fast and furious match week 4 in the premier league littered with so many drama and talking points.
So, am off my bed on a Monday morning, hands akimbo, and wondering which direction do I go from the plethora I’ve got. Trust me, the Chief Editor never fails. Here we go!
Continental expertise will hamper Wolves
Fearless, bold, and kinky in their own right, but will Wolves Europa League Cup involvement haunt them domestically – it appears so.
Going down memory lane suggests when clubs of not too big a budget and squad find their way to European competitions they tend to struggle in the league. Classic examples are; Leicester City, champions in the 2015/2016 season, earning a place in the UEFA champions league the next season and finishing 12th on the log in the league, Burnley finished 7th in the 2017/2018 season and qualified for the Europa League Cup in the 2018/2019 campaign only to escape relegation with a 15th place finish.
For Wolverhampton Wanderers, it’s been a glorious start in Europe, six wins out of six and into the group stage, but the stats contradicts itself domestically. They are one of two teams yet to win a game in the league this season, grabbing only 3 points in 4 games.
Nuno Espirito Santo had the luxury of picking the same starting XI every weekend last season and why not? But this season, he’s been rotating and resting a few for the prioritized occasions, after all there should be something about playing Thursday/Sunday every other week.
Ole and Frank need a miracle
You can’t win anything with a bunch of choir boys or son in-laws – you need the old heads or perhaps the old legs in and around your team. Where are the Roy Keanes, Bryan Robsons, John Terrys, and Drogbas?
Chelsea’s side against Sheffield United was the club’s youngest average age starting XI in the premier league, 24yrs 158days, bettering the average age against Oldham in 1994, 24yrs 190days. Interesting, but to what end?
The Blues blew away a two goal lead against the Blades, albeit, the young lads have risen up to the occasion, but amidst all the energy, power and pace, there’s got to be more – experience! At two nil up they’ve got to be a leader, the game has been won, they don’t have to win it again. They’ve got to be someone who says at the moment lets calm down, let’s stay put and try to put out their fire, but no, there isn’t anyone in there. Lampard needs to raise leaders in his squad.
Meanwhile, Manchester United look lost and its surprising 21yr old Daniel James has been the go-to man; 3 goals in 4 games, same as Alexis Sanchez in United colours, the Welshman has shown real value for money.
However, it’s surreal to realize how threadbare United looks, there are short in numbers at the back and upfront, which begs the rationality behind the number of key players who were left to go out this window.
No one needs this international break like Ole and Frank – they really need a miracle.
There’s another league below the top two
Why City and Liverpool have put down their foot down on the pedal and won’t take it off, below the magnificent duo is another league.
Leicester City are top-six bound. Eight points from 4 games, Brendan Rodger is making the Foxes tick again, and with the faltering nature of Chelsea and Manchester United, this could be their year. That’s not all, there is Everton, West Ham and Crystal Palace around the corner ready to give the top six a genuine push.
Mane is just a man and has had enough
It is a rare scene to see an inflamed Sadio Mane, if at all it’s ever been caught on camera. The Senegalese international is one of the most admirable footballers in the world. Saturday’s rage at Turf Moor was nothing short of true emotion, emptying his bowel, he has had enough.
Mane caught a frustrating figure on the bench, after being incensed of repeatedly being ignored for a pass by strike partner Mo Salah. It wasn’t only Mane, Klopp was concerned too at one instance.
Countless times against Burnley and some fixtures stretching to last season, Salah often seek for glory rather than the simple pass to Firmino, Mane or whoever was available.
On hindsight, since the 2018/2019 season to present Mo Salah has created the most chances at Liverpool (77), Trent Alexander-Arnold (62), Robertson (56), Mane (55), Firmino and Milner (46).
Could they be a rivalry brewing between last season’s joint golden boot winners?
Pepe should be trusted, Xhaka trashed
Granit Xhaka, Mustafi, and Cech made the most errors leading to goal last season for Arsenal, and the Swiss midfielder has picked up from where he stopped. A nightmarish, bizarre lunge on Son Hueng Min in the box was a reminiscence of what he brings to the team – trouble. With Dani Ceballos and Guendozi playing so well, Xhaka should be dropped by Emery.
However, just 3 games into the season, and Arsenal’s record signing Nicolas Pepe is being criticized in some quarter. Truth be told, the lad just swapped the Ligue 1 for the most competitive league in the world, he’s yet to know his teammates, he still hasn’t overcome the language barrier, and he’s yet to visit the 300-year-old tea shop – The Twinings Café.
Pepe has quick feet, deft touches, an eye for a pass, an assist already. Trust him more, a little more, Pepe will come good.
How did they miss that?
Pheewww! What a weekend!
Goals they say change games, but how about big calls, and game changing moments – they stay with us for a long time, with the thought of what would have been if…
Let start from St James’ Park where Isaac Hayden’s handball in the box went unnoticed and culminated in a Fabian Schar’s goal. Where was IFAB handball law 12 when you need it? Is it being used sparingly as seen at the Etihad and Molineux?
At Palace Henri Lansbury’s leveler was chalked off and Jack Grealish booked for simulation.
Did Jack Grealish reputation go before him? A closer look at the incident would have vindicated Grealish; firstly, he didn’t appeal for a penalty, secondly, they were two contacts on him, and thirdly he safely let go of the pass before hitting the turf. It is surprising Kevin Friend sounded his whistle too early rendering every other phase of play immaterial and the VAR team couldn’t interfere. Aston Villa have been robbed of a point by the EPL way of refereeing.
Leicester’s Youri Tielemans got lucky after a stamp on the ankle of Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson. How did they miss that?
Ref Peter Banks was handling his first game in the EPL, but how about experienced Martin Atkinson who headed the VAR team whispering to the newbie that was a clear and obvious error, and red should have been the decision.
Here we go again the premier league don’t want the VAR refereeing the game, the premier league have set a high bar, the premier league don’t want to slow the game, Blah! Blah! Blah!
The referees have headed for St Georges’ Park for a meeting and for Pete’s sake they need it, just like some teams need the international break to regroup.
Here are some scenes from Match week 4, you can also drop a comment below.
Photo credit: Premier League