10 Oct Here is this week’s top 5 ‘Make it Count’ Premier League moments…
Cherries take the sting out of the Hornets
What an away performance from Bournemouth!
The south coast side travelled to north London to play Javi Gracia’s Watford, a team who’d started the season well and who were confident in front of their supporters.
David Brooks had already given the visitors a deserved lead on 14 minutes, but once Christian Kabasele had been red carded for Watford, we then saw a clinical display from Eddie Howe’s men.
Their manipulation of the ball and appreciation of space was a joy to watch – unless you were a Hornet’s fan.
Joshua King followed up his penalty, given for Kabasele’s foul, with a second right on halftime.
When Callum Wilson added a fourth two minutes into the second half, the match then became an exercise in damage limitation for the hosts.
The fact that they didn’t concede again was more to do with Bournemouth easing off than a fine defensive display in the second 45.
On that evidence, Howe has certainly done himself no harm concerning being considered as a progressive and forward-thinking coach.
A masterful display.
Jose is Special once more
At 2-0 down after 10 minutes, the first time in Premier League history that Manchester United had faced that scoreline at Old Trafford so early in a game, Jose Mourinho’s head was on the block.
Saturday morning’s papers were dominated by the news that the Portuguese were going to be sacked whatever the outcome of the match and such an early blow seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.
However, when Mourinho’s back is against the way, that’s usually when he comes out fighting. Substituting Eric Bailly on 18 minutes probably means the end of his United career, but his replacement, Juan Mata, was the author of the goal which handed the Red Devils a lifeline with 20 minutes left to play.
When Anthony Martial fired in the equaliser on 76, the momentum, and all of the Old Trafford faithful, was with the hosts.
Alexis Sanchez, woefully out of form, was sent on as a cursory last throw of the dice, and the Chilean would pop up with the winner in the last minute.
Mourinho might’ve been down, but he wasn’t out. He and United will live to fight another battle.
Seagulls soaring after victory over rejuvenated Hammers
Heading into this one, you’d be forgiven for thinking that West Ham had turned the corner.
Three excellent performances in succession against Everton, Chelsea and Manchester United had the bubbles blowing high again, and, to be fair, the east Londoners had the lion’s share of possession and play in this one.
With almost double the passes of their hosts, a far superior accuracy, and double the shots at goal, one can’t be too harsh on Manuel Pellegrini’s side. Their only problem on the night was an inability to put the ball in the back of the net.
Glenn Murray, a real thorn in the side of the Hammers in the past, came up trumps again here, the oldest swinger in town (at 35) scoring the winner on 25 minutes.
Credit must be given to Chris Hughton and particularly to his back four, as they limited the visitors to the same amount of shots on target across the 90 minutes.
It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective, and when you’re scrapping for points, who cares how they arrive?! Certainly not the Amex Stadium faithful who were in full voice once again.
Everton back to winning ways
Unfair as it may have been, the knives were already being sharpened for Everton manager, Marco Silva, after the Toffees’ wretched recent run.
Against a sprightly Leicester side, not too many would’ve given the visitors a chance of victory on current form.
However, it is evident from the first whistle that Everton was up for this one. Richarlison’s opener on seven minutes wasn’t even the first time they’d gone close.
Though it wasn’t quite a ‘shoot on sight’ policy from the Merseysiders, when a chance presented itself, they tried their luck.
Ricardo Pereira’s equaliser for Leicester on 40 was against the run of play, and it did give the Foxes brief hope of a comeback.
That was extinguished once Wes Morgan was sent off just after the hour mark. Within 14 minutes of going down to 10 men, they also ceded the lead, Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring what proved to be the winner.
The three points take Everton to within one goal of Leicester, slap bang in the middle of the table, and just four points off of fifth place.
That’s nine wins in a row for Unai Emery’s Gunners now, and Arsenal look far removed from the team that Arsene Wenger habitually under-achieved with towards the end of his tenure in north London.
Fulham didn’t know what had hit them in the second half of this match, and Aaron Ramsey’s goal – Arsenal’s third – was a lesson in simple, effective and incisive football.
Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both weighed in with doubles on a day to remember, and the truth is, Fulham weren’t as bad as the scoreline suggests. But the Gunners were unplayable at times.
They’re starting to build up a head of steam which is ominous for those teams around them, all of whom (City, United, Chelsea) have more pressure on their shoulders than Emery’s side.
This is a team that’s still emerging, but the way in which they’ve bought into the Spaniard’s philosophy and been able to execute it is commendable.
Andre Schurrle’s 44th-minute equaliser for Fulham turned out to be nothing more than a consolation, but with 21 shots over the 90 minutes, they need to be hitting the target far more often.
Arsenal’s five goals from nine shots tell the story. Clinical.
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