It’s been another great week in London sport, the Premier League was back at its tantalizing best as we saw a London derby that almost turned into an upset, a West Ham game that was an upset, and Arsenal and Palace fans both braved the wilds of the north. Credit to them.
The London(ish) Derby
Chelsea vs Watford
I say London(ish) Derby because I can never tell whether Watford counts as London or not, guess we’ll find out in the comments section.
My poor geographical knowledge wont be the only thing to aggrieve the Watford faithful this week though, when they went ahead against last season’s champions the writing was on the wall for a repeat of last week’s upset against Arsenal. It seems the plucky hornets enjoy ruining accumulators against their bigger, tougher, neighbours. And I love them for it.
However, in football, you rue the chances you miss, and Watford missed more than enough. Richarlison in particular seemed to have a great but awful game. He was in the right areas, provided an assist, was a constant problem for the Chelsea back line; but also he missed a lot of sitters.
Aside from that, the Champions showed why they are champions, and succeeded where Arsenal failed last week and brought the game back, finishing 4 – 2. One goal in particular was fantastic. You’re going to want to brave the commentary for this one.
One thing I picked up on was perhaps a tactical mis-judgement from Marco Silva. Troy Deeney gave a brilliant interview after the Arsenal victory, where he described his ability to use his power and strength to beat the more technical players of bigger clubs, and he did the same thing against Chelsea. When Silva brought him off, this was lacking from Watford’s game, and instead of taking the fight to Chelsea, they sat back and let one of the best attacking outfits in the league pepper them with shots.
Either way, the Blues deserved the win, but Watford should still walk with their heads held high.
Magpies vs Eagles.
I’ve waited ages to use those two nicknames together. Incase you were wondering, I mean Newcastle United vs Crystal Palace.
Those of you who listening to the FCapital podcast last week will know that I didn’t give palace much hope at St James’ Park this weekend. I hate to say I told you so, but, well, I did.
Palace weren’t particularly bad, and the two teams pretty much just traded blows for 85 minutes. But the heartbreak came with a big powerful corner which saw Moreno head the ball in. Old school route-one football. We love to see it, Palace fans, maybe not.
Other than that, Cabaye was lucky to not be sent home with an awful tackle, and Roy Hodgson’s 4-4-2 formation seemed to be working. In the days of wing backs and confusing formations, its nice to see a 4-4-2 hold it own.
West Ham vs Brighton
There’s already an article out examining West Ham’s current woes, so I wont go too far into detail here. But the Hammers were, bluntly, embarrassed on Friday night by Brighton and Hove Albion, a team that – with no disrespect – should be brushed aside by the quality west ham have on the pitch.
The problem west ham have at the moment would appear to be a lack of passion, which is something the London Stadium’s faithful have cannot accept. They had their moments of attacking promise, but they were only moments and half chances. Brighton looked by far the better team, and there’s a lot the Irons can learn from them – team work, for one thing.
West Ham are in trouble, and are worth far less than the sum of their parts.
Everton vs Arsenal
The gunners capitalised on Everton’s poor form earlier today. Jack Wilshere’s return to the side marked a big improvement in the middle of the park, and helped Arsenal impress away from home, winning 5-2 in the end. The game was wrapped up before a red card for Everton, which caused the big score line.
A sloppy bit of play between Monreal and Cech at the end lead to the Toffee’s second goal, and whilst it doesn’t matter when you’re 4-1 up, it will in other circumstances. Arsenal still need to tighten up, but have definitely improved.
Tottenham vs Liverpool
Tottenham were resolute and ruthless in the late kick-off, between the red end of Merseyside 4-1 at Wembley. Its good to see Spurs look so strong against firm competition at Wembley, where they have previously struggled to create an atmosphere.
A brace from the main man Harry Kane saw Liverpool chase much of the game, meaning Spurs could hit them on the break. This win sees Tottenham 3rd in the league.