By Ryan Oldhm
Week 3 of the Premier League season is over and will officially go down in history as the Fantasy Football player’s nightmare. More than 55% of Fantasy Football players own Romelu Lukaku, who missed a penalty in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Leicester, with Wayne Rooney and Chicharito Hernandez also failing to score. My front three managed a total of two points, compared to my Week 2 total of 33 points for my strikers alone!
Despite these forward failings, players who kept faith in Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli were rewarded after the Englishman scored the first goal in their 1-1 draw with Burnley, and Chelsea kept their first clean sheet of the season at home to Everton.
But what’s on the field was eclipsed by what was off it since the last recap. In the last seven days, Wayne Rooney has retired from international football as England’s all-time leading goal-scorer, Zlatan Ibrahimovic announced his return to Manchester United on a one-year deal, Liverpool have agreed to sign Naby Keita NEXT summer and Arsenal Fan TV pundits had YET ANOTHER meltdown after their embarrassing 4-0 loss to Liverpool.
All-in-all, it made for a great week, so here goes.
Manchester City relied on a late Raheem Sterling goal SEVEN minutes in to extra time to win 2-1 down at Bournemouth. Unfortunately for the Cherries, the ball took a wicked deflection and looped in to the back of the next, just half a minute after Josh King could have effectively ended the tie by taking the ball in to the corner, instead selfishly choosing to take a shot from outside of 18 yards.
Referee Mike Dean then showed Raheem Sterling a red card for his celebration with the away fans, and Sterling will now miss the important Week 4 opener against his old club Liverpool at the Etihad on Saturday.
Despite the loss, Bournemouth can take one good thing out of the game after Charlie Daniels’ left foot SCREAMER from outside the box to open the scoring. Only three weeks in to the season, Daniels’ goal will surely be on every shortlist for goal of the season come Week 38, and even if he never scores again (likely), he’ll always be proud of that strike.
Despite Manchester City being unconvincing so far, Pep Guardiola admittedly has them playing some beautiful football. Of course, with the amount of money spent, you’d have to expect it, but you can tell there’s a serious transition happening at City, and they are definitely contenders for the title this season, along with rivals Manchester United who are in a similar transitional period.
Prediction: Manchester City 1st/2nd, Bournemouth 14th
Previously in this column I had predicted West Ham United would finish 8th in the Premier League at the end of the season, but after this week’s hammering at the hands of newly promoted Newcastle, I have to change my prediction. I’ve given myself two mulligans, and I’m using them both this week.
West Ham were utterly awful in their 3-0 loss to Newcastle, and yet again questions were raised about Slaven Bilic’s ability to challenge for any kind of silverware or a European spot.
Truthfully, the only reason Slaven Bilic is still employed is because of last season’s win against Tottenham, where the morale was raised long enough for people to forget about their lackluster season. But it will be too late if West Ham wait too long to see that their team is on a downward trend, and it’ll only get worse if Bilic isn’t sacked.
Newcastle however, can be proud that they were able to score their first goals of the Premier League season, and will be hoping to go on to bigger and better things now that they’ve got that weight lifted off their shoulders. Unfortunately, it may not get much easier than West Ham at home for Newcastle, but Swansea away and Stoke at home for their next two fixtures is definitely not something to be too afraid of.
Prediction: Newcastle 16th, West Ham United 15th (from 8th) This prediction affects other predictions too, so I will post my updated prediction table below this article.
When Frank De Boer joined Crystal Palace in the Summer, there was a quiet confidence that they might be able to turn in to a strong mid-table side, as opposed to one always embroiled in a relegation battle. Well, three games in and they’re playing worse than they ever did last season, and for this reason, Crystal Palace are my second mulligan.
Any Palace fan should be ashamed of the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Swansea City. 2-0 didn’t do their performance justice. Obviously, it’s premature to call a season after three games, but the only way Crystal Palace survive is if Slaven Bilic starts playing Chicharito in net.
England youngster Tammy Abraham opened the scoring for Swansea, with Jordan Ayew finishing things up early in the second half as Swansea coped well with the loss of Gylfi Sigurðsson to Everton.
Crystal Palace’s problem is they are trying to play Frank De Boer football with Sam Allardyce players. Many managers have been victims of their own success in the past, and De Boer has so far shown no willingness to switch to a system that suits his own players. It’s hard to have sympathy for them and their fans if their manager continues to try to force top six football on a mediocre team.
Crystal Palace defender Martin Kelly couldn’t defend a turkey leg from a vegan, and Timothy Fosu-Mensah looks like he’s desperate to get back to Manchester United at the earliest opportunity.
The thing about Crystal Palace is now that Sunderland are out of the league, they’ve taken their spot as team destined to go down every season. There’s no miracle April Sam Allardyce appointment on the cards, and if De Boer doesn’t adapt, Palace will surely be down in the Championship in 2018.
Prediction: Crystal Palace 20th (from 16th), Swansea City 16th
Honorable mentions this week must go to Liverpool, who destroyed Arsenal 4-0 in the late Sunday game, provoking more meltdown videos from the Arsenal Fan TV pundits. Burnley scored late against Tottenham to rescue a draw, leaving Spurs still searching for a win at Wembley this season, and Manchester United won again, this time 2-0 at home to Leicester, making it three out of three for the Red Devils.
Next week sees Manchester City play Liverpool without Raheem Sterling in the biggest game of the weekend, while Tottenham travel to Everton and West Ham welcome Huddersfield to probably drop more points.
Current prediction table:
- Manchester United/City
- Manchester United/City
- West Ham United
- Swansea City
- Crystal Palace
Ryan Oldham is a Manchester native and a lifelong supporter of Manchester United. He knows far more about English Premier League football than you do, and therefore was selected to write a weekly update on the most popular professional sports league in the world. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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