Week 5 of the Premier League flew by this past weekend, and things started to get a little depressing again for Liverpool and Tottenham fans. Both teams drew at home, to Burnley and Swansea respectively, and questions were most definitely asked about Jurgen Klopp’s transfer strategy, with some sports talk radio phone-ins questioning his ability to lead this Liverpool team to any kind of trophy.
Manchester United and Manchester City yet again showed why they’re this seasons teams to beat, winning 4-0 and 6-0 respectively, and the game that was set to be the highlight of the weekend in Chelsea vs. Arsenal fell flat, finishing 0-0 at Stamford Bridge.
This week’s recap also adds the final three teams to my Premier League Prediction Table, and I invite you to add your own in to the comments. At the end of the season, I will be doing a comprehensive recap of my predictions to see how bad I did! You’ll notice it still says Manchester United/City for the top two. Don’t worry, my choice will be made by the end of October.
Saturday’s late game saw Tottenham take on Swansea City at Wembley Stadium, a temporary home that has become more of a curse than a blessing. The game ended 0-0, and after the game, youth graduate Harry Winks admitted that the atmosphere at Wembley simply isn’t what it is like at their old home White Hart Lane. When Tottenham move back “home,” I think Winks might get a nasty shock when he realizes their new stadium doesn’t match up either.
Time and time again we’ve seen teams move or renovate stadiums and lose the quality atmosphere they once had. West Ham
are a prime example, and it’ll be interesting to see how this Spurs team reacts to that, considering it may well be a factor in their poor form at Wembley Stadium.
To be honest though, we’ve watched England there for years now, so we’re used to the disappointment.
Another reason contributing to Tottenham’s poor form is the apparent favoritism shown by Mauricio Pochettino to his star players when they’re having a bad day. Dele Alli had a shocker against Swansea, but instead of taking him off, Pochettino took Son Heung-min off. Dele has a habit of starting seasons poorly, so it may be just a case of warming him up, but it could easily be the downfall of this Spurs side of Pochettino continues to pick favorites over form.
Swansea, however, got a great draw away from home, and continue to prove that losing Gylfi Sigurðsson is not going to stop them from challenging for a mid-table spot (I swear that’s the last time I’ll mention Gylfi Sigurðsson and Swansea in the same sentence this season).
Łukasz Fabiański had the game of his career, keeping a clean sheet and continuously bailing out Swansea’s defense who parked the bus for the entire game. Parking the bus was a given before the game kicked off. Away at Tottenham is not an easy position to be in, regardless of where and how Spurs are playing, and Swansea executed their game plan with perfection to pull off an amazing point.
Prediction: Tottenham 6th, Swansea City 16th
The early game on Sunday saw Chelsea take on Arsenal in a 0-0 bore fest that was only livened up by a horrific tackle by David Luiz. The game itself before the challenge wasn’t necessarily hard fought or rough, which meant the tackle came as a surprise for me, but the straight red card was correctly produced and Luiz walked. Interestingly enough, Luiz was Chelsea’s best player until he stupidly flew in on Sead Kolašinac.
The fact is that Antonio Conte got his lineup wrong. Starting Kante and Fabregas in midfield was the wrong decision, especially with Bakayoko fit. Starting all three would have made life very tough for Arsenal’s midfield, but instead, it’s two points dropped more than one point gained for Chelsea.
Arsenal may be happy with the result considering it was away from home, but any game where the top six loses points is going to negatively impact them at the end of the season. Things simply haven’t improved for Arsenal from last season, and we may see them continue to miss out on a Champions League spot if they’re not careful.
Prediction: Chelsea 3rd, Arsenal 5th
The week ended at Old Trafford where Manchester United showed that the loss of Paul Pogba to injury wouldn’t phase them, walking out 4-0 winners against Everton, who now find themselves in the relegation zone after a tricky set of games.
The majority of the goals yet again came after the 80th minute for United, something that is quickly becoming a theme at Old Trafford.
Ashley Young was rewarded with a start after his impressive performance in United’s return to the Champions League, and United were ahead on four minutes with a thunderbolt from Antonio Valencia, perfectly striking the ball from out of the box, and leaving Jordan Pickford flat footed in the Everton net.
Goals from Henrihk Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku and a Martial penalty finished the game after Wayne Rooney went off to a standing ovation from the appreciative Old Trafford crowd.
The loss puts Everton at 18th in the league, with only one win on the season so far. Things can change quickly though, as Everton have games against Bournemouth and Burnely coming up where they will look to recoup and make their way back up the table.
No timeline was set on Pogba’s return for United, but if their performance against Everton was anything to go by, they will be OK in his absence.
The 4-0 win puts them joint top of the Premier League, with Manchester City only technically in 1st place due to alphabetical order, which is why I am yet to solidify my top two positions in my prediction table. It’s United or City, but I’m holding off making that decision until around Week 10!
Prediction: Manchester United 1st/2nd, Everton 12th
Premier League Prediction Table
- Manchester United/City
- Manchester United/City
- Stoke City
- West Bromwich Albion
- West Ham United
- Swansea City
- Crystal Palace