Six things we learned from super Sunday
It was a festival of football in the English Premiership yesterday as four very enthralling games took place with lots of talking points. We saw Tottenham struggle to a win over Crystal Palace, while Everton made a fighting comeback from two goals down to defeat Watford. However, the biggest games of the day happened in London and Manchester as Chelsea defeated Mournho and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, while Manchester City outclassed Arsenal at the Etihad. Here are six things we learned from both heavyweight clashes.
David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne are wizards
Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva are truly beautiful footballers to watch. Their blend of control and creativity at the heart of the midfield, both playing with equal balance of game-controlling passing, and piercing, pressure-inducing play, is orgasmic. They dance their way in and out of pockets of space, drifting in between the cracks of the game, interplaying with one another, effortlessly changing the angle of attack, always moving the opposition defenders, pulling and pushing them out of position with deadly frequency and running them in circles. They make ‘The Beautiful Game’ beautiful and pleasing to the eye with all that aesthetics. They carved Arsenal open repeatedly, were always on the move, consistently finding space in and around Granit Xhaka, receiving the ball on the half-turn and pinging the ball in and out of the midfield third with great pace and precision. The spaces that they opened up were vast and advanced. Arsenal could, simply, not contain. They were just too much to handle for the gunners and were hugely instrumental in getting all three points for City.
Arsenal should let go of Mesut Ozil
It would have been very painful for Arsenal fans to have watched Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva work their magic, while their own ‘magician’ was only able to perform his most famous trick, disappearing. Mesut Ozil was on the periphery of the match, only showing his quality in fleeting glimpses and when Arsenal needed him most, he was nowhere to be seen. That has been the criticism leveled at the German for many years and he still does not do nearly enough to shut the critics down and impress himself on the big games, especially away from home. When he does receive possession, it is often deep in his own half, a long way from offering any threat, and under immediate pressure from an opponent. These games do not suit Ozil. He does not like them; he does not command them. Against City, he went missing again. Perhaps the time to let him move on has come.
The title is City’s to lose
It’s really sad, but it is also glaring now that it will take a monumental effort to stop this City side from lifting the PL trophy in May. They are already eight points above their closest challenger and we’re not in December yet. They are unbeaten in the league, have picked up thirty-one out of thirty-three points and have scored a whooping thirty seven goals in just eleven league games. The scariest part is that they have played and easily dispatched three of the five teams that are supposed to be their main challengers to the title. The way they took apart Arsenal on yesterday with such embarrassing ease must have surely sent jitters down the spines of the rest of the league.
De Gea is Manchester United’s most important player
The Spaniard is currently the best goal-keeper in the world and he showed his mettle once again yesterday. Real Madrid are still rumoured to be very interested in making him their number one and will reportedly push a world record bid for him next summer. The Spaniard once again, showed why he is so heavily lauded and highly regarded with some superb saves against Morata, Eden Hazard and Timeoue Bakayoko. He personifies the saying ‘that a good goalkeeper adds fifteen points to his side with his saves’ Manchester United would drop an awful amount of points if not for the Spaniard’s heroics over the seasons. They over-rely on him, but he is so consistent that he will never let you down. He is the only one in the Man United’s backline that solidified and enhanced his reputation after the game. He is unarguably the best in the Premier League and arguably the best in the world.
Kante in Chelsea’s most important player
The month of October wasn’t favourable for Chelsea as they were without N’Golo Kante. In the six games they played without him last month, they only kept one clean sheet. Kante returned from a hamstring injury yesterday and dominated the midfield. The diminutive French international was everywhere, snapping at the heels of Lukaku and Rashford whenever they dropped back and stepping into defensive gaps when Gary Cahill or Azpilicueta surged forward. He also kept Nemanja Matic, who has been a pivotal figure for United since he transfer from Chelsea, quiet as the combative Frenchman dominated in midfield. Chelsea are a completely different team with Kante in midfield and their defensive solidity is down to him. No one player makes a team but one player can make a heck of a difference and that player is N’golo Kante.
Man Utd should ditch the back three
Jose Mourinho is well known for his defensive approach to big games as he would rather defend stoutly and not lose than risk it all and lose ‘beautifully’. However, the Portuguese surprisingly decided to take a more attacking approach to yesterday’s game at Stamford Bridge and true to his worst fears, it seemed rather counter-intuitive and most importantly left his team without any points. The way he set his team up at the start of the game was completely against what he normally goes for when setting up his team for a game like yesterdays. His three-man defense of Phil Jones, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling were frenetic in their approach and lacked any sort of stability. They struggled to keep up with the runs of Chelsea’s attacking players and the goal itself was a clear example of their disorganized defending. As Cesar Azpilicueta picked up the ball in United’s half, unmarked and with lots of space to run into, Álvaro Morata evaded his supposed marker and made a clever run straight into the middle of the box to power the header past David de Gea expertly for the winner. If Mourinho had stuck to his traditional back four, it might have been a different ball game and I don’t think we’ll be seeing a back three anytime soon from the Reds again.
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