After an entertaining weekend featuring plenty of goals, here are 4 things we learned from the Premier League this week.
Chelsea Are Much More Than Dark Horses
Last month, RAGS posted about how Antonio Conte could get fired if he didn’t fix a few things, and if you take a look at the Premier League table, it sure looks like he has.
Since the switch of formation to a 3-4-3 – which is more in Conte’s comfort zone – Chelsea haven’t allowed a goal in the league. That’s pretty f*%#$!^ good, and it’s not like they’ve played Sunderland five matches in a row.
Plus, there hasn’t been a 1-0 match during this streak; as a matter of fact, Chelsea hasn’t played in a 1-0 match since they played Liverpool in July during preseason. Since Conte rearranged his players, they’ve been in blistering form, tallying up big scores and denying every opponent of the pleasure of a single goal; 2-0, 3-0, 4-0, 2-0, 5-0 are the league results in order.
That 4-0 result you see there was against Mourinho’s United, not Yeovil Town, and they just destroyed Everton by 5 – Dixie Dean wouldn’t have made it a fair fight.
Eden Hazard is en fuego, scoring 3 and assisting 1 in his last two matches; Diego Costa is frustrating defenders like always, and he’s got 9 goals in 11; David Luiz and Gary Cahill are playing intelligently; N’Golo Kanté is looking like his 2015 self, confident in the middle, even among bigger bodies. His distribution has been key in Chelsea’s recent string of wins, while he was almost invisible before the 3-4-3 switch.
The overall cohesion of the players has improved, and you can surely tack that up to the new change and Conte’s quick thinking; sometimes change comes too late. Instead, Chelsea look poised for a title run and Conte is the man of the city.
Arsenal Are No Closer To A Title, But No Further Away
Arsenal can win the league this year, so long as they don’t endure another low-scoring November, as during Wenger’s tenure the club have averaged just 1.59 points per game in November. After just having drawn in the North London Derby to Spurs 1-1 (and technically didn’t score themselves), it looks like this month could be a stressful one for the Arsenal faithful.
Theo Walcott has rediscovered his form, as he’s got 8 goals across all competitions, but given that this is Theo we’re talking about, it’s altogether likely that we won’t hear from him again for some time – maybe until September 2019. We all know he’s got more pace than you’d know what to do with, but his fragility and inconsistency can’t be ignored; something you could say about his club.
If Arsenal avoid their usual woes and can keep winning (by last minute’s fortunes or not), they’re a side that can top the league and stay there, but only if they keep doing what they’re doing; a draw against Spurs shouldn’t trigger any alarms, but it should serve as a learning experience. The smaller clubs will roll over, but any side that fancies itself a winner will give Arsenal a few headaches – Arsene Wenger needs to see that it doesn’t happen in Spring, let alone November.
Manchester United Are A Boy Band Still Looking For Their Voice
If you’re a Manchester United fan, don’t think you’re out of the woods yet; a Bob Bradley-led Swansea side should have been bullied 3-1, maybe even worse. If it was a 1-0 win, United would still have plenty of worries. This win helps, but there is still work to do.
Despite Mourinho being banned from the touchline for talking shit about one of the league’s worst refs, United sent three goals past Swansea in the first half, the most (league) goals they’ve tallied since they beat Leicester 4-1 in August.
On the 19th United play Arsenal at Old Trafford, and that match will be one to watch, although it’ll air at 4:30 am here in the US, so I can’t be bothered. In all likelihood Arsenal will win 3-1, but you never know what can happen in the Premier League on any given week.
Zlatan’s double and Paul Pogba’s rocket volley inspired United today and assured three points, but the expensive side have struggled against just about everyone; unless I’m mistaken, that’s not title-winning football.
Liverpool Look Really, Really Scary
Since August 10th, Liverpool have scored 30 goals across all competitions and have given up 9 to their opponents. Yeah, you can say that Klopp’s revolutionized Liverpool are a little rough around the edges, but that’s what’s made them so great, and that’s why they sit at the top of the table after 11 games. The Reds have scored more than any other Premier League side, collecting 30 so far, but they’ve given up just as many goals as West Brom, who sit just on the right side of relegation, currently at 17th.
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like Coach Klopp cares much about clean sheets, and why should you when three points are three points? When you’ve got the best offense for miles around, and show literally no signs of slowing down (after a 6-1 battering of Watford), you really don’t care about giving up a goal here and there.
In the side, there isn’t a single player who’s been playing really poorly; some guys may have an off week, but the team as a unit haven’t had an off day in ages – you could say the scoreless draw against United was their latest shakeup, but they went on to beat West Brom and Tottenham 2-1, then pummeled Crystal Palace back into 1905 4-2, followed by this most recent slaughter at Watford.
The next three matches for Klopp & Co. are Southampton, Sunderland, and then Leeds United in the Football League Cup, all in the space of ten days. Hell, they scored 8 goals in seven days last month – I think this young, energetic side have plenty of ammunition for a tight schedule.