Swansea City vs Manchester United (Game watched by NAFB)
Swansea 0 – 4 Manchester United
Swansea started with 5 at the back while the Red Devils named an unchanged starting 11. The only notable change for United was the presence of Victor Lindelöf on the bench. The game started with United dominating the game, however the Red Devils broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime. Pogba had a header from the corner which bounced back off the crossbar, Eric Baily was there to mop up and score his first goal as a Manchester United player. Midway through the second half, Swansea took of a defender and tried to go for it, while Jose sent on Martial and Fellaini. Game Changer. This substitution lead to 3 Manchester United goals in the space of less than 4 minutes. Lukaku, Pogba and Martial all got on the score sheet for a second consecutive week. Another 2 assists for Mkhitaryan. Wow. United hit that gear I talked about in my last few posts that concerned them. Those 4 minutes of football were deadly, they punished Swansea and there was nothing they could do to change it.
Manchester United have scored 4 goals or more in their first two games of the season for the first time since 1907/08
Man of the Match
Like last week, I am going to give this to Mkhitaryan again. Fantastic outing for the little Armenian and his two assists were solid.
Manchester United host Leicester City (26th August) who have looked good this season, at the time of writing they are leading 1-0 against Brighton and Hove Albion. Swansea will face a trip to Crystal Palace (26th August) who are currently tied at 0-0 at Anfield, although that result will probably not stay the same.
Southampton vs West Ham
Southampton 3 – 2 West Ham
I wasn’t going to talk about this game, I was going to stick to just the teams I predicted in the top 7 but certain events prompted me to talk about the fixture.
Southampton opened the scoring through Gabbiadini in just the 11th minute of the game (it took them 30 shots on goal through the season to finally open the scoring). The incident in question then came in during the 33rd minute where Marko Arnautovic had a moment of madness. He seemingly threw his elbow at the head of the Southampton player and got himself a red card. This is unacceptable and The FA needs to hand down more than the standard 3 game ban that is handed out for these direct red cards. A few minutes later, Dusan Tadic scored from the penalty spot and doubled their lead, the goal was followed by a goal for The Hammers who finally opened their account with a typical poacher’s goal from the little pea, yes, Javier Hernandez has a Premier League goal after spells away in Germany. Unbelievable scenes, Javier Hernandez has his second of the game and now it is 2-2, down 2-0, 10 men and now they have pulled level. Liverpool most certainly did a much better job after the introduction of Salah in the 61st minute, he is a gamechanger. Really unfortunate for the Hammers as they conceded a late penalty and allowed Southampton to get the win with a late penalty, converted by Charlie Austin. Zabaleta, a veteran in the EPL should know better than give away a late penalty like that. Joe Hart has now conceded 7 goals in 2 games at West Ham.
Man of the Match
2 goals for Javier Hernandez means he gets the man of the match, unfortunate to end up on the losing side.
Southampton are away to Huddersfield while the Hammers visit Newcastle United.
Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (Game watched by NAFB)
Liverpool 1 – 0 Crystal Palace
Liverpool made 5 changes from the side that beat Hoffenheim in midweek for this clash versus Crystal Palace who were looking to extend their win streak at Anfield. The game in the first half was a back and forth affair with nothing significant happening. They are missing players of quality such as Salah and it shows in the performance. Liverpool really should be cruising if they have their starting 11 out, but it looks like getting into the champions league is currently priority number 1. 72 minutes into the game, Mane got the opening goal after a bad bit of defending by Crystal Palace. Game ended at 1-0 with nothing notable happening again.
Man of the Match
Mane did a good job, he is one of the most important players for Liverpool and it showed.
Liverpool host Arsenal next time out (27th August), while concerns about players on both sides and their transfers remain. Coutinho’s transfer could hinge on Liverpool’s midweek clash and their progression in the Champions League. While Alexis still wants a transfer out of North London.
While Palace are home to a Swansea team that has yet to score a goal this season and they have allowed 44 shots at their goal in 2 games.
Stoke City vs Arsenal (Watched by NAFB)
Stoke City 1 – 0 Arsenal
Stoke gave a debut to Jese Rodriguez up top while Ozil, Welbeck and Lacazette lead the line for the Gunners. The hybrid 5 at the back for Arsenal features 3 full backs, a winger and Mustafi, the only recognized center back in the line-up. Interesting to note that Hector Bellerin has started at left wing back while the Ox at right wing back.
Stoke have looked strong, most of their bite coming from new signing Jese who has been fantastic. His fellow Champions League winner, Shaqiri, limps off with an injury. In the second half Jese scored his first goal in the Premier League. He was fantastic all night. Stoke 1, Arsenal 0. Déjà vu. Late on, the Potters had some good build up play and Pieters had a run-on goal from the left flank. Thankfully for Arsenal, he made a crunching tackle on the Stoke wing back who was hit hard on the follow through, this was a very 50-50 tackle and I personally think that a different referee would have taken very different action based on that tackle. He could have seen at least a yellow card for the tackle. Arsenal went into the 5 minutes of stoppage time a goal down. The home crowd is now singing their version of when the ‘saints go marching in’. Stoke really are Wenger’s kryptonite. Another loss at Stoke, they only have 1 win in their last 8 games at Stoke. Cue Arsenal Fan TV. Cue Wenger out. Cue more rumors regarding Alexis leaving.
Man of the Match
Jese had a fantastic first game in the EPL, remember the name.
Arsenal visit Liverpool next time out (27th August), while concerns about players on both sides and their transfers remain. Coutinho’s transfer could hinge on Liverpool’s midweek clash and their progression in the Champions League. While Alexis still wants a transfer out of North London. While Stoke visit West Brom (27th August).
The day saw 2 direct red cards issued (before STK v ARS), one to Marko Arnautovic and one to Hal Robinson-Kanu. Both instances involved the striker throwing his elbow into a defensive player’s face. While the EPL does not have as many protocols as the leagues across the pond in North America do, The FA needs to review these incidents and hand out longer suspensions as targeting the head should not be allowed and examples need to be made.