Chelsea have problems with discipline both on and off the pitch
The season seems to be going from bad to worse for the reigning champions, who went into this weekend’s fixture against West Ham looking to bounce back from a disappointing goalless draw in midweek. However, things looked to be going from bad to worse for Chelsea, who went in at half time a goal and a man down following two rash yellow card offences from Nemanja Matic. This wasn’t the end of the Blues’ woes either, as first team coach Silvino Louro consequently received a similar fate after berating the fourth official for what he believed to be a soft dismissal.
As if this weren’t enough, the Blues came out after the interval with manager José Mourinho sent to what is now a familiar spot for him in the stands. In what is already their fifth loss of the season, Chelsea conceded one more after the slew of dismissals to leave the final score at 2-1 to the home side, though concern will also lie with the fact that the Blues picked up an astonishing five yellow cards in addition to the two presented to Matic, highlighting a problem with discipline that can perhaps be attributed to frustration brewing at the club.
With the rest of the pack extending their lead further over the current champions, the pressure is now beginning to mount further on Mourinho and co. to make the top 4, let alone reclaim their title for a successive year.
Tim Sherwood has seen one too many losses
Both Villa and Swansea went into their clash on Saturday out of form and under pressure. However, following the visitors’ 2-1 victory coupled with results elsewhere, Aston Villa now slip downthe table with a lowly 4 points from their opening 10 games, having not recorded a win since the opening day’s match against Bournemouth.
Instead, a series of six straight defeats have left the side in dire straits, prompting ownership to part ways with manager Tim Sherwood after less than a year in charge, despite the fact that he had managed to guide the team to an FA cup final last season.
Although the loss of key figures such as Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph to larger clubs won’t have helped, Sherwood’s inability to spend effectively over the summer may have contributed to his downfall, with characters such as Idrissa Gueye and Jordan Ayew failing to make any meaningful impact in their first season at Villa Park.
It looks to be a tough job ahead for whoever is tasked with getting Aston Villa back on track, but with names such as David Moyes and Remi Garde banded around as potential successors, a quick turnaround might be just what’s required from a team that is struggling to keep the ball out of their own net.
The Arsenal capitulation looks to be nowhere in sight
It’s been a rosy couple of days for Wenger’s side, who managed to stage one of the greatest shocks so far this season with a midweek victory over European giants Bayern Munich. Could this be the year when Arsenal lie the ghosts of previous seasons to bed and finally mount a sustainable title challenge?
It would seem so, as the Gunners successfully managed to maintain momentum this weekend with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Everton, keeping up their chase on the top of the table as well as maintaining their position as England’s best form team of 2015. As a result of another commanding win while the other title challengers of the two Manchester clubs held each other to a 0-0 stalemate, Arsenal now find themselves second to City only on goal difference after the opening 10 games, having already faced traditionally tough opposition of the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United, as well as this year’s surprise packages West Ham and Leicester.
Heading towards the mid-point of the season and the busy Christmas period, Arsenal will be looking to keep the momentum going both domestically and in Europe, aiming to give their fans hope of a more prestigious trophy than the FA cup of the last couple of years.
There’s no matching the Wear-Tyne derby
There’s often been a debate as to which fixture is the highlight of the Premier League, and this weekend the north-east clash between Sunderland and Newcastle made a great case with its plethora of controversial moments, hot-headedness, and individual class.
With both sides stuck in the relegation zone leading into this match, extra weight was added by the fact that the home side was yet to register their first win of the season, while Newcastle were feeling confident fresh off a 6-2 battering of Norwich the previous weekend.
As a result, the Magpies started off strongly, posing a much more dangerous threat throughout the first half before a penalty incident at the other end that completely changed the face of the game. An overly aggressive shove by Fabricio Coloccini on Steven Fletcher in the Newcastle box resulted in a penalty and red card being presented to the Argentinian defender just before half time, completely changing the shape of the match and presenting an opportunity to the home side who eventually ended up as 3-0 winners at the final whistle.
With Newcastle now appealing against Coloccini’s red card, it seems as though the two clubs’ fortunes could be taking different turns in an already difficult season for both sides.
Harry Kane is back to hat-trick form
Undoubtedly the breakout star of last season, Spurs’ striker has as of yet been unable to duplicate the blistering form of the previous year, registering only one goal in the opening nine games (a rather dubiously onside strike against Manchester City), while also contributing just as many in his own net during the 2-2 draw against Swansea.
As such, Tottenham were expecting big things from their main striker heading into Sunday’s clash against injury-stricken Bournemouth, and the young English frontman didn’t fail to deliver. With a little help from some extremely questionable goalkeeping from the mistake-prone Artur Boruc, Kane managed to bag himself a hat-trick in a game described as “men against boys” by the presenter of the visitors’ supporters site (a declaration that was accidentally broadcast over the PA system across the Vitality Stadium…), with the final score 5-1 to the visitors.
Spurs now sit at 6th in the table having not lost a match since the opening day of the season, and with their main goal-scorer seemingly back on track, there could be cause to believe that they’ll finally manage to achieve that elusive top 4 spot at the end of this season.
Phil Smith – Sports Team