English Premier League 20/21: Gameweek 9 Review
The English Premier League has always been known as the topmost football league in the world. Well, it’s not just to do with the whopping number of people watching it live every weekend. It’s mostly due to the fact that even the weakest teams in the division can spring in a surprise by beating the Champions. Take an example of last season — Norwich City, who got relegated at the end of the season, beat Manchester City — or rather, thrashed Manchester City in convincing fashion. This season has been no different with Champions Liverpool getting demolished in the 7–2 loss at Aston Villa a month back.
What’s even more interesting is the number of teams that contend for the top spots in the Premier division. There’s the regular traditional ‘Big-Six’ of Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. Then there’s the mid top-half sides like Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City. And finally, there’s the sides who are giving the big players a run for their money — Everton, Southampton and Aston Villa.
Overall, this League is nothing but an entertainment package on our television sets every Saturday & Sunday. Like always, the last weekend — which was the Matchday Nine of the 2020/21 season — did not disappoint at all. Without much ado, today we take a look at the top games and talking points from the Gameweek 9 of the English Premier League 2020–21.
‘Blues’ for Newcastle at St. James’ Park
In the first game of the weekend, Newcastle United hosted giants Chelsea at St. James’ Park after a long International Break which had left the Chelsea management ruing fatigue issues. Nevertheless, gaffer Frank Lampard posted one of his strongest XI for a game which usually ends up in a draw with the Magpies parking the bus for most periods of time.
A 5-man defence was deployed by Steve Bruce to tackle the mighty attack of the Blues from London but it couldn’t contain the visitors for even 10 minutes into the game. A great cross from the right wing was almost met by Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell but Federico Fernandez took the blame for reacting late as the Argentine put the ball into his own net to give Chelsea the lead.
From that very moment it looked like Chelsea were on to another big margin win but both Mason Mount and Timo Werner missed sitters to keep Newcastle in the contest for an entire hour of play. Just after the hour-mark, Werner made amends for his missed chance by feeding homegrown academy starlet Tammy Abraham to keep the latter’s goal-scoring spree alive in the 4th game running.
To accommodate the mammoth squad that Chelsea have at their disposal, many of the stars have been either benched or are playing in unusual new positions — which is something that pundits are worried about for the long term goals at the London based club.
Nevertheless, the 0–2 win was enough to keep Chelsea in the top four as big fixtures await in December.
‘TOP’tenham run the City parade
The biggest game for this week saw high-flying Tottenham Hotspur take on yesteryear Champions Manchester City at home to begin the domestic football festivities again. It was not just Spurs clashing with City, but also about the evergreen rivalry of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola — which was on-show as the teams met in North London.
It didn’t take long for the new-gen Tottenham side to break the deadlock. After just 5 minutes into the game, midfielder Tanguy N’Dombele showed some brilliant presence of mind to send two City players the wrong way as he slotted in a perfect lobbed pass to Heung-Min Son. The Korean starlet did no mistake as he slotted in a goal which nutmegged City keeper Ederson on the way. This was one of those rare six times when Spurs were seen dominating the game — or else, it was a possession-based masterclass by Manchester City for almost 75 minutes in the game.
But possession doesn’t mean anything unless it’s converted into goals. And that’s what happened with Guardiola’s side which failed to score a single goal on Saturday night. They did come close to getting their name on the score-sheet after Aymeric Laporte scored in the 28th minute. But a potential hand-ball by Gabriel Jesus led to the goal being cancelled as Spurs were handed back their lead which went on till the final whistle.
On the 65th minute, Mourinho’s Tottenham buried the hopes of Manchester City as club captain Harry Kane led a fantastic attack into the box, which was finished classily by Giovani Lo Celso to make it 2–0 for the hosts. There was no chance Tottenham were going to lose from this point on.
This huge win means that the doubters can finally see Tottenham as a clear contender for the title this season. But the North Londoners are known for having a ludicrous season and then bottling it up in the last few game-weeks. It will take at least 37 game-weeks for anyone to conclude that Spurs can finally win the title.
Bruno’s at the wheel!
It has been a frustrating start to the domestic season for Manchester United this year. While they have picked up motivating wins at Paris Saint-Germain and against RB Leipzig in Europe, their Premier League campaign seems lost — exactly the way it was in the middle of last season. What sums up their season till right now is their negative goal difference despite having an attack which cost them more than 300 million pounds.
They faced West Bromwich Albion on the weekend, a side who loses all their games but certainly gives the other teams a run for the win. It was exactly the same case on Sunday as West Brom took the game to Manchester United, who played very well too — as they tried to keep the visitors silent for the entire game in terms of goal-scoring action.
But it was nothing merrier in the opposite penalty box too as a full-strength Manchester United XI failed to convert most of their chances that came their way. In a game which should have seen the others step up for the cause, the Red Devils turned to sensation Bruno Fernandes again for solace. Fernandes made no mistake as he ran the show again at the Theatre of Dreams which earned him a penalty in the first part of the second half.
The Portuguese converted the penalty from the spot and it must have finally given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his camp some relief because it was seemingly looking like a game moving towards a split of points.
The over-reliance on Bruno Fernandes might take an ugly turn if the play-maker gets injured or is benched for some game as there seems to be nobody except the 25-year-old who drives the squad to victories. Nevertheless, the win meant that Manchester United settle in a mid-table place — somewhere they don’t deserve to be, for long.
‘Leed’ing Arsenal to the lower-half
After winning the FA Cup and the Community Shield against two top teams like Chelsea and Liverpool, it seemed that Mikel Arteta is ‘The Man’ on the block. But as the 2020–21 Premier League season has progressed, the Gunners look like a makeshift side lingering around complacency. Arsenal have lost 4 of their opening 9 games this season and find themselves moving closer to the bottom-quarter of the table. The only thing Arteta can boast about right now, is that he is sitting above his master Pep Guardiola [Manchester City are 13th — 1 place below Arsenal on the points table].
Facing Leeds on the weekend, Arsenal should have had a clear game-plan but they lacked one. Everyone is aware that Leeds United play a high intensity game and take the game to attacking sides with their open play. The best approach to playing Marcelo Bielsa’s side is to have disciplined positioning and not leaving gaps at the back during an attack. But Arsenal did exactly the opposite.
Gunners failed to transition the ball very well to the final third and only relied on moving the ball haplessly in the Leeds’ half with no end-result in sight. In what was an expected exchange, the restlessness in the Arsenal camp led to Nikolas Pepe losing his cool. The Frenchman was seen headbutting Leeds’ Ezgjan Alisoki and was shown the red card in the 51st minute.
After that it almost looked like Leeds will clinch all 3 points as the newly promoted side came close multiple times during the game. In fact, Arsenal were hardly visible in the opposition half during the game — something Arteta would not be happy about, especially due to his time at Manchester City.
The Gunners missed two key midfield players in Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny though, but it cannot be an excuse for a team which has been one of the biggest clubs in England for the last century. Times seem tough for Arteta and Co. ahead.
Taming the Foxes in Merseyside
Sometimes it seems very easy for Liverpool Football Club. The newly crowned Champions of Liverpool are undergoing a huge injury and COVID crisis at the club but it seems to have no impact on the Reds, as they go marching on to one victory and another. Jurgen Klopp’s side was victorious against high flying Leicester City in a Super Sunday clash this past weekend, as the home side put 3 past the Foxes, allowing none to tailor a clean sheet for Alisson Becker.
New signing Diogo Jota and temporary right-back James Milner ran the show from start to end at Anfield as the duo contributed to all the three goals directly. Leicester had no answer to the Liverpool lineup which missed six of their regular starters in the squad as they got thrashed after a brilliant start to the campaign this season.
Not to forget Liverpool are still missing new signing Thiago Alcantara in the centre of the park as he recovers from COVID, and evergreen legend Mohamed Salah who just had a negative Coronavirus test as we speak. It’s incredible how good a squad Jurgen Klopp has built in just four years’ time and with another three years in his contract, there always seems space for Premier League and Champions League trophies in the cabinet.
What’s even more surprising is that, this is the same Liverpool who lost 7–2 at Aston Villa a few weeks back and were seen rattling a great Leicester side this weekend. This is the magic of the English Premier League. We, at Mighty Tips, offer great betting tips, match predictions and facts about Premier League and possibly every league in the world every day! Do check out our website for today’s games and their respective predictions. Until then, stay safe and enjoy the beautiful game!