Another weekend of Premier League action was as dramatic as could be expected with the top two failing to win and stellar wins for teams in the bottom half.
Maligned stars hold the key to fluid United
Manchester United’s man of the match award was a toss up between Marouane Fellaini and Ashley Young. That’s right, two players dragged in from the cold amidst a summer of spending have become integral to United’s Champions League challenge. Coincidentally, the 3-0 win over Tottenham was arguably United’s performance of the season, when things finally began to click and the Red Devils began to ooze fluidity.
Michael Carrick also grabbed a deserved goal and assist on a decent afternoon for the players who haven’t been regular features in this transitional United team all season. It is now they who are marching forwards with Wayne Rooney and David De Gea and leading this team into a new era. Perhaps with their foundation, stars such as Di Maria and Falcao will adjust more comfortably.
City gifting title to reluctant Chelsea
If the Premier League was a competition decided by who wanted to win it the least then Man City would surely be out in front with Chelsea a close second. Neither team showed the required desire to win at the weekend as both dropped points. City’s defeat to Burnley is one of their lowest ebbs of the season, disastrous in their preparations to travel to Barcelona this week, whereas Chelsea squandered chances at home to Southampton following their Champions League exit.
Players such as Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas are out of form and appear to be suffering from the responsibility in the Chelsea side, whilst there is no responsibility to be seen in City’s! This season’s champions will be far from vintage.
Boyd goal better than Phillips’
Time to voice an unpopular opinion – George Boyd’s strike was far better than Matty Phillips’. It’s simple, Boyd’s strike – a beautifully crisp half-volley that arrowed into the bottom corner from 20 yards – was the winning goal for Burnley against the current champions of England. It sent Turf Moor wild and helped the Clarets on their way to three massive points.
Phillips’ 45-yard worldy came against Crystal Palace in another dismal away performance. Sure, Phillips hit the strike with venom and gusto, but the consolation strike only came from so far out because Palace had thwarted Rangers at every avenue. It was only natural for Phillips to hit the ball from there out of frustration, and because he knew at 3-0 down little mattered. Added to that was the fact there was little movement ahead of him. So choose – a memorable peach of a shot that could be vital in the relegation battle, or a ripsnorter of a goal borne out of frustration and inferiority?
Pulis definitely hates Stoke
You won’t catch the Baggies boss saying it out loud, but its what he really thinks! Having spent the majority of his managerial years in the city of Stoke-on-Trent, Tony Pulis can stand the place no more and has sworn revenge on the club he once guided into the Premier League.
Why is it that Pulis has yet to return to the Britannia Stadium since leaving two years ago? He missed the trip with Palace last season, and left the club before the season had even begun. Now at West Brom, he’s only been in charge for the game at The Hawthorns. Added to that is the fact that he has ground out two identical 1-0 wins against the Potters with two different teams! The Stoke fans may still adore Pulis, but there’s no way he’ll be making them smile ever again!
Tim Sherwood probably earned his coaching badges at Hogwarts
There’s no sensible way of putting this – Tim Sherwood is magic. How else can you explain Aston Villa doubling their away goal tally in the space of 40 minutes on Saturday? Under Sherwood, Villa have won two matches against West Brom, scoring twice in both of those, and masterminded a route out of the bottom three when an escape had appeared impossible.
The magic man has produced goals, two from Benteke and astonishingly another double from Gabriel Agbonlahor. Smiles are returning to Villa faces for the first time in an age with attractive counter-attacking football on display. All of this must be attributed to the tactical genius of Sherwood, who has clearly spent his time out of work in the Chamber of Secrets.