What we learned from Saturday’s Premier League games

Leave a comment

Eight games took place in the Premier League on Saturday as Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool secured wins, while a dramatic draw between Chelsea and Manchester United took center stage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

All of that means that Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea remain unbeaten and this is just the third time in history that three teams are without a defeat throughout the opening nine weeks of a season.

Below is a look at the key takeaways from another frantic day across the PL.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights


Mourinho should loosen Man United’s shackles

Manchester United have been at their best this season when they’re in desperation mode. That was the case at Chelsea on Saturday, as Jose Mourinho’s men fought their way back into the game in the second half and Anthony Martial finished superbly twice to put them 2-1 up. Of course, United conceded twice from set piece situations as Paul Pogba lost his man Antonio Rudiger for the first and a lofted second ball into the box in the 96th minute eventually saw Ross Barkley equalize. That will annoy Mourinho but what will please him is that he was rewarded for starting with an attacking lineup with Pogba, Martial, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford all in the starting XI. United pinned Chelsea back in the second half and the hard-working displays of Rashford and Martial out wide stopped Chelsea’s full backs from joining the attack.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned | Mourinho reacts to draw ]

The main takeaway from this draw at Chelsea is that perhaps things aren’t as bad as they seem at United. Mourinho was set to be sacked two weeks ago and we will never know if that dramatic 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle saved his job. What we do know is that the fact United were disappointed to not grab all three points at Chelsea shows they’re moving in the right direction. Will Mourinho now set up his team in a more attacking system from here on out? Let’s not push it now, but the signs are promising that they can get back on track.


Tottenham win ugly once again

Spurs have been far from scintillating this season but after their 1-0 win at West Ham, Mauricio Pochettino‘s men have ground out four wins on the spin and have now won seven of their opening nine games of the campaign. For a team missing Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Danny Rose from their starting lineup at West Ham, that’s not bad. Hugo Lloris denied Marko Arnautovic on three occasions in the second half in a feisty London derby as two squad players delivered on the key moment. Moussa Sissoko did well on the right and crossed for Erik Lamela to nod home what turned out to be the game-winner. Harry Kane wasn’t at his best but he didn’t need to be as Spurs dug deep to grab another ugly win. It hasn’t been pretty from Tottenham so far but they’re two points behind leaders Man City and given the issues surrounding their stadium delay and not strengthening the squad this summer, this is probably the best start to the season Spurs could have put together. With Eriksen back fit and Dele Alli close behind him, Tottenham need two big wins in the UEFA Champions League against PSV Eindhoven to keep their season on track.


Man City’s embarrassment of riches runs riot

Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho were all on target on Saturday as Pep Guardiola‘s Man City smashed Burnley 5-0. Yes, Burnley were poor. But this was like watching vintage City from last season, as shellackings of minnows happened time and time again. Mahrez and Fernandinho scored sublime goals, while Sane and Silva finished off flowing City moves. With Kevin De Bruyne making his long-awaited return from injury as a second half sub, plus Raheem Sterling was left on the bench and Guardiola had the luxury of giving David Silva and Aguero rests in the second half.

Atop the Premier League table with 23 points from their opening nine games of the season there’s a sense that the best is still to come from City. That is a scary thought for not only the rest of the Premier League but also for Europe.


Delight for Cardiff; misery for Fulham, Newcastle

Cardiff City are off and running back in the Premier League as Neil Warnock‘s men beat Fulham 4-2 in the Welsh Capital. A six-goal thriller explains the defensive issues both teams have but Cardiff scored as many goals on Saturday as they had in their previous eight games back in the top-flight. As for Fulham, they have the leakiest defense in the PL with 25 conceded and Slavia Jokanovic’s seat just got a little hotter with the Cottagers having just one win on the board so far this season.

Newcastle would love to have a win on the board so far but that’s not the case for Rafael Benitez’s team who have become just the fourth team in English top-flight history to lose their first five home league games of the season. Newcastle sit bottom of the PL and were booed off by their fans after losing 1-0 against Brighton at St James’ Park. With owner Mike Ashley watching on, tensions are high on Tyneside with the home fans enraged that more money wasn’t spent in the summer after Benitez guided the Magpies to a tenth place finish last season. Right now, Newcastle and Fulham look likely to battle it out with Cardiff and Huddersfield to stay out of the three relegation places. That is a desperate situation for a massive club in Newcastle and a newly-promoted club in Fulham who spent a record amount on new players over the summer.


Trouble is never too far away from Mourinho

To be fair to Mourinho he wasn’t the instigator here at all. Seriously.

Marco Ianni, Chelsea’s second assistant coach, will be lucky to not escape a touchline ban as he celebrated in front of Mourinho and Man United’s bench, punched the air in delight and let Barkley’s last-gasp equalizer get the better of him.

Speaking after the game, Mourinho revealed that Maurizio Sarri and Ianni had apologized and he accepted it.

“Bad education,” Mourinho said of Ianni’s actions. “But I also made mistakes in football matches and I will make more. So when after the game he came to me to apologize, I accepted his apology and nothing more to say.”

For once, Mourinho was in the right as Sarri admitted his assistant had made “a big mistake” and the matter would be dealt with internally. Of course, the emotion of a late equalizer has got to us all but the melee around the tunnel at Stamford Bridge could have been even uglier than it already was.

Mourinho, Man United silence doubters

1 Comment

LONDON — Jose Mourinho and Manchester United were up for the fight in more ways than one at Chelsea on Saturday.

[ MORE: 4 things we learned ]

The beleaguered Red Devils let in a 96th minute equalizer to leave Stamford Bridge disappointed but with a renewed sense of belief as they made top of the table Chelsea sweat, especially in the second half.

The way Mourinho’s men fought back from 1-0 down to go 2-1 up (thanks to Anthony Martial‘s two goals) proved they can still go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the Premier League. And the way Mourinho acted on the sidelines after being antagonized by Chelsea coach Marco Ianni underlined the fighting spirt which still burns bright, despite reports that United’s manager was set to be fired two weeks ago.

Ross Barkley‘s late, late equalizer meant that Chelsea remain unbeaten under Maurizio Sarri but the Blues knew they had got away with one after a powerful display from United who looked so much better with the shackles off compared to their usually defensive tactics away from home against a fellow top six club.

Speaking after the game, Mourinho and United felt like they deserved more ahead of a huge few weeks which sees them face Juventus twice in the UEFA Champions League, Everton and Manchester City.

“I think it was a fantastic game with a fantastic result for Chelsea and an awful result for us,” Mourinho said. “When you are the best team you want to win. If somebody tells me before the game you go to Stamford Bridge and you get a point, you say, ‘that is okay, it is good.’ It is so difficult to win at Stamford Bridge that I think every team feels that one point is a positive result. We were so much in control, so much the best team in the second half that I think we clearly deserved to win the match. Bad result.”

On the situation with Ianni, Mourinho said he has spoken to Sarri about it and Chelsea’s assistant coach had apologized to him and that was the end of the matter.

“Bad education,” Mourinho said. “But I also made mistakes in football match and I will make more. So when after the game he came to me to apologize, I accepted his apology and nothing more to say.”

The way Mourinho reacted sparked a melee and his message to Chelsea’s fans at the final whistle was classic behavior from a born fighter backed into a corner in recent weeks.

Mourinho held three fingers up to Chelsea’s fans to remind them how many Premier League titles he had won for them in the past.

And that fighting spirit was shown by his players as this draw at Chelsea was more impressive than their stirring 3-2 comeback win against Newcastle before the international break. A more offensive lineup choice from Mourinho saw Paul Pogba, Martial, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford cause Chelsea plenty of problems in the second half and slack defensive marking from Pogba on the first goal and overall on the second cost them all three points.

What impressed Mourinho the most about the spirited display from his side?

“Everything. I think what I call the Chelsea triggers, we controlled them,” Mourinho said. “The reality is that we concede two goals in set pieces, not goals in organized play. We controlled that very, very well and we put lots of feet in the last third in the first half. In the second half we managed to transform that in occasions to goals and ambition with good intensity, good passing, good quality. We deserved much more than this result, but it is what it is.”

This draw proved that United’s season is far from over and Mourinho’s men are capable of fighting along with their manager to finish in the top four this season.

Chelsea grabs late equalizer vs. Man Utd as chaos engulfs finish

Leave a comment
  • Rudiger gives Chelsea lead (VIDEO)
  • Chelsea out-attempts Utd 21-7
  • Martial scores twice in 18 mins
  • Barkley ties it at the death

Chelsea scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time, igniting skirmishes on-and-off the pitch in a 2-2 draw between the Blues and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea assistant Marco Ianni charged in front of Jose Mourinho, pumping his fist inches from the Manchester United manager’s face before screaming at the boss on the way back. Mourinho and his staff had to be separated from getting to the Chelsea bench.

Anthony Martial‘s second half double looked to have given Jose Mourinho and Manchester United a marquee win.

Juan Mata was a key part of both United goals, as United moved to 14 points. Chelsea could drop from its table lead to as low as fifth pending other results.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Manchester United was extremely lively, rewarding Mourinho for going attack-first with his lineup, and Romelu Lukaku just missed with a looping header after the first quarter-hour.

But it was Paul Pogba who let the team down.

The superstar midfielder let Antonio Rudiger use a pick to create some space on a corner kick, and couldn’t catch up to the German. Rudiger powered Willian‘s offering across goal and David De Gea couldn’t get a hand on the header. 1-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United got a deserved equalizer when Kepa Arrizabalaga saved Juan Mata’s 54th minute effort. It wound up back atop the box, where Marcus Rashford‘s shot deflected to Martial in the catbird seat. 1-1, 55’.

There were chances for each team to go ahead, but it was that fella Martial who did the trick again.

It came via a terrific team play. A long ball allowed Mata to flick delightfully by a mark and into the right corner. Chelsea was very scrambled, as Mata fed Rashford, who found Martial for a pretty finish.

Olivier Giroud thought he’d won a penalty off Victor Lindelof in stoppage time, but it was far too hopeful.

David De Gea denied Rudiger a second, but Barkley slotted the loose ball to set off chaos at the Bridge.

Mourinho: ‘It’s not about me’ after Man Utd come back

4 Comments

He’d be fired regardless of Saturday’s result, they said.

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United came back from a 2-0 deficit to pick up a 3-2 win over Newcastle United at Old Trafford on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Man Utd 3-2 Newcastle ]

The win moved the Red Devils eighth with 13 points heading into the international break, and a meeting at old haunt Stamford Bridge on Oct. 20 before a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus in the Champions League.

Frankly, they needed this. And Mourinho was feeling it.

“I go to London tonight, if it rains in London tomorrow, it’s my fault. If there is some difficulty to have the agreements with Brexit, it’s my fault,” mused the Man Utd manager. “And I have to be ready for all of this. I think weakness and the clear manhunting in football is too much.”

Mourinho pushed the right buttons, making a big sub after going down by a pair of goals inside of 10 minutes. That one, Juan Mata, scored, and third sub Alexis Sanchez notched the winner in the 90th minute.

Fellow sub Marouane Fellaini laid out Mourinho’s halftime message.

“The manager asked us to be men and to not be afraid and just play,” Fellaini said. “That’s what we did.”

The wheels on the bus did run over two of Mourinho’s youngsters, who he subbed off.

Marcus Rashford was sad, Scott McTominay was scared on the pitch,” the manager said.

Now, with Chelsea and Juventus ahead, Mata and Co. are looking forward to the next challenge.

“It is relief and we feel that we got what we needed,” he said. “In football, results fix everything.”

Here’s more from Mou:

Jose’s heroes: Man Utd produces huge comeback win

1 Comment
  • Kenedy, Muto score in first 10 mins
  • Mata scores free kick
  • Martial makes it 2-2 in 76′
  • Alexis scores 90th minute winner

Anthony Martial and Juan Mata scored second half goals, and Alexis Sanchez scored in the 90th minute as Manchester United came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat Newcastle United 3-2 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto put the visitors ahead 2-0 within 10 minutes, but the Red Devils struck back with vigor under embattled manager Jose Mourinho. Friday reports said Mourinho would be fired regardless of result. Well, that would sure be something.

Manchester United moves 8th with 13 points, while Newcastle is 19th with two points.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Newcastle had a lead inside of seven minutes, a throw-in finding Ayoze Perez for an inch-perfect through ball to Kenedy. The Brazilian loanee from Chelsea, cut around Ashley Young and curled his shot past David De Gea.

A wake-up call it wasn’t, as new Magpies forward Muto then danced past Young inside the 18 to make it 2-0 in the 10th minute.

De Gea made a terrific save on Jonjo Shelvey in the 18th minute to keep the deficit at two.

Jose Mourinho gave a long hug to Eric Bailly in bringing Juan Mata on for the center back in the 20th minute.

Romelu Lukaku‘s pinpoint cross was headed wide by Marcus Rashford in the 23rd minute, and it really should’ve been 2-1.

Muto nodded a shot on target that De Gea stopped short of the goal line in the 36th.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Pogba was moved into a back three for the second half with Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic.

Martin Dubravka made an inspiring save on Paul Pogba‘s deflected 51st minute effort, and Nemanja Matic skied the rebound over the gaping goal.

Young crossed into the fray and Rashford missed the mark with a 56th minute header.

Newcastle wasn’t simply sitting back, and Kenedy flashed over the goal in the 59th.

Mourinho made his final sub with 24 minutes to play, bringing on Alexis Sanchez for Marcus Rashford.

Mata pulled one back for the Red Devils in the 70th minute with a tremendous free kick.

Dubravka made three saves in a 2-minute span as the match edged toward the final quarter hour, including a brilliant stop on Smalling from point blank range.

That’s when Martial leveled the score to set the stage for this from much maligned attacker Alexis.