Hello loyal readership, I apologise for being a bit late to the party, welcome to the first of hopefully numerous weekly English Premier League “Review/Preview” editions.
A brief personal bit to assure you I’m not part of the painfully hipster “recently started supporting Leicester, regularly claim to have streamed French League 2 games to watch Mahrez during his time at Le Havre” (trust me, nobody did).
My soccer obsession began at the ripe age of 6, when a very skinny, comb-over haircut touting version of myself pleaded with Mum to tape a few of the FIFA World Cup ’98 games.
Upon watching England play Argentina, I stumbled across the team I’d continue to support for the next 17 odd years and counting – Liverpool Football Club.
I was immediately besotted with the emerging English superstar Michael Owen, when at the grand age of 18, he decided to do this:
As Liverpool’s usual cruel twist of fate would have it, my boyhood hero went on to leave the club at the peak of his powers to warm the bench rather efficiently for Real Madrid, then playing for Newcastle until he joined the very club every Liverpool support hates with a passion – Manchester United – of course.
Well, enough of that, looking toward the recent Game Week 10 results of a league worth 4.25 billion Euros (yes, you read that correctly):
Aston Villa 1 (J Ayew 62’) – 2 Swansea (Sigurdsson 68’, A Ayew 87’)
A rare occurrence in the world of professional football, this fixture saw the brothers face off against each other, with Andre Ayew of Swansea the victor of the Ayew brotherhood.
The game marked a sad turning point for the banter merchants of the interwebs, as this loss saw an already struggling Villa have their talismanic, slightly mental manager “Tactics Tim” Sherwood rapidly sacked following the loss.
The result bodes incredibly poorly for Villa, with the departure of Sherwood so early in the season, the club sits 2nd from the bottom enduring their 6th straight defeat, relegation now looms as a proper concern.
The damage was done via usual Swansea goal hounds Sigurdsson and Ayew, with the Villa brother Ayew scoring early to put Swansea on the back foot, Sigurdsson curled in a 25-yard homing missile, furthering his reputation as a dead-ball specialist, whilst Swansea’s Ayew brother struck decisively in the 91st minute to send the Welsh residents home with the 3 points.
Leicester 1 (Vardy 59’) – 0 Crystal Palace
This fixture featured the surprise packet of the season, Jamie Vardy of Leicester, who is on a successive game goal rampage the likes of which only Alan Shearer, Ian Wright, Mark Stein and Daniel Sturridge have previously experienced. Vardy admitted that 3 seasons ago whilst playing non-league football for Fleetwod Town he had considered quitting the sport, only to be signed that season by Leicester City, setting a non-league transfer fee of £1,000,000 which still stands today.
Vardy’s remarkable transformation from non-league factory worker to “leading EPL goal scorer” is truly absurd, yet with the odds stacked against him, he combined with every fantasy soccer team owner’s wet dream, Riyahd Mahrez, to combine for a goal where he demonstrated a level of mental prowess more commonly found in the stadiums of UEFA Champions League level teams.
Vardy latched onto a Mahrez through ball, calmly flicked the ball over the diving Palace keeper Hennessey and roofing the ball from 3 yards out.
The victory for the Foxes confirmed another appearance of the entertaining “pizza and hotdogs” reward structure employed by eccentric manager Ranieri, with a clean sheet allegedly triggering the in-house reward of pizza and hotdogs post-match.
Norwich 0-1 West Brom (Rondon 46’)
A meeting commonly filed to the “cellar-dweller” section, an unusually strong West Brom (8th), dispatched with (16th) Norwich via a 46th minute header from £12,000,000 pound signing Salomon Rondon.
The physically gifted (see: built like a proverbial brick shithouse) Venezuelan placed the ball powerfully past Norwich’s Ruddy, as the club-record signing delivered on his end of the field as West Brom’s stern defending was praised as the game-winning element by renowned “survival” expert manager Tony Pulis’.
Following his signing as club manager in early January, the club has kept a league-high 16 clean sheets, grinding out defensive results in an occasionally dull but effective manner.
Stoke 0-2 Watford (Deeney 43’, Abdi 69’)
Ahh Stoke, the rainiest, least popular professional football location on planet Earth.
The historically windy and miserable Britannia Stadium hosted newly-promoted Watford, who merrily proceeded to rearrange Stoke, with goals delivered by Deeney and Abdi, as Ighalo provided assists on both occasions, delighting cunning fantasy football player’s worldwide.
Stoke’s lone striker Joselu had a grand total of zero shots on goal in his 61 minutes of play, indicative of the entire team’s antics for the day, as summer signing Xherdan Shaqiri waddled about the pitch offering minimal contributions prior to his own substitution, the Stoke line-up looked lacklustre, unusual given their recent vein of form.
Important note: This entire result has since been forgotten following Stoke’s crushing extra time & penalties win in the Capital One Cup vs Chelsea, the r/soccer thread on reddit has legitimately never been so happy to see such a precipitation-enduring side dethrone the out of form train wreck led by the increasingly nutty Jose Mourinho, thank you Stoke.
West Ham 2 (Zarate 17’, Carroll 79’) – 1 Chelsea (Cahill 56’)
Dimitri Payet you absolutely beautiful individual.
I’m not sure where West Ham plucked him from (Olympique de Marseille, no small fish), but his inclusion to the EPL has been a thing of unbridled technical excellence.
The internationally capped Frenchman played a key role as architect of Chelsea’s comedic demise, assisting one goal and managing the midfield like a season 42 year old full-time Macdonald’s manager, efficiency personified.
Chelsea woes were ever-increasing, as Nemanja Matic was booked twice in 9 minutes, a sending off that inspired the least rational human being in the EPL since Paolo Di Canio, Jose Mourinho, to head down to the referee’s room for a brief tirade at half time.
This gigantic brain fade left Mourinho and his assistant Silvino Louro in the stands for the 2nd half, as 6 Chelsea players were booked.
FIFA’s most recent pet project put the icing on Chelsea’s unfathomably horrific day, as Kurt Zouma’s header was denied by “Goal Line Technology”, which deemed the ball to have not crossed the goal line by a margin of millimetres.
Victory places West Ham 3rd on the league table – go figure.
Arsenal 2 (Giroud 36’, Koscielny 38’)- 1 Everton (Barkley 44’)
Another precipitation influenced affair, Arsenal’s win puts them top of the league for the first time since February of 2014.
Everton haven’t won an away fixture against Arsenal for 19 years – this did not appear to have a chance to change throughout the game, as Ozil and Cazorla supplied Giroud and Koscielny respectively, Lukaku missed his lone opportunity to head home an equalizer for the Toffee’s as the EPL’s best defender, “the crossbar”, intervened.
The loss was a particularly irritating one for Everton, as Gareth Barry was substituted under an injury cloud, and 10 other players were forced to stand about in the rain whilst Mesut Ozil went “full surgical” mode and picked apart the Everton defensive line.
Sunderland 3 (Johnson 45’ pen, Jones 65’, Fletcher 86’)- 0 Newcastle
Expected, expected, expected.
The Wear-Tyne derby saw Sunderland leap from the bottom of the table, Newcastle reaffirm everyone’s near-religious belief that they are a dire mob who Wijnaldum, after flogging home 5 goals last week, must be reconsidering ever signing for.
Coloccini managed to get himself sent off rather controversially, as he made minimal contact with Sunderland’s Fletcher in the box, leading to a penalty.
The decision has since been overturned at the disciplinary tribunal, let the dire times roll on at Newcastle!
Extremely minor positive: Newcastle managed 13 shots on goal in the first half, whilst yielding zero goals, this is the most shots the black and white wearing muppets have managed since 2014 vs Hull.
Bournemouth 1 (Ritchie 1’)-5 Tottenham (Kane 9’ pen, 56’, 63’, Dembele 17’, Lamela 29’)
Thank you Bournemouth for allowing what the rest of the EPL feared – starting a Harry Kane goal streak.
The slim-framed Kane bagged a hat trick, ensuring a thorough belting of Bournemouth, who had an early first minute glimmer of hope goal comprehensively trounced as Tottenham climbed to sixth on the ladder.
Newly promoted Bournemouth slide to 17th position, two points above relegation after conceding 5 goals in successive matches, with Polish keeper Boruc having a day to forget after a series of first half blunders left Tottenham 3-1 up at the half time break.
The remainder of the EPL will now have to wait and see if Kane’s hat trick was merely a blip on the radar, or a true return to form for the England international, having scored only once in 13 previous league games.
Man Utd 0-0 Man City
The Manchester derby, the often violent coming together of two of the league’s least favourite well-financed clubs, unfortunately churned out 95 minutes of end to end boredom.
Rooney’s inability to score and grow a full head of hair continued, as the BBC reported the £300,000 per week striker had a truly disgusting statistical performance.
Rooney had the “worst passing accuracy, the fewest touches and lost the ball more than any other outfield starters for Manchester United”, which numerically translates to 28 losses of possession, 54.8% passing accuracy and a mere 50 touches all game.
City’s £104,000,00 pairing of De Bruyne and Sterling also failed to fire, as both wide men had poor performances.
The peak of their combined contributions shown by a characteristically soft penalty appeal from Sterling early on, an appeal promptly denied by Mark Clattenburg, a decision cheered on by the Old Trafford faithful, reaffirming Sterling’s inability to remain on two feet.
A Navas “shot” (much closer to a gentle pass) which rolled through to De Gea in the 82nd minute marked the first shot on target for either side, wouldn’t recommend anyone bother watching the highlight reel for this one, probably better off doing the dishes or something realistically menial.
Liverpool 1 (Benteke 77’) – 1 Southampton (Mane 86’)
I promise I’ll attempt to avoid any blindly biased reviews of Liverpool.
Southampton’s visit to Anfield saw Klopp hysteria continue, as Liverpool drew, sorry, “blatantly shit the bed defensively soon after scoring” (as per), their 3rd game of Klopp’s 3 game hype train reign.
The Anfield Kopites were rewarded with numerous displays of Klopp’s “gegenpressing” a high-paced counter-pressing tactic, often smothering Southampton’s possession with 2 or 3 players rapidly shutting down Southampton’s forward movement with pack-like defensive movement.
Benteke’s arrival on the field at halftime saw an immediate change in offensive approach, as the struggling Origi made way; the physically immense Benteke took to terrorizing Southampton in aerial duels.
Benteke’s physical pestering of airborne possessions was rewarded, as he powerfully headed the ball home from a Milner pass in the 77th minute, running toward the crowd in celebration as Brazilian signing Roberto “Bob” Firmino skipped toward him for a jubilant hug – Liverpool supporters worldwide internally thanked management for splashing financially during the transfer period.
But, as is often the case at Anfield, an errant foul from Milner provided the deadly Southampton set-piece unit an opportunity to shine, oh dear. Mane decided it was his time to shine, as Clyne once again found himself “misjudging” how deep Skrtel was defending, leaving Mane free to waltz the ball in at the back post, a slow motion replay revealing that poor old Mignolet copped a rather well placed knee to the face from Mane during his desperate attempts to keep the ball out.
Clyne, please learn how to mark individuals who choose to stand behind you, otherwise you’ve been glorious in wide positions.
Armchair expert lesson for Clyne: when the man runs behind you, he’s not invisible, he’s just planning on ruining Mignolet’s day, stop him violently please.
Congratulations to anyone who’s made it this far, I don’t entirely expect everyone to read every game review, pick or choose your favourites or feel free to read them all.
3 To Watch Next Week:
- Chelsea vs Liverpool – Could result in “Sack Mourinho” pandemonium if Chelsea stumble
- Newcastle vs Stoke – Both teams are struggling in league play, this will be an absolute shitfight
- Manchester City vs Norwich – Goals, potentially astronomical in total, brace yourself Norwich