Friday, August 16, 2019

The fight for the pride of England

The fight for the English Premier League title kicked off last weekend and while most of the scores were rather predictable, it also showed the intentions of the front runners who are vying for the title. 
Last season's runners up Liverpool had the pleasure of being one of the first teams to kick-off the season with their newly promoted opponents Norwich being the other. It was all systems go for the team in red as they showed the former Championship side how the Premier League has changed since they were last in it as they score 4 goals in the first half to give the Reds a healthy lead at half time. It was more of the same from Liverpool in the second but for the Norwich keeper making 3 outstanding saves to keep the scoreline decent as they also managed to claw a goal back. Reds intentions were clear then, they were still hurting from missing out on the league by finishing just 1 point behind the champions so this season they intend to remedy that and hope to go one further. It was not all smooth sailing for Jurgen Klopp as he had to substitute his star keeper Alison in the first half after picking up a calf strain, the Brazilian is said to face up to 8 weeks on the sideline. 

Manchester City saw Liverpools 4-1 winner as a challenge and set about their title challenge with a 5-0 victory over West Ham, Raheem Sterling picking up a hat-trick set his sights early on that golden boot as well. Pep Guardiola's men were ruthless in front of goal and laid down the challenge to the rest of the league. This Man City team is definitely the one to beat, and with them strengthen their squad over the summer, it's only going to make things more competitive for others. They by all means the team to beat, so every opponent they face will try to get their scalp, whether they're successful or not, is another story. 

Spurs had a bit of a scare at home in their opening fixture against Aston Villa, with the away team taking the lead and keeping Spurs at bay, it took a long range effort from Ndombele to equalize and then two quick fire goals from their talisman Harry Kane to make the scoreline look more attractive to the home team. Mauricio Pochettino has still a lot to do if he wants to get his team in the position to challenge the top two. We would have expected more purchases from the London team seeing that their new stadium is now complete but there's been little new figures walking through the Spurs doors. 

Chelsea who were hit with a transfer ban, having their best player leave as well as their manager is now under the guidance of ex star player Frank Lampard. They didn't have the easiest fixture to start with, facing last seasons sixth place team, Manchester United. With Solskjaer cracking the whip at United, and bringing in defence reinforcements with the likes of Harry Mcguire, they were out to prove a point and for most part of it, Chelsea held their own but silly mistakes cost them dearly in the end with United scoring 4 goals in the latter part of the second half, a less than flattering result for Franks men who look to have a long season ahead for them. Their London rivals, Arsenal also made tough work of Newcastle as they scraped a one goal victory at St James Park, with Steve Bruce taking over from Rafa Benitez his team showed good strength against the Arsenal but narrowly missed out on getting a point from their first game. 

It's going to be an interesting season going forward, with City still the team to beat and the depth in their squad, Jurgen Klopp and Pochettino have a lot to do if they want to keep up with City, as it is their goal difference is already sitting at +5 so the catch up game has already begun. But as they say, the league is a marathon and not a sprint. With other teams looking to prove a point as well, it hopefully should make things more open in the middle. Either way, it is bound to be an exciting season ahead. 

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