Finally weekend football is back on in full swing! I said back on in full swing because the first weekend football after international breaks are usually boring cagey affairs that’s a result of players being too tired from international commitments or/and partying till the break of dawn because THANK GOODNESS THEY ARE AWAY FROM THOSE HAWKS AT THE CLUB! Case in point, Arsenal – Manchester City. Don’t let the scoreline fool you, that match would have been more fun if the players weren’t acting like JSS1 students resuming school after midterm. Anyways, let’s dive right in – with the juicy stuff of course!
TOTTENHAM 4 – 0 WATFORD
The first match in the premier league for Saturday served up an absolute goal-fest – and also absolute one way traffic. Tottenham, intent on snapping at Chelsea’s heels till the end of the season (or at least till the unexpected happens, and Chelsea collapses and Tottenham takes the league title in the best premier league twist since, well Leicester City winning the league title last season), welcomed Watford to White Hart Lane and sent them back with the kind of thrashing that would have left the Watford players crying for their mummy. Yes, I know, my washing is the kind you give a team that has won 7-0 but Tottenham were absolutely dominant and the scoreline could have been even less modest – especially considering Harry Kane, Tottenham’s weapon of esteemed destruction, was on the bench all through the first half. Goals from Dele Alli, Eric Dier and a Heung-Min Son (did I spell that right?) brace meant Antonio Conte over at Chelsea really needed to get his players to rise to the occasion later in the day. Four cheers for a five star Tottenham!
MANCHESTER CITY 3 – 1 HULL CITY
Manchester City have been a lesson in inconsistency practically all season long, and while one might have expected that City would absolutely take this one, this season has left City fans more nervous before any match than anyone approaching a drunk Nigerian policeman with a gun.
This time City did come up with the goods and cruised to a 3-1 victory at home to Hull City courtesy an Ahmed El Mohamady own goal, an Aguero strike (a goal, not what ASUU does every six months) and a third by Fabian Delph. To be honest, I expected it to go this way, so no surprises there. Moving on….
STOKE CITY 1 – 2 LIVERPOOL
Once upon a time, Liverpool fans in Nigeria were as plentiful as sand on a seashore. Now however, it would appear they are an endangered species. I wouldn’t have even known Liverpool were playing today if I hadn’t been channel surfing and landed on their match away at Stoke City with them (no surprise), trailing by a goal. No, the story has a happy ending; Liverpool turned the tie around to win 2-1 thanks to goals by the usual suspects: Roberto Firmino and Philipe Coutinho. Liverpool do need to fix their defence as right now, it is leakier than the pipes in a public school bathroom. Liverpool conceding at least one goal is practically a sure bet. Jurgen Klopp would have to plug that hole over the summer but for now, they certainly seem to be in a good position for a top four finish.
AFC Bournemouth 1 – 3 Chelsea
Ahhh Chelsea. Much hated, much maligned, very much almost premier league champions this season Chelsea. Fans of all the other title contending clubs (AKA, not Man-U, City or Liverpool and definitely NOT Arsenal) have been waiting with bated breath for Chelsea to hit hard times so they can take the advantage and beat them to the premier league crown. Well, at this rate, they’ll pass out from asphyxiation. Following up their midweek win at home Against Manchester City, Chelsea took the party away from Stamford Bridge in the last match for Saturday – to Bournemouth specifically and put the currently fifteenth placed team to the sword in fairly emphatic fashion. An own goal by Adam Smith gifted Chelsea the lead before Eden Hazard (who else?) extended their lead barely three minutes later. Joshua King pulled one back for the home side before Marcos Alonso restored Chelsea’s two goal lead int the 68th minute. At this point, Antonio Conte can pretty much be drinking from the premier league trophy – and probably improve on his English because Chelsea fans currently appear to want him around for the foreseeable future.
SUNDERLAND 0 – 3 MANCHESTER UNITED
Sunday had only two fixtures to serve up and the first match involved one team who have gotten quite adept at last minute relegation escapes and another team who are yet to relearn how to win at the last minute. Manchester United’s premier league form coming into this tie had been fairly underwhelming with the Red Devils having played out in stalemate in both matches against Everton and WestBromwich Albion. Of course the can be excused to some extent for both matches as they have had to be without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (and the fact that Everton are legendary witches). However, anything less than a win at bottom placed Sunderland who look poised to be finally relegated to the championship league after several seasons of dodging the drop by a hair’s breath would have left Manchester United fans grumbling. It took the Red Devils thirty minutes to break the deadlock, Ibrahimovic proving why his presence is absolutely vital for United with the first goal of the match. Manchester United’s job was made considerably easier when Sunderland’s Sebastion Larrson was shown a straight red and barely four minutes later, Henrik Mkhitaryan (did I spell that right too? If I didn’t, I’m at home. Coman beat me), another player who is quickly becoming indispensable to Jose Mourinho’s plan’s, extended Manchester United’s advantage. Marcus Rashford added a third in the dying minutes of the match and Manchester United fans can now stop turning so red.
CRYSTAL PALACE ? – ? ARSENAL
Crystal Palace host Arsenal in the last fixture for this round of matches but despite an emphatic 3-0 win at home against Crystal Palace, Arsenal fans won’t exactly be looking forward to this fixture with a whole lot of confidence. Arsenal’s struggles this season (and the season before, and the one before and….you know what just keep saying before till you get to 2006) are well documented. Arsenal’s woes are like an unmarried young girl’s period: you know it’s definitely going to come at some point but if it doesn’t, you’ll be very surprised. The Gunners find themselves at risk of finishing out of the European places for the first time in over fifteen years and anything less than a win against Crystal Palace, who have a lot to play for as they are just two points above the drop zone, might as well seal Arsenal’s fate for the season and, possibly Arsene Wenger’s fate as Arsenal manager (to the joy or dejection of some sections of the Arsenal faithful, depending on their hopes and the eventual outcome). I can’t predict this tie but one thing is certain: there is definitely a lot at stake for both sides.
Well, considering all the sides with their eyes on the prize won, no real changes in the rankings. Chelsea are still ahead of the pack, Spurs are still chasing, Liverpool are still in the hunt for Champions League football as are both Manchester clubs. Arsenal would be hoping to get a win to keep their hopes of somehow making it into the Champion League places alive and keep at least one of their fans from leaping off Third Mainland and watching all of it with a drink and no worries at all would be yours truly.