EPL WEEK 9: WINNERS & LOSERS


WINNERS

Liverpool & Diogo Jota. Missing from the first squad were Mo Salah, Alexander-Arnold, Virgil Van Djik, Jordan Henderson, Thiago Alcantara & Oxlade-Chamberlain. The 63 match unbeaten run at fortress Anfield was under threat from a Foxes squad brimming with confidence. But under Klopp, Liverpool are truly something else. The likes of Joel Matip, Naby Keita, Fabinho & Milner marshalled the defence while the grunt and hard work of Gini Wijnaldum & Naby Keita provided the forward line of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino & Diogo Jota the space and the freedom to truly play an attacking game. Jota becomes the first Liverpool player to score in his first 4 home games, Firmino ended his home drought with a towering header for Liverpool's final goal and Liverpool comfortably accounted for Leicester to extend their unbeaten run at home to 64 games, a club record.


Tottenham & Jose Mourinho. After a disastrous three seasons in charge at Old Trafford and his dismissal, few would have thought "The Special One" had much more left to give. But proving his critics wrong at Tottenham, Mourinho and Spurs got the better of Man City & Guardiola who has just signed a 2 year deal to continue as manager at Etihad. With Son Heung-Min continuing his red hot form with his league-leading 9th goal and Harry Kane chipping in with a league-leading 9th assist, Spurs were far superior to the Sky Blues and jump up to top spot on the league ladder. The Mourinho master-stroke? Bringing on Giovanni Lo Celso who scored 35 seconds after coming on.


Brighton & Burnley. The Seagulls & Clarets both recorded wins that will give them some hope of avoiding relegation this season. Brighton have been unlucky not to have won since Sept 20 as they have played some sparkling football in between. The catalyst for the win was the returning Solly March who struck the match-winner, a brilliant first time strike in the 56th minute. Brighton's first goal of the game was scored by Danny Welbeck, another player who has recently joined Brighton as a free agent.

The Clarets were resolute under pressure from the Eagles in a much needed home win both for team & manager Sean Dyche. Chris Woods scored the lone goal of the game in the 8th minute with a deft assist from Jay Rodriguez and in form goalkeeper Nick Pope kept the Clarets in the game with some stunning saves to deny Crystal Palace an equaliser. The 3 points for both teams takes them out of the relegation zone for the time being.


LOSERS

Leicester City & Jamie Vardy. If there ever was a time for Leicester to have beaten Liverpool, surely this was the game. Leicester were at near full strength with Vardy, Maddison & Barnes all in sparkling form and injury free. Brendan Rodgers side play the kind of free-flowing football that could have definitely troubled Liverpool and ended their 63 game unbeaten home streak. Instead, a horror start with an own goal by Jonny Evans in the 21st minute and a strangely subdued performance by the front three of Vardy, Barnes & Maddison consigned the Foxes to their first defeat of the season and drops them to 4th on the table.


Sheffield United & Bramall Lane. West Ham's win on Sunday was their first at Bramall Lane for 52 years with their last top tier win at the ground coming on 27th September 1968. For the Blades, this was their 8th defeat of the season and with just 4 goals scored so far, their form is a worry this early in the new season. West Ham GK Lukasz Fabianski was at his brilliant best making 5 saves and denying George Baldock, Old McBurnie, John Fleck & David McGoldrick the equaliser. At the other end of the pitch, striker Sébastian Haller who has been woefully out of form, struck a superb strike from the edge of the penalty area to give West Ham the win.


Fulham & West Bromwich Albion. When you are down, luck deserts you as well. The premier league is a tough league to play in for smaller teams such as the Cottagers & the Baggies. The Baggies were resolute in their performance against the Red Devils and were awarded a penalty after a clear foul by Bruno Fernandes but the decision was overturned after review by that man David Coote again after watching video of the incident. Soon after, Bruno Fernandes penalty was saved by West Brom GK Sam Johnstone but ordered to be taken again after VAR determined that the GK had come off his line too soon. Bruno Fernandes duly converted the 2nd chance and win 3 points for the Red Devils.

Fulham were behind after 41 seconds after the returning Richarlion pounced on a error by Fulham to square the ball to Dominic Calvert-Lewin to score. The Cottagers did fight back and equalise but Ivan Cavaleiro miskicked his penalty over the crossbar for Fulham's 3rd missed penalty kick this season to effectively hand Everton the win. Manager Scott Parker is a calm individual on the sidelines but would have been angered by squandered opportunities by his team to have at least gained a point from this match. We'll know how much these losses will hurt these two teams at the end of the season.

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