Klopp’s Liverpool are ready for title challenge…Four talking points from last weekend’s EPL matches
By Israel Igiri
It was an action-packed weekend in the English Premier League as there were exciting matches that kept football fans glued to their seats. In a great weekend of action from the most competitive football league which gave us some juicy moments to talk about, here are four things we learned.
Mourinho’s project is truly yet to gel
Jose Mourinho was appointed as manager of Manchester United in 2016 with a mandate to restore United’s glory and prestige in England and Europe. The Special One was hired following the dismissal of Louis Van Gaal, to once again turn the Red Devils into a super force much like Sir Alex Fergusen did with the team. Since he came on board, huge sums of money have been spent on player transfers with the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Fred and Alexis Sanchez. Although he guided the team to UEFA Europa League and Capital One Cup victories in his first season with the club, however, the club has continued to struggle to compete with the other big guns for the title as he has not been able to build a formidable and consistent team.
If there was one thing the great Sir. Fergusen knew how to do, it was how to take maximum points from the “smaller” teams. And that was Fergie’s secret in his title winning seasons. However, Mourinho’s inability to take maximum points from the smaller teams cost him the EPL title in his first two seasons and
While getting maximum points against the big teams is not always easy, it is pertinent to get maximum points against the smaller sides in order to stand a big chance of winning the league. On Saturday, Mourinho was handicapped as West Ham won his side 3-1. This came after their 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on September 22nd. Once again, in a game United were expected to win, they failed to deliver as they are now nine points behind joint table-toppers Manchester City and Liverpool and seven behind Chelsea after seven round of games and sit 10th on the log. In fact, they have only managed three wins since the start of this campaign. This is certainly not what the fans want from Mourinho. He has been unable to build a team capable of delivering top-notch performances week in, week out since he took charge of the team. With time fast running out, he has got to re-strategize and build a better United team if he is to save his job and also dream of landing the biggest prize in England for the first time since 2013.
Klopp’s Liverpool are ready for title challenge
So far so good, Liverpool have delivered impressive performances in the league. They have not only found a way of grinding out result against the small sides- a big issue in the previous seasons, they have also been able to do that against the big sides they have played this season. With the acquisition of key players like Allison Becker, Xhedan Shakiri and Naby Keita, the team now looks balanced as while they score goals, they also know how to keep things tight at the back- an issue they have battled with in recent years. Little wonder, they have the joint best defensive record in the league with just three goals conceded. Even when they were a goal down against Chelsea on Saturday, they never gave up, they kept pushing until they got the equalizer. The never-die spirit we have seen from the Reds so far shows that they are ready to better the achievement of last season and are set to compete and land the EPL title that has eluded Anfield for 28 years.
Wolves have come to stay
It was another impressive performance by Wolverhampton Wanderers as they won 2-0 at home against Southampton. They have continued from where they stopped last season with outstanding performances against top teams in the Premier League including Manchester City and Manchester United. Hardly has a team come up from the Championship with such a quality squad full of confidence and with a desire to play some lovely football. With 12 points amassed from seven games which places them eight on the log, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men continue to brim with confidence each passing game and if they continue like this, they might just seal a spot in Europe come the end of the season.
Arsenal are back to life
After back-to-back loses to Manchester City and Chelsea in their first two fixtures of the league, pundits and fans gave Unai Emery a little chance of turning the fortunes of Arsenal around. But since then, Emery has been able to instill hard work and enthusiasm in his side, little wonder they won an impressive Watford side 2-0 at the Emirates to record a fifth straight win in the league. The 46-year-old Spaniard is now throwing himself into the role of a tactical manager as his braveness which has now made it five wins from seven games, looks like a sign that they Gunners can turn a corner with their new gaffer. At this point, they look revived and you would fancy them to secure a Champions League spot at the end of the season.