Premier League Recap: Week 8

By Matt Oteri

Chelsea (3) v Leicester City (0)

The premier league’s past two champions met in the weekend’s first match. Chelsea drew first blood after a well executed set piece finished by Diego Costa. The next chance of the game came off a freekick, and with specialist Willian home in Brazil due to the loss of his mother, David Luiz was on set piece duty. The fellow Brazilian smashed his effort into the post on a dipping, swerving knuckleball. Eden Hazard rounded Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and slid home Chelsea’s second goal thanks to a lucky assist from Pedro. After surviving a few Leicester chances, the Blues were on the attack again and put the game to bed thanks to an audacious, dare I say sexy back heel assist from youngster Nathaniel Chalobah, setting up Victor Moses for an easy goal, and Chelsea for the win.

Manchester City (1) v Everton (1)

The league leaders found themselves hard done by as their game begun with an unawarded penalty after new signing Leroy Sané was tripped up in the box. However, the Citizens were rewarded after maestro David Silva was clattered in the area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Kevin De Bruyne powered the penalty to the top right hand corner, but Maarten Stekelenburg was equal to it, keeping the Belgian off the scoresheet. On the other end of the pitch, Claudio Bravo produced his own top class save after Gerard Deulofeu curled his effort towards the Manchester City net. The Toffees found the back of the net first, after a wonderful counter-attack solo run by Romelu Lukaku, with the Belgian able to power the ball into the side of the net, beating a few Manchester City defenders and Claudio Bravo. Sergio Agüero had his moment as he was taken down in the box, and subsequently stepped up for the tying penalty, but he too was bested by Stekelenburg, bringing the Citizens to two penalty misses on the day. New signing Nolito, who arrived from Celta Vigo this summer, rescued Pep Guardiola’s side with a late header, ending the game at one a piece.

Bournemouth (6) v Hull City (1)

The Cherries wasted no time at all getting the scoring underway, as Englishman Charlie Daniels knocked in Junior Stanislas’ free kick that ricocheted off the post. Hull were equal to Bournemouth’s goal as Ryan Mason’s shot deflected past Artur Boruc. Just before halftime, Stanislas launched another free kick into the box, which was met by Steve Cook, directed into the back of the net. Five minutes later, Robert Snodgrass recklessly dove in, giving Bournemouth a penalty and Stanislas a goal to go with his assist. Already with a two goal lead, Bournemouth did not let up, Joshua King produced some trickery in the corner, followed by  a pinpoint centering pass by Adam Smith which was met by a thundering finish by Junior Stanislas. King got involved again about 20 minutes later, curling his cross to striker Callum Wilson who made no mistake with the finish, giving the Cherries their fifth goal of the game. Just minutes later, Dan Gosling finessed his effort into the back of the net after a dazzling solo run by Charlie Daniels, finishing off the abysmal performance of Hull City.

Stoke City (2) v Sunderland (0)

Just inside ten minutes, Xherdan Shaqiri beautifully released Marko Arnautovic towards the Sunderland byline. The Austrian found the header of the on-fire Welshman Joe Allen, who tucked the ball home. Jermain Defoe had a good chance to draw the Black Cats level, but his left-footed shot instead found the stands rather than the back of the net. Wilfried Bony nearly doubled Stoke’s lead after some skills on the edge of the area, but his shot was slightly right of the frame. Just before halftime, a Stoke corner bounced out to none other than Joe Allen whose left-footed strike rifled into the bottom corner. Allen nearly got his hat trick promptly after halftime but his effort was blocked by a Sunderland defender. It appeared as though Marko Arnautovic added a third goal to Stoke’s tally, however he was whistled offside. After a spree of fouls and free kicks, Charlie Adam nearly produced a wonder strike, but his attempted whistled past everyone and hit the crossbar square. The Potters were able to keep off Sunderland attacks, and saw the game out 2-0.

Arsenal (3) v Swansea (2)

To start the match, speedster Theo Walcott was freed up by a Hector Bellerin header, and the Englishman was able to power his effort into the bottom right hand corner. Minutes later, Walcott found himself on the scoresheet again with another goal inside the six-yard box, this goal coming off of a corner. After a severe defensive error by Arsenal, Gylfi Sigurdsson tee’d up a left-footed strike which Petr Cech had no shot at, lessening Swansea’s deficit. Following halftime, Arsenal maestro Mesut Özil produced a sublime volleyed finish, to widen the gap for the Swans.

However, less than ten minutes later, Swansea got a breakthrough as Borja Baston turned in Modou Barrow’s cross past Petr Čech. In the 70th minute, Granit Xhaka picked up a red card for a harsh challenge. This is the midfielder’s eighth red card in only two and a half years, suggesting he has some disciplinary issues to work out. In the end, Bob Bradley’s debut as Swansea manager resulted in his first loss at Swansea, the game finished 3-2.

Westbromwich Albion (1) v Tottenham (1)

Westbrom keeper Ben Foster was the star of the first half, keeping Tottenham at bayon a number of occasions. The Spurs enjoyed their healthy share of possession and chances, yet Foster was equal to all of them, most notably a point-blank shot from Dele Alli. Foster also frustrated Danish national team player Christian Eriksen, keeping his low effort out of the net. Fellow keeper Hugo Lloris almost had his moment, as he made a fine reaction save off of a set piece, but his moment was dashed by former teammate Nacer Chadli who powered a shot past the Frenchman and into the back of the net. Foster’s clean sheet was ruined in the late stages of the game, when Alli finally poked a shot past the West Brom keeper. Christian Eriksen, noted free kick specialist, had a chance to win the game but his goal-bound curler was met by a leaping hand of Ben Foster, capping off a spectacular performance by the keeper and a 1-1 draw, leaving Tottenham unbeaten.

Crystal Palace (0) v West Ham (1)

In the late game, the Hammers got off to a great start, with Aaron Cresswell’s delectable ball finding the touch of Manuel Lanzini, putting his shot well into the right side of the net. Italian Angelo Ogbonna took down Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace, resulting in a Palace penalty. Benteke stepped up to take it, and his shot was looped past the top right corner, missing the net entirely, adding on to the penalty misses this weekend. Benteke got another chance minutes later, with James McArthur’s cross finding the Belgian, but his header struck the post seconds before halftime. Aaron Cresswell attempted to win a penalty, but instead was show a yellow card for his theatrical dive. Seconds later, in his own defensive third, Cresswell took down Wilfried Zaha and was shown his second yellow card, sending him off for the night. Crystal Palace sent in a barrage of crosses to end the match, but alas West Ham keeper Adrián was equal to all efforts, securing three points for his side.

Middlesbrough (0) v Watford (1)

In Sunday’s first game, both sides failed to make a breakthrough early on. Gastón Ramírez had his way with the Watford defence, but could not muster a goal or an assist. Instead, Middlesbrough was rewarded with a number of free kicks which proved to be pedestrian. Watford chose to work mainly through Troy Deeney who seemed to be everywhere on both ends of the ball, but again could not seem to get on the scoresheet. It wasn’t until the 54th minute, when José Holebas broke the deadlock, with his powerful strike on the edge of the area, a true contender for goal of the week.

After a sloppy sloppy conclusion to the match, marked with fouls, substitutions, injuries and hand-balls, Watford were the victors by a score of one to nil.

Southampton (3) v Burnley (1)

The first half at St. Mary’s consisted of nothing much of note at all. Steven Defour was forced off because of an injury, but no other major events occurred. All four goals were scored in a span of 14 minutes. Two of these goals were from corners, the first goal was a right footed shot by Charlie Austin, putting the Saints up 1-0. The second was a powerful strike by Nathan Redmond, putting Burnley into a two-goal hole with half-an hour left to play. Johann Berg Gudmundsson did not help his side, as he took down Sam McQueen in the area and Charlie Austin made no mistake of his penalty, giving the Saints a 3-0 lead. Just six minutes later, it was Southampton’s turn to give away a penalty, Ben Mee would be the victim and Sam Vokes the goalscorer. Yet Vokes’ goal was not enough to inspire a Burnley comeback, as they fell 3-1.

Liverpool (0) v Manchester United (0)

The week finale did not produce the goals the other games did, but it sure had the drama and action. The best chance of the first half was Roberto Firmino header that was guided straight into the waiting arms of David de Gea. Early on in the second half, Paul Pogba, record Manchester United signing, found Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a deep cross, and the Swede should have done better, his header far off target. German Emre Can found his way through for Liverpool, and tried a short footed shot only to be snuffed by the reaching arms of de Gea. Paul Pogba was soon after caught in an awkward challenge against James Milner, and was lucky referee Anthony Taylor misread the situation and did not call a foul. The moment of the game came in the 71st minute, when Philippe Coutinho looked to arrow one of his signature longshots into the top corner, but David de Gea was having none of it and made an astounding save on the Brazilian.

 

Antonio Valencia later saved the game with a crucial slide tackle on the incoming Firmino, and his keeper must thank him for securing a spectacular clean sheet as well as a vital point. The game finished nil all.

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