• Mahdi Farahikia

EPL Match Week 9 - Weekend of Decisive Derbies

EPL Match Week 9 began with the North London derby as Arsenal hosted Tottenham. Liverpool had a hard time containing Brighton's Trossard. Graham Potter found himself in the hot seat of Chelsea management. Manchester City demolished their red neighbor in the first forty-five minutes of the Manchester Derby. Here is the EPL Match Week 9 recap.


Arsenal vs. Tottenham, Arsenal, the New Liverpool:

Tottenham's strategy has been to sit back and rely on counterattacks. This has worked, but only against weaker teams who can't threaten the Spurs' goal. However, the strategy doesn't seem to work when they meet stronger sides like Arsenal and eventually the ever stronger Manchester City. The London derby was a case in point. Spurs had one minute of storming play as they began the match, but it was soon Arsenal who kept them where they wanted.


The Gunners were dominant and kept Spurs in their defensive third. In doing so, they dismantled Richarlison, Kane, and Son. Tottenham's only goal came from a Kane penalty, and when Royal was sent off for his reckless foul, tides clearly turned against the visitors, who suffered their first defeat of the season. Over the last few years, Man City's rivals in the title race were Liverpool. As situations have unfolded so far, the question is if Arsenal are the new Liverpool challenging Manchester's blue side in their pursuit of the Premier League title.


Bournemouth vs. Brentford, The Bees Lost Sting:

The Bees definitely seem to have lost their sting ever since they stunned Manchester United. After their humiliating defeat to Arsenal at home, they were expected to change the narrative of their game. But neither side in this fixture was able to topple the other. Bournemouth still struggled with scoring, but the goalless draw meant they kept their unbeaten streak. To be fair, their plea for a penalty was overturned by the VAR. That could be the game-changer if they were given a chance from the spot.


Crystal Palace vs. Chelsea, Potter in Hot Seat:

Patrick Viera surely knows how to irritate the big boys of the league. He gave City hiccups earlier, and his side made life miserable for Potter, who managed Chelsea for the first time in the EPL. Chelsea were lucky that VAR did not find Silva's handball worth a red card. Their recent changes and Aubameyang's 38th-minute goal were no match for Crystal Palace, who began the game with an attacking arrangement they maintained for the entire game. Finally, though, it was Palace's former player who broke the lock with barely anytime for the Eagles to respond.


Fulham vs. Newcastle, Magpies Seized the Opportunity:

The below-par Newcastle have not produced results so far in the league to show for the club's wealth after the change of ownership. Their previous form didn't suggest they could win this fixture, but things turned in their favor early on as Fulham went down to ten men in the first five minutes. Newcastle capitalized on Fulham's early red card and punished them with four goals. It was the easiest win they could imagine, only if they can sustain winning after a long streak of draws.


Liverpool vs. Brighton, The Reds vs. Trossard:

Liverpool have not shown their usual menace this season, barely challenging Manchester City in their pursuit of the title. No one would imagine the Reds going down by two goals at Anfield, especially against a Brighton side who lost their manager to Chelsea before the International Break. Brighton had different ideas, and Trent Alexander-Arnold's many defensive mistakes allowed them to go ahead by a two-goal margin.


Klopp is great at reading the game and has been able to make game-changing decisions at halftime. He did that again, and his teams converted a 1-2 defeat into a 3-2 victory. But their win did not sustain, as Trossard's hat trick meant the two sides shared the points.


Southampton vs. Everton, Merseyside Blues Back:

Following their accidental win against the Hammers in Goodison Park, many suspected that Everton would suffice to a draw in this away fixture against Southampton. Their away-game statistics are not great this season. The goalless scoreline at the end of the forty-five minutes suggested the most predicted outcome.


The game only had about five minutes of fire when Southampton broke the gridlock in the 49th minute, just to see their lead turn into a 1-2 defeat within five minutes. Everton could produce 9 fewer shots than the hosts and yet snatched the three points in this chaotic match.


West Ham vs. Wolves, Hammers Give Moyes Smiles:

The two sides that saw the shadows of relegation looming over them had a lot on the line in this match. Reports suggested that David Moyes was given four games to either turn things around or lose his job. His side gave him smiles at the end of the first of the four decisive games as they scored two goals against the visitors.


With this victory, they left the relegation zone, pushing Wolves into the danger zone. That said, they were not great in the first half despite going to the locker rooms with a one-goal advantage. As Wolves looked to equalize, Bowen scored his first goal of the campaign to secure their second three points. This loss led to Wolves sacking their manager.


Manchester City vs. Manchester United, A Ten-Minute Game:

There were lots to worry about Manchester United's starting eleven in their most challenging game of the season. Ten Hag started with the same squad as the one that beat Arsenal, ignoring the sheer difference between their neighbor and the newly reformed Arsenal. Leaving Ronaldo and Casimero on the bench and letting Rashford begin was the biggest of many mistakes he made as the Red Devils' manager. It was Rashford's terrible pass that led to Malacia's yellow card.


City took control from the first minute and almost scored the first goal. The brutality continued, and while United's defenders were focused on containing Haaland, Foden reminded them of the quality all City players possess. City's ability to keep possession of the ball and make accurate passes in the smallest spaces they could find dismantled United.


It is fair to say the game was over in the first ten minutes, and the best United could do was to save face. They failed at doing so as they went to the locker rooms at halftime, suffering a four-goal defeat. They certainly needed a miracle of sorts in the second half.


The miracle didn't come for the United despite Antony's great goal. Man City's miracle came from Haaland's third back-to-back hat trick to bring the gap back to a comfortable four. It wasn't Haaland with a hat trick. Foden, who began the goal feast, snatched his hat trick - one he will remember. Scoring six goals against toothless United, Pepp brought in his youth players to rather humiliate the visitors. It is hard to imagine City not winning the title with their current form.


Leeds vs. Aston Villa, A Game of Equal Ambitions:

Steven Gerrard looked to earn his side's first away victory while Marsch hoped to maintain Leeds' unbeaten record at home. The game was played very evenly in the first half. Both sides had opportunities. Leeds failed to have a shot on target in the first forty-five minutes, and Villa couldn't make any of their on-target shots count. The game ended in a goalless draw at halftime.


Sinisterra's second yellow card early in the second half was a blow to Leeds' ambitions. Villa didn't seem to have it in them to capitalize on their opponents' one-man disadvantage for almost the entire second half. Their final shots didn't have quality, and the two sides shared the points in the end.


Leicester vs. Nottingham Forest, Rogers Buys Time:

The two teams headed to this fixture, sitting at the bottom of the table and under immense pressure. Rumors had it that Rogers could lose his job as the Leicester manager following a streak of poor performances. Foxes showed a glimpse of what made them the champions in 2015 in this game. They dominated the game well, and if their finishes had more accuracy, they could have ended the game with a double-digit advantage.


Lingard showed his below-par performance that we remember from his time in Manchester United. His mistake at the edge of their 18-yard box led to Foxes' first goal. Leicester finished Forest within 10 minutes of the opening goal as they put the ball in their opponents three times before the break. Nottingham Forest's expenditure in the transfer window is not working at all, and they may get relegated by the end of the season.




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