I’ve been wanting to write about the English Premier League for a while now, but it’s been hectic around here at Soft 7 Sports with the most dramatic, petty NFL season to date. It took all the way to matchday 8, but I can finally write about some footy. This review will normally come out on Monday and will cover the only teams that matter: Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool. After the review, I will announce the winners of three awards. So, let’s get started.
Fulham v. Arsenal: 1-5
This was a very nice try by Fulham, but Arsenal just ended up being too much for them in the end. Fulham attacked early and often but let themselves open to counter-attacks all day. I am actually very surprised that it took the Gunners until around the 40th minute to find the back of the net. Lacazette opened up the scoring with two goals, followed by a sweet, sweet backheel by Aaron Ramsey and Aubameyang scoring two goals himself. Fulham obviously had their chances with 21 shots but only 4 were on target. One of which was scored by Andre Schurrle. Major takeaway from this game: when the hell did Andre Schurrle start playing for Fulham? I was just getting used to him on Dortmund.
Southampton v. Chelsea: 0-3
Chelsea looked awesome in this game and I am not just talking about those sweet ice blue kits with the traffic cone orange socks. Really not a lot to say about Southampton, there never is, Chelsea was in control for the entirety of the game. Hazard was remarkable with one incredible finish and another assist at the end to seal the game. It seemed like almost every big chance they had, Hazard was a major part of it. Ross Barkley also got his first goal of his Chelsea career from a possibly accidental assist from Giroud. If he meant to do that then that would be a top 5 assist of the season. Lastly, Alvaro Morata, who had been struggling for a while, got a much-needed goal at the end of the game from Hazard. Huge confidence boost.
Tottenham v. Cardiff City: 1-0
Jesus, what an absolute snooze of a game. I love watching Tottenham play, but this was hard to watch. Not regular season baseball hard, but aside from the moments I am about to mention, it dragged on for 85 of the 90 minutes. Spurs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after a point-blank tap in by Eric Dier which was the only goal of the game. Tottenham then completely took over by controlling 75% of possession. Cardiff City did have a couple chances but did not do themselves any favors whatsoever. Their best chance was in the 23’ when a chipped ball over Lloris fell just short of the end line before being booted away by Toby Alderweireld in dramatic fashion. Cardiff also really shot themselves in the foot when they were forced down to 10 men after a red card was shown to Joe Ralls. My jaw dropped when I saw that tackle. It was soon followed by uncontrolled laughter. I wanted to make sure Lucas Moura was okay, but then I could not help myself at how ridiculous that challenge was. My favorite part was when he was surprised that he was being sent off. If you haven’t had the chance to see it, I can describe it in two words: hilariously malicious. Great 3 points for the eventual champions. #SpursYear.
Manchester United v. Newcastle: 3-2
It feels good not having to care about Newcastle for the time being now that Deandre Yedlin is injured. It was getting exhausting. The first 10 minutes of this game, however, was dominated by them. In just those 10 minutes, Newcastle jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Sadly, this was the last time they would score all game. Manchester United did not have a lot going for them until late. Newcastle held that 2-0 lead until the 70th minute when Juan Mata curled in a free kick from just outside the box. I wish I could have seen how badly Jose Mourinho was sweating on that sideline. Two more late goals from Martial and Alexis Sanchez put Man U ahead of Newcastle in heartbreaking fashion. There is one thing that Newcastle did very well this game and that is choking. Way to go, guys.
Liverpool v. Manchester City: 0-0
This game was so even all match long. Liverpool had 7 shots, Man City had 6; Liverpool had 2 shots on goal, Man City had 2 shots on goal; Liverpool had 49% possession, Man City had 51% because that’s how math works. I expected a tie from this game, but I thought it would be something like 3-3 or 2-2. With the weapons that each side has, there should never be a game where they don’t score. Both clubs missed several chances. Salah had two notable openings that he would normally put away but ended up skying them well over the crossbar. The most notable chance for Man City was a penalty kick in the very late stages of the game. Mahrez was the one chosen to take the PK and, like Salah, kicked it into the 12th row. I’m no soccer tactician, but when you have David Silva and Leroy Sane on the pitch, Mahrez may not be your best option when you need someone to score.
Award time. Like I said before there would be three awards every week. First is for best performance or player of the week, known as the “Brilliant Lad” award, then there is the “Absolute Firecracker” award for best goal named after the famous call from Ian Darke in the 2010 World Cup and finally, the “Bloke of the Week” for the biggest jabroney on the pitch all weekend.
Brilliant Lad: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)- one goal, one assist
Absolute Firecracker: Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)- backheel
Bloke of the Week- Joe Ralls (Cardiff City)- No regard for human life with his challenge on Lucas Moura that warranted a red card and put his team down to 10 men.