By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week seven of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
Week seven of the Premier League saw a big twist in the title race plot and plenty of great goals. Here are five things we learned from the season’s seventh round of fixtures.
Liverpool show they can grind out a result
Liverpool are not known for being the most consistent side in the league – one week they can look like world beaters, the next they look ordinary and devoid of ideas. For much of Saturday’s game against Swansea they were the latter, failing to create chances and looking suspect in defence. Unlike the match against Burnley though, the Red’s overturned the 1-0 deficit to claim a 2-1 victory thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino and James Milner. They kept prompting and probing and they got the result despite not being at their best.
If Jurgen Klopp wants his side to compete for the title, they will need to get results such as this. Champions can win ugly, and whilst it might be harsh to use that phrase for this victory, Liverpool did get three points without playing their best. The one thing that has held them back in recent seasons is their tendency to lose matches such as this despite troubling the top sides. This is the first time the German has won four games on the bounce with Liverpool, and all signs are positive heading into the International break.
Payet scored one of the goals of the season
West Ham were trailing 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday, and it looked like they could be heading to another disappointing defeat. Up stepped Dimitri Payet who took on five of the Middlesbrough team in a goal that can be described as ‘Messi-esque’.
The Frenchman’s solo effort rescued a point for the Hammers, and who knows how crucial that could be come May. West Ham looked improved on the whole, but they still lack the solidarity of last season. It is too much to rely on Payet to conjure some magic every week and rescue points no matter how good he can be.
It was a slight step forward for the Hammers, but there is still plenty of work to do for Slaven Bilic to change West Ham’s fortunes around. But for now the faithful can enjoy the goal from their star man.
Manchester City are not invincible after all
Tottenham Hotspur put an end to Man City’s perfect start to the season with a deserved 2-0 win at White Hart lane. An Aleks Kolarov own goal gave Spurs an early lead which was doubled by Dele Alli before the break. Eric Lamela had a chance to make it 3-0 from the penalty spot but could not convert the spot-kick.
It was a deserved with for Spurs who have closed the gap at the top to just a single point, and in the process remain the only side unbeaten in the Premier League thus far. This defeat and the mid-week draw against Celtic shows that despite the excellent start, there is still work to be done for Pep Guardiola. There are still holes to be exploited in his side which Tottenham did perfectly. They are still title favourites, but the aura of invincibility is now gone.
Possession and chances mean nothing unless you take them
That is a statement that will ring true for Manchester United based on today’s performance. Despite dominating the game, United dropped two points at home to a struggling Stoke City side who sat 19th in the table heading into this round of fixtures.
The Red Devils had over 20 attempts as they laid siege on the Stoke City goal, but that counted for nothing as Anthony Martial was the only one to find the net. It started with an awful miss by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and ended with Paul Pogba’s strike against the crossbar, but in the end a disappointing 1-1 draw is all Jose Mourinho got.
Stoke created a lot less, but they took their opportunity when it mattered. Joe Allen tapped in from close range with not long left on the clock to cancel out Martial’s strike and rescued an unlikely point for his side. It was a missed opportunity for United to make some ground on their City rivals, but that’s football.
Arsenal showed title winning quality
As much as Burnley frustrated the Gunners at Turf Moor, Arsenal still managed to find a late winner through Laurent Koscielny. It was a victory that showed that Arsenal have championship winning qualities, something they have lacked for the past decade.
Usually the Gunners would go on to draw or possibly lose a match like this. Burnley defended well and came close to scoring a few times themselves. Arsenal kept probing right until the end and got their reward with a last second winner and two extra points on the board.
They have close the gap between themselves and Manchester City to just two points. Maybe Arsenal will surprise and a few and make this year their year?
Full Premier League results
Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace
Swansea 1-2 Liverpool
Hull 0-2 Chelsea
Sunderland 1-1 West Brom
Watford 2-2 Bournemouth
West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough
Man United 1-1 Stoke
Leicester 0-0 Southampton
Tottenham 2-0 Man City
Burnley 0-1 Arsenal
Premier League Matchweek 8 takes place between 15-17 October.
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