2021/22 Premier League Review: Matchday 3
We all expected City to slap Norwich, I’m not quite so sure that we anticipated a repeat scoreline against Arsenal. Rafa Benitez appears to be handling an Everton side that underperformed for large stretches last season under Carlo Ancelotti. Benitez will be boosted by Brazilian magician, Richarlison, staying until at least January – even with the penalty spat with Dom Calvert-Lewin.
With an international break to look forward to, it’ll give time for Wolves, Arsenal and Newcastle to slap themselves together. In the meantime, hopefully, the Three Lions can put to bed the sorrows of another failed tournament and secure victories over Hungary, Andorra and Poland.
Catch up on the preview and predictions of Matchday 3 if you haven’t already, and have a good old laugh at our expense.
Match of the Week
Wolves 0 – 1 Manchester United. Over a matchday that included a 5-0 drubbing of Arsenal and a nail-biting 2-2 draw to gift Vieira his first points as Palace manager, it may seem strange to have such an ordinary result as the match of the week. It was a tale of two halves at the Molineux, however, with Wolves failing to bury any of their chances despite a 1.8xG. Roman Saiss will have to hang his head in shame after failing to convert from under a meter out from goal. Of course, David De Gea found his form of 2014 to shut out Wolves, but the Wanderers lack of bite has been a theme throughout their 21/22 season.
Adama Traore had Fred wheeling from the first minute and will feel hard done by that his team failed to build upon the pressure created. Second half Paul Pogba silenced online detractors, and although he certainly left his foot in Ruben Neves before United’s goal, Mason Greenwood once again proved his worth before Ronaldo’s return.
Player of the Week
Ferran Torres (2 Goals, 1 Assist, 1.25xG). Arteta’s Arsenal aren’t exactly the formidable Invincibles of the past, especially not a ten-man Gunners, yet Ferran Torres laid down a huge claim for continued first-team minutes. Cleaning up a failed Arsenal clearance for his first and a deft header to complete his brace, it was the Spaniard’s assist for Rodri that highlighted his quality. Dancing along Arsenal’s back-five, keeping himself onside, Torres held up the ball wonderfully before laying off a cute pass for Rodri to ease into the corner. Not every player has to be acquired for £100m, Pep. 😉
Callum Wilson (1 Goal, 0.57xG, 3/3 Dribbles, 4/6 Ground Duels). Newcastle have suffered a dire start to their 21/22 campaign, but Callum Wilson has remained a bright light. Dangerous at set-pieces, Wilson was unlucky not to get his first of the match just before half-time – only a piece of Alex McCarthy magic to deny Wilson. It was only ten minutes later that Wilson latched onto Jacob Murphy’s headed cross across the face of goal, bravely lunging for the ball head-first before McCarthy could repeat his first-half heroics. A real leader up top for Newcastle, the Magpies have a genuine finisher with full dedication. It was only around half an hour into the match that Wilson flagged for a strained quad.
Match To Forget
Spurs 1 – 0 Watford. A classic defensive display from both sides, with Spurs confident in their ability to shut up shop for fifty minutes against the newly-promoted side. At times, the Hornets shape up with the intent to sting, but they lack the quality to maintain pressure for extended periods. Moreover, Watford’s dreadful set-pieces, offensive and defensive, will prove a death-knell if not immediately addressed. Also, Spurs should have taken the money for Dele Alli back in 2017 when the media randomly attributed £70m+ price tags. Levy would be lucky these days to get the £25m that Leeds forked out for Dan James.
Performance to Forget
Cedric Soares (0 Tackles, 1 Error Led to Goal, 0/3 Ground Duels, 0/5 Aerial Duels, 11 Times Possession Lost, Yellow Card). Crikey. Free transfer or not, Arsenal will feel short-changed after Soares’ performance against City on Saturday. How an experienced Premier League right-back fails to register one tackle, ONE, is unfathomable. If you hadn’t watched the match, you’d simply assume it was a case of match-fixing. A 44% pass completion didn’t help his case either. With three years left on his contract, AFTV will continue to rake in the dollar bills.
Jadon Sancho (0 Key Passes, 0 Crosses, 0 Long Balls, 0 Shots, 0/1 Dribbles, 0 Ground Duels, 0 Aerial Duels, 8 Times Possession Lost). It would be too easy to list the full Arsenal XI. To diversify, I have opted to name and shame United’s big-money signing. Over seventy gruelling minutes, Sancho looked horribly off the pace in a physical battle at Molineaux. Too often cutting inside to lay the ball off backwards, Sancho’s lack of creativity and bravery will have had OGS tearing his hair out on the sidelines. Perhaps this will only prove a flash in the pan for such a talented youngster, however.
Pintsized AND Steviano (Aston Villa 1 – 1 Brentford AND Burnley 1 – 1 Leeds). Both lads nailed the 1-1 call for two separate games. Perhaps Steviano’s prediction deserves a little more credit, given Leeds’ track record of wildly fluctuating scorelines.
Predictor of the Week
Steviano (7/10 Results). In what is becoming a worrying trend, Steviano takes the top spot once again so early into the season. Wisely calling the Burnley/Leeds and Newcastle/Southampton draws, Steviano is standing at a whopping 66% pick success rate.
Dunce of the Week
Ryan (5/10 Results). Hahaha. Ryan can count himself slightly unlucky this week, pipped by Pintsized’s sole scoreline prediction, but it is another week in the naughty corner for the big man.
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