Another Saturday of Premier League football is in the books. After the international break, things kicked back off with a bang. Let’s have a look at what happened yesterday,
beginning with the early kick off. It’s only the early kick off today, because I started typing and my hands wouldn’t stop! More analysis tomorrow, sorry!
Chelsea vs Man Utd
I had written yesterday that I thought this would be a park the bus special by Jose Mourinho, and he would have been happy with a 0-0 draw. I was basically saying that this had all the potential to be a really enjoyable game, but it probably wouldn’t be that exciting. But I was wrong, and it was actually extremely enjoyable.
Manchester United were a lot more positive than I thought they would be, even if they weren’t quite as positive as people are making out. They were good, but I’m convinced they were much the better team, as some are saying. Maybe they did deserve to win the game, but if you go by the stats, Chelsea were a lot more dominant. The Blues had 61 per cent possession to United’s 39 (The Guardian).
While trying to find the stats, I have realised that reports are extremely inconsistent. The Premier League’s website says Chelsea had 54 per cent possession. The Guardian say Chelsea had six shots on target, with 15 off target. The Premier League website says they had 18 total shots, with eight on target. The Guardian say Man Utd had four on and three off, while the Premier League say they had 10 in total, with only two on. You would say the Premier League’s website should be more reliable, but I looked at stats from other sites too, an they’re different as well. I have no idea.
So, while the stats can’t really be believed, Chelsea had far more either way. But I don’t remember them having chance after chance either. David de Gea did make a couple of good stops, but it wasn’t his busiest day at the office either.
Chelsea took the lead after 21 minutes, when Antonio Rudiger headed in from a corner. Paul Pogba was supposed to be marking him, but he got caught behind Victor Lindelof and David Luiz and couldn’t track the run. Man United were level after 55 minutes, when Anthony Martial finished well in the box. It came to him from the right, and he controlled it well and finished into the bottom corner.
United went ahead after 73 minutes. Some good work by Juan Mata down the right saw him play it into Marcus Rashford. Rashford played a great ball to Martial, who took a touch before finishing really well into the bottom corner. It looked like United had won the game, but after about 96 minutes, Ross Barkley scored. Cesar Azpilicueta sent a hopeful ball into the box. David Luiz sent a header goal-wards, but it came off the post. De Gea saved well from Rudiger, before Barkley smashed in from close range. Chelsea had snatched a point.
There are a couple of things I want to look at:
Marcos Alonso is extremely good at attacking. He’s brilliant with the ball, so you want him high up the pitch. But Chelsea were caught out on their left multiple times because he was out of position. There was one in the first half, when he went chasing a lost cause high up the pitch. United broke, and it took some hard work, and a smart foul, from Eden Hazard to stop Rashford.
Alonso then went down injured in his own box, after what looked like a coming together with Romelu Lukaku. United were attacking and it was dangerous for Chelsea, so maybe he was looking for the play to be stopped so the pressure would be relieved. But referee Mike Dean, who I have never given praise because I think he’s an absolute clown, was having none of it. Fair play to him for not stopping it, because there was nothing wrong with Alonso. Forget about this ‘put the ball out if somebody’s down’ business. Play to the whistle. Martial ended up scoring with Alonso down on the ground, and then he miraculously recovered and managed to play the full 90 minutes. Just get up and defend.
For Martial’s second goal, he was also at fault. He was next to Mata on the wing, but he just let Mata run away from him, while he sauntered back. It’s not like it was Kylian Mbappe and Alonso couldn’t catch up. Juan Mata is not quick, and Alonso could have caught him, no problem. But he didn’t bother chasing back, and left the situation to David Luiz. Luiz was then brilliantly beaten by Mata, who then squared it into Rashford, who played it to Martial to finish.
I found Alonso extremely frustrating to watch, as his team gets caught out time and time again because of him. He may have got away with it when he was a wing-back in Antonio Conte’s back three when there was another defender to cover him, but he’s not in the back four. He needs to do more defensively and be more aware of his positioning.
For a while, Chelsea fans have been giving out about Willian. I didn’t always understand this, because he seemed to come up with a lot of goals and assists. Barcelona wanting to sign him in the summer made me wonder what they see in him that Chelsea fans don’t. But after yesterday’s dreadful performance, I can see part of the problem. He’ll either do something spectacular, like score a screamer, or he’ll do nothing. He gave the ball away time after time yesterday, and didn’t offer much to his team. He took a free kick from just outside the box, and put it about 10 yards over the bar. I don’t really remember him doing anything positive in the game.
I don’t want to sound too harsh here, but Alvaro Morata is simply not good enough to play for Chelsea. That’s not his fault, but it would make you wonder why they spent so much money on him. He has some good games, and scores some goals, but he’s not at the required level for a team that wants to win the title. He doesn’t score enough and he isn’t involved with play enough. Olivier Giroud would be a better option for Chelsea. He won’t score 25 league goals either, but at least he’s really good at holding the ball up and bringing others into play. His link play with Hazard can be very effective. Chelsea will surely try to buy a striker in January, and if they can’t, they’ll have to in the summer.
‘Nobody wants to see that in football!’ Oh yes they do. We need more arguments, more brawls and more blood. All hell needs to break loose more often. I’m joking, we don’t want to see blood and people getting hurt, but more arguments would be good. Can you really say you didn’t find the argument between Jose Mourinho and the Chelsea coach lad exciting? I loved it!
For once, I’m on Mourinho’s side here. The coach lad was being a complete dickhead; goading Mourinho when Chelsea scored. He was trying to rub it in his face, which was extremely poor form. What’s his problem with Mourinho? Mourinho didn’t say anything about them before the game or anything like that. Anyway, as Mourinho said, Maurizio Sarri apologised and the other lad apologised, and it’s now in the past. He wants to leave it behind now. Let’s hope for more drama in future, though!
So, it was a good game, and maybe a draw is the right result. I’m just delighted it wasn’t a dour 0-0 draw. It’s a game people will actually remember, which can’t be said for too many performances from Mourinho’s teams. I really enjoyed it, and I hope United won’t be parking the bus again, because they’re fun to watch when they go for it. Sort it out Jose, and you might get even more praise!
Anyway, today’s blog hasn’t worked out anything like it should have. I wanted to look at every game, and be around the 1,000 word mark. We’re now at 1,324 and I’ve only looked at one game. It’s not ideal, but there you go. It was the game of the day, so maybe it deserves extra words. There are other things for me to talk about, but I’m not going to do a second blog, because I just don’t do that. Maybe we can analyse the rest of the games tomorrow morning. Yeah, I think we’ll do that, because there are a couple of other bits I want to look at.
There’s one game in the Premier League today, which is Everton vs Crystal Palace. That one kicks off at 4pm, and there’ll be a preview of it up here before the game. I’ll be back with more exciting stuff tomorrow!
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the expert analysis of yesterday’s game. You won’t find that in the paper, let me tell you. But sure, that’s why you come here, isn’t it. Something different is good! I’ll have to leave it there for now. Come back and read my preview later please. Go and have a great Sunday, please. Do your best to enjoy yourself. Try to make others happy. And enjoy the football. Back tomorrow with more; Bye bye.
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