THE WEEKEND REVIEW
Liverpool keep the distance..
The saying that champions still win despite not playing well is a little cliché but that is exactly what happened when Liverpool travelled to Brighton over the weekend. They did not create a lot (neither were they tested a lot) but they had Mohammed Salah to take for duly converting his spot-kick when called upon. Alisson Becker and co. kept yet another clean sheet and still keep the pace in what is proving to be a very tight title race. We still get the feeling that the best is yet to come though.
Arsenal just being Arsenal..
Unai Emery has been a whiff of fresh air around the Emirates Stadium (so far) but has there been so much change since Arsene Wenger vacated that position in the summer? On Saturday, they hosted a West Ham side that had defeated Arsenal once in their last twenty-one games. Well, make that two in twenty-two now. Arsenal had no offensive edge and the most threatening player(s) throughout the game were Alex Iwobi and Sead Kolasinac who were stationed on the left-hand-side. Shockingly, they looked vulnerable every time West Ham attacked. The return of Laurent Koscielny has not been the blessing that Arsenal players and supporters had hoped for. Arsenal has been in freefall recently and this has also led to teams below them closing up the gaps. Emery would need to shed a lot of the old Arsenal tendencies (and possibly, players) to make this team move forward. Tick tock.
Paris St. Germain in cruise control…
PSG is in auto-drive in Ligue 1 at the moment- unbeaten, amassing 50 points, leading with 13 with two games in hand. They could manage to rest Cavani, Neymar and Mbappe till their Champions League games against Manchester United in February and it will not make a difference in the League. Another test awaits when they face the big boys especially in the Champions League. Jury is still out.
Manchester United on the up, Tottenham their latest victim..
Question marks were raised when Ole Gunnar Solksjaer was appointed interim Manchester United Manager. After six games (especially the last one), there is some talk about him being the Manager in the long run. Against Tottenham Hotspur, away from home, they had the right shape about them, defended in numbers and were very good on the counter. Also, David De Gea was immense and made some tremendous saves in the second half to prevent the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Toby Alderweield from scoring. Ultimately, there has been a stark improvement in this Manchester United side over the past six games. There has been an improvement in confidence, movement and overall play and this has yielded in an upturn in results.
For Tottenham, they were a bit lax in possession (see Kieran Trippier poor mistake for the goal) and the loss of Sissoko compounded their issues as there were no runners from deep, no available substitutes (the injury list is a long one and also coupled with the fact that there have been no new signings this season) and the redeployment of Eriksen to operate from deep was not necessarily a blessing. Ultimately, this loss means that Tottenham is just a point ahead of Chelsea- who battled to a win over Newcastle- and would have to be wary and up their game as the margin for error grows slimmer and slimmer.
Posted by: Abiodun Motunrayo
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