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Pitch-side Review: Are They Who We Thought They Were?

Ahead of the international break, we saw some teams put on sparkling displays, while others seemed to have never had their head in it.

Aston Villa Football Ground by Ozzy Delaney is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Pitch-side Review: Are They Who We Thought They Were?

Estimated Reading Time: 6 Minutes

Week 4 of the Premier League was, in a word, insanity. I know it’s early, but we’re starting to see identities form that have us all wondering “what on earth we were thinking before this season kicked off? Are these teams who we thought they were?” The answer to that seems to be a pretty resounding “NO”.

Collecting maximum points

Leicester City and Liverpool had rough days at the office, leaving Everton and Aston Villa as the only remaining clubs taking maximum points. The Toffees are clicking on all cylinders, and they’re just going to get better. James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are so hot right now. So hot that if one of them doesn’t score in a game we’ll probably be surprised. Villa may have a game in hand, but they just TROUNCED the champions 7-2. They’ll travel to Leicester after the international break, hoping to compound the beating that The Foxes received at the hands of West Ham.

Liverpool is going through it at the moment, with Joe Gomez forgetting how to play, Alisson Becker facing at least six weeks out, and Mane and Thiago in self-isolation following positive tests for COVID-19. The international break may have come at the right time for The Reds though, as it gives them time to lick their wounds. The big issue for them is that the Merseyside Derby waits on the other side of the break. That will be the true test for Everton. If they can emerge victorious, or at least with one point, they will have proven themselves as a legitimate heavyweight for this season.

London clubs on the up

Chelsea finally moved a step closer to full health, seeing Ben Chilwell and Christian Pulisic on the pitch against Crystal Palace. Despite a slightly inflated scoreline because of two penalties, Frank Lampard’s boys made the proper adjustments after going into halftime scoreless. Seeing the likes of Pulisic, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, and Tammy Abraham on the pitch at the same time gave us a glimpse of the potential The Blues have this season. And they did that without Mason Mount or Hakim Ziyech out there. Another name you didn’t see on the pitch was Marcos Alonso, and that is likely for the best. He may have seen his starting status swiftly move to fringe player, at best, with the return of Chilwell.

Arsenal continued their solid run of form, beating Sheffield United 2-1. The Blades had not scored a single goal, however only conceded 4, in their first three matches. The Gunners struck with goals from Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe in quick succession partway through the second half. I wasn’t high on Arsenal this year. Well, really, I’m never high on them because…Arsenal. But even with their loss in game week 3, they look poised to challenge for a top four spot as they’d be expected to.

Tottenham traveled to Old Trafford and handed the Red Devils a most embarrassing home defeat, trouncing them 6-1. Heung-min Son and Harry Kane each came away with a brace, while Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier seem to have raised their respective games, netting one each. After being hard done by a late penalty decision against Newcastle last week, Spurs have responded with a Carabao Cup victory, a 7-2 win to clinch a place in the Europa League Group Stage, and a 6-1 beating of United in the Premier League. And they’ve done this all without Gareth Bale. If he can get in on the telepathy Son and Kane seem to have going, watch out.

City falls flat

Manchester City, fresh off an unexpectedly embarrassing 5-2 loss to Leicester, faced the tall task of traveling to Elland Road to face Leeds United. I knew Leeds would be fun to watch this year, but they really are taking the Premier League by storm. While I know it’s too early to sound the alarm for City, it’s clear that they are beatable. Press them high and knock balls over the top. Be quick on the counter.

In my opinion they were lucky to come out of this match with a draw, as The Whites peppered Ederson’s goal throughout the second half. Things don’t get any easier for City, as they have a matchup with an in-form Arsenal looming on the other side of the international break. They really need talisman Kevin De Bruyne to come back to his senses if they want to get on their feet and climb higher than their current 14th position in the table.

United bottoms out

Meanwhile, Manchester United put on a display that made Patrice Evra nearly quit his job at Sky Sports. The game started bright with United winning a penalty 38 seconds into the match. However that was snuffed out quickly, with Tottenham striking twice quickly, to pull ahead by the 7th minute.

And bad only got worse from there. Anthony Martial was sent off in the 28th minute. Harry Maguire looked as though he had no idea where he was. Eric Bailly and Luke Shaw were both lucky to not be sent off for challenges on Harry Kane and Lucas Moura respectively. While they had a decent deadline day, the club didn’t properly address their back line, outside of left back Alex Telles. If they can’t figure things out in the coming weeks, they’re going to find themselves with a huge uphill battle. Post international break, they have a (supposedly) winnable match against Newcastle, before facing Chelsea, Arsenal, and Everton one after another.

Turf Table

TeamTurf Writer(s)PointsGoal DifferenceTable Position
LiverpoolChristian Heilman905
Tottenham HotspurKevin Morin7+76
ChelseaAndrew Mark Wilhelm/Katie Pierce7+47
Southampton FCRyan Kelly6-111
Crystal PalaceJustin Colombo6-212
Manchester UnitedJoe Danbusky3-616

Kevin is an actor, director, playwright, and musician who works in tech. He is die hard New England sports and an avid Tottenham supporter. His qualifications include scoring 1 point in his elementary school basketball career, 4 years of mixed little league results, and breaking his arm with a skip-it days before pre-season workouts started for Freshman football.

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