It’s been a wildly entertaining Premier League season. I’ve been having regular conversations with my old London flatmate (huge ManUre supporter) who is actually turned off by the game this year. Why? Because there are no fans. While I think he’s being a BIT dramatic, there is absolutely something to the fact that the atmosphere in some of the most typically hostile stadiums is non-existent.
Traveling to Old Trafford, or even to Turf Moor, doesn’t strike the same fear into the hearts of the opposition when they’re playing what looks like a practice squad match with nobody in the stadium. And while there’s definitely a piece of that I agree with, I struggle to sympathize with players who don’t seem up for it when they don’t have tens of thousands of fans egging them on. Or helping turn the momentum of a match on its head.
And that’s certainly part of why we’re seeing seven goal affairs, clubs take the wind out of their opponents’ sails with late comebacks, and a table that looks nothing like we’d expect it to after six matches. All that said, let’s take a look at the weird and the wild from this October weekend.
Unbeaten no more
Bamford buries Villa
The weekend kicked off on Friday with Leeds traveling to Birmingham to take on Aston Villa. Lead up to the game was looking at a Villa team that won four of four to start the season and a Leeds club that has had a spattered, but energetic beginning of their campaign.
Patrick Bamford was the hero of the day, bagging a beautiful hat trick. On the other side, Villa had some chances, but could never seem to get it together. Their best opportunity came from Jack Grealish, who was played in and saw Luke Ayling brilliantly back up his keeper by clearing the ball off the line.
Back to Bamford, though. Over the years, the Englishman has been spotty and taken on some well deserved criticism. This year, he’s been in cracking form, now netting six goals in six games. Pace and energy will define this Leeds team this season. And with their early exit from the Carabao Cup, they have the time to rejuvenate, despite the intensity of playing under Marcelo Bielsa. We’ve all been saying they’re fun to watch, and now they’re picking up the results.
Saints have their share of Toffees
Southampton came out swinging, scoring two first half goals. James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams were both assisted by Danny Ings. It seems to be the year that English strikers are unselfishly serving up goals on a platter for their teammates (more on that later).
As well as Southampton played, the talk of this game will be more focused on Everton. Their unbeaten streak has been snapped, and Lucas Digne was questionably sent off in the 72nd minute. Before even going into this, Everton was not at their best. They were already down 2-0 and didn’t seem to be up for it.
Now back to the card. Referee Kevin “not Everton’s” Friend made what most anyone who isn’t a Southampton supporter would consider a mistake. Digne was pulling up and accidentally caught Kyle Walker-Peters in stride. It’s pretty clear. But the call stood. However, you can make the call for yourself.
A wide open table
The results of the weekend have put a four point gap between first and eleventh. Yes, I know. It’s way too early and that will break up eventually. However, the question of HOW it will start to separate is an interesting one.
Liverpool, though hard done by a penalty call, found it difficult to unlock Sheffield United. Chelsea, who were hard done by a non-penalty call, drew 0-0 with Manchester United. Arsenal couldn’t figure out Leicester, thus being downed by a Jamie Vardy goal. Tottenham were able to grind out a tough 1-0 win at Burnley. Despite their loss to a surging Leeds club, Aston Villa sit one point off the top with a game in hand. Leeds, Southampton, Crystal Palace, and Wolves sit sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth respectively. And they’re all above Chelsea and Arsenal.
If there’s ever a season for Americans to “get into soccer” it’s this one. And the Premier League is the league to do it.
The telekinetic connection of Harry and Sonny
Tottenham currently sit fifth after Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combined for their ninth goal of the season. In their sixth season together, the Spurs truly seem to have a way of putting each other in position to score. In their first five seasons, they connected a total of 20 times. That makes this season’s feat all the more amazing. And to think we’re only six matches in. If they can continue this play, they’re going to smash the Premier League record. They’re already second, and only trail the total links between Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard in their days together at Chelsea.
Sonny leads the Premier League with eight goals, and Harry leads the league with eight assists. Kane also has knocked in five himself, while Son has a pair of assists. In addition to their 13 goals between them, Spurs have scored the most goals (16), and have the highest goal difference (+8). If they can continue to tough out results like this last one against Burnley, as well as trounce lesser opponents on their best days, this team could continue to rise as high as my own anxiety as the season progresses.
There’s a new look to this week’s Turf Table. And, well, I’m pleased with my team’s progress. May Spurs continue to experience the success I have with my fantasy team, much to the chagrin of my sod compatriots. But that’s a story for another day.
|League Position||Team||Turf Writer(s)||GD||Points|
|8th||Crystal Palace||Justin Colombo||-1||10|
|10th||Chelsea||Andrew Mark Wilhelm/ Katie Pierce||4||9|
|15th||Manchester United||Joe Danbusky||-3||7|
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.