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The Premier League: Matchweek 4 – Let’s Do This!

Matchweek 4 offers a pair of Turf Wars among the slate that will lead to the first international break. Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

19 Premier League Titles - Old Trafford, Manchester United by Paul is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Premier League: Matchweek 4 – Let’s Do This!

Estimated Reading Time: 8 Minutes

There is little doubt that the Premier League is the most competitive domestic competition in the world. Week in and week out there is no shortage of exciting, quality football. Last week delivered yet again, as 36 goals were scored across the ten matches. We also saw our first draw of the season. And then, of course, was the DRAMA and CONTROVERSY involving VAR, and the ongoing debate over how it’s ruining the game.

Will this weekend’s slate of matches continue the trend? How many goals will there be? Will VAR cause misery? Let’s have a look and see what’s in store, shall we?

Saturday, October 3rd:

Chelsea v. Crystal Palace

The week kicks off with a TURF WAR pitting Justin’s Eagles against Wilhelm & Pierce’s Chelsea squad. Palace were unlucky in their last match, where one of a number of VAR reviews around the league led to a penalty kick that would put Everton ahead for good. They did well to hang with a strong Everton squad, but couldn’t equalize in the second half, despite a handful of solid chances.

Chelsea spent Matchweek 3 stressing out their fanbase. The Blues were shellshocked within half an hour. After conceding a 5th-minute goal to Callum Robinson, they found themselves down 3-0 after 27 minutes of play. At this point, our Slack channel was dominated by two things: the miserable combination of kits between Chelsea and West Brom, and Katie & Wilhelm’s utter disbelief at what they were witnessing. As a matter of fact, here’s Wilhelm’s most appropriate GIF – I believe this gem appeared after the third goal from West Brom:

After Lampard made some changes at the half, Chelsea staged an impressive comeback to salvage a draw and escape with a point. They’ll be looking to avoid playing from behind when Palace visit Stamford Bridge.

Everton v. Brighton

Another week, another Everton win. Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his scoring streak, netting the first goal against Crystal Palace in the 10th minute. They benefitted from a handball call against Joel Ward to go back ahead before the half and managed to hold on for the win. They’ll look to keep their streak intact against one of the most surprising and dangerous teams in the league this season.

The Seagulls of Brighton have suddenly taken the Premier League by storm. After flirting with the relegation each of the last three seasons since making it back to the top tier, this squad seems to have found another gear. Sure, they’re 1-2 on the season, but they were pretty hard done by in their clash with Manchester United last week. Another one of those handball VAR reviews at the death cost them all three points. Even as a United fan, I felt dirty watching United walk away with all three after getting thoroughly outplayed. Their clash with Everton has the potential to be a wide-open slugfest.

Leeds United v. Manchester City

Speaking of “talked about teams”. Leeds United came back to the Premier League with high expectations, and thus far they’ve lived up to their billing. Last week’s 1-0 victory over Sheffield was out of character for them after their first two games. However, it also showed that they’re more than capable of hunkering down and withstanding an attack that could sometimes rival their own. The goalkeeping in this match was outstanding. It will need to be again as they welcome Manchester City to town.

City will be out for blood after getting smacked around by Leicester City in their home opener last week. The final tally was 5-2 as Leicester were awarded three penalties over the course of the game. It was a thoroughly humbling afternoon for Pep’s men, one which they’ll be eager to put behind them.

Newcastle v. Burnley

The Magpies clashed with Tottenham last week. Their first-half performance was pretty lackluster as Spurs dominated and went ahead on 25 minutes. Goalkeeper Karl Darlow was the only reason the halftime deficit was only a single goal. After the half, however, the team managed to work themselves back into the game. Darlow’s heroics at keeping the team only one back proved huge, as yet another handball VAR review allowed them to draw level with Spurs, escaping with a point. They’ll need to do better from the get-go if they want to move up the table.

Burnley found themselves behind to Southampton after only 5 minutes last week. Their efforts to equalize proved unsuccessful and they’ve yet to put one in the win column this season. The injuries have been brutal for Sean Dyche’s men, which has put even more pressure on this squad. The loss was not the way he wanted to celebrate his 400th game as a manager. Newcastle should present a good chance for them to finally notch a win.

Sunday, October 4th:

Leicester v. West Ham

The Foxes will come into this match flying high off of their 5-2 thrashing of Manchester City. They’ll look to continue their tenure at the top of the table when they welcome West Ham to the King Power Stadium to kick off day two of matchweek 4.

The Hammers notched their first victory of the campaign by handily defeating Wolves. It was their first win against Wolves in their last 5 meetings, having lost the previous 4 without even scoring a goal. They were relentless in attack, and will look to build on the victory against Leicester.

Southampton v. West Brom

The Saints finally gave Ryan a reason to cheer, claiming their first victory of the season last week against Burnley. Danny Ings put the team ahead after only 5 minutes, and they would dominate for the rest of the first half. They managed to keep a much improved Burnley at bay in the second half to secure the clean sheet and all three points. They’ll be thirsty for more as they welcome West Brom to St. Mary’s this weekend.

The Baggies come into this match licking their wounds. After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead against Chelsea, they seemed to disappear in the second half. As a result, they ended up with a draw rather than a victory. This is a team still in search of some consistency, as well as its first win of the season.

Arsenal v. Sheffield

The Gunners took on the defending champions last week, and even found themselves in front on 25 minutes. That lead disappeared a mere 3 minutes later, however, when Mané netted a rebound from close range. The Reds took the lead less than 10 minutes later, and Arsenal left Anfield empty handed. They welcome the Blades to the Emirates this weekend.

Sheffield come into this week after a back and forth with Leeds that found them on the short end. They battled well, but ultimately weren’t able to secure any points. Aaron Ramsdale was outstanding despite being on the losing end. He’ll look to keep the potent Arsenal attack off the scoresheet in hopes of notching the first win for the team this season. There have been some rumblings about whether manager Chris Wilder is still the right man to lead this team. But it’s still early – and this is Chris Wilder we’re talking about.

Wolves v. Fulham

After a bright start to the campaign, Wolves have now lost two in a row. Last week they were schooled by a West Ham squad that put 4 goals on the board while keeping a clean sheet in the process. They’ll want to get on the scoreboard early and often against a Fulham squad still struggling to get going this season.

The Cottagers currently sit at the bottom of the table, having lost all three of their matches to start the season. It’s been an inconsistent season to say the least. Their lackluster debut loss to Arsenal was followed by an inspired toe to toe battle with Leeds in matchweek 2. Despite being on the losing end in that match, there was reason to hope heading into last week. Instead, they laid a dud in a 3-0 loss to Aston Villa. Which team will show up at Molineux Stadium this weekend?

Manchester United v. Tottehnam Hotspur

The potential is there for this to be the game of the weekend. Manchester enter this game on shaky ground after being run ragged last week against Brighton. Despite their poor showing, they escaped with all three points thanks to a handball VAR review at the death. It was yet another poor showing for a squad that looked like they’d finally figured it out during Project Restart. They’ll need to do MUCH better if they hope to compete for the title this season.

Spurs suffered a similar fate to Brighton last week. A late handball against Eric Dier that was reviewed and ultimately given as a PK allowed Newcastle to salvage a draw with Tottenham. It was an unfortunate end to a game that Spurs controlled most of the way. Karl Darlow was the singular reason that Tottenham weren’t able to add to their tally, making the heartbreaking finish to the match all the more painful.

Mourinho will be eager to stick it to his old club, while United will be eager to get back to winning ways. It’s also another TURF WAR that pits Kevin’s Spurs against my Red Devils. We’ll be taking in the action together at a yet to be determined location, with bragging rights for the week on the line.

Aston Villa v. Liverpool

Villa have opened their 2020 campaign with back to back wins, both in pretty convincing fashion. They stifled a 10-man Sheffield team in their first game, and followed it up with a comfortable victory over a floundering Fulham squad. This week the competition will be stiff as they welcome Liverpool to Villa Park.

The Champions keep on rolling, having taken care of Arsenal last week to make it three wins in a row defending their title. There is history to be made for both clubs in this match. Villa could win three consecutive matches for the first time since 2010 if they can knock off Liverpool. On the other side, the Reds can become the first team in top-flight history to start three consecutive seasons with 4 wins.

This week will take us to the first international break of the season, so enjoy the football!

Joe is an actor who grew up eating, living and breathing sports. He spent many an afternoon on the soccer or baseball field in his youth (and even gave several other sports a shot) before a series of events put him on the path to pursuing a performing career. Subsequently, he's worked almost every other type of job you could imagine while trying to support that endeavor. Whenever he's not working any of those jobs, he can often be found watching, playing or discussing sports in some way. Most of that banter revolves around the Mets, Giants, Rangers or Manchester United. His short term goal is to fully convert his fiance into a rabid sports fan, not someone who leaves the room whenever he turns a game on.

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