Another manic Saturday of Premier League football has come and gone. With eight games played, and enormous implications at both ends of the table, it was a hectic day. Here are the significant takeaways from today’s matches.
Erling Haaland and Manchester City are Devastatingly Dangerous
League title-chasing Manchester City thrashed Southampton 1-4 to close within five points of league-leaders Arsenal. Star striker Erling Haaland scored another two goals in this win, headlined by a spectacular bicycle kick. The big Norwegian now has 30 league goals in 27 league games. He is a devastating finisher, a ruthless goal machine.
He was duly aided by Belgian superstar Kevin De Bruyne. De Bruyne created Haaland’s opening goal and became the fastest player to record 100 Premier League assists. Manchester City had 73% possession and registered 13 shots against Southampton.
£100 million man Jack Grealish was involved in seven attacking involvements, per OptaStats, and was excellent with the ball at his feet.
Pep Guardiola’s team is in red-hot form; they have scored 14 goals in their last three domestic matches. The reigning champions are playing their best football at the right time of the season.
Newcastle United Dig Deep in the Race for Europe
At halftime in the match between Newcastle United and Brentford, Newcastle were 1-0 down and had been dominated by Brentford. Playing their third game in six days, Newcastle looked mentally and physically tired. In the race for Champions League qualification, it looked as if the Magpies would suffer a critical loss.
Manager Eddie Howe made a tactical change as he brought on attacking players Anthony Gordon and Callum Wilson. The changes yielded immediate dividends as Newcastle scored twice in a 20-minute burst to lead 2-1. Brazilian Joelinton and striker Alexander Isak scored to give Newcastle the lead.
The league’s meanest defense did not surrender that lead, and the club from the North East tightened its hold on third place. Newcastle were not at their fluid best, but they got the job done.
They have now won five straight games and have a tidal wave of momentum. Brentford had not lost at home since September. Newcastle’s character ended that unbeaten streak.
Chelsea’s Woes Continue
After spending nearly £600 million on players and firing two managers, Chelsea’s troubles continued today with a lifeless loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers. With interim manager Frank Lampard in situ, the Blues toiled in this defeat. Chelsea managed one shot on target and got outplayed by a team fighting relegation.
Chelsea plays like an expensively assembled island of misfit toys. Erling Haaland, on his own, has scored more league goals than Chelsea. The former two-time European champions now languish in 11th place.
And the bad news is not exclusive to the field. After distributing so much money and signing so many deferred payment deals, Chelsea could be in some financial trouble next season. Missing out on Champions League football will be a seismic blow for Todd Boehly and his U.S. consortium.
English Refereeing Is Atrocious
Despite the advent of VAR, the refereeing level in England is terrible. In the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Brighton & Hove Albion, the officials made several blunders. Two Brighton goals were disallowed incorrectly, and they were erroneously not awarded a penalty. The Seagulls outplayed the Spurs for a large portion of the match, but poor refereeing and a late Harry Kane goal cruelly denied Brighton. Following this match, ‘Robbed’ was trending on Twitter. It was a shocking refereeing performance.
Matchday 30 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, ends on Sunday with two big games. League-leading Arsenal travel to Liverpool in a match with massive stakes, while Leeds United host Crystal Palace in a big battle at the bottom of the table.
Current Premier League Table
- Arsenal – W23 L3 D3 PTS 72
- Manchester City – W21 L4 D4 PTS 67
- Newcastle United – W15 L3 D15 PTS 56
- Manchester United – W17 L7 D5 PTS 56
- Tottenham – W16 L9 D5 PTS 53
- Aston Villa – W14 L11 D5 PTS 47
- Brighton – W13 L8 D7 PTS 46
- Liverpool – W12 L9 D7 PTS 43
- Brentford – W10 L7 D13 PTS 43
- Fulham – W11 L12 D6 PTS 39
- Chelsea – W10 L11 D9 PTS 39
- Wolves – W8 L15 D7 PTS 31
- West Ham United – W8 L15 D6 PTS 30
- Crystal Palace – W7 L13 D9 PTS 30
- Bournemouth – W8 L16 D6 PTS 30
- Leeds United – W7 L14 D8 PTS 29
- Everton – W6 L15 D9 PTS 27
- Nottingham Forest – W6 L15 D9 PTS 27
- Leicester City – W7 L19 D4 PTS 25
- Southampton – W6 L19 D5 PTS 23