Cleat Geeks

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Hazard Warning hazard

Jose Mourinho left last season’s Player of the Year on the bench for his side’s 2-0 victory over Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

The Belgian midfielder has come under fire for his performances in the Blues’ tumultuous start to the defence of their title, and Mourinho said that his ommission against Villa was based on their defensive woes:

“I left out Hazard because we are conceding lots of goals,” he said. “We needed more stability and effort to help make the team more solid.

“I like quality, but when you don’t have the ball you don’t have quality. And you don’t have control.

“It was a tactical decision I felt we had to make and I told the players that this was not the time to be selfish and think only of themselves and be selfish,” Mourinho continued. “This has to be a moment for the team and nothing else.”

Meanwhile Hazard fueled speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid after ‘liking’ a report suggesting the move on social media.

Allardyce in Blunderland  sam

Big Sam’s first game in charge of Sunderland ended in a disappointing 1-0 defeat away to West Brom, leaving the Black Cats rooted to the foot of the table.

The Black Cats are also the only side yet to record a win this season and fell to their sixth defeat of the campaign when a Costel Pantilimon error presented a tap-in to Saido Berahino.

Next up for Allardyce’s men is the Wear-Tyne derby against Newcastle, and despite Sunderland having won the last five encounters with their neighbors, the former Magpies boss admits the pressure is heavier on him than opposite number Steve McClaren:

“The pressure’s on me more than it’s on Steve. We’ve won the last five, so I don’t want to be the one who doesn’t win it.

“But we’ll wait and see on the players – only the players can make everyone smile next week. They just have to carry on what they have done five times before.”

Magpies golden six Gini Wijnaldum Goal Celebration Holding Up 4 Fingers

Speaking of Newcastle, they picked up their first win of the season in emphatic style, hammering Norwich 6-2 at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Georginio Wijnaldum netted four goals, while fellow summer signing Aleksander Mitrovic and forward Ayoze Perez grabbed one each as McClaren’s men finally saw out a lead to clinch victory.

Having let a two-goal lead slip against Chelsea and seen a 1-0 lead turn into a 6-1 hiding against Manchester City in recent weeks, the home fans were understandably anxious when the Canaries made it 3-2 less than a minute after Newcastle had scored themselves.

But, despite weathering early second half pressure from the visitors, the Magpies were able to ease to victory, which sets them up nicely for next week’s derby.

The triumph ended Newcastle’s longest win less start to a season since 1898 and McClaren praised his forwards after their six-goal showing:

“The front four were excellent, especially Gini Wijnaldum. Moussa Sissoko showed strength and power and he showed why he is coveted by the top four.

“I thought the score could have been anything. We rode our luck and defended quite well. On the break we were terrific.”

Gunners mean business  arsene-wenger_1869548b

Despite having a must-win Champions League game in midweek against the mighty Bayern Munich Arsene Wenger selected a strong side to face Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday evening.

The team selection paid dividends as Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners thanks to goals from Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud.

On paper it seemed like a routine victory, but the Gunners were made to work hard by the Hornets, who, prior to this game, had only conceded one goal at home all season.

It could be that, facing an almighty task to advance in Europe, Wenger has set his sights on winning the Premier League this season.

Clinical United a real force  lvg

Manchester United were superb in defeating Everton 3-0 on an emotional day for the Toffess at Goodison Park.

Prior to kick off, news of former Everton player and the club’s most successful manager, Howard Kendall’s sad passing emerged.

There might have been a feeling that this emotion would push the home side on to victory against Louis Van Gaal’s men, but United dominated from start to finish and in the end ran out comfortable winners.

Quick-fire goals from Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander Herrera gave the Reds a two-goal cushion on 22 minutes that they never looked likely to relinquish. Wayne Rooney added a third in the second half against his old club to put United back on track after their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal last time out.

And Van Gaal says that three points next week against their cross-city rivals will highlight their title credentials: “We are always having the target of champions. That is of course important in our ambition,” the Dutchman told the BBC.

“We have to be more consistent so next week when we win against Manchester City then we can say ‘OK, now we think maybe about title aspirations’.”

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