Cleat Geeks

Five Things we Learned from the Premier League this Weekend

Klopp after Kop connect lpool

It isn’t very often that Liverpool would celebrate a home draw against West Brom in front of their own fans, but on Sunday, that’s exactly what happened.

Divock Origi’s deflected 95th minute strike rescued a 2-2 draw for the Reds in an action-packed game, and Klopp led his players over to the Kop for a Dortmund-esque celebration.

The German manager could well be on to something. Previously he had questioned why some fans leave before the final whistle, and had insinuated that the atmosphere at Anfield could be better.

But if those same fans have a celebration to look forward to come full-time, they might well stay to the bitter end and sing that bit louder, as Klopp suggested they did on Sunday: “You need moments like this, and you need moments like this at home, that everybody that can enjoy.

“It’s only a point but everybody will talk about this game for the next five or six days, and that’s important and that’s what football is for.

“We all wanted this one point and it felt like three. In this moment it was an explosion.”

It makes you wonder what sort of scenes there will be at Anfield on Boxing Day if the Reds defeat table-topping Leicester City.

At least they got it right!  officials-8x6549-1727164

You just can’t please football fans. If the match officials make a quick decision and get it wrong, supporters and pundits criticise them. If they take their time, consult their colleagues but get it right, supporters and pundits criticise them.

Who’d be a referee?

There were two instances this weekend where unusual routes to get to a decision were taken, but both outcomes were correct and just.

The first was at Villa Park, when Alan Hutton clearly hauled down Arsenal’s Theo Walcott in the penalty area. Incredibly, referee Kevin Friend, who had a perfect view of the incident from approximately 15-20 yards away, waved away the Gunners appeals only for the linesman, who was in the other half of the field, to signal to Friend that it was a spot kick. Replays showed that however they came by the decision, they got it correct.

Then at Anfield, Jonas Olsson had a goal chalked off for offside around 30-40 seconds after he had scored it by the linesman, after a protracted consultation with referee Craig Pawson.

Once again, replays showed that Olsson had just strayed offside before volleying home a Craig Gardner free-kick inside the area. However, the linesman wasn’t sure whether it was Olsson or another player who had made the decisive final touch and, rather than guessing, he consulted with Pawson before coming up with the correct verdict.

It is very rare that match officials receive any sort of praise, but this weekend especially, they were excellent.

Chelsea in dire straits mourinhodejected_3409808b

Another week, another bad result for the defending champions who lost 2-1 away at league leaders Leicester City to drop closer to the relegation zone.

Incredibly, the team that won the Premier League so comfortably last season now sit just one point above the relegation zone after their ninth defeat in 16 league matches.

The Blues have won just twice in their last 10 Premier league games, and after Monday’s loss manager Jose Mourinho pointed the finger of blame squarely at his players: “One of my best qualities is to read the game for my players and I feel like my work was betrayed,” the Portuguese told the BBC.

“One possibility is that I did an amazing job last season and brought the players to a level that is not their level and now they can’t maintain it.”

Chelsea face Sunderland this Saturday at Stamford Bridge and defeat could see them slip into the bottom three.

Cherries strike it big again bmo

A week after recording what manager Eddie Howe described as the club’s ‘biggest ever win’ away at Chelsea, Bournemouth were at it again as they beat Manchetser United 2-1 at Dean Court in the first-ever league meeting between the two sides.

Junior Stanislas and former United striker Josh King scored the goals as the Cherries moved up to 14th in the table.

Incredibly, the newly promoted side who are in their debut season in the Premier League, have recorded their sensational back-to-back wins without star-striker Callum Wilson, who is a long-term injury absentee.

And Howe paid tribute to midfielder Harry Arter, who put in a tireless performance just days after the sad death of his daughter. Howe said via the BBC: “It’s been a really tough week for Harry and his family, hugely emotional.”

“He’s handled himself with real dignity and to play the way he did, I can’t credit him enough. He showed great strength.

“Harry wanted to play, I had to make an assessment of him but once I’d spoken to him there was no doubt I was going to play him.”

Two for joy as Magpies record back-to-back wins ayoze

November 2014 was the last time Newcastle recorded successive Premier League victories before this weekend, but Steve McClaren’s men fought back from a goal down at Tottenham to make it two wins in a row.

McClaren’s substitutions proved to be masterstrokes as both Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic came on off the bench to score the goals to earn Newcastle three points at White Hart Lane.

Sunday’s victory followed up their 2-0 win over Liverpool last week but McClaren says he wants more from his players;

“We need more performances like that,” he told the BBC. “We have been inconsistent.”

The former England manager praised his players for turning around the half-time deficit against Spurs; “There have been so many times when I have gone in at half-time and the dressing room has been silent,” he said.

“I was angry at the goal but the players were fabulous at half-time.

“It was so vocal, such a determination in the players not to go down the same path as they usually do.”

Next Saturday they have every chance of making it three wins in a row when they take on bottom of the table Aston Villa at St James’ Park.

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