Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

Best still yet to come for Arsenal

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Arsenal

Arsenal will feel relieved.

They were far from their best against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, something which Declan Rice admitted after the 2-2 draw. “First half from us the worst we’ve played this season in terms of sloppiness,” the England midfielder said.

However, once again, the Gunners found a way, scoring twice in the final 15 minutes to rescue a dramatic point to keep their unbeaten start to the season intact.

It’s been a bit of a theme to the season for the Gunners. They have been far from their best in many of the opening nine games of the league season, but they sit second, unbeaten and with 21 points.

Tight wins against Nottingham Forest, Crystal Palace and Everton. A disappointing draw against Fulham, finding a way to get over the line in big home games against Manchester United and Manchester City and draws against Tottenham and Chelsea. The 4-0 win at Bournemouth apart, Arsenal have been involved in extremely tight games in the Premier League, showing character, spirit and fight to get over the line.

It’s in contrast to their flying start to last season where they burst out of the traps as they went on to challenge Man City for the title, ultimately falling short in their bid to win a first Premier League title since 2004.

But this appears to be a different Arsenal, a more robust Arsenal, a more functional Arsenal and there’s still plenty to come from Mikel Arteta’s side, especially in attack. However, it may be that solid base, that fighting spirit and character which may be the difference as they bid to end their long league title trophy drought.
Oliver Yew

Spirited Arsenal fight back…

Arsenal avoided defeat in a Premier League away game in which they trailed by two-plus goals for the first time since March 2021 (3-3 vs West Ham) having lost each of their last eight such matches prior to today.

Mudryk and Chelsea on the rise

A fortunate mis-hit which benefitted from a goalkeeping error? That didn’t bother Mykhailo Mudryk, who lapped up the applause for his cross-shot which deceived Arsenal’s David Raya and put Chelsea 2-0 up.

It was his first Chelsea goal at Stamford Bridge and at that point it looked like the Ukraine winger had set his team on course to a statement victory. But despite Arsenal’s fight back, there’s no doubt both Mudryk and Chelsea are on the rise.

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Mykhailo Mudryk catches out David Raya to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead

The 22-year-old’s personal story seems linked with the new era at Chelsea. The hasty, expensive deal to snatch him out of Arsenal’s grasp reflective of the club’s seemingly chaotic transfer policy; the struggles to reproduce the form he’d shown previously and the subsequent drop in confidence… and now the rejuvenation under Mauricio Pochettino.

It is symbolic his long-awaited first goal for the club came in the win at Fulham which seems to have kick-started Chelsea’s season. Mudryk could be the driving force to Chelsea’s improvement. He and the team may have been denied that winning feeling in the end on Saturday but both look set for more positive months ahead.
Peter Smith

Should Konate have seen red?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win against Everton in the Premier League

When tensions are high after a derby game, any hint of consensus between the two coaches is a clue that the verdict was obvious. “When he didn’t get the yellow I took him off,” said Jurgen Klopp. “I can understand the frustration of Sean in this moment, absolutely.”

The Liverpool boss was referring to Craig Pawson’s decision not to send off Ibrahima Konate when the defender pulled back Beto to prevent a counter-attack just minutes after receiving a yellow card. Sean Dyche declared himself “baffled” by the decision afterwards.

The call for consistency in football is a frequent one and short shrift should be given to those asking why Ashley Young was red carded early in this Merseyside derby after Mateo Kovacic escaped that fate for two rather more robust offences before the international break.

Consistency over a season is impossible. But inconsistency by the same official, within the same match? That can aggravate. The situations were not identical. Young lunged in when on a booking. But Konate made no attempt to play the ball. Another card felt inevitable.

Would it have altered the outcome? One suspects not. Klopp was right to state that he would still have backed his team to win it. It was his attacking substitutions on the hour mark that helped to earn the breakthrough that better reflected Liverpool’s dominance.

Even so, listening to Dyche accept Young’s red card, wonder why we had to go through the rigmarole of going to the screen to award a penalty most spotted in real time, then ask why VAR cannot intervene for second yellows card offences, you could see his point.
Adam Bate

Murphy exceeding expectations at Newcastle

Jacob Murphy is the embodiment of Eddie Howe’s over-achieving Newcastle. Money is no object now although that is yet to be reflected in the playing squad.

The former Norwich winger was one who seemed certain for the chop after the change in ownership, viewed as a remnant of the Mike Ashley era. But as the demands have increased so too have his performances.

Murphy doesn’t, as many expected, look out of place in the Champions League, playing for a team competing with the very best in the Premier League. His goal and two assists in the thrashing of Crystal Palace were yet another reminder of that.

The 28-year-old is exceeding expectations and hitting the form of his life. He’s a big part of the reason the Saudis’ Newcastle project is ahead of schedule.
Zinny Boswell

Brighton’s injury list threatens De Zerbi revolution

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s Premier League clash with Brighton

“We are playing a different sport this season.” Roberto De Zerbi’s reaction was dramatic, but so is Brighton’s growing injury list.

Solly March was never supposed to be a left-back. He was only there as one of the few fit left-footed players remaining in his squad, after Pervis Estupinan and Tariq Lamptey were both injured.

Now he too joins them on the treatment table, stretchered off in the dying embers at the Etihad to rub salt into Brighton’s 2-1 defeat.

“We are losing too many players, I think we are not ready to compete in this competition,” the Seagulls boss added.

It is normal for him to play down their chances, to relieve the pressure of their success. But on this he might be speaking from the heart.

Even the strongest squad can be derailed by a bad run of injuries. Brighton’s is far from the deepest, and has already been stretched by their first ever European pursuit.

But it would be a crying shame if De Zerbi’s sensational work at the Amex Stadium – and all this season promised – was undermined by factors beyond anyone’s control.
Ron Walker

O’Neil’s harsh Bournemouth sacking is Wolves’ gain

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of Bournemouth’s clash with Wolves in the Premier League

Gary O’Neil’s sacking by Bournemouth less than seven months after he was named permanent head coach was seen by many as particularly harsh, even by Premier League standards. Therefore, the stakes were always higher when he returned to the club for the first time with Wolves on Saturday.

For 45 minutes, O’Neil’s return was not going to plan. Dominic Solanke’s early goal had given his former boss a headache on the south coast, but the 40-year-old deserves huge credit for turning the game in Wolves’ favour.

O’Neil’s decision to bring on Tommy Doyle at half-time was an inspired one as the substitute played a key role in Matheus Cunha’s fine equaliser. The change gave Wolves control and the ascendancy before Lewis Cook’s red card for a headbutt on Hee-Chan Hwang only helped the visitors towards a deserved victory, sealed when Sasa Kalajdzic – another substitute – scored late on.

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Wolves head coach Gary O’Neil returned to haunt former club Bournemouth

Ten wins in 34 Premier League games in charge of Bournemouth last season, including landmark results against Liverpool and Tottenham, and surviving the drop despite being bottom of the table after 25 matches, were not good enough reasons to convince new Cherries owner Bill Foley that dismissing O’Neil wasn’t needed to move the team forward.

But under O’Neil’s replacement Andoni Iraola, the early signs are Bournemouth have taken a step back. The defeat kept them in the relegation zone and they’ve now failed to win any of their opening nine games for the first time in their Football League history.

There was always a chance O’Neil could come back to haunt Bournemouth this weekend. “No emotion, we’re on business,” he told Sky Sports ahead of the fixture. Deep down, though, surely this win will mean a little more than most.
Dan Sansom

Kompany must tighten up leaky Burnley

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford’s Premier League clash with Burnley

When asked in his post-match press conference whether the 3-0 defeat at Brentford will change his approach, Burnley boss Vincent Kompany hesitated slightly before delivering his answer.

“The change is always incremental,” the Belgian said. “You always learn, you always find a way to make it work but that’s not related to just losing or winning.”

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Vincent Kompany’s Burnley sit 18th in the relegation zone with just one win

But his pause for thought was maybe a small sign that Kompany knows deep down that things are going to have to change if Burnley are to avoid the drop because they are far too easy to play against right now.

Their dismal defeat in west London on Saturday means it is seven defeats in nine games upon their return to the Premier League – their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1888.

The Clarets have conceded 23 goals – the most of any Premier League team this campaign – and it was the fifth time they had conceded three goals or more in a game this season.

Defensively Burnley are just not up to it at the moment and it was clear again at the Gtech Community Stadium on Saturday as Brentford took full advantage to take 23 shots at goal, 10 of which were on target – their joint-most in a Premier League game.

Kompany knows a thing or two about a solid defence and he must now use his experience to work on tightening his side up and focus on the defence rather than the attack, otherwise there will be more disheartening days ahead.
Declan Olley

Will Forest’s wayward finishing cost them in the end?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Nottingham Forest’s draw against Luton in the Premier League

Nottingham Forest’s profligacy in front of goal cost them all three points against Luton Town at the City Ground on Saturday and Steve Cooper’s side will need to sharpen up in attack if they want to avoid another relegation battle this season.

The home side have been leading at half-time after both Chris Wood and Ibrahim Sangare spurned guilt-edged chances, something Cooper alluded to at full time: “It’s disappointment in the end. We dominated the game and we’re disappointed we weren’t leading by one or two goals at half-time.”

And even after the New Zealand striker had put Forest 2-0 up with two well-taken goals, the hosts still missed further openings to bury Luton.

In fact, Forest recorded their highest xG total since their return to the Premier League in 2022 (2.85) after having 19 shots, attempting more efforts at goal on only one occasion across that period (20 vs Bournemouth in January this year).

And yet a lack of concentration at the back in the closing stages let the visitors back into the contest and three points became just one as Forest drew at home for a third game in a row for the first time since April 2013 in the Championship.
Richard Morgan

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The post The best is yet to come from Arsenal while Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk is on the rise – Premier League hits and misses appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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