© Photo by (BPI/Paul Greenwood).
We were certainly very smug in ComeOn! towers after getting three out of our four predictions correct in our recent ‘Four things we expect to happen in the Premier League this weekend’ article. Jamie Vardy duly delivered with yet another well-taken goal, Remi Garde’s reign as Villa manager got off to a positive start with a hard-earned point against City and the North London Derby ended all square after a second-half Kieron Gibbs goal saved the Gunners from what would have been their 3rd defeat of the season.
Whilst goals were in relatively short supply over the weekend, there was of course no shortage of talking points. And as the common adage goes, if you didn’t learn anything, what was the point? So in a brand new feature, we hone in on three topics we feel that are worth mentioning from last weekend’s Premier League action.
Klopp has work to do
The ‘normal one’ suffered his first ever defeat as Liverpool boss on Sunday against a Crystal Palace side who have continued their steady revival under the stewardship of manager Alan Pardew. And whilst the Liverpool fans were in full voice during their pre-game round of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, it was indeed their German boss who admitted he felt alone during his post-match conference after seeing certain sections of the Kop vacate their seats early before the game had reached its conclusion. Liverpool’s ‘nearly season’ of two years ago will now feel like a lifetime away for their perennially optimistic fans and what Sunday’s defeat highlighted if anything, is that Jurgen Klopp still has much work to do if he wishes to groom a Reds side ready to challenge for the Premier League title again.
Shoots of recovery for Villa
Even the most foolhardy of Villa fans will be quick to admit their side were slightly fortunate to come away with a point in their 0-0 draw with Manchester City on Sunday. The home side were indeed on the right side of some overdue good luck, a key component of their game that has mostly eluded them this season so far, after a couple of impressive saves from goalkeeper Brad Guzan and a late scare which saw Yaya Toure smash his header off the Villa bar in the dying seconds. Despite City’s lack of cutting edge in front of goal, this game wouldn’t be a representation OF a ‘bottom vs top’ affair as many expected it would. Remi Garde’s dogged Villa side more than held their own during Sunday’s lunch time fixture and arguably looked the better side in the first half. With just over two thirds of the domestic season remaining, Villa’s positive performance on Sunday was indicative of a side who still believe they can dig themselves out of relegation trouble.
Man United and their lack of balance
Following their narrow 1-0 victory over West Brom, Man United have now gone over 500 minutes in all competitions without conceding a single goal. And as impressive as this feat is, it is one that has been rather bitter-sweet following LVG’s men’s chronic lack of goals at the other end of the pitch. In an attack spearheaded by an underwhelming Wayne Rooney and a young Anthony Martial still learning his trade, Man United have found goals hard to come by in recent times, despite staying so resolute at the back. And with three seasons in the wilderness following Sir Alex’s departure, success-hungry Red Devils fans will be expecting their star-studded side to begin seriously contesting for Premier League titles again which will be rather unlikely until United can find the right balance of scoring goals at one end of the pitch and stopping them going in at the other.