The Dabigal Blog

Morata on fire, Foxes’ tribute and points you can’t miss in the PL weekend

Another weekend has passed by in the Premier League and we’ve still got three unbeaten teams.

Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool all held on to their record, but of that trio it was Liverpool who were left with the most to rue after they dropped two points in a 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

 At the other end, Newcastle became the 19th of the 20 sides in the division to record a league victory this season as they edged out Watford, leaving only Huddersfield remaining ahead of their meeting with Fulham on Monday.

Here are the weekend’s talking points.

 1. Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United: Fred could learn from Lerma

Jose Mourinho spent much of the summer moaning about not being able to spend on a new centre-half. But he was allowed to splash the cash on Fred, paying Shakhtar Donetsk over £50million for the Brazilian. Quite simply, the Ukrainian side saw United coming. He’s energetic but too often forgets the basics defensively, doesn’t seem aware of how to give the midfield balance and if you compare him to Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma – the Cherries record signing at half the price – it’s simply no contest.

 It was a surprise he lasted longer than half time, especially after those embarrassing theatrics .


2. Cardiff 0-1 Leicester: A Gray day for the Foxes

Having done their mourning earlier in the week, Leicester’s fans came to the Welsh capital to defiantly show that the Foxes’ show must go on after the toughest few days in their history.

 Then after their darkest day came a Gray one.

 Demarai Gray’s fine strike won the game , and although moving on from such a tragedy is easier said that done, this at least showed that the character that exists within the squad and group of fans is something that Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was right to be proud of.

 That the goalscorer was booked for removing his shirt was unfortunate, but as far as Leicester were concerned, worth it. 

3. Everton 3-1 Brighton: Richarlison the central character

Richarlison proved that any concerns about him playing through the middle are misplaced as he stole the show at Goodison Park.

 The Brazilian has been preferred to the likes of Cenk Tosun, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman in a central role by Marco Silva in recent weeks, and his brace of striker’s finishes secured a third straight home league win for the Blues.

 For his opener, the former Watford man latched on to a fine pass from Gylfi Sigurdsson and fired past Mat Ryan, while for his second – the goal that sealed the three points – he raced away from Shane Duffy after a slack Lewis Dunk pass had played him in.

 You can’t do that sort of thing when he’s around.


4. Newcastle 1-0 Watford: Relief for Rafa… somehow

At the 11th time of asking, Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle finally ended their winless run.

After all was said and done at St James’s Park, it was something of a surprise to see the Toon claim victory over a Watford side that had impressed in recent weeks.

 It was even more surprising that the Magpies claimed a 1-0 win – courtesy of an Ayoze Perez header – given how the game had gone on Tyneside.

 Watford had the better chances – xG numbers stand at 0.69 for the hosts and 2.43 for the visitors – but were punished for wasteful finishing.

 But Benitez won’t care one iota, and after a week where his captain signed a new long-term contract, his side have a platform from upon which to build.


5. West Ham 4-2 Burnley: Arnie Hammers Tarkowski and Burnley


James Tarkowski found out that it is best not to mess with Marko Arnautovic the hard way.

After the Burnley defender scythed down West Ham’s talisman with an early challenge, Arnautovic turned into ‘Arnie’ and ruthlessly hunted down the centre-back after a miscontrol just moments later.

 Arnautovic nicked the ball away from the England international and raced clear to score, ensuring that he rubbed the goal in the face of Tarkowski by laughing at him afterwards.

 It was the first act in a welcome win for the Hammers.


6. Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool: Torreira’s time is now


As Arsenal improve so too does Lucas Torreira, and the two things aren’t mutually exclusive. 

On a day when the Gunners were going to have to put a lot of effort into winning the midfield battle in order to prevent Liverpool from hitting their stride, the little Uruguayan was excellent, displaying his quality in one stunning 15 second burst . 

His presence has had a marked improvement on Granit Xhaka alongside him, and although Unai Emery’s side did ride their luck somewhat in the game they certainly deserved their point.


7. Wolves 2-3 Tottenham: Gibbs-White provides the wow factor, but to no avail


After falling 3-0 down against Spurs, Wolves made a real fight of things before eventually succumbing to a 3-2 defeat .


And leading the fight for Wanderers was 18-year-old substitute Morgan Gibbs-White, who arrived on the scene with the home side scoreless and produced an outstanding 28-minute cameo. 

The Stafford-born midfielder – part of the World Cup winning England Under-17 side in India last year – replaced Joao Moutinho and proceeded to take the fight to Tottenham in a display full of energy, desire, and no little quality. 

Ex-England midfielder Danny Murphy remarked on Match of the Day that he had been ‘sensational’ and declared: ““It’s very rare you see someone of his age and think ‘wow’.” 

Gibbs-White grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and directed more senior colleagues as he looked to mount an unlikely comeback. He almost pulled it off.


8. Manchester City 6-1 Southampton: Sharp Sterling, Sane and Sergio

 Manchester City pummelled Southampton in their 6-1 win.

And the numbers behind the victory, particularly those involving the front trio of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero, are scary indeed. 

Sterling helped himself to two goals and two assists , also managing three key passes. Aguero helped himself to a goal and two assists, while also managing four key passes. Sane scored one, made one and registered two key passes himself. 

Often we regale City’s midfield maestros and their ability to dictate matches and bend them to their will. This time it was their rapier-like attack, sharper than the sharpest of Santoku knives, that made the biggest impression. 

9. Chelsea 3-1 Crystal Palace: The life of Alvaro Morata neatly summed up

He’d just scored two goals to help Chelsea avoid a potentially tricky afternoon at home to Crystal Palace , and what was the first thing Sky Sports asked Alvaro Morata about? Yep, *that* miss in the last minute. 

Unfortunately for the Spaniard he’ll have to keep on dealing with such questions as long as there remains a question mark over his suitability to lead a title charge, but at least this was a step in the right direction.

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