The Summer of Sané
Leroy Sané has used every opportunity afforded to him positively. Two weeks ago in 33 minutes of action he scored twice on Liverpool, mid-week last week he scored twice to dispatch a good West Brom side in the Carabao Cup, and he followed all that up this weekend with a goal and two assists against a beleaguered Crystal Palace side. Pep Guardiola has to be infused with excitement having so many quality, young weapons at his disposal. You can read all about them in a piece by Bill Haisley:
When you bring Pep Guardiola in to manage your team and give him roughly one hundred thousand trillion pounds to buy…deadspin.com
As he says in the piece, “City are basically scoring for fun right now.”
To The Weekend
West Ham v Spurs, Prediction: 3–1 Spurs; Result: 3–2 Spurs
“I expect a lot of goals” — Me, Sept. 22. This match delivered. A pacy affair that Andy Carrol just couldn’t keep up with saw Harry Kane assert his dominance twice, Serge Aurier draw two yellows in six minutes, Christian Eriksen look as cool as the other side of the pillow, and saw West Ham charge back like a team that refused to lose. If the match had stretched another 15 minutes, I’m confident Spurs would’ve seen it slip. Spurs were too dominant and took all three from London Stadium.
Burnley v Huddersfield, Prediction: 1–1 Draw; Result 0–0 Draw
Two teams built on defense saw nobody score. Wasn’t a terrible match, there were a few wide cracks by Tom Ince and some squandered opportunities by Chris wood saw both defenses secure a point at Turf Moor.
Everton v Bournemouth, Prediction: 1–0 Everton; Result: 2–1 Everton
Everton figured it out, and it only took inserting a man Ronald Koeman said had no future with the club. But being down 1–0, Koeman had nothing to lose and put all his chips on #19. The outcast, Oumar Niasse, may have saved Koeman’s job. Not only did he level the match, but scored the winning goal as well not five minutes later. The Toffees aren’t out of the woods yet, but this was a good start down the road to salvation.
Manchester City v Crystal Palace, Prediction 4–0 City; Result: 5–0 City
City scored a lot of goals, Leroy Sané was man of the match for a goal and two assists. You know it’s a shallacking when Fabian Delph ends up on the score sheet. Palace extend their PL goalless streak through week six.
Southampton v Manchester United, Prediction: 3–0 United; Result: 1–0 United
Southampton played really well and United didn’t look as solid through the middle without Paul Pogba. While many have bemoaned the price tag Pogba attracted last year, his impact on this squad is great. The man that can’t not score for United, Romelu Lukaku, put away another in the 20th minute that saw United cross the finish line in a 1–0 squeaker.
Stoke v Chelsea, Prediction: 2–1 Chelsea; Result: 4–0 Chelsea
The day after Chelsea sold their leading goal scorer of last year, this year’s team got a new leading scorer in Alvaro Morata who put away a hat trick against a Potters’ team that’s physicality was dominated by Chelsea’s pace. Another goal from Pedro made taking all three points look easy for the defending champions.
❤Swansea❤ v Watford, Prediction: 2–1 Watford; Result: 2–1 Watford
I’m torn. Not really, but there is some solace in having picked this game correctly. Swansea looked terrible in the first half. They should’ve given up two or three more goals in that half. I’m not sure what Paul Clement was thinking keeping Tammy Abraham and Renato Sanchez on the bench to start, they are playmakers and without them, there’s no real creativity in the side. Once Abraham and Roque Mesa were inserted at halftime the team came to life. Abraham equalized in the 56th minute, but Swansea couldn’t finish; giving up a goal in the 90th minute and weren’t able to come back.
Leicester v Liverpool, Prediction: 2–2 Draw; Result: 3–2 Liverpool
This match showcased why Philip Coutinho is so valuable to Jürgen Klopp. He was breathtaking, moving all over the pitch, making darting runs, threading beautiful passes, and showing off his ability to hit pearls from set pieces. Jamie Vardy hasn’t been able to sleep properly for a few nights after having his penalty saved, a penalty that would’ve drawn the match level and taken a well deserved point. Alas, Liverpool goes into the King Power Stadium and leaves with all three points.
Brighton v Newcastle, Prediction: 1–1 Draw; Result: 1–0 Brighton
This was a fancy EFL Championship match. Not gorgeous football, but some of the best physical, up-and-down, in the air football that was a lot of fun. Joselu should’ve tucked two chances away that would’ve changed the complexion of the entire match, but some excellent defensive plays saw the Seagulls and Tomer Hemed, the goal scorer, take all three points away from this one.
Arsenal v West Brom, Prediction: Didn’t make one…; Result: 2–0 Arsenal
Arsenal played like their fans expect them to play. Pace, style, class, precision, and purpose. No Özil, no problem. Alexandre Lacazette, who only seems to score at home did just that, netting two goals that saw the Gunners walk past a West Brom team that played much better than the scoreline suggests. If not for a spectacular save and an uncalled penalty, this game could’ve ended in very different fashion.