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Jose Mourinho Starts With a Spurs Win and Other EPL News
After a quiet two weeks during the international break, the English Premier League is back with a bang. We saw the successful debut of Jose Mourinho as a Spurs manager, a crucial Manchester City victory against Chelsea, and a thrilling 3-3 draw between Sheffield United and Manchester United.
I will take a look at all of the interesting moments from Matchday 13 in this weekly EPL recap.
Manchester City Beat Chelsea to Stay in the Title Race
The game between Manchester City and Chelsea was arguably the most intriguing one this week. The reigning champions are already far behind Liverpool, and a loss here could’ve meant an end to their title ambitions.At the same time, Chelsea actually started the day in front of Man City, and the Blues had the chance to show how far they’ve gone under Frank Lampard.
The young guns of the manager started brightly and even took an early lead, but Manchester City showed their true colors after the 30th-minute mark or so. They dominated for large periods and won 2-1 at the end.
Man City is the underdog in the title race, but the club is still in it, and there’s a lot of time left before the end of the season. Pep Guardiola will be happy with the performance and the response after Chelsea’s goal.
As for the visitors, I’m sure they won’t be too disappointed from the game either. As Frank Lampard said in his post-match interview, Chelsea is closing the gap. The Blues are just a step behind Liverpool and Man City right now.
The club is on the right path, and I believe it will compete for the English Premier League crown next season. Just imagine what Lampard could do when the transfer ban is over, and he can buy some players.
Jose Mourinho Is Back With a Bang
A lot of people wonder if Jose Mourinho was the right choice for the Spurs job. He is a manager who is used to working with a lot of money and is not known for developing young players. That doesn’t fit Tottenham’s philosophy and the strategy of Daniel Levy.
The long-term doubts remain, but the start of Jose’s career was pretty good. His side went 3-0 up and essentially killed the game before the 50th minute.
West Ham managed to score twice late in the match, but there was no time for a true comeback. It’s funny how Mourinho is known mostly for his ability to teach his teams to defend, while the attack won his opening encounter.
I will keep watching the Spurs closely, as it’s interesting to see the influence of the Portuguese manager. The team still has a strong squad, and there’s a lot of time left before the end of the season. The Top 4 is certainly achievable for Tottenham, and let’s not forget the team is playing in the Champions League, too.
The Classic Between Sheffield United and Manchester United
Every once in a while, the English Premier League produces crazy games that are hard to comprehend. We saw one between Sheffield United and Manchester United at Bramall Lane this Saturday.
The hosts went 2-0 up early in the second half, and everyone expected them to win, as they have an excellent defense. That’s when Manchester United scored three goals inside 7 minutes to completely turn it around.
All the momentum was with the Red Devils, but Sheffield United refused to give up. A late goal by Oli McBurnie restored the tie, and the teams had to settle for a draw. It’s extraordinary how both looked like certain winners in the second half.
It was a stunning game and a timely reminder of why the English Premier League is the most popular soccer league in the world.
Liverpool Seems Unable to Lose
Liverpool seems destined to lift the title this season. The team is winning all kinds of games, and this weekend was further proof of that. The Reds were sub-par for most of the match against Crystal Palace, and they still found a way to grab all the points.
One could be worried that they haven’t been at their best too often this season, but does it really matter when they are still winning? Tough victories are the trademark of title-winning teams, and many bookmakers seem to agree.
That’s a bit adventurous with so many EPL games left, and I wouldn’t rule out Manchester City. And yet, the Reds are certainly head and shoulders above everybody else right now.
The Sack Looks Imminent for Several Managers
I believe that several EPL managers won’t make it to the New Year. One of them certainly is Unai Emery. He seems completely out of his depth at Arsenal, and I don’t think I’ve seen the Gunners so clueless.
Even the worst Arsene Wenger moments produced good soccer and wins against teams at the bottom. Right now, Arsenal can’t outplay anyone. The team should’ve lost against Southampton at the Emirates before a late Lacazette equalizer saved a point for the hosts.
The players didn’t look particularly happy, the supporters didn’t care, and the atmosphere surrounding the club is getting more toxic by the minute. I don’t see how Emery will last very long.
I have the same feeling about Marco Silva. His Everton lost 2-0 at home against the struggling Norwich, and the patience of the fans is now firmly gone. Former Everton player Kevin Campbell pretty much summed it up by saying that the project is not working and the manager has to go.
Finally, I think that the Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl is in trouble, too. The only path to salvation I see is for the Saints to build on this point against Arsenal and win several games in the upcoming weeks.
If they don’t improve right now, Hasenhüttl will be released. We’ve seen how the Southampton board didn’t hesitate in similar situations in the past couple of seasons, so the writing is on the wall.
There are several other talking points that I could’ve covered but decided to leave out for various reasons. I already talked about how good Leicester is in my last recap, and my colleague Ben Morris has a blog on the topic, so go read it if you want more thoughts on the Foxes.
Another topic that deserves some attention is the slow and methodic rise of Wolverhampton. The team was in the bottom three early on and now sits fifth in the table. Expect more on that progress in one of my upcoming weekly EPL recaps.
In the meantime, feel free to share your opinion about this weekend in the comments section below.