Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
Liverpool impressive, City and United both win convincingly, and Spurs and Chelsea got the job done.
Arsenal 0 - 2 Manchester City
Manchester City: Business as usual
Manchester City impressed again after their win against Chelsea to lift the Charity Shield last week. They dominated the game and were two steps ahead of Arsenal. They played with a changed team as De Bruyne only featured from the 60th minute and David Silva was absent. Gündogan and Mahrez combined with Sterling and Fernandinho in midfield with Agüero up front. That did not stop them from playing their usual fluid game that had caused all sorts of problems for Arsenal in the final of the Carabao Cup last season - they beat the Gunners by 3-0 that time. Nothing changed nothing strange. They made it just look easy.
City were largely expected to beat this new look Arsenal team and they got the job done without breaking a sweat, it was like a training game for them and Arsenal could not keep up with the pace at their Emirates Stadium. Particularly outstanding were man of the match Sterling and defender Kyle Walker who made 23 sprints in the game, more than any other player in the Premier League that match day.
Sterling scored the opening goal after cutting inside from the left, then past two defenders to place a low shot to the right post. He was full of running and contributed immensely for City during the game. Bernardo Silva scored the winner when he finished from a perfect cut-back from Mendy, who also had a great game after a long absence through injury.
Guardiola: “I am privileged to be manager of Manchester City. They have given me a fantastic squad. I cannot complain for one minute.“
Guardiola will be pleased with his team's performance and he will be looking to add a further 3 points next week when City welcome Huddersfield Town and then they travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers in two weeks. We expect 9 points from them at the end of that fortnight.
Arsenal: wobbly but still better
It was always going to be a difficult game for the Gunners and they tried their best against the best team in the league last season. Arsenal had a few chances but they were limited in what they could offer against a well-oiled Cityzens defense and a solid midfield presence to boot.
Newcomer Guendouzi impressed for Arsenal in midfield but other than that the rest of the team were too average to test their illustrious visitor's. Ozil, Ramsey and Aubameyang could not do much until Lacazette was introduced in place of the disappointing Ramsey. They then upped their game but it was still well confined by the Cityzens.
At 0-1 Lacazette missed a great chance to level the game and that may have brought the Gunners back into it. However, it wasn't to be and Arsenal were sent back to dressing room with plenty to think about before next week's fixture at Stamford Bridge.
Arsenal coach Emery: “The result was 2-0 but I think on the pitch over the 90 minutes we were getting better….But I think here we are going to feel very well.“
Arsenal will need to be better if they want to make the top four and they must take their chances when they arise. They have the strikers to do it but their build up play has to be more penetrating and that is a concern at the moment. Can coach Emery get more out of his players against Chelsea? Well yes, they have to start with two forward players or wide players so they can provide more width to their game. They will be better and harder to beat in the next few weeks once they get used to the 4-2-3-1 system employed by Emery. So something positive to take from the game.
Arsenal travel across the city to visit Chelsea next weekend then they host West Ham the week after. It could be a very difficult start for new coach Emery and he may find it hard to recover ground if they lose their opening two games. They will need to be more incisive against Chelsea and though they had several chances against City they did not put them away. More clinical please.
Liverpool irresistible and most impressive this weekend.
By far the most impressive team of the weekend in the Premier League, the Reds were rampant against West Ham and left their visitors no hope as they put four past them with remarkable ease. New signing Naby Keita was sensational in the middle of the park and both Salah and Mané were as graceful as at the end of last season.
Man of the match Saido Mané was particularly incisive for the Reds and his double put Liverpool out of reach. The trio, together with the ever lively James Milner caused all sorts of problems for the Hammers. Wijnaldum paired up well in middle with Milner and was superb as the holding midfielder.
Salah scored the first and Mané added the second and third goals to cap off their excellent display in front of a frantic crowd at Anfield. The pair were as electrifying as in the Champions League last season and we would expect them to lead Liverpool again this season but with the objective being to challenge for the Premier League title this season. Daniel Sturridge scored the fourth and the Reds left virtually no chances for West ham as they defended sturdily.
Klopp: “The performance of all the boys and the midfield of James [Milner] and Georginio Wijnaldum was outstanding.“
That all bodes well for coach Jurgen Klopp and we think he now has the team to win the league and the way they controlled the game shows how much potential they really have.
“It was a tough game before the game, during the game and after the game,” Hammers coach Pellegrini said.
The Reds next travel to Crystal Palace on Monday 20th August and we would expect a stiffer test from the London team though this is a game that Liverpool should win to confirm their status as favourites for the title. The Reds then host Brighton the following Saturday and we expect another three points from that game. This would be the ideal start they need if they want to keep up with City this season and especially as we expect City to win their first three games as mentioned above.
Manchester Impressed but still concerns at the back
Manchester United 2 - 1 Leicester City
Manchester beat Leicester City by a narrow margin and though the visitors scored in injury-time, it does not truly reflect the nature of United's dominance over the Foxes. So United finally played with tempo and harmony as the fans wanted but they still looked a bit shaky at the back and Vardy's late goal illustrated the concern's coach Mourinho has about his defense. He will certainly be very upset with that goal and rightly so. That was exactly what we saw from United last season. They would play well, then waste a host of chances and concede a dismal goal that ruined all the good work.
The positive point was the style and Manchester played with intend and direction thanks to man of the match Paul Pogba, a superb display by Juan Mata and great forward play by Sanchez. Pogba scored the opening goal with a penalty to the top right corner to cap off an excellent all-round performance from the recently crowned World Champion. Sanchez created two great chances for Lukaku and Mata, and his shot brought the penalty after a resulting handball. De Gea also made several good saves to keep United in the game notably from the Foxes promising new signing Maddison.
Luke Shaw was also outstanding at left back and scored the winner for Manchester with an exquisite touch to lift the ball over Foxes defender Ricardo Pereira before slicing a crisp volley past Schmeichel. He was one of the best defenders of the weekend action in the Premier League and was greatly praised by Mourinho - who had been very critical of him last season.
It was a good victory for the Red Devils and they will be happy with the win before they travel to Brighton who lost away to Watford last weekend. After that Mourinho's men take on Tottenham at home at Old Trafford. That will be a very big test for them against an in form Spurs side who will play Fulham at home next week to warm up for the United fixture. After the three difficult fixtures before the end of August, it will be a good time to assess United's progress so far this season.
Huddersfield Town 0 - 3 Chelsea
Chelsea made a good start to their campaign and dispatched Huddersfield town easily by 0-3. They got the job done well and will be feeling confident about their next game when they host fellow Londoner's Arsenal next weekend. So a good start for new coach Sarri and he will want to see much of the same from the Blues when they host Arsenal.
It's going to be a cracker as both want to prove that they are not only playing for 4th or 5th spot in the Premier League this season. Chelsea will need to show the sort of character they showed last weekend against Huddersfield town but it will be a very different challenge in this traditionally fiery London derby.
Newcastle United 1 - 2 Tottenham
Tottenham won away to Newcastle by 1-2 and though it was a close encounter for them, they made a good start to the new season as well. They controlled the game and scored through man of the match Vertongen after only eight minutes and Dele Alli scored the winner for Spurs after 18 minutes. It was an even game and the Magpies also had their chances. Joselu's goal got them back into the game after 11 minutes and they could have leveled the game though they fell just short.
Spurs play at home next weekend in a London derby against Fulham before the big clash with Manchester at the end of the month. That will also be a good test for them and they will be hopeful to get a good result if they are to confirm a strong start to the season despite not signing any new players.
According to some pundits, they were expected to have a slow start to the season, so they will have the chance to prove their detractors wrong. Though Spurs coach Maurizio Pochettino will want a good result next week, the game against United in a fortnight is the one in which he will be eager to show that his team are as good as they are said to be.