EPL Weekend Review: City Conquer the Blues

Tottenham 2-2 Stoke City

After narrow 1-0 defeats in their last fixtures, both of these teams went into this weekend looking for their first points of the season. Tottenham fell to Manchester United courtesy of a disastrous own goal in a match they otherwise dominated. Stoke can thank a magnificent Philippe Coutinho strike for their opening day defeat at the Britannia. With their new record signing Xherdan Shaqiri watching from the stands, the Potters battled Spurs at White Hart Lane.

Just like in their match against United, Spurs were clearly the better team in the opening 20 minutes. It was an Eric Dier header from a corner kick that finally put Tottenham on the board and opened their account for the season. Mauricio Pochettino’s men continued their dominance for the remainder of the opening 45 minutes and just before the stroke of halftime they doubled their lead. A barnstorming run from Ryan Mason down the left hand side ended with a tidy finish from Nacer Chadli past Jack Butland. The two-goal first half was a pleasant change of pace for Spurs fans as their team looked to regain last season’s form.

Harry Kane nearly delivered the dagger just minutes into the second half, but a brilliant reaction save from Butland in net kept Stoke in the game. In the 78th minute, it was one of the new signings that made the difference for mark Hughes’ men as Joselu drew a penalty on the edge of the area. Marko Arnautovic stepped up and perfectly placed the ensuing corner. Spurs 2, Stoke 1. The equalizer came just five minutes later thanks to a fleeting touch from Mame Biram Diouf to a Stephen Ireland cross. The draw must have surely felt like a defeat for Tottenham, but it earned them and Stoke their first points of the campaign.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Arsenal

In their second London derby in as many games, Arsenal were looking to rebound from their nightmare defeat to West Ham United at the Emirates in their opening fixture. Palace, on the other hand, was coming off of a great 3-1 demolition of newly promoted Norwich City. This will surely be one of the few times that these two teams will face off with Palace in the Champions League spots, and Arsenal sitting in the relegation zone. Two consecutive defeats for Arsene Wenger’s men would spark panic at the Emirates, while two straight victories would provide even more optimism for an upstart Palace squad.

The Gunners nearly took the lead within the first ten minutes of the match, but a returning Alexis Sanchez was denied on the line. Arsenal finally made the breakthrough in the 16th minute, and what a breakthrough it was. A nice cross from Mesut Ozil looked to be falling just behind an onrushing Olivier Giroud, but the Frenchman made an acrobatic over the head effort to put the ball in the back of the net. The elation of Giroud’s highlight reel strike last just 12 minutes, however, as a powerful finish from Joel Ward found the bottom corner of Petr Cech’s net. These two strikes sent the two clubs into halftime even at one goal a piece.

Palace’s new striker Connor Wickham almost spurred a victory for the hosts in the opening minutes of the second half only to see his shot beat Cech but not the post. The deciding goal would come in the 55th minute when Alexis Sanchez’s header was deflected into the net by Palace’s captain Damien Delaney. A late chance from Palace failed to beat Cech, and the Gunners finally registered their first victory of the 15/16 Premier League campaign. Is it finally time for Wenger’s squad to make a push for the top spot?

Manchester City 3-0 Chelsea

Kun Aguero scores for City

Last year’s first and second place finishers went into this matchup on very different notes. The champions, Chelsea, suffered a disappointing draw against Swansea City in their opener and to make matters worse, star keeper Thibault Courtois was forced to watch this match from the sidelines through his red card suspension. The Citizens were clearly the team in form after their 3-0 thrashing of West Brom in their opener. The week leading up to the match was filled with debate over José Mourinho’s controversial comments regarding his medical staff, and it was yet to be seen how this media storm would affect the Chelsea squad.

Courtois’ replacement Asmir Begovic was forced into action just 20 seconds into the match, and the Bosnian keeper made an excellent save to deny City’s star man Sergio Aguero to keep things level. The Argentine striker finally made broke the deadlock on the half hour mark with a cool finish into the back of the net after some nice linkup play with Yaya Toure. Aguero’s strike was the lone goal of the opening 45 minutes, and it sent the hosts into the locker room with a well deserved 1-0 lead over last year’s title winners.

After a goal from Ramires was called back through offsides in the 49th mintue, it looked as if Chelsea were set to make their way back into the match. City doubled their lead in the 79th minute courtesy of Vincent Kompany’s second headed goal of the season after a David Silva corner. The third and final goal of the match came just five minutes later after poor defensive distribution from Chelsea gave the ball to City just outside the 18-yard-box. Fernandinho took advantage of the turnover just seconds later with a pin pointed finish from outside the penalty area. The 3-0 thrashing has been deemed “fake” by Mourinho, but it still keeps City top of the table on goal differential and pushes Chelsea down to 16th in the league.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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