EPL Wrap-up: Liverpool’s Fruitless Finishing; Another Late Costa Winner

Burnley 2-0 Liverpool

The biggest upset of the weekend came Saturday afternoon at Turf Moor. Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool were coming in with a wave of excitement and enthusiasm after a thrilling 4-3 win at the Emirates the previous weekend. Burnley, on the other hand, had suffered defeat at the hands of Swansea City on their first match day. The Clarets were eager to make up for that loss against the Reds.

It took just two minutes for the hosts to find the lead. Andre Gray stole the ball in the midfield and then found Sam Vokes waiting on the top of the 18-yard box. The striker spun around and hit a lovely near post finish past Simon Mignolet. A dream start for Burnley as they led Liverpool 1-0.

After Vokes’ early strike, Liverpool dominated the chances. Unfortunately for the Reds, nobody could really test Tom Heaton between the pipes. Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge all tried their luck but none found pay dirt.

Surprisingly, Burnley doubled their lead in the 37th minute. This time, Gray was the star man with some excellent dribbling on the edge of the penalty area past two Liverpool defenders. Gray, who led Burnley in goals last season, hit a precise low drive into the far side netting to give Burnley a shocking 2-0 lead.

Similarly, to the first half, Liverpool dominated possession and chances in the final 45 minutes of the match. Just like the first half, they could never really test Heaton in net as Burnley held on for a famous 2-0 win over the famous club from Merseyside.

Watford 1-2 Chelsea

Diego Costa scores winner for Chelsea

Chelsea very nearly followed in the footsteps of Liverpool as Watford provided more of a challenge than initially expected. The Blues narrowly beat West Ham United on the first matchday of the season courtesy of a late Diego Costa goal, and Watford had fought to a 1-1 draw against Southampton. Could the Hornets sting Antonio Conte’s squad?

Watford had the first big chance of the match in the 24th minute. Nordin Amrabat did well to beat his defender on the right wing before sliding a driven cross into the six-yard box. Odion Ighalo was there to meet it but his close-range drive somehow managed to fly just over the woodwork for a goal kick.

Ighalo’s close-call was the only big moment of the first half as the two sides went into the final 45 minutes deadlocked at 0-0. Ten minutes into the second half, Etienne Capoue changed that. The former Tottenham man received the ball inside the penalty area and hit an absolute thunderbolt of a volley at the near post past Thibault Courtois. 1-0 Watford thanks to Capoue’s second goal in as many games.

After Capoue’s goal, Watford seemed content getting 10 players behind the ball as they absorbed wave after wave of Chelsea’s attack. Unfortunately for the Hornets, that strategy only works for so long. In the 80th minute, Heurelho Gomes couldn’t handle Eden Hazard’s drive from distance and new boy Michy Batshuayi was there to tap home the rebound to level the scores.

The final ten minutes saw Chelsea throw everything they had at Watford’s goal, and in the 87th minute they found their deserved winner. A peach of a through ball from Cesc Fabregas from just outside his own penalty area sprung Diego Costa on a breakaway. The Spanish striker, who once again could’ve been sent off for a second yellow earlier in the match, slid the ball through Gomes’ legs to seal all three points for the Blues.

Leicester City 0-0 Arsenal

In the biggest clash of the weekend, last season’s top two teams faced off as Arsenal travelled to take on Leicester City. The Foxes suffered an unthinkable defeat last weekend to newly promoted Hull City, while Arsenal were on the wrong end of a 4-3 score line against Liverpool. With pressure mounting on both clubs to notch their first win of the season, who would come out ahead?

Unfortunately for the fans, this titanic clash didn’t quite live up to the billing. Santi Carzola’s long free kick nearly caused Kasper Schmeichel some problems in the 39th minute, but the Dane recovered in time to bat it away.

Four minutes later, Leicester had their first big chance of the day. After Jamie Vardy’s initial close-range effort was blocked by Petr Cech, Danny Drinkwater followed up to get the rebound. The midfielder was taken out by a sliding challenge from Laurent Koscielny, but no penalty was given and the sides went into the break tied at 0-0.

The second half continued the trend of the first 45 minutes with both sides struggling to find a way past the opposition’s backline. In the 88th minute, Leicester had their second big penalty shout of the day. Ahmed Musa dribbled past Hector Bellerin and it appeared that the Spanish defender took out the striker’s legs, but once again, Mark Clattenburg refused to give the Foxes the benefit of the doubt.

A close drive from Riyad Mahrez in stoppage time forced Cech into a comfortable save, and that was the last bit of action from an otherwise uneventful 90 minutes. A 0-0 draw does neither side a world of good, and now the annual calls for #WengerOUT are starting to grow.

 

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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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