EPL Wrap-up: Pedro Shines for Chelsea

Manchester City 2-0 Everton

Going into this match, Manchester City were without question the hottest team in the Premier League. In their first two matches against West Brom and Chelsea, the Citizens railed off two straight 3-0 victories. As the score lines show, City have been nothing short of dominant through the start of this latest edition of the EPL, and a trip to Goodison Park only served to give more momentum to the Sky Blues title challenge.

From the start, Everton looked like they were in for a very long 90 minutes. It took less than two minutes for Sergio Aguero and David Silva to link up in the box, and if it wasn’t for a near post save from Tim Howard. The American keeper, who had an uncharacteristically poor season last year, was forced to produce another fine save just before the ten-minute mark, again from Aguero. Howard’s valiant effort kept the sides level through the first 45 minutes, and Romelu Lukaku nearly stole the lead at the stroke of half time. The big Belgian forward had a free kick from just outside the box in stoppage time, and his powerful effort flew just inches too high as it clipped the crossbar on its way out of bounds.

Just like they did in the first half, City came right at Everton from the start of the second. Less than two minutes into the second 45, David Silva saw his near post effort beat Howard, but not the post. The long deserved breakthrough for the visitors came in the 60th minute after new signing Raheem Sterling played a beautiful pass to Aleksander Kolarov on the end line, and the Serbian blasted his shot past Howard who made his first mistake of the afternoon. Samir Nasri delivered the dagger in the 88th minute with a cheeky looped finish from close range to secure another three points for the red hot Citizens.

West Brom 2-3 Chelsea

Pedro vs. West Brom

It has been far from a dream start for José Mourinho’s Chelsea. A disappointing draw to Swansea City on opening day followed by an embarrassing 3-0 loss to Manchester City put the Blues on just one point going into this matchup with West Brom, and anything but a win would’ve surely sparked panic amongst Chelsea fans. The hosts were sitting on the same record as their opponents after a 3-0 opening day defeat to City, and a worrying 0-0 draw against newly promoted Watford. This may have been the only two times these teams will face off on the same point total, but a win for either club could spark some momentum for the rest of the season.

The first real action came in the 13th minute when West Brom’s Callum McManaman was brought down by a clumsy challenge from Nemanja Matic in the box. The foul wasn’t bad enough to get the defensive midfielder sent off, but it did give the hosts the chance to take the lead from 12 yards. However, a poor penalty kick from James Morrison allowed a returning Thibault Courtois to save and keep the scores level. This missed opportunity would come back to bite Tony Pulis’ men just minutes later as Chelsea’s newest signing, Pedro, would sneak a debut goal past Boaz Myhill to give his side the lead. The former Barcelona man was again involved in Chelsea’s next goal in the 30th minute when he found a streaking Diego Costa open in the middle of the penalty area to give the Blues a 2-0 lead, but it wouldn’t stand for long. The goals kept coming in this exciting match as Morrison finally beat Courtois in the 34th minute with a powerful effort from just under 18 yards out to make things 2-1. Things weren’t done in the first half, however, as César Azpilicueta restored the two-goal advantage in the 42nd minute. When the first half came to an end, Chelsea led by a score of 3-1.

The excitement continued early in the second half as John Terry, who was the last man back for the visitors, brought down a streaking José Salomón Rondón. Terry’s challenge earned him a red card, and forced Chelsea to play with ten men for the remaining 30+ minutes of the match. Morrison soon took advantage of the man advantage with a well-placed flicked header just five minutes later to pull West Brom within one of equalizing. The Baggies were unable to find an equalizer in the closing stages of the match, and despite looking anything but convincing, Chelsea claimed their much-needed first win of the season.

Arsenal 0-0 Liverpool

Despite the goalless score line, this was one of the most exciting early matches of the season. Arsenal were coming off a hard fought 2-1 victory away at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace, but an unconvincing start to the season have some wondering whether or not the Gunners can make a serious push the title. A visiting Liverpool, on the other hand, are coming off of two straight victories and have yet to concede a goal this campaign. This was both clubs’ first test against one of the Premier League titans, and it had the feel of a late season decider.

In the first half, Liverpool were the side in command. The Reds had a brilliant chance to grab an early lead in the third minute through Philippe Coutinho, but the Brazilian magician’s shot rang off the underside of Petr Cech’s crossbar and away from the net. Just five minutes, it was the hosts that thought they grabbed the lead only to have Aaron Ramsey’s finessed finish called back for off sides. Cech, who had looked somewhat shaky in his first two games as a Gunner, proved his worth in the closing stages of the half with two highlight reel saves. The first came from a point blank shot from Christian Benteke in the 39th minute, and just five minutes later, Coutinho again saw his shot strike the bar after a slight deflection from the former Chelsea keeper. Cech’s amazing saves kept the scores level going into the halftime whistle.

The Gunners had the first chance of the second half after a composed layoff from Olivier Giroud found Alexis Sanchez on the edge of the six-yard-box, but the Chilean fired his shot into the outer side netting. Arsenal continued to apply pressure to the Liverpool backline, and a 70th minute slipping effort from Giroud nearly found the back of the net only to be denied by an amazing save from Simon Mignolet. The Belgian’s save kept the sides level, and kept his three game clean sheet streak intact. The result kept the Reds in the top four, while the Gunners find themselves in ninth.

 

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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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