Manchester United 4-1 Leicester City
Last week was probably one that José Mourinho and Manchester United want to forget. Three straight losses had sparked rumors of unrest in the Red Devils’ dressing room, and hints of panic started to creep up in some parts of the fan base. The Special One quickly wiped away those fears with a dominant performance on Saturday. The Red Devils dispatched defending champions Leicester City at Old Trafford, and things appear to be back on track in the north.
In the 22nd minute, United grabbed the lead. Daley Blind whipped in the corner and Chris Smalling rose above the crowd to nod in his first of the season. Corners would prove to be the death of the Foxes Saturday, and Smalling’s strike was the first of many to come.
Five minutes later, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly combined for the goal of the season. The Frenchman dinked over a perfect through ball to Ibra, but the striker’s thunderous volley sailed just inches over the bar.
The next goal came courtesy of Juan Mata in the 37th minute. A nice piece of interplay between the Spaniard, Pogba and Jesse Lingard set up a shot on the edge of the penalty area and Mata hammered home to double the hosts’ lead.
Three minutes later, United scored the dagger. A quick corner kick routine went unnoticed by Leicester until it was too late. Blind’s quick pass found Mata, and he set up Marcus Rashford for an easy tap-in from less than a yard out.
The first half slaughter wasn’t over yet. Moments after Rashford put away United’s third, Pogba grabbed his first ever goal for the club. The 23-year-old just outmuscled Christan Fuchs on the corner and flicked the ball into the far side-netting to make it 4-0. A dab with Lingard topped off the celebrations.
In the 59th minute, Leicester grabbed a consolation goal thanks to an absolute wonder strike from Demarai Gray, but it was too little too late as United claimed a dominant 4-1 victory. Are things back on track at the Theater of Dreams?
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
This weekend was full of blockbuster matches, and shortly after United destroyed Leicester, Chelsea travelled to the Emirates to battle Arsenal. This London clash didn’t have the same fire leading up to it without the Mourinho/Wenger mental battles, but Antonio Conte made for a fine opponent. Similarly to United, Wenger’s Arsenal had been somewhat unfairly criticized as of late, but the Frenchman pulled out quite the performance to silence his critics.
Just 11 minutes into the match, Arsenal grabbed the lead. Gary Cahill had a complete lapse in concentration in the back, and Alexis Sanchez was there to jump on the mistake. The Chilean made no mistake as he sprinted down the pitch to dink a shot over Thibault Courtois. 1-0 Arsenal.
Three minutes later, the Gunners added a misery compiler. An almost picture perfect Wenger goal saw Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin combine inside the penalty area, and the Spanish right back sent in an excellent cross to find Theo Walcott for the easy tap-in. Could Chelsea find a way back into the match?
Just before the halftime whistle, Mesut Özil added insult to injury. The bug-eyed magician and Sanchez sparked a quick counter attack, and the Chilean sent in a lofted back post cross over David Luiz and Cahill. Özil was there to knock in a bounced volley over Courtois to surely seal all three points for the hosts.
The second half saw Arsenal continue to dominate their rivals, and with each passing moment the frustration within the Chelsea squad continued to build. The Blues’ backline looked like it had never played a match together. Michy Batshuayi had a partial breakaway late in the match, but Petr Cech was there to deny him and keep the clean sheet for Arsenal.
West Ham United 0-3 Southampton
One club that has failed to live up to expectations this season is West Ham United. The Hammers raced to a seventh place finish last year, and players like Dimitri Payet and Michail Antonio gave fans optimism that their first season at the Olympic Stadium would be a fruitful one. Things haven’t quite gone to plan as they’ve crashed out of the Europa League and have won just a single match through their first five. A visit from Southampton gave them a chance to win back some pride, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
West Ham actually started the match on the front foot with Antonio and Simone Zaza both trying their luck, but neither was able to get their efforts on frame.
After a pretty uneventful first half, Southampton broke the deadlock in the 40th minute. Ryan Bertrand chased down Dusan Tadic’s pass on the left flank and fire in a low cross into the penalty area. Charlie Austin, who West Ham backed away from signing last season, was there to place a first time shot past Adrian and give Southampton a one-goal lead.
After Austin’s goal, Southampton completely took control of the match, and they were lucky to be just a goal down going into the second half.
Just after the hour mark, the Saints doubled their lead. Charlie Austin again proved to be West Ham’s kryptonite as he threaded a perfect pass through to Dusan Tadic in the penalty area. Tadic was left with just Adrian to beat, and he made quick work of the keeper before passing it into the empty net.
A late push from West Ham proved to be in vein as the Hammers continued to struggle to put an effort on frame. In the 92nd minute, Southampton put the game to bed. After Adrian blocked Steven Davis’ initial effort, James Ward-Prowse was there to knock the ball home from close-range. The 3-0 scoreline, if anything, was generous to West Ham as they were thoroughly outplayed.