EPL Wrap-up: Upset Weekend

Liverpool 0-3 West Ham United

I can’t understand you, West Ham. You and your 16-year-old wunderkind, Reece Oxford, dominated Arsenal on the opening day of the season at the Emirates, and then you lose back-to-back matches to Norwich City and AFC Bournemouth. Now you go and beat Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield. That kind of track record makes absolutely no sense, and I don’t think anybody knows what to expect from the Irons from week-to-week. For Brendan Rodgers’ Reds, this was a humiliating loss, but on the bright side, it was their first of the season.

The rout started early for Slavan Bilic’s men. Summer signing Manuel Lanzini opened the scoring in just the third minute with his first ever Premier League goal after beating Joseph Gomez to a ball on the edge of the six-yard box. Five minutes later, it was Liverpool’s summer addition Roberto Firmino that struck a near wondershot from outside the area only to see it hit the woodwork. Some disastrous “defensive” play from Dejan Lovren in the 29th minute allowed Lanzini to dispossesses the Liverpool defender and feed Mark Noble at the top of the 18-yard box. The Englishman made no mistake as he passed the ball into the net past a helpless Simon Mignolet. The Irons were clearly the better team in the opening 45 minutes, and deservedly took the 2-0 lead into the break.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts in the 52nd minute as their Brazilian magician Philippe Coutinho got a rare second yellow card and getting sent for an early shower. For the majority of the remaining 38 minutes, the Irons were unable take advantage of their man advantage and in the 78th minute they saw their earlier goal scorer Mark Noble get sent off after receiving a second yellow card. Noble’s expulsion from the match marked the team’s third red card in their opening four matches and continues a worrying trend for last year’s Fair Play winners. The third and final goal came in the 92nd minute courtesy of a slow rolling Diafra Sakho shot, and it concluded a historic day for West Ham and a humiliating day for Liverpool.

Chelsea 1-2 Crystal Palace

José Mourinho’s torrid season continued this weekend as he suffered just his second home loss in 100 matches in charge at Stamford Bridge. Going into the match, the Blues had won just one match in their opening three games, and had looked anything but a title contender during these early stages of the season. For Alan Pardrew’s Crystal Palace, this unexpected victory was their third of the season, and things are starting to look very bright for the Selhurst Park faithful.

In the opening 45 mintues, both sides had opportunities to grab the lead, but both goalkeepers stood firm. Palace, to the surprise of some commentators, fielded a fairly attacking lineup and looked like they were playing to win the game rather than shooting for a draw. The visitors best chance of the half came in the 29th minute when former Manchester United man Wilfried Zaha found the club’s summer signing Yohan Cabaye unmarked at the top of the box. The former PSG midfielder tried to place his effort past Thibault Courtois, but the Belgian made himself big and kept the scores level. The hosts should have taken the lead just minutes before the halftime whistle, but a magnificent double save from Alex McCarthy managed to keep Palace in the match.

A bright start to the second half from the visitors finally paid off in the 65th minute courtesy of a well taken Bakary Sako strike past Courtois. The chance was created by a brilliant pass from Yannick Bolasie on the wings to find Sako in the box, and the Mali international was able to maintain his composure after having his first effort blocked to power his shot into the net. Despite continuous pressure from Palace in the remaining half an hour, Chelsea was able to grab an equalizer in the 79th minute. It was two summer signings that connected for the tally as Pedro was able to find Radamel Falcao with a low cross at the near post. The Colombian striker sacrificed his body for the chance as he dove past his man to put it in the back of the net. The ecstasy of scoring lasted less than two minutes for the Blues, however, as Palace put away the winner in the 81st minute. The team’s earlier goal scorer, Sako, knocked down another Yannick Bolasie cross into the box and Joel Ward pounced on the chance to give his side a massive three points. Could this be the beginning of the end for José Mourinho’s men?

Swansea City 2-1 Manchester United

Gomis scores vs. Man United

Getty Images

After struggling to a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United at Old Trafford last weekend, a victory against Swansea seemed like an absolute must for Louis Van Gaal’s United. Former players such as Paul Scholes and Gary Neville had been very critical of the Red Devils playing style going into the match claiming United weren’t playing good soccer, and that they lacked the creativity of years past. For Swansea, this match provided them with the chance to continue their two-game winning streak over Van Gaal’s squad from last season, and also gave them the opportunity to rebound from a disappointing draw with Sunderland in their last league fixture.

In the opening stages of the match, it looked like Manchester United were out to prove their detractors wrong. The Red Devils kept the ball in their attacking third and the midfield combinations between Ander Herrera and Juan Mata showed promise. The Spanish duo nearly gave United the lead in the 21st minute when some fancy footwork from Herrera allowed him to slide the ball to Mata in the penalty area, but the former Chelsea man sliced his shot into the side netting. After that missed opportunity, the tides began to turn as the Swans started to force more and more chances against Sergio Romero’s net. In the 35th minute, a training ground free kick routine put the ball on Glyfi Sigurdsson’s foot on the edge of the six-yard-box, but the Icelandic international fired his shot just inches wide of the far post.

Just like in the first half, United started very brightly in the second 45 minutes. It was Juan Mata who put the Red Devils in the lead in the 48th minute after burying his effort from a Luke Shaw cross into the roof of the net. United’s demise began just 12 minutes later as Swansea’s newest signing Andre Ayew headed home a well-placed Sigurdsson cross past Romero to put things level. The winner came five minutes later when Bafetimbi Gomis slid a weak shot past Romero, leaving questions about whether or not David De Gea would’ve kept the ball out of the back of the net. Gomis’ goal was the dagger for the Devils, as the Swans managed to hold on to the lead in the remaining 25 minutes.

 

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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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