EPL Wrap-up: Watford Stuns Mourinho’s United; Henderson Downs Chelsea

Chelsea 1-2 Liverpool

Premier League action for match day five started off with a blockbuster clash on Friday night as Liverpool travelled to take on Chelsea. The Blues were undefeated through their first four matches of the season, but Jürgen Klopp’s high-scoring squad were determined to put that unbeaten run to an end. Could the German outwit his Italian counterpart and take home all three points?

Two minutes into the match, Daniel Sturridge nearly gave his side the lead over his former employers. A curled shot from the edge of the area looked like a seemingly routine save for Thibault Courtois, but the Belgian’s poor handling saw the ball squeak out of his grasp and sit just inches from the goal line.

15 minutes later, Liverpool found themselves in the lead. A mistimed tackle from Branislav Ivanovic gave the Reds a free kick on the left flank, and the ensuing play saw Philippe Coutinho send a picture perfect ball to the far post. Waiting for it was Dejan Lovren, and the center back did well to side foot his effort past Courtois to give the visitors a one-goal advantage.

Ten minutes before halftime, Liverpool found back of the net again. A poor clearance from Gary Cahill gifted the ball to Jordan Henderson outside of the 18-yard box. The captain took a touch and then an absolute golazo into the far side-netting from 30 yards out. The highlight reel strike gave Liverpool a stranglehold on the match, and gave Antonio Conte plenty to work on during the break.

Just after the hour mark, Chelsea found a lifeline. Nemanja Matic did well to work his way to the endline, and his cross just barely found its way past the Liverpool backline to reach Diego Costa. The Spanish striker, who has been on fire this season, was never going to miss this point blank strike as he hammered home his fifth goal of the season.

Divock Origi came within inches of sealing the match in the 81st minute, but Courtois delivered an unbelievable save on his header to keep Chelsea in the match. Unfortunately for the home fans, all Liverpool needed was two goals as they escaped Stamford Bridge with all three points.

Watford 3-1 Manchester United

Watford stuns Man United

After a dream start to the season, José Mourinho’s Manchester United have fallen on hard times. A 2-1 loss to Manchester City last weekend was followed up by a 1-0 loss to Feyenoord in the Europa League midweek. The team looked eerily reminiscent of a Louis Van Gaal squad, and the big names of Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney were drawing a fair share of criticism from fans. A trip to Watford presented the Red Devils with a chance to rediscovered their winning ways, but the Hornets had other ideas.

From the start, Watford looked like the more dangerous of the sides as United failed to string together anything promising in attack. In the 13th minute, Odion Ighalo should have given the hosts the lead after a breakdown in communication between Chris Smalling and David De Gea gifted him an open net. Somehow, he managed to miss the target completely and United lived to die another day.

United had a couple great scoring chances in the opening half hour, but just couldn’t put them away. First, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a chance that on any other day you would’ve bet your house on him finishing. Then, in the 31st minute, Paul Pogba came within inches of opening his United goal account with a lovely drive from distance, but the ball cannoned off the bar.

Two minutes later, Watford finally found a way past De Gea. Anthony Martial was disposed in the defensive third on what may have been a foul, and José Holebas was there to pick up the pieces. The Greek international found Etienne Capoue on the edge of the box, and he fired home to give the hosts a deserved lead.

In the 62nd minute, Marcus Rashford found United’s equalizer. Zlatan’s initial cross failed to really find anybody in the box, but it caused some havoc and the teenage sensation was there to tap it home. Could the Red Devils find a winner?

To answer that quickly: no.

20 minuets after Rashford equalized, Juan Zúñiga scored the winner. The defender linked up with fellow summer signing Roberto Pereyra in a similar fashion to Capoue’s opener to put away Watford’s second goal of the match. To make matters worse, a foul from Marouane Fellaini in stoppage time gifted Watford a penalty kick and Troy Deeney slotted home to cap off a humiliating 3-1 defeat for United. It was the first time in three decades the Red Devils had fallen to the Hornets.

Tottenham 1-0 Sunderland

With all of the fanfare and big name signings that the “Big Four” clubs made over the summer, it’s been easy to forget Tottenham. Spurs were Leicester’s only real title contenders to close out the season, and if it weren’t for a “Spursy” collapse, they would’ve finished second. Mauricio Pochettino’s squad, although they went into Sunday’s match against Sunderland undefeated in the league, have looked a little unconvincing to start off the season. Could David Moyes take advantage of this inconsistent form and steal his first win of the season?

Spurs got off to a quick start to the match with Harry Kane nearly opening the scoring in the ninth minute. The 23-year-old managed to get on the end of Son Heung-min’s near post cross, but a brilliant reaction save from Jordan Pickford kept the sides level.

Pickford would prove to be Sunderland’s savior at White Hart Lane with big saves against Kane and Toby Alderweireld to somehow keep his side in contention. In the 22nd minute, Pickford’s counterpart, Hugo Lloris, was forced in a close range leg save to deny former Tottenham man Jermaine Defoe from grabbing the lead. Pickford needed the help of the post in the 39th minute when Son hit a thunderous low strike to the near post, but it wasn’t good enough to find paydirt.

Four minutes later, a goal line clearance from Kyle Walker on Steven Pineaar denied the former Spurs man the opening goal just before the break.

In the 59th minute, Spurs took the lead. Walker’s cross was knocked down by Dele Alli, and Kane was waiting on the door step to fire into the empty net. 1-0 Tottenham.

Kane’s strike would prove to be the game-winner for Spurs, and a red card on Adnan Januzaj in the 90th minute rubbed salt into the wound for the Black Cats. Unfortunately for Tottenham, Kane was forced off through injury so the three points came at quite a large cost.

 

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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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