For the neutral football fan the English Premier League has been box office viewing so far this season.
In the first three match weeks there were goals galore, shock results and many controversial VAR decisions. However, this past weekend’s matches were on another level.
After Saturday’s four fixtures saw 16 goals scored, there were a further 25 goals in the six Sunday games. It was just three off the record for goals in a single game week, which was set last month, says Reuters.
West Ham kicked off yesterday’s matches with a superb 3-0 away win at Leicester City. It was an impressive performance by the Hammers considering Leicester had previously won all their games and beat Manchester City 5-2 away last time out.
Victories for Southampton, Wolves and Arsenal followed, but it was the final two matches of the day that really took the headlines. Tottenham Hotspur won 6-1 away at Manchester United and Aston Villa beat champions Liverpool 7-2.
All in all, it was the “maddest day in Prem history”, the Daily Mirror says on its back page this morning.
Joy for Jose, woe for Ole
Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho returned to his old stomping ground and saw his current team hit former club Man Utd for six at Old Trafford.
United had taken a second-minute lead with a penalty from Bruno Fernandes, but Mourinho’s side hit back with four goals before the interval and two more in the second half.
Anthony Martial’s first-half sending off did not help United’s cause, but the red card did not make a huge difference. Spurs tore holes through the United defence and their attacking display should have resulted in more than six goals.
For Mourinho it was pure joy to get one over his former employers and he hailed his players for the magnificent victory at the Theatre of Dreams. He said: “It is history for Tottenham, history for my boys and I cannot deny it is also history for me. I won many times in this stadium, mostly with Manchester United but also with Chelsea, Real Madrid and now Tottenham.”
While Mourinho basked in the glory of a 6-1 win, Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left to reflect on a woeful day.
The Norwegian, who replaced Mourinho in the United hot seat, said: “It is the worst day of my career as Manchester United manager and the worst day for all of them as United players. It is not the worst day in Manchester United history, we have bounced back before.”
Watkins: I should have scored more
Liverpool fans would have been laughing at the scoreline from Old Trafford. Hours later, their mood would have definitely changed following the 7-2 thrashing at Villa Park.
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins scored a first-half hat-trick against the champions while Jack Grealish (two), John McGinn and debut boy Ross Barkley also got on the scoresheet.
Not happy with just the three goals, Watkins feels he should have scored more.
The former Brentford striker said: “Before the game I wouldn’t have thought I’d score three goals, but after the first one I got a bit of confidence and grew into the game. I got chances and I should’ve got more at the end. We fancied ourselves today but I’m not sure we thought the scoreline would be like that.”
Villa now have three wins from three and sit second in the league with nine points. Liverpool’s city rivals Everton top the table with 12 points and a 100% winning record.
Klopp: we lost the plot
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool stormed to the title last season but the German said his side “lost the plot” at Villa Park.
“Who wants to lose 7-2?” Klopp told the BBC. “Years ago we told ourselves we wanted to create history. That was history but obviously the wrong type. We made too many mistakes and massive ones obviously. There is nobody to blame apart from me and us.”
Villa manager Dean Smith said: “It was just sheer hard work and effort. The work ethic, when Jurgen Klopp says ‘wow’ to you you know you’ve done something right. The lads were superb, they executed the game plan perfectly. We were at our best today.”
Abundance of goals – and a surprise title winner?
In a tweet the Premier League confirmed that it was the first time ever that both Liverpool and Man Utd have conceded six-plus goals on the same day.
According to OptaJoe there have been 144 goals scored in 38 Premier League games this season, an average of 3.79 per game. “This is the highest goals per game ratio in an English top-flight season since 1930/31 (3.95 goals per game). Abundance,” said the analytics company.
After so many unpredictable results, could we see a surprise winner of this season’s Premier League title? With no fans in stadiums, home advantage is “not as important this season as fewer matches, on average, are being won by home teams than in any of the last five seasons”, Reuters says.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes the 2020-21 season could be “unique”. He said: “There was no pre-season, it is a condensed league to get all the fixtures in. There is no time for coaches to work with their teams on the training pitch to iron out defensive frailties, as we have seen with almost every team this season.
“We might get a Leicester season [the Foxes won the Premier League title in 2015-16] and get a new champion, and even a strange top four, and I think that bodes well for the Premier League this season.”
Merseyside derby up next
Sorry to say Premier League fans but there’s no matches next weekend as the players will now join their countries for the international break.
You’ll have to wait until 17 October for the action to resume and kicking off proceedings is a huge Merseyside derby at Goodison Park with league leaders Everton hosting defending champions Liverpool. Other games to look forward to on matchweek five include Man City vs. Arsenal, Crystal Palace vs. Brighton and Spurs vs. West Ham.
Next Premier League fixtures
Saturday 17 October (3pm unless stated)
- Everton vs. Liverpool (12.30pm)
- Chelsea vs. Southampton
- Leicester City vs. Aston Villa
- Newcastle United vs. Manchester United
- Sheffield United vs. Fulham
- West Bromwich Albion vs. Burnley
- Manchester City vs. Arsenal (5.30pm)
Sunday 18 October
- Crystal Palace vs. Brighton & Hove Albion (2pm)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United (4.30pm)
Monday 19 October
- Leeds United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (8pm)