Ole Waves Goodbye as Watford Rip Red’s Apart: Watford 4-1 Manchester United
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s tenure in charge of his beloved Manchester United came crashing down following a 4-1 defeat away at Watford.
United’s recent league form has been nowhere near their incredibly high standards, and heavy defeats to Leicester, Liverpool and Manchester City left Solskjær dangling by a thread.
Watford’s improvement under Claudio Ranieri has been clear to see with the squad looking organised and posing a threat in attack. Mr. Ranieri stuck to his game plan and Watford came out as well-deserved winners.
Manchester United’s first half performance was nothing short of shambolic.
With 6 minutes on the clock, a mishit volley from Bruno Fernandes sent ex-United striker, Josh King, in on goal. Scott McTominay tried to spare his teammates’ blushes but brought King down in the 18-yard box, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty.
Ismaïla Sarr stepped up to take the penalty but lacked authority as David De Gea was on guard and matched his effort.
A nail-biting VAR check led to a retake following an encroachment from both sides.
Sarr stepped up for the second time in as many minutes to give his side an early lead and went for the same corner; as David De Gea did, and the Spaniard kept Sarr out for the second time.
Despite De Gea’s best efforts, United conceded two cheap goals before half time, with Josh King netting the first and Sarr finally getting the better of De Gea on the cusp of half time.
Donny Van de Beek made a rare Premier League appearance as a half-time substitute and made an instant impact when he nodded home a free header in the 50th minute.
Van de Beek’s presence and confidence on the ball led to a much-improved spell for the away side as he played through Cristiano Ronaldo, but United’s talisman was unable to beat Foster.
Just as United found a foothold in the game, a loose touch from captain Harry Maguire led to a rash challenged on Tom Cleverly; the referee rightly awarding Maguire’s second booking.
Manchester United struggled with 11 players on the pitch and the loss of their skipper led to further frustration as João Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis each scored in added time to really stick the dagger in Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
Solskjær was put out of his misery on Sunday morning after emergency board meetings took place following the embarrassing defeat.
Michael Carrick has been appointed as the interim manager as the board at Old Trafford seek a long-term replacement with Zinedine Zidane, Erik ten Hag, Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino all looking like candidates.
Ole and his disappointing Red’s will dominate the headlines, but Watford’s organised and passionate performance earnt them three incredibly important points at home as Claudio Ranieri seeks to steer them away from the relegation zone.
Klopp and Arteta See Red as Liverpool Waltz Past Arsenal: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal
Mikel Arteta’s turnaround from the opening weeks of the Premier League campaign has been nothing short of miraculous, but a trip to Anfield was something of a reality check for Arsenal’s youngsters.
Both sides started slowly and chances were almost non-existent – each side cautious not to give the ball away.
A rather dull opening 30 minutes burst into life when Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta went head-to-head following an aerial duel. The pair had to be held back from each other and received a talking-to from the match officials before the game could continue.
An intense argument was exactly what the game needed as the players fed off the energy produced from a packed Anfield.
Sadio Mane took advantage of the added momentum, guiding a header beyond Aaron Ramsdale, following a cross from Liverpool’s dead ball specialist, Trent Alexander-Arnold, to give the home side a 1-0 lead heading into the break.
Liverpool came out in the second half full of belief and it didn’t take long for them to double their lead.
Arsenal full-back Nuno Tavares misplaced a pass directly into the path of Diogo Jota. The in-form Jota remained composed and sat Aaron Ramsdale down before putting the ball into an empty net.
Salah and Minamino secured the 3 points with well-worked tap-ins coming in the 73rd and 77th to polish off a fine victory.
Liverpool’s strong start to the season continues as they look to push Manchester City and Chelsea to the very end.
Arsenal’s impressive form took a hit with this 4-0 defeat and has been an indication on the gap between the Gunners and the top sides in the league.
Chelsea Flourish Against Foxes: Leicester 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea’s dominant start to this year’s campaign continued with a comfortable 3-0 win away at Leicester, a ground they have struggled at in recent years.
Leicester’s rather poor start to the season was not predicted as Brendan Rodgers’ side are struggling to pick up points domestically and in Europe.
The away side were bright from the start and punished Leicester early-on.
They were rewarded within 14 minutes from a corner, when Antonio Rudiger leapt highest in the box and directed his header past Kasper Schmeichel.
Chelsea kept their foot on the gas and former Fox, N’golo Kante, scored a remarkable solo goal on the half-hour mark.
The Frenchman picked the ball up on the halfway line and drove towards the Leicester defence. The Foxes did not engage with Kante and left him with acres of space to run into before bending a left footed shot into the top right corner, leaving Schmeichel with no chance.
Chelsea sealed all 3 points in the 71st minute when Christian Pulisic found himself with space in the box and slotted the ball away.
Leicester will be looking to pick up the pace and find some form as we head into the festive period to keep pace with the top half. Rumours of a potential Rodgers departure for Old Trafford may be causing discomfort amongst players and staff as his future looks uncertain.
Thomas Tuchel’s machine keeps on running and their dominance from start to finish for another week proves that this Chelsea side are the team to beat.
Best of the Rest
Newcastle still seek their first win of the season following their thrilling 3-3 draw with Brentford. New boss Eddie Howe was not present after testing positive for Covid-19 but an intense performance from the Magpies will leave the new man feeling hopeful. Brentford’s fast start to life in the Premier League has hit a bump as they are winless in their last 5.
Burnley and Crystal Palace played out a 3-3 draw at Turf Moor as Patrick Viera’s Palace continue to impress. Matěj Vydra had a golden opportunity to win it at the death for Burnley but a fine stop from Guaita rescued a point for the Eagles.
Steven Gerrard’s first game in charge of Aston Villa ended in a 2-0 win thanks to late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings.
Dean Smith also got off to a fine start in his new role as Norwich came out as 2-1 winners over Southampton.
Manchester City comfortably beat Everton 3-0 thanks to a sublime assist from João Cancelo and a thunderbolt from Rodri.
Antonio Conte picked up his first three points in charge of Tottenham as they beat Leeds United 2-1, whilst Wolves’ stellar start to the campaign continued with a 1-0 win over high flying West Ham.
Player of the Week – Emmanuel Dennis
Emmanuel Dennis caused havoc for Manchester United’s defence all afternoon as he ran himself into the ground. A well-taken goal and two accompanying assists rightly earn him our Player of the Week.