Friday, Sep 19, 2014

The week in EPL: Liverpool bounce back, Manchester United still in red

All eyes were on Balotelli’s return to English football after a twenty-month absence. (Source: Reuters) All eyes were on Balotelli’s return to English football after a twenty-month absence. (Source: Reuters)
Posted: September 1, 2014 6:56 pm

With the round of fixtures before the international break now complete, indianexpress.com takes a look at three major talking points from the weekend: -

Blast from the past

The Reds got back to winning ways on Sunday night beating Tottenham 3-0 at White Hart Lane. The Merseyside club now has a 12-0 aggregate score over the North London club in the last three games, and their performance was reminiscent of the reverse fixture last season where Liverpool ran out 5-0 winners.

Raheem Sterling was the star man once again as Rodgers tinkered with his formation leaving Brazilian, Philippe Coutinho, out of the team to accommodate new signing Mario Balotelli. All eyes were on Balotelli’s return to English football after a twenty-month absence, and the mercurial Italian put in a good shift spurning two glorious chances, but still showed a willingness to work hard for the team.

With full backs, Eric Dier and Danny Rose pushing forward in the new setup, the centre backs were left exposed. Sturridge and Balotelli exploited the space and this constantly opened up gaps for Sterling and Henderson to run into.

This game demonstrated that Liverpool is going to be a threat going forward this year even without the services of Luis Suarez. There were signs of a potential partnership between Balotelli and Sturridge; however, it is indisputable that Raheem Sterling will be a decisive player for the Anfield club this season.

Woeful run continues

Dimariareuters

Even with the British record signing Angel Di Maria in the lineup, Manchester United were unable to find the back of the net against a resolute Burnley side. The star players failed to turn up for Louis Van Gaal’s side with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Juan Mata all putting in dreadful performances. Di Maria was arguably their best player in what was his baptism into English football.

After the game, Burnley manager, Sean Dyche echoed everyone’s thoughts that United were “quite easy” to play against and they lacked any real pace and penetration.

United were clumsy in their passing and are certainly lacking in confidence. There are too many gaps in defence and the players are looking lost in Van Gaal’s new system.

Toothless attack

Wengerreuters

The last kickoff before the international break saw Arsenal manage a paltry 1-1 draw against newly promoted Leicester City. With leading frontman Olivier Giroud out of action till New Year, the Gunners were unable to convert the numerous opportunities they created. It is imperative that Arsene Wenger adds a quality striker to his ranks before the close of the transfer window.

Yaya Sanogo failed to impress yet again in what was his 17th outing for the Gunners without a goal. After navigating continued…

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