A lot happened in the weekend just past in the English Premier League, with the usual quota of shocks and upsets, and more than the odd spot of bad temper. But in our opinion, it was the things that did not happen that made news as much as those that did. So it’s only fair that our look back to the weekend revolves around ten things that did not happen:
Diego Costa did NOT get booked
You would have thought that thoroughly clawing at the face of an opposing player and chest-charging him to the ground would have been reason for most players to get into the referee’s, if not off the pitch altogether. However, Chelsea’s Diego Costa not only escaped a booking but also managed to provoke a reaction from Arsenal’s Gabriel, which resulted in the latter getting sent off, effectively putting the Gunners’ thoroughly on the backfoot in the London Derby. At the time of writing, Costa had been charged by the FA for violent conduct based on video footage, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke for many when he expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of referee Mike Dean.
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho did NOT shake hands
Another chapter was added to the increasingly acrimonious Wenger vs Mourinho saga when the Arsenal manager stormed off without shaking the hand of his adversary after the defeat. Mourinho’s comments about Costa being the man of the match in his book only poured oil on the flames. “I played against Arsenal maybe 12,15, 18 times and only once he didn’t moan. And that day we lost,” mocked Mourinho. This is one rivalry that’s not going to die out in a hurry.
Manchester City did NOT win
In what was undoubtedly the biggest shock of the weekend, West Ham stunned runaway Premiership leaders Man City 2-1 at the Etihad. Playing against a team which had yet to concede a goal or a point this season, the Hammers scored twice within the first 31 minutes, shocking the home crowd into silence. City came back strongly and pulled a goal back, but grim defending by the Londoners left them with perhaps the three most enviable away scalps in the EPL – Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City.
Leicester City did NOT lose
Six weeks into the Premiership, if you had told us that the only team that remained unbeaten would be Leicester City, then we would have requested a check on your blood alcohol levels. Well, six weeks into the EPL, it is the Foxes that remain the sole team not to have bitten the dust. Mind you, they came awfully close once again – last time, they had fought back from 0-2 down against Villa to conjure up a 3-2 win. This time too, they found themselves two down against Stoke with barely twenty minutes gone. Once again, they hauled themselves back from the brink, and although there was no victory this time around, Foxes coach Claudio Ranieri must be purring with delight at the 2-2 result, which leaves City the only unbeaten team in the EPL so far, and Riyad Mahrez as the unlikely leading scorer.
Rooney and Kane did NOT score
If you had to name two Englishmen who would be most likely to be among the goals two months into the Premiership, it is a fair chance that Spurs’ Harry Kane and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney would have been on top of the list. Well, neither has got off the mark. What’s worse for Rooney is that even as his goal-free streak is now into double figures in the Premiership, newcomer Anthony Martial, the man many called the new Thierry Henry, has already scored three times in two games, or rather one and a half games, if you consider that he came on as a substitute in one of them.
Rodgers does NOT have much time
The patience of the fans at Merseyside seems to be running thin, as Liverpool once again failed to register a victory at home, this time against relatively low ranked Norwich, a team they would have overwhelmed in their pomp. But in spite of starting with an attacking core of Sturridge, Benteke and Coutinho for the first time this season, the Merseyside Reds simply could not hang on to a lead. A 1-1 draw was simply not enough for the Kop and when we last heard, people were making a collection to persuade Juergen Klopp to take over the reins at Anfield. We cannot blame them when you consider that Liverpool are thirteenth in the table, two places below the team they drew with, Norwich.
Stoke, Newcastle and Sunderland still canNOT win
If Leicester City are delighting their supporters with their refusal to accept defeat till the very end, the troika of Stoke City, Newcastle and Sunderland have other worries – neither of them has managed to register a win so far this season, and between them have only seven draws in eighteen matches to show for their endeavour. Small wonder that the trio are in the relegation zone and Messrs Dick Advocaat, Mark Hughes and Steve McClaren are beginning to look very worried indeed.
Anthony Martial canNOT stop scoring…
They hailed him as the teenager who could be another Thierry Henry, thanks to a fantastic turn of speed and the ability to finish moves with a cool head. But no one expected nineteen year old Anthony Martial to live up to the hype in such astounding fashion. He announced his arrival in the Premiership with a hazy slalom against Liverpool before scoring, and then scored twice more against Southampton, to ensure that Manchester United would be in second spot behind Manchester City.
Bastian Schweinsteiger canNOT start scoring
Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney might not be on EPL score sheets yet but at least they have come close on a few occasions. Well, that is one accusation that you cannot level at arguably the most high-profile signing of the summer – Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German midfielder has been running his socks off but forget about scoring, has barely even registered a shot at goal. Luis van Gaal must be hoping that changes soon.
And one more thing…
Chelsea are still NOT in the top ten
For all the verbals and fury of the encounter against Arsenal. Mourinho’s men are still at a relatively poor 15th place in the Premiership table with a measly seven points from six matches. That’s eight less than Manchester City and five less than a Manchester United that seem transformed by ‘ (Anthony) Martial Law.’ It will be interesting to see how long Roman Abramovich can withstand the absence of victory.