Di Good, Di Bad, and Diego | Week 23

For the neutral, this week in Premier League football certainly left nothing to be desired. A Saturday early kick-off classic, however, had to be pick of the bunch. The Canaries versus the Reds. Just a bog-standard, easy three points for Liverpool you say? What soon unfolded at Carrow Road couldn’t have ever been contemplated, and if I didn’t centre this week’s post around the game of the season contender, there would be an outbreak of disgust from my many readers…

The game commenced and the tempo was set right from the off. Firmino strikes first as the away team go ahead at the 18 minutes mark. However Norwich were not to be shrugged off. In a series of events, Norwich were 3-1 to the good after 54 minutes, only to cheaply give away a goal a minute later; Henderson slotting it away on the half-volley. Firmino and Milner both strike to give the visitors the lead, Norwich now facing a goal deficit (3-4) against Klopp’s men. Stoppage time. Who else but Sebastien Bassong to score a long range pile-driver to make it 4-4, Mignolet left sprawling. Was there time for another goal? Stupid question. Adam Lallana’s unorthodox finish eventually splits the two teams, his first Premier League goal of the season. Phew…

Norwich were unlucky. They deserved at least a draw and it’s a shame that in the end, the underdog lost. In a match that will be very hard for Norwich to look back on come Monday’s training session, a certain positive was Steven Naismith. The recent signing from Everton cost The Canaries £8.5 million, and judging by his debut goal and overall impressive display on Saturday, appears to be a player that can keep Norwich in the Premier League this season.

Although Liverpool won, the game will have heightened the concerns Jurgen Klopp will have already had about his defence. Now, Liverpool have conceded a Premier League-high eight goals from corner situations in 2015-16, and have allowed their opponent to score with their first shot on target in all four Premier League games so far in 2016. Even with the appointment of Klopp, I believe Liverpool do not have the quality to finish in the top four this season. Their defence is frail at the best of times, and the attack lacks cutting edge, Benteke their main striker not having scored in their last 4 games. Their next league fixture will be played at the King Power Stadium against high-flying Leicester. I don’t see Liverpool being able to outplay Leicester on their own turf. With threats such as Robert Huth and Jamie Vardy, Liverpool’s inability to defend from set pieces may prove costly, Leicester have scored 12 of this variety this season.

Sunday saw the tense affair at the Emirates between Arsenal and Chelsea. The Gunners looked to regain their positiSanchez top of the table from Leicester as Chelsea look to eclipse the bottom half of the table. I apologise, I just couldn’t help myself. #roadtogettingabovewatford

Chelsea didn’t play out of their skin, for that matter neither did Arsenal. It was a relatively dull affair, made even duller after Mertesacker’s sending off, making the Chelsea win practically inevitable. Ozil had an off day, Mertesacker, well, he was never any good, and you know its not your day when Flamini finds himself in the box, and tries to be the French Jackie Chan, instead of easily nodding it past Courtouis and levelling the match. On the bright side for  the North London club, Sanchez looked hungry and showed sparks of brilliance in the twenty odd minutes he played, meaning brighter prospects in games to come.

On the contrary to many fans, I don’t think this is Arsenal’s make or break result of the season. In hindsight, we’re only three points adrift from Leicester, who will eventually drop off the pace, and City dropped points this week also, minimising Arsenal’s points deficit.

I guess I have to congratulate Chelsea, well done Chelsea. We just can’t seem to score against you. It’s so annoying! And Cesc, you’re a snake! All jokes aside, it was thoughtful of us to give you a morale boost.

That is it for this week’s post. An eventful week in the Barclays Premier League that saw 29 goals banged in and one scuffed by Dele-Alli. We saw a winning debut goal at Old Trafford for Charlie Austin, a brace for both Enner and Sergio at Upton Park, and a defensive masterclass from World Cup winner Per Mertesacker. Oh… and a pair of broken spectacles!

Your personal pundit,
James

 

 

 

 

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