So Harry Kane is the best striker in the world. Who knew, right? I mean, he's only been scoring at a robotic rate for three years now. I mean, he's only scored more goals in 2017 than West Ham, Southampton, Swansea City, Burnley, Watford, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion and Crystal Palace. I mean, he only has a better goals per game ratio this year than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
People have a hard time digesting his world class status because a) he's English and b) he plays for Tottenham Hotspurs. If his name was Harry Kanovic and if he was playing in an exotic club, like say Ajax, he'd talked about in the same breath as Europe's top forwards. British media has often overhyped the hell out of an English player, but in the case of Kane, they treaded tentatively for too long and it all blew back into him being massively underhyped. But after an insane September which saw him score five braces, including his latest in a 4-0 win against Huddersfield Town, and a Champions League hat-trick, the hype machine has finally started. We're just going to add some oil to that machine. The hype is real.
Okay, now that we have got that cold open out of the way, there is lot to discuss about gameweek 7. Hey, Huddersfield. Welcome to Premier League, guys. You had a dream start to the Premier League, but you've got to wake up someday. Spurs took apart the newly promoted side who have surprised everyone with their fearless display. Obviously, Kane, with his fifth brace for the month, was the tormentor-in-chief: first a neat striker's finish, tucked away at the near post; the second, a left-foot curler from the edge of the box that Messi would've been proud of. If you haven't got Kane in your fantasy team, we suggest you get him now.
Ahead of the season, we predicted that Marco Silva's Watford would do cool things this season, and we predicted right. Watford fought back from two goals down and salvaged a point at West Brom. The star of the show was the 20-year-old Brazilian Richarlison again, who scored in the 95th minute to level things up. Just a week ago, he had scored a 90th-minute winner against Swansea. Tony Pulis was left fuming and Silva sported a smile after the game. It's hard to say which is more enjoyable to see. We'd gamble on the former though.
Elsewhere, Stoke handed Southampton a 2-1 loss, Leicester and Bournemouth were involved in goalless draw and West Ham edged out Swansea 1-0.
But let's turn our attention to the Mancunian teams. The biggest game of the week hardly offered the sparks it promised. A single goal by Kevin De Bruyne was enough to hand Manchester City three points at Chelsea. Antonio Conte had done the league double over Pep Guardiola last season and the encounter was supposed to be a tactical tête-à-tête. Instead it seemed more like a training session of attack versus defence.
Chelsea looked just as off-colour and disinterested as City looked on-colour and eager. Conte's men did defend valiantly right up till the point when De Bruyne produced a bit of magic, like he usually does. City were missing Sergio Aguero, who was involved in a car crash, and Chelsea were missing, period.
To be fair to Conte, the fatigue from an intense away fixture at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday did seem to be a factor. And the fact that Alvaro Morata got injured and subbed off in the 35th minute didn't help too. But City showed that they could grind out the one-nils without compromising on style. They dominated from start to finish, hoarding about 70 percent of the possession and outpassing and outrunning Chelsea at every step of the game.
Speaking about grinding out results, that's usually a Jose Mourinho approach, but Manchester United like scoring four this season. Mourinho found an unlikely scorer in United's resident tree, Marouane Fellaini, who scored a brace, after Juan Mata started the proceedings and before Romelu Lukaku ended them. It's hard to pin down Fellaini. He's a sneaky guy. He looks stupid, but is deceptively smart on a football field. His skill set is unique and weird and Mourinho loves him. It's like he's the final piece in the United jigsaw puzzle.
The standout performer, however, was Marcus Rashford. He set up two of United's goals and was electric throughout. He is easily among the top 10 players under the age of 20 in the world right now. It is just an absolute joy to watch him play and he's only improving game after game. The 4-0 victory meant that Crystal Palace failed to score, yet again, which means they have now equalled the record for not scoring in first seven league games. Boy, they are stubborn. It's time we started cheering for them. It'll be fun to see how far they can take this. One thing is for sure, they are in the right hands if they want to maintain the streak. Roy Hodgson is just the man to take you the depths of hell and then call a press conference and jump the sinking ship. Seven games played, seven losses, 17 goals conceded and zero goals scored. Bravo, Palace. Enjoy the championship next year.
On Sunday, Arsenal faced Brighton and Hove Albion and cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win. I think it's safe to say that fears of a crisis at the Emirates have been allayed a bit. Since that devastating 4-0 hammering at Liverpool, Arsenal have recovered extremely well and have won six games in all competitions and managed an impressive goalless draw at Chelsea.
Slowly, but surely, Arsene Wenger and his team are creeping up. Could they be the dark horses this season? It almost seems ridiculous to suggest that any team could realistically go for the title except the two Manchester clubs. But Spurs, Chelsea have both shown that are up for a fight. The top four is as cramped as your office elevator during lunch time. This Firstpost article did mention earlier, this year and also get a European trophy in the process for their cabinet, which is kind of bored of housing the FA Cup by now. But, we all know Wenger loves the top four so much that he could marry it. He'd push his team to take advantage when a top four rival slips up. For now, Arsenal seem to be pouncing on the opportunity. But, we'll reserve judgements until after January, when 'Arsenal Implosion Period' usually begins.
And speaking of the top four, brings us to Liverpool, oddly enough. Because they don't really look like top four material this season. It was bitter reunion with Rafa Benitez for the club as Newcastle United valiantly held them to a 1-1 draw.
It's mentioned it before this season, it will be mentioned again; Benitez is a top, top manager. He has been the most impressive manager in the league this season, juggling limited resources and inactivity in the transfer window, and still keeping Newcastle competitive. They are 9th on the table right now.
Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring with a typically sumptuous strike, but Newcastle never gave up. They knew Liverpool's defence was there to be exploited and they kept going at it, unfazed in the face of Liverpool's pace up front.
In fact, Newcastle went toe to toe at times, when Chistian Atsu broke off in blistering counterattacking speed and played with Liverpool defenders' self esteem, which is already pretty low right now. The equaliser eventually came through Joselu: a scruffy goal, but a goal nonetheless. Benitez's side were resilient enough to keep things even for the rest of the game. The draw meant, Liverpool fall further behind the pack and are now seven points behind leaders City. Jurgen Klopp has much to be miserable about over the international break.
The penultimate game of the weekend brought some contrasting drama as well. Sean Dyche's Burnley won 1-0 away at Goodison Park to pile more misery on Everton and their under-fire manager Ronald Koeman. Burnley's start to the season has been nothing short of a fairytale. They've now gathered more points on the road this season than they did entirety of last season.
They were notorious of being hardasses at home, now they're killing giants away: an away win at Chelsea, a draw at Spurs and Liverpool and now the win at Everton. They are now the only outliers in the top six. The table goes: City, United, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Burnley. Liverpool sit at seventh, behind Burnley on goal difference, because they've conceded 12 against Burnley's five.
Burnley's win meant this was Everton's fourth defeat of the season. Everyone knew that things were going to be tough when Lukaku left. But if your team simply doesn't know how to play without your former forward, despite value additions over the summer, something was wrong in the first place. For all his forthrightness and refreshing honesty, Koeman knows his team ought to do better after a 140 million summer spend.
Danger is lurking. And what's more, we now have legitimate proof of the danger. Everton majority shareholder Farad Moshiri has backed Koeman. "Koeman has my total support," he said after the home loss. We all know that is Premier League Speak for "Lose one more and you're fired". There is no scarier prospect for a manager than receiving backing from the club owners. And a certain Carlo Ancelotti is available, if Everton are feeling truly ambitious. The international break is upon us now, which means the Premier League returns after a two weeks. That's a lot of time to mull over your losses and take stock of your standing. A change of plans maybe, a shift in tactics. A renewed approach. Of course, all of that rests on your main forward not getting injured on international duty.
Published Date: Oct 02, 2017 02:11 pm | Updated Date: Oct 02, 2017 02:11 pm