Pay Attention To Showdown Between Old Guard: Manchester United vs Arsenal
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Week 6 was another tremendous weekend of English soccer. Manchester City got back to winning ways with an utterly dominant performance with an 8-0 win over basement boys, Watford.
Yes, Watford (The Hornets) might be struggling and already switched their coach after the first few games, but to say this was expected? Not even close.
Man City put the entire division on high alert. They lost the week before, and both their first-choice central defenders, John Stones and Aymeric Laporte went down with injuries. So, all eyes were on them, the response from the champions was devastating.
Liverpool was given all they could handle by Chelsea on Sunday, running out as 2-1 victors, but as I warned last week, Liverpool’s winning streak is tenuous, so I wouldn’t have had any complaints if Chelsea had found an equalizer. Not many will go to Stamford Bridge this season and pick up all three points.
MANCHESTER UNITED vs ARSENAL
We begin with the Monday night game to round out the previous weekend of matches.
Ten to fifteen years ago this match would’ve been plastered on TVs so the world could watch two of the hottest teams in EPL history go at it. Long gone are the days of a Man Utd juggernaut lead by Alex Ferguson, and a slightly more refined and technical Arsenal, under Arsène Wenger. Those EPL battles were something to behold.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 25, 2019
Both teams are finding it hard to replicate those days, but yet there is still something that makes you sit up and pay attention. Maybe for the wrong reasons? Maybe a little gloating to see how the mighty have fallen?
United sits in 8th as we head into the weekend. Eight points; two wins, two draws and two losses, it’s been uneventful, unspectacular and uninspiring. Eight goals scored and six conceded. It screams mediocrity. What did they expect? Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired it’s been a knee jerk reaction over and over (even though it was a near-impossible task to follow one of the greatest coaches ever).
It is alarming that Ole Gunnar Solskjær already seems to be out of ideas. The loss against West Ham last weekend was a low, but that is why this match with Arsenal could be the right medicine.
Arsenal have also struggled, but do sit in 4th and with three more points than United. They’ve also scored more goals, but it’s at the back, again where they have struggled.
They are already in double figures for goals conceded. I suspect Unai Emery is on a short leash. A top-four finish and securing Champions League football will be imperative, not only to his future but also to future reinforcements.
United at home, against an Arsenal that is leaking goals? The likes of Pogba, James, Mata, Martial and Rashford (depending on knocks) should strike fear in most defenses. It’s just putting the pieces together. I think they get it right for this match, but that doesn’t mean United are making true headway, either.
Arsenal will be tough, but I think the Gunners backline will let them down, again.
PREDICTION: 3-2, United
EVERTON Vs MANCHESTER CITY
You can catch this match on KSL 5 TV, Saturday at 10:30 a.m (MT). As stated earlier, Man City have put aside any hangover resulting from the shocking Norwich loss firmly behind them. The EPL champs are still favorites to retain their crown. The awesome firepower they possess was on show for the world to see. Going up 5-0 in 18 minutes will always make people sit up and take note.
Liverpool will be one of City’s main challengers, but how do you compete with City who still dominated while not only missing their first-choice center backs but also had Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and İlkay Gündoğan on the bench.
They certainly have some things to prove in European competitions before they can be labeled the best we’ve ever seen, but it’s absolutely in the discussion. Man City is on the cusp of greatness and if it does happen; adding a Champions League title, then this, in my opinion, will be more impressive than anything.
Deadly from @gabrieljesus33 🎯
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 25, 2019
Saturday’s opponent, Everton are in freefall, two losses on the trot doesn’t sound like much, but it was the manner of the defeats.
Everton were heavy spenders in the summer and a push towards top six was expected. The Toffees boss Marco Silva is already feeling the heat. If Everton are to pull off a shock, then they’ll be hoping for an off day for the City attack and a good day for their own.
So far Alex Iwobi and Moise Kean haven’t quite lived up to the price tags attached to them. Same as last season, most of the bright moments come from Brazilian talisman, Richarlison. He will be in the thick of things. I’m not convinced that Everton’s defense will have enough to stop the relentless attacking movement from the Citizens.
PREDICTION: 1-4, Man City
BOURNEMOUTH Vs WEST HAM UNITED
To round out the top three fixtures for the weekend we go back to the south coast. Bournemouth are flying in 6th after securing a victory last Friday over south coast rivals Southampton.
They welcome in 5th place West Ham, who are unbeaten in their last five matches and buzzing off of the dominant performance against Man Utd this last weekend.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 25, 2019
West Ham (The Hammers) manager Manuel Pellegrini, in his usual quiet fashion, has put together a very competitive squad over the last few transfer windows. With young Englishman, Declan Rice anchoring the midfield, the Hammers are a little more robust than in seasons past. Then you look at the threats going forward, Frenchman Sebastien Haller as the standout purchase from Frankfurt, hit the ground running. Don’t be mistaken by his 6’4 frame, he will be a typical #9, he’s not. Yes, he can be used as a physical presence, but Haller is a playmaker as well. Incredibly quick and skillful and scoring all types of goals. He now has the providers around him in Anderson, Lanzini, Yarmolenko and Fornals. There is a sudden burst of creativity and goals. West Ham faithful will be hard pushed to remember a better time.
As for the Cherries, they’ll be at home and looking to continue the momentum they’ve built up. Callum Wilson will lead the line and the speed and movement he receives from King, Fraser and Wilson only sets this up to whet the appetite of the EPL footballing purists. Ball on the floor, counter-attacking and speedy attacking transitions will keep everyone’s eyes peeled.
Who comes out on top? I think Bournemouth’s central midfielders (pick two of) Lerma, Billing and Cook offer a little more protection to their back four and will give them the platform to sneak all three points.
PREDICTION: 2-1, AFC Bournemouth