EPL Recap

Manchester City 1 – Manchester United 0

Even in a loss, you can tell Manchester United is close. They drew late with Chelsea last week and kept it as close as possible with their city rivals while playing with 10 men for more than a full half. Close only counts in horseshoes and when throwing grenades, though.

Manchester City topped Manchester United for a 1-0 win in the Manchester Derby.

Sergio Aguero’s second half strike was enough for Man City to escape with three points, still in third place.

Chris Smalling picked up two yellow cards in a 10-minute span to earn a sending off.

The game could’ve and probably should’ve seen more goals. City was not given fouls in the box against Yaya Toure, Aguero and a handball from Daley Blind. That was just in the first half.

After the break, City continued to dominate the play and generate chances near goal though again, referee Michael Oliver refused to blow the whistle and award a penalty kick.

Gael Clichy’s square-ball to Aguero in front of goal gave the home team a 1-0 lead that they would not relinquish.

Adding to United’s misfortunes, Marcos Rojo dislocated his shoulder and will be out for at least their next game.

Man City won their fourth Manchester Derby in a row. Irrespective of what Louis Van Gaal said, Man City is clearly the best team in Manchester.

Southampton 1 – Hull City 0

Southampton shutout an opponent for the third straight week. Simply put, the Saints don’t give up goals this season. Through 10 games, they’ve allowed just five goals in league play. Chelsea, atop the EPL, Man City and Swansea City have the next stingiest defenses having allowed 10 goals each so far this season.

Southampton doesn’t make mistakes. Hull City did.

Hull City keeper Eldin Jakupovic screwed up a simple clear, and Victor Wanyama had his head on a swivel. Wanyama fired from 40 onto an open net. It wasn’t the hardest hit ball, but it had enough pace so that Jakupovic had no chance of recovering.

Not many chances followed for either team. It wasn’t pretty but it was enough, and the Saints continue to roll.

Arsenal 3 – Burnley 0

He cost a pretty penny, but Alexis Sanchez is making his case as the most valuable player in the EPL.

Instrumental in the midfield, Sanchez orchestrated a true work of art. The Gunners fired 32 shots on the day, 12 of them on goal. Only two of Burnley’s shots were on target.

Burnley appears to be content aiming for draws, but at some point they’ll have to chase goals and precious points if they want to stay up.

Tom Heaton made nine saves on the day, parrying away shots from Sanchez and Santi Cazorla and others throughout Saturday afternoon.

Calum Chambers lifted a cross to the far post in the 70th minute. Sanchez soared up and split two defenders to give Arsenal a much deserved first goal.

Shortly thereafter it was Chambers who cleaned up a miss by Danny Welbeck to double Arsenal’s lead.

The Sanchez double came in stoppage time as the score finally reflected the utter domination by Arsenal over Burnley.

Took long enough, but Arsenal is back where it belongs: Fourth place.

Chelsea 2 – Queens Park Rangers 1

Diego Costa returned to action after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury. He didn’t score, but Chelsea continued their unbeaten streak to start their EPL season with a 2-1 win over QPR.

Chelsea’s relentless attack garnered corner kick after corner kick in the first half; 13 in total by the end of the game.

A beauty by Oscar gave Chelsea the lead in the first half. Cesc Fabregas lead Oscar into the box on the right-hand side. Just a few yards from the touchline, the Brazilian used the outside of his right foot to blast a shot into the left corner of the net.

Charlie Austin redirected a shot from beyond the 18 by Leroy Fer, just past the outstretched arms of Thibaut Courtois to level the game for QPR in the second half.

Eden Hazard slalomed through the defense and a push in the back gave him a fair chance to score. Hazard coolly converted the PK.

Chelsea held on for the final 15 minutes for their eighth win of the season.

Newcastle United 1 – Liverpool 0

Geordies rejoice!

Just a few weeks ago, Sam Allardyce was on the public chopping block. Newcastle United was sitting in the cellar without a single win. But after a three-game winning streak, he’s got the Magpies well-clear of the relegation zone after defending their home turf against Liverpool, 1-0.

Quite a turnaround from the 6-0 beating Newcastle suffered at the hands of the Reds in April.

Super sub Ayoze Perez scored the decisive goal, just as he did a week ago vs. Tottenham, thanks to a failed clearance by Alberto Moreno in the box.

Pardew is pressing all the right buttons. Brendan Rodgers continues to leave Mario Balotelli in isolation up top. Rodgers’ tactics are as much to blame for the slow start by Balotelli.

Fellow Italian and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti publicly said Balotelli is not the problem ahead of their UCL match.

“They need to look for another solution, find another style with new players. I do not believe that all of Liverpool’s problems in this moment are down to Balotelli, but he has to work to help the team come through this situation.”

Ancelotti also added a small jab about the shirt-swapping incident.

“Swapping shirts at halftime with an opponent is something very normal,” he said. “If Marcelo tomorrow swaps shirts with a player, I will not take him off for that.”

Back to the game at hand. Liverpool controlled possession – a 64 percent to 36 percent advantage – but somehow mustered only six shots compared to the 14 fired by Newcastle.

Glen Johnson headed away a fantastic look by Papisss Cisse in the 37th minute and Simon Mignolet did everything he could to keep Newcastle off the scoresheet. Remy Cabella had a breakaway soon after Newcastle’s first goal but Mignolet sprawled out, deflecting the ball wide of the net.

Liverpool will look much better when Daniel Sturridge finally returns from injury, but even still, the fluid attack of last season is now a distant memory.

On the other hand, Newcastle has a chance to string some more positive results together with West Brom and QPR next up on their schedule.

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