Fraudulent Liverpool slump again
It’s very easy to laugh off Liverpool’s Robin Hood comparisons but it’s actually what it is. Only the bookmakers with the stoniest of hearts would expect a Swansea win at Anfield, considering form, league table, wage structure, managerial qualities and everything that has to be considered in the round level game. Liverpool have an eye on the midweek fixture, one they must turn up for having gone a goal down in the first leg, Juergen Klopp fielded his available best eleven, handing Georgio Wijnaldum a start; Swansea, prior to this fixture have never beaten Liverpool at Anfield and the host have gone twenty five home games without defeat, but Swansea weren’t here to respect statistics. Liverpool came out smoking, firing on all cylinders but good defending and some smart goalkeeping meant Liverpool’s four shots on target in the first half would mean nothing as the half ended frustratingly goalless.
The script altered early in the second half as a Fernando Llorente header ricochet in to the Liverpool net and not long after it was two nil; Jack Cock who earlier almost conceded an own for the second time in a week delivered a delightful cross into the area and Llorente was there again to pounce with an unstoppable header. Liverpool threw everything forward and got what they wanted. Roberto Firminho was in the right place to half the deficit and when teed up by Milner for the second, the Brazilian was on hand to treat the spectators to a fine rush of blood; a confident chest control, intelligent dummy movement and a sensational curler that got Fabianski wondering what befell him, but moments later, Klopp was reeling in hurts as Liverpool managed to conjure up a strange incompetence as a ricochet fell to Gylfi Siggurdsen for a sleek gentle slide past Mignolet. The loss left Liverpool further adrift of leaders Chelsea and afforded Arsenal a chance to take the second spot
Manchester United and their sixth heaven
Weeks after weeks, fixtures after fixtures, Manchester United stay sixth with near zero chances of ever changing position. A trip to the Bet365 stadium is never easy for anyone but when you boast enough game changers in your rank and managed by one of the best in the land, there are no margins for errors. United went behind to a deflected Eric Pieters effort which Juan Mata and David De Gea managed to squeeze in and it took a sublime record breaking Wayne Rooney free kick in added time to earn a point and avoid an embarrassing defeat. United drew again, not for lack of efforts, Paul Pogba was denied by Grant earlier on and Zlatan Ibrahimovic should have done better with the goalkeeper in no man’s land but the big Swede opted to pass and when Juan Mata was handed an opportunity to make amends, his lofty kick looked like some rugby attempts with the goal begging. The stalemate means Manchester United stay sixth, fourteen unbelievable points behind Chelsea and four away from the now coveted fourth spot.
Talking tactics, United looked lost on Saturday, no clear cut direction and you wonder what necessitated the start of Fellaini ahead of creative options; United threatened all afternoon long especially after falling behind but their decision in the final third proved their own undoing. Jose Mourinho would kick his teeth after seeing another opportunity gone begging with City and Liverpool failing to win. Talking City, you have to feel for them, losing their grip on a match they seemed to have won with minutes remaining, They sit two points outside the top four and must look to Europe and the FA Cup for a piece of silverware with Chelsea running away with the title.
Fortunate Arsenal, Confident Chelsea
How unlucky would Burnley feel after losing to Arsenal again on a day they could have gotten at least a point. Arsenal turned up at the a Emirates hoping to leapfrog Tottenham and Liverpool having seen the two drop points in different places and under different circumstances but Burnley weren’t going to lie there and be beaten. The visitors only have a solitary point on the road all season long and were seconds away from sealing the second but referee Moss offered Arsenal something special at the tail end. The first half ended goalless, with Alexis Sanchez looking the likeliest to score with an effort well saved by the ever impressive Heaton. Burnley grew in confidence, starting the second half with purpose but were soon checked by a maiden premier league goal for Skhodran Mustafi, the Arsenal center back rose the highest to head Arsenal in front from a Mesut Ozil corner.
It went Awry for Arsenal ten minutes later as Granit Xhaka got his marching orders after appearing to have lunged into Steven Defour, Burnley poured forward and kept pushing, Petr Cech was tested time after time and he kept proving his mettle until Francis Coqueline was adjudged to have fouled Gray in the area and the latter made no mistake from the spot. The drama wasn’t over, Arsene Wenger was sent off and on the seventh minute of the added eighth, Jon Moss pointed to the spot again, this time the opposite as Mee, who was having the performance of his life tugged Koscielny who was slightly offside. Alexis Sanchez stepped forward and chipped one over Heaton, the coolest of kicks in the face of pressure.
Chelsea beat Hull city, no news about that, Diego Costa scored on his return, no news still, but seeing Gary Cahill so strong after clashing with Ryan Mason in the first half, something that got the latter hauled off on a stretcher, and still got the goal that sealed the result was something special. With John Terry not listed at all, Gary Cahill showed strength, guile and confidence as he weathered the storm of the stubborn Tigers to hand Chelsea the eight point cushion that will take something extra ordinary to overturn by any team below them.