Chelsea lack of creative inspiration
Chelsea have started their clash with Everton as the Premier League side with the most second half goals this season. They ended the game without a single shot on target after the break at Goodison Park.
Yes, Mount may have hit the bar, then the post, but it was as close as Chelsea came to equalizer, with the last save Jordan Pickford had to make in the 28th minute denying Kurt Zouma.
A loss will not lead Frank Lampard to press the panic button, especially since this is their first Premier League loss since losing to Liverpool on September 20, but the Chelsea manager will certainly be frustrated by his inability to build up the pressure late. against Everton.
Lampard admitted that Chelsea missed their wingers, which was obvious. Without Hakim Ziyech, they lacked that creative spark, while Christian Pulisic was not risky on Saturday night before a busy schedule.
The Blues are hoping to have the latter back for Tuesday’s trip to Wolves, although it will likely come too soon for Ziyech.
Everton rediscover his bite
For the 2,000 supporters who were lucky enough to receive a ticket in the ballot on Saturday, there were concerns when Carlo Ancelotti revealed James Rodriguez would miss Chelsea’s visit due to a muscle injury. They could have been forgiven for fearing the worst against Frank Lampard’s in-form team, but what ensued was a blood-soaked and thunderous performance that mirrored those from the stands.
Gylfi Sigurdsson punished Edouard Mendy for his reckless challenge against Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the decisive moment of the game and the Icelandic international thrived in his favorite No.10 position, in the absence of James Rodriguez.
The Colombian could be back midweek due to his muscle problem, but Sigurdsson’s six key assists will certainly leave Ancelotti to think about ahead of the trip to Leicester.
Everton defended themselves forward to claim their first home league win since early October, with Chelsea failing to frame after the 28th minute.
“Defensively we were very good,” said Ancelotti. “We didn’t give up a lot of chances, just two outside the box. I think we were really well organized with defenders and midfielders. The way the team fought was first class. ”
It was in the corresponding match last season under the guidance of interim manager Duncan Ferguson where the home side recorded 37 tackles – the most by an Everton side in a decade.
That was 12 months ago, when Everton were in the bottom three. But under different circumstances Everton’s bite as a pioneer from the start of the season returned and it felt like another historic result.
Solskjaer finds a way to frustrate Pep again
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the better of Pep Guardiola three times last season, with his Man Utd side winning at home and away against City in the league and winning a leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad.
Guardiola will point out that City’s victory in the second leg of this cup meeting took them to the final where they lifted the silverware, but nonetheless, Solskjaer built a record against the Spaniard that few other coaches have achieved. .
On Saturday, the Norwegian offered another solution to stop this City side, moving away from the last three he used in last season’s fixtures and surprising everyone by playing away from Paul Pogba and Mason Greenwood on a midfield four, with Bruno Fernandes ahead of Marcus Rashford.
United players have embraced the demands and discipline required of the system and have achieved a result that settles things after they exit the Champions League.
Solskjaer is regularly questioned for his tactical acumen and managerial pedigree, but the repeated problems he poses for a manager of Guardiola’s pedigree demand respect. Whether Solskjaer can constantly find the answers to overcome the various challenges that other Premier League sides present is another question.
But this positive result of an otherwise forgettable derby gives United a positive platform to build on in their upcoming Christmas schedule.
The change of edge of town is not easy to watch
City have set such a high offensive benchmark in recent years that this very distinct shift in approach doesn’t quite work out quite well.
Pep Guardiola’s side did not lose the Manchester derby, but for much of the goalless draw at Old Trafford they barely tried to win it. Their title rivals have all smelled like stadiums this season at times to get results, but when it’s City, the start compared to what we’re used to is more surprising.
Guardiola’s reasoning for abandoning fluid attacks for defensive strength this season is valid: City’s defense has looked fragile against counterattacks for 18 months.
City firepower drop
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He’s trying to strike a balance – City’s goals per game and chances created per game are very low compared to previous seasons – but the fear right now is that it is going too far one way, and that change of tactics inhibits the talent they have.
“They look like a bored team,” Gary Neville said on Sky Sports. Riyad Mahrez, who scored a hat-trick against Burnley a fortnight ago, scored two touches in United’s box. City had two shots on target the entire game.
Guardiola seemed happy with the point, but something between that and their previous rampage is what he’ll want.
Dark outlook for Bilic, West Brom
Slaven Bilic’s future hangs in the balance after West Brom’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle at St James’ Park.
The Croatian guided the Baggies towards championship promotion in his first season at the helm last year, but newspaper reports heading into the weekend said he was only one game of the bag after a difficult start to life in the top flight. .
Their last defeat could therefore prove to be costly and certainly difficult to accept.
West Brom fell back into the game when Darnell Furlong called off Miguel Almiron’s opener shortly after halftime, only for Dwight Gayle, who had spent last year on loan at the Hawthorns, for lead an 82nd minute winner at Newcastle.
Bilic then ignored questions about his future, instead praising the spirit on his side.
“We’ve shown the character, the mentality and the quality to a certain extent,” he said, “the team is alive and well. ”
But the fact remains that West Brom have taken just six points in 12 games so far and it doesn’t get any easier, with clashes against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal in the coming weeks.
In truth, it would be a difficult task for any manager to maintain them. West Brom secured permanent deals for Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana and some of the other stars on loan from last season this summer, but their transfer activity has hardly been transformative. Bilic has distributed 11 Premier League debuts this season. It remains a championship level team.
And so, while their manager may pay the price, West Brom’s shortcomings will likely remain. A long season awaits the Baggies, no matter who occupies the canoe.
Time for wolves to prove themselves?
It’s been a short experience with a full-back for Nuno Espirito Santo and the Wolves, originally more out of necessity with Conor Coady’s rare absence, but continuing even after his return, albeit to mixed effect.
Wolves’ four full-backs helped them secure a deserved victory at Arsenal two games ago, but since then they’ve been beaten in a sub-par performance against a patched and now beaten Liverpool at home by Aston Villa, even s ‘they did it. deserve more before Anwar El-Ghazi’s last minute penalty.
There’s a reason they haven’t strayed from the last three in the full two seasons they’ve returned to the Premier League – because it had worked so well. It hadn’t always been pretty, but it got the job done, and more often than not keeping things tight in the back.
Without Raul Jimenez’s goals, that defensive stability is all the more important now – so maybe it’s time to undo the experience and go back to the old adage that if it’s not broken, don’t not fix it.