Home / EPL / Manchester United Fail to Capitalize; Manchester City Shock and Surprise; Liverpool Show a Killer Instinct


So it was another weekend of fixtures in the Premiership, and it was a cracking good time. The big match up, Manchester City and Chelsea, didn’t disappoint. City defied the odds and ended Chelsea’s perfect start to the season with a decisive strike for Carlos Tevez in the 59th minute. It was a low scoring affair, 1-0 for City, but the combination of a dodged Man City defense and a relentless Chelsea attack made for a wide open match with attack and counter attack as the watchwords.  The lead up to the Tevez goal was no different with the visitors conceding possession as Mancini’s men broke from defense. Tevez then ran half the length of the pitch before making a fool of Ashley Cole’s and firing his finish across Blues goalkeeper Petr Cech and in off the post. Chelsea, who hit the post through Ivanovic in the first half, were unable to make any effective challenge and their lack of effectiveness was underlined when Ancelotti removed Drogba with 15 minutes left, but with no effect.

Without question the minutes following the start of the second half were the most exciting with attacks coming from Milner, Tevez, and Toure parried away by the Chelsea defense only to be shot right back down the opposite end by Cole and Drogba. At of the flurry, Tevez found himself free and shot across the face of goal into the net. The men in Chelsea jerseys were never able to put together an effective response, and by the end of the match all of the west Londoners looked frustrated and despondent. The only real bright spot for Chelsea was in the first half when Ivanovic hit the post. The match ended with a deserved victory for City who are clearly beginning to see the fruits of their seeds sown with Russian rubles.

For that other Manchester team, and their wayward star, it was to be a tough match that ended in frustration as the United defense once again collapsed under the lackluster attack of a mid-division side. As with so many of the underdogs this last weekend, Bolton upset their more illustrious opponents. The defensive frailties which have undermined United’s season so far were again exposed by the ability of the Bolton forwards to run around them, get into to position, move the ball with the United half. Furthermore, the continued failure of Wayne Rooney to do more than run around the pitch and sell Wayne Rooney jerseys has not helped United’s cause. As we know from watching Real Madrid, even if your defense is absolutely worthless, so long as the attack is strong enough you should still be able to meet sides like Bolton by drowning them in goals. However, without Rooney, United seem unable to really get off and running in a match. Berbatov and Owen are great players, but lack the inspirational ability of Rooney when he is on. Going hell for leather on every ball and expecting the best from himself at every turn, Rooney used to want to play, now he looks as though he wants to crawl up behind the advert boards and cry. You should never have to replace Rooney with Macheda after 61 minutes unless he has broken something. As result of Rooney’s failure, and a lackluster defense Bolton were able to counter attack effectively, and United seemed only able to watch as they drew level and time ran out. All in all, a good run out for Bolton, and a terrible result for United. The infamy of Rooney’s performance was only matched by the goal scored by Torres and Kuyt for Liverpool.

Over the last few years the fixture of Liverpool v. Sunderland has had its share of the bizarre. The infamous “beachball goal” had been the best example, along with the touchline antics of Roy Keane, but the goal scored over the weekend takes the cake. Either an absolute howler, or some the worse sporting spirit displayed in recent times followed when Turner back-heeled a Black Cats free-kick towards keeper Simon Mignolet, who was nowhere in sight. Torres then ran on to the loose ball before laying it across for Kuyt to put in off the side of his boot.

Whether centre-back Turner was taking the set piece or laying the ball back for Mignolet to take seemed unclear and, after conferring with his assistant, referee Stuart Attwell allowed the goal to stand. Clearly, the ref has never played football, or is the most innocent soul I know of. No one, not even Turner, would back heel a pass like that to the goalie with a man in a Fernando Torres jersey standing near by. It would be the football equivalent of losing a cat on a stunned mouse. Clearly, he was laying it off for the goalie to take the free kick,  but seeing an opportunity for his team to go ahead, Torres ran for the ball and found the killer instinct to lay it off and let Kuyt score the goal. Sunderland are rightly furious, and for once FIFA seems to be willing to act and take on the issue. But the result of a 2-2 draw was a joke, although it may save Liverpool form further humiliation in the league, at least until the Royal Bank of Scotland come looking to collect their debt. As for the rest of the match, it was a very average affair with little to note. Liverpool looked as lackluster as their last performance, and Sunderland slogged along working hard to the end. Overall, the Man City v. Chelsea match was the best, United need a better defense, and the referee for the Liverpool match needs to grow a backbone.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com


About the author: Matthew Wall


I've played soccer since I could walk thanks to my father and love keeping up on all the latest gear and gab. I'm in my twenties, and I'm lucky enough to have found work in search marketing for a leading soccer retailer after completing my M.A. at Georgetown in 2008. My team is Liverpool, and national side is Ireland, but I've also got a passion for GAA and a number of sports. Feel free to give me a shout on Google+


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