Chelsea’s enigmatic 4-0 win at home to Manchester United was quite possibly the pick of the weekend’s games in terms of action. The opener from Pedro came inside the first minute, there was a controversial decision which probably should have led to a red card for David Luiz and there were four goals of enormous quality - all of which were the ingredients for a superb victory which lifted Chelsea back into title contending territory.
Conte’s tactical masterclass was the foundation upon which the game was won. The 3-4-3 shifting into a 4-5-1 at times was a thing of beauty that left Mourinho’s men scratching their heads from the get-go. Chelsea were a joy to watch throughout, and ultimately left Mourinho to once more moan to the press in an attempt at deflecting criticism away from his beleaguered squad.
Questions must be asked of Paul Pogba who created not one chance whilst playing in the number 10 role, as well as failing to register a single shot. In comparison, N’Golo Kante created two chances, scored a goal and bossed the midfield in a terrific display of battling determination. Chelsea could well be on the up.
Klopp For The Top?
Another team reinforcing their title contending credentials this weekend was Liverpool. This weekend the Liverpudlians rediscovered their gegenpressing style of football that was lacking at home to United last weekend, and punished West Brom who looked powerless to resist Liverpool’s slick, urgent play.
The first goal was a thing of real beauty, and saw Liverpool win possession back just inside their own half before moving the ball up field and into WBA’s penalty area inside one minute. Coutinho’s lovely little dummy allowed fellow countryman Roberto Firmino to loft a delicate cross into the path of Sadio Mane, who made no mistake with a deft first-time volley. Daniel Sturridge has a lot to prove if he hopes to break into the squad ahead of the triplet that, at times this season, have looked unplayable.
When pressed into discussing title chances, Klopp was rather evasive in his answers; however, it must be noted that he did not rule out a title challenge. The footballing world likes to poke fun at the red side of Merseyside and their perpetual claims of it being their year yet even the most level-headed of fans must be raising an eyebrow or two right now.
Leicester Back To Basics
I’m delighted that Claudio Ranieri’s men ran out 3-1 winners against Crystal Palace. Rediscovering last season’s identity that sent them on their way to the title, the Foxes once more proved that a fast, direct style of football will cause all kinds of problems for teams unwilling to match the teamwork and intensity that Leicester offer.
Despite performing exceedingly well in the Champion’s League this term; Leicester have found themselves struggling in their domestic campaign. Yet this weekend’s victory will not only provide a much needed Premier League confidence boost, but it will hopefully rekindle the flames that enabled the team to win the league last season with their direct, fearless performances.
Fingers crossed that Ranieri’s men continue on the upward trend both in Europe and in England because in a sport dominated by money and greed, Leicester’s rise to the title was an encouraging tale that proved money isn’t everything when confronted with teamwork and determination. Take a look Jose - maybe you could learn a thing or two?