Last EPL Round Before International Break – KSL Sports - Techy Hunters

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Friday, October 1, 2021

Last EPL Round Before International Break – KSL Sports

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Last weekend turned out to be a really fantastic set of fixtures.

In the battle of the big spenders, Man City went to Stamford Bridge and overcame a rather cautious Chelsea. Running out well deserved 1-0 victors. The North London Derby did not disappoint the Arsenal fans, their team flew out the traps and completely dominated Spurs on Sunday, with the likes of the Gunners younger players coming of age on the biggest stage. Emile Smith-Rowe and Buyako Saka were both on the score sheet and also each getting an assist as they ran out, 3-1 winners. Brentford gave Liverpool all they could handle in a thoroughly entertaining 3-3, with both teams buzzing forward and for the most part forgetting their defensive duties, the game marked Mohamed Salah scoring his 100th EPL goal for Liverpool. It has to be said, a stunning scoring record.

In Manchester, there was high drama as United fell 1-0 to Aston Villa. The previous week David De Gea made a huge injury-time penalty save to secure all three points, and this last week Bruno Fernandes had the opportunity to salvage a point in the 93rd minute, but he ballooned his effort well over the bar, and Villa was able to hang on.

It was tough to pick out a couple of games to watch from this week’s options because of the intriguing ties. West Ham Vs Brentford should be fun. I’d also keep an eye on Brighton Vs Arsenal and Crystal Palace Vs Leicester City. They should all entertain.

Manchester United vs. Everton

It’s the early one on Saturday on NBCSN with a 5:30 a.m. kick-off. One that a lot of eyes will be on. How does United bounce back? They were underwhelming against Villa last week, and it wasn’t much better in the Champions League midweek against Villarreal, although they did run out winners late on with Cristiano Ronaldo acting as the savior on that occasion.

United should be playing a better style of football, especially with the talent on offer, I do expect them to have flashes of brilliance this season. With Ronaldo, Fernandes, Pogba, Greenwood, Cavani, Sancho, Lingard, Martial, and the impending return of Marcus Rashford that is a ton of quality going forward. Creativity, pace, power, and ruthless finishing. So why isn’t it better? Not all the blame is at the manager’s feet, but his limitations are becoming increasingly obvious. More often than not it’s something out of nothing, a moment of brilliance that gets United out of trouble. When you have brilliant players, you expect that. But relying on flashy, shiny moments can only take you so far. I’m still wondering what United’s true identity is under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. What I will say is, Ole doesn’t shy away, and he will continue to try and find a solution to make United not only more entertaining but consistent. However, I fear time will eventually run out for the United great. If anything he steadied the ship through troubled waters. But at some point, he’ll have to be held to account. He’s been backed fantastically. Now it’s time to connect the dots for the array of talent at his disposal. As they are now, United will, at times, tear teams apart; and it will be thoroughly entertaining. But against organized and well-drilled teams successful results will be tougher to attain.

Everton is going to be a true test for United. Under Rafa Benitez’s stewardship, he’s made them well organized and drilled defensively. They sit just below their hosts at the table. A tough and robust unit they will try to bully opponents. However this is the first big team they’ve faced this season, so I believe they’ll look to close the spaces down and cut down the time Bruno Fernandes will get on the ball. I still think that if you take Fernandes out of the game, United become one-dimensional. As always, the center of the midfield might well dictate the result, and with Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure forming a solid double act in the heart of midfield with defensive protection, playmaking ability, and the stamina to drive forward into the attack, they’ll be vital to Everton’s cause.

Prediction

Everton will be a tough nut to crack, but historically United has a really good record against the Toffees. I think United will huff and puff at times, but if they get the movement right, and maybe push and probe, Paul Pogba could well be the difference-maker. A United win for me.

Liverpool vs. Manchester City

To finish off the 7th round of fixtures we get the treat of two teams that will be there or thereabouts the top of the league come May. Sunday’s showdown at 9:30 a.m. on NBCSN is a fixture over recent seasons that has rarely disappointed. Goals in abundance and near misses. Two teams that move the ball quickly. One that will keep the ball for an age and make you dizzy and another that will hit you on the counter so quickly that you blink and the ball is in the back of the net. Two coaches whose differing philosophies somehow cross each other and who have made the EPL the best league in the world. Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are two of the best, and neither backs down when they go head to head. Sometimes these occasions make a coach switch to a conservative approach, and I’m grateful that is NOT the case with these two.

Defensively both teams made dominant signings to get them to another level Virgil Van Djik for the Reds and Ruben Dias for City addressed glaring needs at different times, and immediately made their respective teams better.

On the attacking side of the ball, it’ll likely be the tried and tested front three for Liverpool. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and then Mo Salah, who has once again started the season like a machine. They know each other inside and out, they’ll pull wide and drop deep. It’s an attack that still has something to prove though. Mane and Firmino had a noticeable drop-off last season, but there are signs that they can still be vital cogs in the Liverpool wheel. They also have genuine competition in Diogo Jota who can slot into any of the front three positions.
City is also a well-oiled machine when it comes to the attack, it’s maybe a little more interchangeable than Liverpool’s. Jack Grealish has slotted in almost seamlessly. Raheem Sterling had a phenomenal Euro’s for England after a stuttering 2020/21 season for his club. Ferran Torres, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden, and Kevin De Bruyne, the options are brilliant for Pep, and they’re all so fluid as they slot into other positions with relative ease. It’s what has made them one of the best teams to watch.

Prediction

I think the crowd will play a massive part in this, Liverpool has had stunning results when they’re somewhat the underdog. They thrive off the Anfield roar, something their manager only pumps up and turns up a notch to send them into a frenzy. Whatever edge they can get, they will need. City is deep, they play a style that can suffocate the best teams. I cannot pick a winner, because whoever runs out as the winners you’ll be like, “Oh yeah that makes sense.”

That’ll do it for this week, and as the World Cup Qualifiers start up again, we’ll be back the week after next. Enjoy all the soccer on offer this weekend and we’ll be back for round 8.



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