Tottenham Hotspur beat Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley Stadium on Saturday to move above the Blues and into third place in the Premier League table.
Spurs took the lead after just eight minutes when Christian Eriksen whipped in a free-kick for Dele Alli to head past goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea had no answers to the hosts’ intensity and conceded a second eight minutes later. Harry Kane fired in a shot from range, and the ball flew past an unsighted Kepa after David Luiz moved out of the way.
The hosts added a third after the break. Heung-min Son raced past Jorginho, beat Luiz and then tucked a composed finish past Kepa.
Chelsea did pull one back late on when substitute Olivier Giroud headed home Cesar Azpilicueta’s cross, but it was to prove only a consolation as the Blues suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season.
Kante Wasted in New Midfield Role
N’Golo Kante is widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world, and Chelsea demonstrated how highly they value their World Cup winner signing him to a five-year deal on Friday.
However, the arrival of Jorginho over the summer has seen Kante forced out of his preferred position and moved further forward to make room for the Italy international.
Jorginho is a key player for manager Maurizio Sarri after the duo worked together at Napoli, and he has made an impressive start to his Blues career.
Yet his influence has waned in recent games, and he put in a poor display against Spurs:
Meanwhile, the Frenchman was having little effect in his position further forward. Matt Law of the Telegraph explained why
Kepa Deserves to be Doubted
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa has had a quiet start to his career at Stamford Bridge.
He has been well protected by the Blues defence for much of the early part of the season, but it was a different story entirely at Wembley, and Kepa’s performance will do little to dampen doubts that he is the man to replace Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal.
He managed to get his hands to Alli’s headed opener but was not strong enough to prevent the ball flying into the back of the net:
He was then left stranded for Kane’s second goal. Luiz’s decision to get out of the way of the ball left him unsighted, but his positioning was poor
The second goal put Spurs in command of the game, although Kepa responded well to the setback and went on to make some crucial saves.
He could do little about Son’s third goal but denied the South Korean and Kane with impressive saves. Sports media company EiF Soccer felt he made up for his earlier errors:
Kepa Arrizabalaga has been superb since joining Chelsea but that was terrible for Tottenham’s second goal.
David Luiz, who thought this was a game of dodgeball and is having a shocking game so far, certainly didn’t help but ultimately that’s on Kepa. Has to do better.
Kepa might have been at fault for Kane’s goal, but if it wasn’t for him this game could easily be 5-0 in Tottenham’s favor after this half. Two absolutely world class saves and a really good one (in the Son 1v1) by Kepa in the first half, who has more than made up for his error.
Kepa became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he moved to Stamford Bridge in August for £71 million, per BBC Sport. He’s still only 24 and in his first season in the Premier League, but the Spaniard still has plenty of work to do to prove he was worth the huge investment Chelsea made to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United were held to a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday in the Premier League.
The hosts started the game brightly but quickly fizzled out against an organised Palace side. The best chances came to the visitors on the break, with Patrick van Aanholt firing wide and Cheikhou Kouyate’s effort ruled out for offside.
The hosts also had a goal disallowed after half-time. Romelu Lukaku tapped home from close range after Wayne Hennessey had denied Ashley Young, but the strike was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Andros Townsend wasted another opportunity for Palace, firing wide with only David De Gea to beat, and the two sides were forced to settle for a point each.
Time to Drop Matic and Give Fred a Chance
Jose Mourinho again opted to start Nemanja Matic against Crystal Palace, despite the midfielder’s continued poor form this season.
The 30-year-old is a regular under Mourinho, but he put in another less-than-impressive performance as the Red Devils drew a match they were expected to win.
The Eagles have only managed eight Premier League goals this season and were without a recognised striker at Old Trafford, yet they still managed to carve out plenty of chances against the Red Devils.
Mourinho kept Matic on for the entire 90 minutes, but it’s time he was taken out of the team and for summer signing Fred to be given a chance.
United brought the Brazilian to Old Trafford for a fee of £52 million, per the Guardian. However, Fred has only been used sparingly so far, making just six Premier League starts and only one in the Champions League.
The 25-year-old has only shown glimpses of his best form since joining, but he will have needed time to adjust to his new surroundings.
With Matic out of form, now is the perfect time to offer Fred the chance to prove himself in the first team and demonstrate why Manchester United were so keen to splash out on him in the summer.
Mourinho Must Match Pep’s Use of Squad Players
One of Mourinho’s biggest issues at Manchester United has been his failure to get the best out of his squad players, unlike Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Guardiola is renowned for his coaching ability and the way he develops players. For example, Fabian Delph has become an important squad player for both club and country after previously appearing to have no future at the Etihad.
Darmian is a versatile defender who can play on either flank, yet he appears so far down the pecking order at Manchester United that it was a surprise to see him start.
Jesse Lingard is another player who is not a guaranteed starter, but his match-winning impact for England against Croatia on Sunday demonstrated he has more to offer. He was one of United’s brighter players against Crystal Palace before being replaced just before the hour mark.
Jesse Lingard’s movement on and off the ball is absolutely glorious. would love to see him in a genuinely creative side that could dominate the ball.
There’s no doubt that Mourinho is underachieving with his squad of players. Saturday’s match represented an excellent opportunity to gain ground on the top four, but instead Mourinho’s team are now 14 points behind Guardiola’s league leaders.
Liverpool maintained an unbeaten start to the Premier League season thanks to a 3-0 win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino were on the scoresheet to help the Reds keep pace with leaders Manchester City in the title race.
The Reds won despite seeing Jordan Henderson sent off for a second bookable offence with eight minutes to go.
Liverpool Not Good Enough to Win the Title Despite Another Clean Sheet
Liverpool may be in the thick of the title race, but the result proves the Reds aren’t good enough to ultimately capture the title this season. It’s a case of one step forward and two steps back for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Klopp’s team is winning, but there are reasons to doubt the Reds’ title credentials. The step forward is obvious in a defence that’s gone from one of the more suspect in England’s top flight to one of the toughest. A stingy unit buoyed by the big-money signings of centre-back Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker earlier this year has surrendered just five goals, the joint-fewest in the division with City.
Klopp must rue his luck when he thinks of how the attack has gone off the boil just as things at the back have settled. Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are still an effective front three, but they are nowhere close to the prolific heights they reached last season.
As good as Ben Foster was in the Watford goal, it’s fair to say many of the chances the Reds created would have gone in last season.
While Salah eventually got his goal six minutes after the hour mark, it only came after several instances of the front three struggling to combine with the same ease and fluidity as last season:
It was a far cry from when Salah hit four when Liverpool last played Watford back in March. It was also no surprise it took a special free-kick from a defender, right-back Alexander-Arnold, to double the Reds’ tally and make this result safe.
In fairness to Salah and Co., their efforts are hardly being helped by a midfield lacking the necessary craft. A workmanlike group led by Henderson lacks the vision and flair to supply enough chances for the match-winners in front of them.
It means the creative burden is equal to the scoring responsibility facing Salah, Mane and Firmino.
A midfield lacking ideas and a forward line not quite as potent as it used to be will ultimately keep the title out of Liverpool’s reach.