Matchday 14 – 15: Narrow victories and World Cup

Cailyn Robertson, Sports Editor

A pretty calm two weeks in the Premier League. Besides Arsenal’s 5-0 blowout against Nottingham Forest, none of the games were overly split.

The table remains the same, with Arsenal having a one point gap between them and Manchester City. Forest remains at the bottom, along with Wolves and Southampton.

This weekend is the last week before the World Cup begins, and outside of a few friendlies the Premier League will not play again until December 26th, otherwise known as boxing day.

Since the Premier League will be taking a break, I will be covering the latest World Cup news for the next few papers.

The World Cup will give those who are injured, such as Erling Haaland, time to heal before continuing the season. In this aspect, the timing of the World Cup is great.

For stars that will have to go through an exhausting amount of games within over a month, the World Cup’s timing is awful. Not only has the November cup limited the players’ time with their national teams, they have been given no rest and will receive no rest upon returning to their club seasons.

The USA has announced their squad for the World Cup, and many are not happy with the decisions that have been made. Berhalter revealed that he will not be bringing the USA’s starting goalkeeper – Zach Steffen – to Qatar.

Steffen is on loan from Manchester City to Middlesbrough and is the only other goalkeeper outside of Matt Turner to play for a top club overseas. Although his absence has not sat well with American fans, Berhalter claims to have had his reasons.

Another goalkeeper not attending to David De Gea of Spain, who has struggled nationally but has had some of his best seasons with club Manchester United these past years. In his absence, Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa was foreseen to take the starting position.

But Kepa isn’t in the lineup either

Spain will be taking 5 goalkeepers, all inexperienced nationally but a part of top clubs in the Premier League (3) and La Liga (2).

The biggest spotlight in this World Cup can easily be said to be Messi and Ronaldo, two of the greatest modern names in soccer. Messi, 35 years old, and Ronaldo, 37 years old, are assumed to be retiring before the 2026 World Cup. Despite glorified careers, neither have managed to get their team to a World Cup championship.

Even if both teams, Argentina and Portugal, see success this year, only one can take home the trophy.

Premier League Matchday 8: Teams return from International Break and Derby Weekend

The Premier League is finally back in full swing after the death of Queen Elizabeth and the International Break. The table hasn’t experienced much shock this past week, but the break has left some clubs without key players.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partney gave his team a scare after experiencing some knee difficulties before his match with Ghana against Brazil. Luckily he was able to recover for the major London Derby on October 1, setting the game off with his first goal in the 20th minute.

 One of the most blatant injuries was to Cristiano Ronaldo. He took a massive hit to the face when playing for Portugal, though he continued to play through the blow.

No In-league Premier League action took place over the weekend of September 24 through September 26.

To start league play last weekend was the London Derby, the biannual match between London Rivals Tottenham and Arsenal. Arsenal being table leaders, this was an especially big match.

As stated before, Partney started off the game with a goal in the 20th minute, getting Arsenal up to a 1-0 lead in the first half. Kane stepped up for Tottenham, scoring the tying goal in the 31st minute. The half ended with a tied game and high tensions.

Arsenal woke up in the second half and managed to close out the game 3-1 with goals by Jesus and Xhaka. It didn’t help that Royal of Tottenham received a red card, though there was much debate on whether official Anthony Taylor was right on the call.

Either way, in the first game of the weekend Arsenal secured their top spot for the upcoming week.

Surprisingly Liverpool found itself with yet another tie, a 3-3 draw against Brighton. This leaves the Mighty Reds in ninth place this week.

Sunday brought on yet another derby: the Manchester Derby. Defending champions Manchester City hosted the once-dominant Red Devils, Manchester United, on the morning of October 2.

The match ended up 6-3, becoming the highest-scoring Manchester Derby in Premier League history. Hat tricks were taken by Haaland and Foden of Manchester City, bringing City’s goal differential up to 20 and putting Haaland on track to score around 67 to 71 goals at the end of this season.

Global star Ronaldo did not see the field for Manchester United, and Anthony Martial made his return to the field, scoring 2 of the 3 Manchester United goals.

Ending the weekend on a good note, Leicester City gets its first win against button-of-the-table Nottingham Forest, moving Leicester up to 19th.

We are one month away from the global break for the World Cup. Who knows how the table will look once it arrives?

Premier League Matchweek 7 and 8: queen’s death leads to postponed matches 

Global headlines have impacted the layout of these past two weeks. The Premier League is an English-based soccer league, so the death of Queen Elizabeth II has taken a toll on the schedule.

The passing of England’s monarch of 70 years has, of course, impacted how Matchweek seven and eight have proceeded.

On the Friday following the queen’s death, the English Football League and the Women’s Super League decided to postpone all matches from September 10 through September 12. This was not a shock because the passing of the Queen is a big deal.

The following week, the postponement continued.

Policing issues resulting from the Queen’s funeral lead to the Chelsea v Liverpool and Manchester United v Leeds matches to be further delayed. This leaves these four teams with not one, but two matches they will need to make up. 

With an international break this weekend, the World Cup approaching and the fact that three out of these four teams are involved in either the Champion’s League (Chelsea and Liverpool) or the Europa League (Manchester United), let’s hope that they can find the time to squeeze these two games in.

Until they are played, the standings of the league will not be completely accurate.

Despite many games not being played, there were still some matches last weekend.

The table has not seen much rearranging, despite some high-placed teams being a game behind. Arsenal is still going strong, with Manchester City right on their heels.

The matches went pretty much as expected, with no drastic upsets. Haaland has added yet another goal to his Premier League repertoire, and Grealish made his first start off of a knee injury, scoring in the same game.

Good luck to all defenses when they play Manchester City. With De Bruyne feeding Haaland, Gealish and Foden, how can Manchester City not score?

The biggest surprise this weekend was Leicester City’s 6-2 loss to Tottenham, leaving them, yet again, dead last. Such a great team with such a bad start to the season. I just wonder how they can sort it out.

Seeing Leicester City relegated to the Championship would be shocking, and I don’t think it’s something that Premier League fans want to see.

Lastly, voting for September’s player of the month is open. The nominees are:

  • Philip Billing – A 26-year-old Danish midfielder of AFC Bournemouth
  • Kevin De Bruyne – A 31-year-old Belgian midfielder of Manchester City
  • Pierre-Emile Højbjerg – A 27-year-old Danish midfielder of Tottenham Hotspurs
  • Alex Iwobi – A 26-year-old Nigerian midfielder of Everton
  • Jacob Ramsey – A 21-year-old English midfielder of Aston Villa
  • Marcus Rashford – A 24-year-old English midfielder of Manchester United

Any reason why they are all midfielders? Who knows.

Premier League Matchweek 5 and 6: Transfer Window Closes and Tuchel Fired – September 16, 2022

We are 6 weeks in and the season is finally shaping up. New transfers have arrived from outside of the league and interleague loans have been established.

Many transfers are catching the eyes of fans. I think the most popular of our new Premier League players is Norway’s Erling Haaland. Manchester City decided to switch up their game plan this year by signing this young player. Haaland is known for being very direct in attacking and in his 12 year career has booked 147 goals. No wonder he has managed to score 12 goals in just 6 matches for Manchester City so far.

Last minute eye catcher Antony has transferred from Ajax to Manchester United, following his last season coach, Erik Ten Hag and teammate, Lisandro Martinez. Is all of Ajax heading to Manchester? Who knows. The £86 million signing seems to have paid off, though. In Saturday’s match against Arsenal, Antony was able to get his debut goal, assisted by Marcus Rashford.

On the subject of Manchester United, they have risen from 20th to 5th in a span of 4 weeks. Coming off of their worst season in club history, many were expecting complete disaster. Maybe the club will prove us wrong.

The headline news from these past two weeks has to be the firing of Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, who was hired in January 2021. In his first season Tuchel was able to get the club a Champions League title, and in just over a year he found himself sacked.

Chelsea have experienced a whirlwind of a year so far, with their owner Roman Abramovich being forced to sell the club in the latter half of the 2021-2022 season due to his connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some suspect that a reason for Tuchel’s firing comes from a disagreement over transfer strategies between Tuchel and the new owners, Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital. Others believe it is due to the poor start to the season, losing 3 of the 6 games and the Champions League opener.

Brighton’s Graham Potter will be taking over for Tuchel, leaving 4th place Brighton on the hunt for a new manager.

Stakes are high in the league, and hopefully within the next two weeks we’ll see whether Potter can lead Chelsea to a winning season and whether Brighton can hold its ground in the top 4.