Sunday, August 23, 2015

Sunday Premier League: Chelsea wins ugly,

West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Chelsea
The first chance of the game came in the 13th minute when West Bromwich Albion was awarded a penalty for a foolish challenge in the box by Nemanja Matic. James Morrison stepped up to the spot and drove it right down the center of the goal into Thibaut Courtois's leg. Matic was having a problem with physical play in general early in the match. He was yellow carded in the 17th minute for an aggressive challenge on Callum McManaman.

Despite WBA getting forward and creating some semi-chance, Pedro struck for Chelsea's first goal in the 20th minute. In his Premier League debut, he took a shot in heavy traffic that took a slight deflection on its way into the net. Just before the half hour mark, Diego Costa scored his first of the season on a counter attack from a West Brom corner.

The early goals did not have West Brom completely defeated. The Baggies were back into the game as the clock ticked to 35 minutes. James Morrison made up for his penalty miss by banging home a cross from Salomon Rondon to make it 2-1 to the visitors. But the sense of hope would not last for long. Cesar Azpilicueta became the third Spaniard to score for Chelsea on the day when his shot trickled into the WBA goal to make it 3-1 heading into halftime.

The continuing saga of John Terry's season took another twist in the 54th minute. He was sent off for bringing down Rondon as he was in on goal. After he was subbed off at halftime last week for reasons unknown, this should make for an interesting off field story at Chelsea this coming week. Ten man Chelsea would conceded Morrison's second of the year five minutes after the sending off. General possession numbers slowly started to shits in West Brom's favor, but they failed to find a breakthrough.

Between the missed penalty and having to play the last 35 minutes of the match without one of their top defenders, Chelsea are lucky to have escaped this one with all three points. Had they been playing a team that won't be fighting relegation all year, they probably would have dropped points. Based on their first three games, Chelsea are more of a side show that a true title contender. They have only four points from three matches and their manager and captain have been creating more off field storylines than on field highlights.

Everton 0-1 Manchester City
Manchester City had been the better team for the majority of the first half. They got off nine first half shots, but only a couple could have been considered half chances. Everton wasn't any better. They had fewer shots, but probably just as many real goal scoring opportunities. Everton probably should have taken the lead in 25th minute when Romelu Lukaku put the ball in the net, but he was judged to have been offside, perhaps incorrectly.

Manchester City came out firing some more in the second half. The opening moments were all about their attack. The first salvo culminated in David Silva drilling a post in the second minute of the second stanza. Alexander Kolarov broke the scoreless tie just before the hour mark. He connected on a pass from Raheem Sterling right along the end line. By dark magic, or something, he was able to thread the ball between Tim Howard and the near post at the right angle to find the back of the net.

The put away goal came from Samir Nasri with only two minutes remaining. He worked a give and go with Yaya Toure and played a perfect chip over a helpless Tim Howard. City remains perfect on the young season, and they have done it in quite convincing fashion. The opener against West Brom was a cake walk, They owned Chelsea last weekend. Now, they rook down a tricky Everton side on the road by a pair of goals. Chelsea may have been the favorites before things got started, but now, Manchester City has to be leading any and all title conversations.

Watford 0-0 Southampton
In a fairly lifeless first half, the only moment of note was a rough one for Southampton. That was losing Sadio Mane to injury and having to use a sub in the 25th minute. The loss may have cost them a chance or two in this match, but it should also hurt going forward. As for the rest of the match, a draw was probably the most likely result. Both sides were pressing and taking shots, but neither one had the finishing punch to get a goal.

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