Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Premier League: United cruises over Bournemouth, Arsenal hammered by Liverpool

AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United
The Jose Mourinho era kicks off at Manchester United and, if the first quarter hour said anything, they would be a very Jose Mourinho side. They were kind of boring. They let Bournemouth, of all clubs, play with possession. There wasn't much going forward, but it was strange too see a traditionally attack minded Red Devils side pay so passively. It's saying something that their first goal came thanks to a colossal mistake by Bournemouth defender Shawn Francis in the 40th minute. First a poor back pass forced a tricky save from Artur Boruc. The rebound kicked right back to Francis, who botched the touch and allowed Juan Mata to knock it into an empty net.

One would expect Jose Mourinho to hunker down and defend more with a one goal lead against a hapless opponent in the second half. Instead, United was able to tip for their way into a second goal with precision passing and a well placed Wayne Rooney header in the 59th minute. The seemingly harmless attacks continued. Zlatan Ibrahimovic nearly fired one home on a free kick in the 62nd minute. He did snipe one low at the far post for his first Manchester United goal in the 64th.

The second half United was more what we redirect to see out of them. It was as if at halftime Mourinho told his side that this was Bournemouth. Go out there and score some goals.

The Cherries would strike back quickly. They got on the board with a strong move and fantastic shot at the near post from Adam Smith in the 69th. They're desperate pressure wasn't enough though as they couldn't find another breakthrough, let alone two.

Arsenal 3-4 Liverpool
Arsene Wenger's possible final season gets started against Liverpool. The opening was rather passive until the 29th minute when Theo Walcott earned a penalty in the top corner of the box. His attempt was well saved by Simon Mignolet, but he made up for it two minutes later. Walcott got himself free along the right wing and calmly slotted home inside the far post for a 31st minute Arsenal lead. It looked like they'd carry the lead into the break, Liverpool wasn't exactly looking strong on the attack. That all changed when Philippe Coutinho launched a perfectly taken free kick that left Petr Cech helpless right before the whistle.

Liverpool came out flying in the second half. It didn't help that Arsenal's defense was asleep at the wheel for the first fifteen minutes after the restart. A right angled shot from Adam Lallana in the 49th minute gave the away side an advantage. Coutinho doubled it with his second a few minutes later. Both goals were write preventable from an Arsenal point of view. They're staying center backs would have likely kept the match tied.

Instead, things went from bad to wise. Sadio Mane ran around the entire backline on his own before chipping a shot into the top corner in the 63rd.

A minute later Arsenal proved they weren't, in fact, dead when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain plowed into the penalty area to cut into the Liverpool lead. A perfectly taken free kick from Santi Cazorla clubs the head of Calum Chambers for the third goal in the 75th to turn it back into a game. Their comeback fell short in the end though. Liverpool's second half onslaught was just too much to overcome.

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