The seventh match week of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League took place on the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October 2014, with a number of high profile clashes which look likely to prove important at both ends of the table come the season’s end.
The fixture of the weekend was undoubtedly table-topping Chelsea’s home fixture against perennial Champions League contenders, Arsenal, at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. In last season’s fixture, the sides met in March, and Chelsea destroyed Arsense Wenger’s men 6-0, so it was no surprise that the Gunners setup a little cagily for this renewal.
The match was swung by three moments of brilliance, and will be remembered for some pitch-side shenanigans from the Arsenal manager. First, the sublime: Eden Hazard was in scintillating form to dance around three men and into the box at pace, after around 25 minutes. Such was his pace and trickery, it was not difficult for Laurent Koscielny, the Arsenal defender, to foul the Belgian in the box. And so he did. The spritely number 10 picked himself up and struck the resulting penalty into the net, to make it 1-0, a scoreline that would remain until half time.
Arsenal were patient on the pitch, but their manager was stalking his technical area. When a strong tackle came in on one of his men, he ran into the Chelsea area, where he met with Jose Mourinho, and the two were then involved in an undignified scuffle, which is sure to grab plenty of media attention. Wenger was the instigator, but certainly Mourinho, as is his way, did little to defuse the situation.
Later, on the pitch, in the second half, the two men in whom Mourinho has shown a large amount of faith – and no shortage of Roman Abramovich’s summer spending money – combined to devastating effect. As the match meandered towards a 1-0 home win – with no Arsenal efforts yet on target, despite a change of goalkeeper following a nasty bang to the head for this season’s usual stopper, Courtois – Cesc Fabregas picked up the ball, looked up, and saw Diego Costa charging forward on the shoulder of his defender. He was well inside the Chelsea half, but with pinpoint precision, the former Arsenal man curled a ball right into Costa’s path. His Spanish compatriot showed no shortage of skill, in chesting the ball down; rapid acceleration, to get away from his man; and calmness in front of goal, to loft the ball over the onrushing Szczesny to bag his fast-becoming-customary goal in front of rapturous home support. The clock read 78 minutes, though, in truth, the match was over.
Before the match, Wenger had conceded that few players had adjusted this well to the Premier League as Costa. He is right. Chelsea went on to win 2-0, comfortably, with plenty in hand. At present, their addition of razor sharp precision in front of goal to an already stingy defence looks to be on course to unlocking the Premier League for the Blues this season.
But Chelsea are not to have things all their own way this term. On Saturday, Liverpool got back to winning ways, with a 2-1 home win over a West Brom in danger of developing into something of a Premier League bogey team heading into this match. A goal in either half from Lallana (45′) and Henderson (61′) were enough to take all three points, despite the Baggies responding through a 56th minute Berahino penalty.
Man City left it late away at Aston Villa before scoring twice to win 2-0 on the road. Yaya Toure (82′) and Aguero (88′) were, as often, the difference for City. They did not let Chelsea gain any further ground on them – City remain five points adrift of Jose Mourinho’s men, in second place.
Southampton and Swansea, who both occupied the next two Champions League places, lost a little ground on those around them as Saints went down to a 1-0 away defeat at Tottenham on Sunday, while Swansea were unable to shake off troubled Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon, collecting a point from a 2-2 draw which might have marginally eased the atmosphere around Alan Pardew at Newcastle.
These slips allowed Man United to silently cruise into the top four, with a much needed home win coming at Old Trafford on Saturday. The Red Devils won 2-1 at home thanks in no small part to an impressive David De Gea in their goal. De Gea saved a penalty late in the first half, which United led 1-0, thanks to a 27th minute De Maria strike, before adding two world class saves late in the second half which United led 2-1 following goals from Everton’s Naismith (55′) and newcomer Falcao (61′). It is difficult to downplay the importance of De Gea in this result – and it is clear that United’s leaky defence needs more bolstering in January if their current fourth place is to be built upon without more frequent recourse to De Gea’s heroics in the coming months.
Hull City climbed to eighth courtesy of a decent 2-0 home win over Crystal Palace. Steve Bruce’s men looked solid in defence, and grabbed a confident clean sheet in ending Neil Warnock’s four match unbeaten run. Hull have the makings of a top half side, and that is where they ended the weekend.
At the other end of the table, QPR end the weekend bottom after losing 2-0 away at West Ham on Sunday, while Burnley and Newcastle are only just ahead of them on goal difference as they picked up a point this weekend – Burnley with a twice-come-from-behind 2-2 draw away at fellow Premier League newcomers, Leicester City.
Sunderland moved up to 11th place, alongside a slew of teams on eight points following a good 3-1 home win over Stoke City.
The clubs will have an international break next weekend, before Barclays Premier League returns on Saturday 18th October 2014.
Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Results, Saturday 4 October 2014
|Ason Villa||0-2||Man City|
Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Results, Sunday 5 October 2014
Barclays Premier League Table After Match Week 7