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Premier League: Jose Mourinho’s ‘evil genius’, other talking points from Gameweek 8

From the snoozefest at Anfield to Watford and Crystal Palace’s seismic upsets, we have it covered!

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Gameweek 8 of the Premier League saw plenty of action unfold across pitches in the United Kingdom, but what were the major talking points?

From Crystal Palace and Watford’s stunning upsets to the snoozefest at Anfield, The Statesman takes a look at the five major headlines that emerged from the weekend’s action in the English top-flight.

Jose Mourinho: Tactical mastermind or anti-football?

The self-styled ‘Special One’ is a divisive figure in the world of football.

How you look at him depends on which side of the fence you are on. Either you applaud his dreary but effective tactics, his epic post-match pressers and his all-round surly demeanour.

Or you’re one of many that slate his ‘park the bus’ style of football coupled with his at times unnecessarily confrontationist attitude with the press.

Either way, there can be no denying that the Portuguese travelled to Anfield to seek a draw and got it.

Premier League, Manchester United FC, Jose Mourinho
No Laughing Matter: Jose Mourinho’s (R) defensive tactics made it the most boring Liverpool-Manchester United match in recent years! (Photo: AFP)


His Manchester United team were the form team going into the clash with Liverpool but Mourinho wasn’t letting success get to his head and set up his team to stymie the hosts and thanks to their defensive discipline and the brilliance of David de Gea, the Red Devils achieved their goal.

And the United fans that were dreaming a return to the cavalier past of the Alex Ferguson era best get used to repeats of Anfield-like performances, for each time the pragmatic Mourinho feels his side would be better off with a point, he will shut up shop.

Stinging Hornets’ marvellous rise

Yes, the penalty was contentious, but nobody can deny Watford deserved to win.

They showed much more bite and desire in the second-half, while Arsenal on the other hand, simply crumbled.

Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez were missing, but does the latter even want to play for the Gunners anymore?

Christian Kabasele, Watford FC, Premier League
Christian Kabasele and co were delighted at the full-time whistle (Photo: AFP)


And instead of focusing on Arsenal’s performance (which was dire, admittedly), lets just appreciate Marco Silva’ side for what has been nothing short of a sensational surge to 4th in the Premier League.

Barring a 6-0 humbling at the hands of Manchester City (who are in rampant form so the Hornets can be forgiven for that anomaly), Watford haven’t lost this season. Their away record in particular, is impressive as they have won thrice and drawn once the four times they have been on the road.

Couple that with a thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool, their momentous upset of Arsenal and its quite clear that Silva’s unit are fast emerging as the Premier League’s giant-killers this season.

At least one Portuguese tactician is getting praise from all quarters!

Crystal Palace can score, and win!

Crystal Palace took their own sweet time to open their account, but when they did, they scripted an seismic upset!

Chelsea, defending champions, were seeking to turn things around after a home loss to Manchester City but things went awry for the Blues early on.

Roy Hodsgon, Crystal Palace FC, Premier League
The much-derided Roy Hodsgon finally got Crystal Palace to win! (Photo: AFP)


The Eagles, admittedly a little luckless to not score in their first seven games, redeemed some karma to fortuitously open the scoring via an Cesar Azpilicueta own goal.

Chelsea responded via Tiemoue Bakayoko but then Wilfried Zaha sprinkled some magic to score what turned out to be the winner.

Without taking anything away from the talented winger’s goal, it must be said that everything aligned for him perfectly.

The Chelsea defenders surrounding him were just about the right distance apart, Zaha’s first touch was immaculate and his finish from a tight angle was exquisite.

Roy Hodgson’s men then defended resolutely to claim a priceless win, their first of the season, to leave Chelsea’s title chances in tatters.

Palace may still get relegated but the Selhurst Park encounter will go down as one of the highlights of the 2017-18 season without a doubt.

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling: City’s terrifying wingers

Manchester City duo Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have now scored 10 goals and seven assists in eight matches of the English top-flight.

Premier League, Manchester City FC, Leroy Sane
Despite starting just four times, Sane has scored four times this season already! (Photo: AFP)


The young wingers haven’t even started every game, yet their combined goals tally is more than 11 Premier League clubs.
Yes, you read that right. 11 sides have scored less than 10 times in 8 games while ‘Stane’ have managed that with a combined playing time of 882 minutes.

Having said that, their game is so much more than goals.

Their unmatched pace, work-rate and exuberance of youth makes them a nightmare for defenders and so far, nobody seems to have the answer.

David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Manchester City FC, Premier League
Having the likes of David Silva (L) around has helped Sterling to a great extent no doubt! (Photo: AFP)


Sterling in particular, has been blessed with impressive physical attributes since the beginning but under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage, is working on improving his final product and the results are there for everyone to see.

Ronald Koeman hanging on, but will he be gone next week?

Wayne Rooney saved the Toffees’ blushes with a 90th-minute penalty at Brighton to give Ronald Koeman a stay of execution, but the clock is ticking for the Everton manager.

The Merseysiders are languishing 16th place in the league table with a paltry tally of eight points from as many matches.

Their chief reason for their struggles has been their inability to score, despite having spent close to €100 million on offensive talents in the summer.

Ronald Koeman, Everton FC, Premier League
Is Ronald Koeman’s time at Everton up? (Photo: AFP)


Record-signing Gylfi Sigurdsson’s indifferent form is another cause for worry and with Arsenal paying them a visit on Sunday, one feels another loss would spell the end for Koeman’s reign.

The Gunners, aren’t in exactly in dire straits, but after their loss at the hands of Watford, will be desperate for the win. Another loss or draw would effectively end their already-slim hopes of a title tilt.

Sunday’s clash at Goodison Park will make for arresting viewing for Arsenal have been poor travellers this season and are yet to register their first win on the road.

On the other hand, Everton’s record against ‘top-six’ opposition is quite poor.

A draw at Manchester City had raised hopes momentarily but subsequent losses to Chelsea (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), Manchester United (away) piled the pressure on Koeman.

Something’s got to give and the odds seem to be stacked against the Dutch tactician but only time will tell.