September 1, 2015

Red cards come flying out

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It was a weekend in which the red cards were flying in the Premier League.

Some were just, others were not, but it sure did make things interesting.

In two cases, we saw players pick up some early dumb yellow cards and then regret it not too long after by committing a foul that deserved the card.

Whether Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho will learn his lesson and not talk smack to the ref or if Norwich’s Steven Whittaker will think twice about putting an opponent into a brief headlock remains to be seen.

At least in the Liverpool-West Ham game, referee Andre Mariner gave the Reds a makeup call when he sent of Jamie Noble for a sliding challenge that locked about as innocent as they come.

Stoke City showed its roots in nail-hard football by getting two players sent off in the first half. First it was Ibrahim Afellay for slapping at a West Brom player, then it was veteran Charlie Adam with a little extra stamp on a downed Baggie to get sent off.

The most remarkable thing about that game was that West Brom could only pot one goal despite facing nine men for most of the game. Tony Pulis really needs Saido Berahino back in the lineup and focused.

Finally, there was Newcastle’s Aleksander Mitrovic, who got the red-card ball rolling in the first game of the weekend against Arsenal.

While it looked inadvertent, it was definitely worth the sending off, having caught Francis Coquelin full on with his studs.

You would’ve thought a team as skilled as the Gunners would have been able to take advantage of the extra man, but only managed a single own goal.

Hopefully this pesky international break will allow cooler heads to prevail and we see most teams finish their games with 11 men in two weeks’ time.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Andre Ayew has been on fire for the Swans so far in this early season and that didn’t change when facing a Manchester United side that had yet to allow a goal.

Ayew scored the first goal of the season against United and then set up the winner by Baftembi Gomis.

Bringing in the Ghanian on a free transfer this summer was probably the best business that will have been done in the window.

As long as the Swans keep on finding players like Ayew and Gomis, they’ll have a spot in the top half of the table.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

If you weren’t impressed with Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson after his hat trick last week, you will be after seeing that beauty of a bicycle kick this week … After going three games without allowing a goal, Liverpool conceded three against West Ham – a team that’s not the best in attack. Dejan Lovren was especially terrible in defence, with one of the worst giveaways of this young season … The Hammers’ win was their first at Anfield in 52 years … While many are questioning just how much Manchester United has progressed under Louis Van Gaal, the first stat you should know is this: After 50 games in charge, LVG has the same amount of wins (27) as David Moyes had … Petr Cech equalled the Premier League record with his 170th clean sheet. That record should be broken shortly … Raheem Sterling picked up his first goal with Man City. He has had chances, but hasn’t been able to finish. If opening his accounts gives him that confidence, watch out … We’re always a fan of hearing about funny injures and this week there was a doozy. Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood “popped” his hamstring while kicking a water bottle out of frustration.

FROM BAD TO WORSE FOR JOSE

What should’ve been a day for celebration turned into a nightmare for Jose Mourinho.

After last week’s signing of Pedro and return to the win column, the Blues produced a rare failure at Stamford Bridge.

It was Mourinho’s 100th home game in charge since returning to London and the occasion was marked with just the second loss in that span.

In fact, it was the “Curse of the P” that struck again. Mourinho’s past six losses in the league had been against managers whose last name start with the letter P – and Alan Pardew had no qualms about extending that streak.

Even getting a goal from the struggling Radamel Falcao couldn’t save Chelsea, as Crystal Palace was able to strike back in quick fashion to regain the lead.

It’s really time for Mourinho to show why he’s supposedly the best manager in the world. The transfer window is coming to a close and his team isn’t performing. If he doesn’t address the problems quickly, this season will very quickly get away from the Blues.

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