Lukaku is in great form
Romelu Lukaku has scored five Premier League goals in his last three appearances for Everton after scoring just five goals in his previous 20 matches. He’s playing with renewed confidence and determination and it’s clear to see that Ronald Koeman is having a positive impact on his play. The Belgian striker single-handedly won Everton the game against Sunderland in September when he scored an 11-minute hat-trick. Ronald Koeman’s side have made a great start to the season (W4, D2, L1) and as long as Lukaku’s form continues, Everton will be able to improve on last season’s 11th placed finish.
Lee Grant kept Stoke in the game
It is no secret that Stoke have struggled without Jack Butland in goal but 33-year-old Lee Grant’s superb performance against Manchester United helped them in the game and earned them their third point of the season. He made a double save to deny Ibrahimović when the game was just two minutes old, then he tipped Mata’s chip over the bar for a corner, before denying Lingard from point-blank range. In only his second Premier League appearance, Grant made some fantastic saves and ensured that Stoke left Old Trafford with a point.
There’s still room for improvement at Manchester United
After they won their first three games of the season, it would have been easy to think that Manchester United were back to their best. However, there is still work to do. Jose Mourinho’s side lost the Manchester Derby and then lost against Watford before thrashing champions Leicester City 4-1. In today’s game against Stoke, Man United had 16 shots in the first half but failed to score. Pogba had chances, Ibrahimovic had chances but neither of them could convert them. When Martial came on and scored just minutes later, it seemed Man United would get the win that their performance deserved. This would have been the case had it not been for a rare mistake from David De Gea which allowed Joe Allen to poke the ball home. The match ended 1-1 but if Manchester United had been more clinical, they could have been out of sight by the end of the first half.
Pochettino was victorious against Guardiola again
Mauricio Pochettino’s Espanyol faced Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona in La Liga in 2009. Prior to this meeting, Barcelona were unbeaten in six months. Espanyol arrived at the Nou Camp in February 2009 and took Barcelona completely by surprise, beating them 2-1 to earn their first victory over Barca for 27 years. Today, in the Premier League, Pochettino sent his Spurs side out to press high up the pitch against Guardiola’s Man City and it yielded the same result. Two first half goals from Spurs, one with the help of City defender Kolarov, were enough for Spurs to get all three points, end Guardiola’s unbeaten run and climb to second in the table. Spurs did not give City time and space on the ball which forced them into mistakes. Pochettino’s tactics were spot on and will give other Premier League teams ideas on how to defeat Pep Guardiola’s Man City.
Better late than never for Arsenal
Burnley will feel hard done by after their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal today. The Clarets defended incredibly well and had chances to open the scoring. Arsenal looked completely different to the team that took Chelsea apart last weekend. They were misplacing passes, shots were going out for throw-ins and they were very poor in the final third. The longer the game remained 0-0, the less likely Arsenal looked to score. The Gunners had 18 attempts on goal but only three of those were on target. Then deep into stoppage time, Arsenal scored a controversial goal from a corner. Koscielny kicked the ball with his right foot but it bounced up onto his arm before going into the net. It was not a vintage Arsenal performance by any stretch of the imagination but they got the three points, took advantage of Man City’s earlier defeat and celebrated Arsene Wenger’s 20th anniversary with a win.