A POTPOURRI OF EPL DERBIES

A POTPOURRI OF EPL DERBIES
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The argument has been raging for some time now as to which is the best League in the world. Series A, La Liga, Bundesliga and the English Premier League (EPL) have variously been so labeled.

However, when it comes to the most popular league in the world, there’s absolutely no doubt. The EPL holds that accolade by a mile. The popularity of the EPL stems mostly from the passion displayed by the players as well as the supporters and the passion is displayed especially during derbies.

The past week had pundits salivating as they had three derbies to pick from and enjoy. There was the London derby between champions Chelsea and West Ham. There was also the 229th Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton. And yes, there was the Manchester derby between City and United!

Before the matches, all the talk was about Manchester City.  Every pundit is enamoured and enthused with the performance of City thus far.  Some have gone as far as to label them as the new INVISIBLES.

Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola

But watching Liverpool play over the past fortnight, I couldn’t help but admire the set up and determination of Liverpool. It looked like they have finally got their act together as epitomised by the free flowing attacking football.

Can they keep it up and mount a real title challenge? I very much have my doubt because of their defensive frailties. However, some of the team’s play this season, has been scintillating. This is attacking machinery that scores lots of goals.

Having said all that, Liverpool couldn’t even get the better of lowly Everton. I believe the 1-1 score line speaks volumes.

Chelsea showed over the week-end that all is not well with the team. Whether the supporters like it or not, Conte knows what he’s talking about when he said the team’s title challenge was over!

We have a scenario where after 16 matches, the defending champions have already lost 4 times. A team that loses to Burnley, Crystal Palace and West Ham in the first round cannot be considered serious title contenders!

One can talk about the Board failing to bring needed quality players on board. One can talk about releasing young players like Reuben Loftus Cheek and Solanke who are the future of the team to their rivals all day.

But I tell you what the team has Hazard, Morata, Pedro, Fabregas, Willian and Kante! Nobody can excuse them if they record 71.1 possession against West Ham and failed to record a single shot on target in the second half. Chelsea’s play lacked penetration, thrust and was simply INSIPID!

That West Ham won the match by a lone goal was mainly due to their defensive set-up display. They just snuffed out all the Chelsea attacks with ease. We also learnt that David Moyes wasn’t finished yet as a manager.

Back to the Manchester derby. City had shown from day one that they are the side to beat this year and have so far swept aside all that had come before them.

The question then was whether United could stop the one way train that City was turning the league into. When the cards were down, United didn’t have what it took to stop the City juggernaut!

In the end, City were just too slick for United who played as if they were the away team. With the victory, City set a new EPL record of 14 consecutive victories and opened what looks like an unassailable 11 points lead over their closest rivals, United.

So what a week-end it turned out to be as Champions Chelsea lost more ground in the title race via the 0-1 loss to West Ham and an ecstatic Wayne Rooney scored his first Merseyside derby goal to salvage a draw for Everton in the 1-1 stalemate against Liverpool!

Nothing beats the local or city rivalries some of which are over century old in England. The rivalries feed into the passion for the game and drives the ratings of EPL very high by way of popularity.


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