It is hard to believe that the Premier League season is already a month old, but there is certainly a lot to discuss. We will begin at the Etihad Stadium, where West Ham United shocked title contenders Manchester City this past Saturday in front of a capacity crowd.
A mere six minutes into the match, West Ham midfielder Victor Moses (on loan from Chelsea) found a bit of space at the top of the box and rifled a low, swerving shot into the bottom corner of the Manchester City goal. And just like that, the Hammers found themselves in front.
Goalkeeper Joe Hart threw himself at the shot, but a screen of defenders obstructed his view at the vital moment. The damage would only get worse for Manchester City, as left back Aleksandr Kolarov gave away a corner kick midway through the first half.
On the ensuing set piece, West Ham striker Diafra Sakho managed to win the ball amidst a scramble in the box. Sahko maneuvered around one defender and gracefully placed the ball in the far corner of the goal. West Ham, somehow, was 2-0 up in 31 minutes.
Undeterred, Manchester City was poised to respond before the halftime whistle sounded at the Etihad to give their fans some sense of hope. Newly signed midfielder Kevin De Bruyne provided that much needed spark just in time.
The Belgian prodigy fielded a beautifully weighted pass from Sergio Aguero, turned towards goal, and fired a rocket passed West Ham goalkeeper Adrian. It was his first goal for his new club after coming over from Wolfsburg (Germany) during the summer transfer window.
Unfortunately, De Bruyne’s peach of a goal was not enough to seal three points for Manchester City, which would have sent them six points clear of Leicester City at the top of the table. West Ham held on for the victory in the second half, which saw them move into second place in the Premier League.
One of the many surprises of this Premier League campaign involved the reigning champions from a year ago. Chelsea got off to a rocky start and many pundits were ready to denounce manager Jose Mourinho’s tactics.
A win this past Saturday at the Emirates Stadium was a must for the men in blue, who sat behind a slumping Liverpool side and newcomers Bournemouth at the bottom of the table. Chelsea would ultimately find their form, but the goals would come from two unlikely sources.
Arsenal struggled throughout the match to get anything going offensively, which came back to haunt them in the 53rd minute. After having one player sent off by referee Mike Dean, Arsenal finally paid for their defensive lapses. Center back Kurt Zouma skied above the rest on a corner kick to notch his first goal of the new campaign. Chelsea had the lead that they desperately needed.
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla was also sent off after a rash challenge on Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas in the 79th minute, for which he received a second yellow card. Almost immediately, Chelsea capitalized on the two-man advantage as midfielder Eden Hazard scored off of a deflected shot inside the penalty area.
With the victory, Chelsea rose from 17th to 13th in the standings, but it appears that any hope of a title challenge may have been lost. Chelsea currently sits eight points behind Manchester City with a negative goal differential. Hopefully, Mourinho’s men can turn things around in the coming weeks.
The most surprising story of the young season concerns Leicester City, who currently sit in third place in the Premier League. The Foxes are powered by their coveted striker, Riyad Mahrez, who has been with the club since 2014. He currently leads the league in goals scored with five, while his team leads in goals scored overall.
After finishing in 14th place last season, Leicester kicked off this season’s campaign with impressive victories over Sunderland and West Ham United. They kept the momentum going by earning a point each in back to back games against Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur to begin the month of September. An entertaining come from behind win over Aston Villa two weeks ago sent the Foxes into the spotlight.
Leicester is definitely one of the many teams to keep an eye on as the season progresses into its second month. It would be something if this team could contest for the Europa League or dare I say, the Champions League, come next spring. Only time will tell.