Roundup: Chelsea in freefall, City and Arsenal march on
By Alan Clark
Chelsea continued their quite remarkable fall from grace as the pressure intensified on manager Jose Mourinho with another defeat. This 3-1 home loss to Liverpool was their ninth in all competitions so far this season – a statistic that boggles the mind given how organised, lethal and ultimately successful the Blues were last season in winning the Premier League.
Something is clearly not right at Stamford Bridge. The ‘Special One’ is no longer that special. They can still make something of this season if they can curb the defeats and mount a comeback for a European place, as well as do some good in the Champions League, but the title is long gone and when push comes to shove Mourinho may die by that fact, with some sources saying he may be gone as soon the final whistle is blown on this weekend’s matchup with Stoke.
Ramires actually fired the home side in front after four minutes but Pool came storming back to dominate the game and coast to victory. First-half stoppage time saw Phillipe Coutinho’s first goal of the game and his second put them in front on 74 minutes. Christian Benteke grabbed the third to seal the victory, the first in the Premier League for new Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp.
An 89th-minute penalty winner from Yaya Toure rescued Manchester City as they defeated Norwich City 2-1. It took City until Nicolas Otamendi’s header after the hour mark to get in the scoring mood in a tight match-up, but the visitors pounced on a horrific Joe Hart goalkeeping error and Cameron Jerome tucked it away for 1-1.
In a frantic end to the game at the Etihad, Russell Martin was sent off for handball in the box as City were awarded a penalty. Toure converted to seal the points, though there was still time left on the clock for Aleksandar Kolarov to miss a second home penalty kick.
Arsenal kept up their impressive run with a 3-0 win away to Swansea City, scoring all their goals in a ruthless second half performance. The Gunners are showing signs that could run City all the way this year in the title race as they made it an eighth win in 11 league games. Olivier Giroud headed them in front soon after the interval before goals from defender Laurient Koscielny and Joel Campbell ensured they remained level on points with City.
Spain – Barca and Real pull away in La Liga race
Giants Barcelona and Real Madrid began to make the table look a little more familiar as wins saw them put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack. Luis Suarez and Neymar were Barca’s heroes yet again this campaign, netting in either half to secure a 2-0 away win at Getafe. Suarez notched his 300th career goal in the win, while Neymar’s second half volley kept Barca level on points with their rivals.
Real had earlier in the day recorded a run-of-the-mill home victory against Las Palmas, easing to a 3-1 win. Isco comfortably finished to edge them in front after only four minutes of action before Cristiano Ronaldo headed in to double their advantage. Santana Trujillo pulled one back for the visitors but Jese made it 3-1 before half time in the final goal of the game.
Germany – Bayern show they aren’t quite unstoppable
Bayern Munich were held to a frustrating goalless draw at Eintracht Frankfurt to drop their first points of the Bundesliga season Friday. Pep Guardiola’s side dominated but despite going close through Arturo Vidal and Robert Lewandowski, a goal was not forthcoming.
That gave second-place Borussia Dortmund a chance to chip away at Bayern’s large points advantage and they did so with an accomplished away day at Werder Bremen. Marco Reus’ powerful opener on nine minutes was cancelled out by the home side through Anthony Ujah, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed in for 2-1 before Reus sealed a double late on in a 3-1 win. It reduced the gap at the top to five points 11 games into the campaign.
Italy – Inter back on top as Juve climb with derby win
Inter Milan regained top spot in Serie A with a narrow 1-0 win over previous leaders Roma at the San Siro. Gary Medel’s stunning strike in the first half was the only thing between the sides in the top-of-the-table clash as Roberto Mancini’s side went a point ahead of Roma in first position.
Juve continued their domestic resurgence by rising to tenth place after a derby day defeat of Torino. The Bianconeri are still an incredible nine points off top spot but the champions feel confidence growing. Paul Pogba opened the scoring before a Torino equaliser from Cesare Bovo, however Juan Cuadrado stepped up in the 90th minute to scramble over the line and seal a 2-1 win.
Check out SoccerAmerica’s Soccer on TV listing for a complete guide to this week’s matches.
Image: Chelsea FC