Keep calm and carry on: it’s the united path
This Manchester United side are still doing a lot wrong – but one thing they have up to the tee is being able to take a punch. You have a strong chin.
Ademola Lookman became the youngest opponent to score the first goal in a United game. That means the league leaders have won seven Premier League games after this season. That equates to 21 points taken from losing positions – 11 more than the next best record set by Liverpool.
The first goal conceded apparently is when United is most comfortable. This pressure to watch a game shows her groundbreaking talent. In Fulham it was Edinson Cavani and Paul Pogba who took the opportunity and performed outstanding work, which was underpinned by high quality workmanship.
Obviously, as we near halftime this Bonkers season, United will have to show more components than just staying calm in games in order to maintain a title bid. But one thing in their favor is their upper limit – they haven’t reached it yet. It’s definitely more of a team that hasn’t really shown the “wow” performance that smells like a potential title winner. I’m sure someone will be around the corner soon.
“Keep calm and carry on” will be the message for now.
City Show gains touch that champions need
Manchester City have been flying for some time and a sixth straight Premier League win put them at the top of the table on Wednesday night, but only while they waited for Manchester United to catch up.
The way they beat a good Aston Villa side was more impressive than just three other points that superficially put them in the position of champion.
In both boxes, City did what they had to do, something they haven’t done enough in the past year and a half. Their slow start to the season was largely due to their inability to finish the games. They only scored a single goal against West Ham, West Brom and Leeds and none when they were beaten 2-0 at Tottenham in November.
It looked like it might be a similarly frustrating night against Villa to stop their upswing, but they had the key touch that you need three points when you’re not at your best.
How many times have they seen them dug it up late in their consecutive title winning seasons? Do you remember Sterling versus Southampton, even Kompany versus Leicester? Perhaps Silva will have a page of their own in their history books against Aston Villa if they are at the top of the pile by the end of the season.
There is still a long way to go but with Ruben Dias and John Stones looking for a solid partnership that no one could have predicted and the goals that are starting to flow again in attack – even without Sergio Aguero – City are as good as ever a long time.
Anything but the goal for Fulham
Scott Parker is a manager with his heart up his sleeve. The frustration he felt when Ruben Loftus-Cheek missed two fantastic chances to level against Manchester United could not be hidden. He knows chances like the one Fulham create must fall and the Cottagers must turn praise into points.
Defensively everything is pretty rosy with good form for Fulham’s game while in midfield with Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in their hearts they throw the ball around with great confidence. However, it’s in the box that they crumble in. They have only scored four goals since their 2-1 win over Leicester in November, the lowest return of any Premier League team at that time.
This time, Loftus-Cheek was the culprit, adding to the mistake in his game in front of goal. A player in his position with such talent should score more than 10 goals in 90 games in the Premier League.
Stratford finally a happy Hammers home
One thing that has understandably been lost in the miracle of West Ham’s form this season is how they have finally turned the London stadium into a fortress for good.
It would be unfair to say that the Hammers only had to play in front of an empty stadium to improve their home form, as their form was also built from nine away games to 14 points.
But two straight wins at Stratford, such a long weight around the club’s neck, mean only Liverpool and Manchester City have more points at home.
So much of it boils down to removing her soft lower abdomen. Things looked good when Jarrod Bowen faced a new, confident West Brom in added time in an opening match on Tuesday night. The moment Matheus Pereira equalized five minutes after the break, you wondered if this would be a known surrender.
Not this time. After weathering the storm for a few minutes, Declan Rice came closer twice before Mikhail Antonio turned on a sixpence to fire a wonderful winner.
30 year old Antonio deserves his own mention. Bigger, perhaps better attacking players have come to the London stadium to take West Ham to the next level. He saw them all gone. In his prime, he is able to lead the line of a team towards Europe. And the signs are increasingly suggesting that the team behind him is good enough to get there too.