Premiership Saturday 21st January 2017
Swansea removed the noose from around their necks to record a stunning victory over Liverpool at Anfield with a 3-2 win.
This was great football played with full on entertainment value although if you’re a Liverpool fan alarm bells will be ringing as Liverpool failed to gain ground on leaders Chelsea.
The early lunchtime kick off was fantastic ways to start the days Premiership play with the Swans marauding the Reds.
Liverpool fans will be scratching their heads though as 7 or 8 games ago they were looking the full Monty. Full of confidence, full of panache and full of inspiration and appeared to be genuine title contenders. All those attributes have fallen to the wayside in the last few weeks however and the train quite simply has come off the track. Possibly not helped by Klopp putting out a second team in the FA Cup against lowly minnows where they needed a second game to scrape through. Klopp is talking a good talk as to the why’s and how’s of Liverpool’s recent poor form and it could be just that, a barren spell of poor form that will see Liverpool firing on all cylinders in the coming months. The only problem with that is it doesn’t win you titles at the end of the season. Arsenal, Manchester City and Manchester United have all had the same problem this season with bad spells and all have suffered as a result. There’s a big but here, Chelsea had a few poor games right at the beginning and changed their system, formation and style of play within a few games. The result, they are 8 points clear at the top of the table and catching up with them, let alone beating them is going to be a hard hard task for the chasing bunch.
If we take Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson as an example United would win matches at the death, in injury time or Fergie time whatever takes your fancy. They would dig out victories from the clutches of defeat and it didn’t matter what the score was as long as they won. The last manager to do tat was Jose Mourinho two years ago when he won the Premiership for Chelsea. Entertaining drooling football until Christmas before grinding out one goal margin victories (usually by a goal to nil) from January to May, it may not be pretty to watch but that does win you titles. So maybe by observing Mourinho’s current run we can see he is bringing back that Ferguson mentality back to the team and next season could be where United really make a dash for the title.
So what happened at Liverpool? Well the first half there were chances both side but no one could capitilise on each teams defensive frailties. In the second half it was a completely different matter altogether culminating in a thrilling win for the Welsh wonders and providing Swansea with their first ever away league win at Anfield.
Llorente opened the scoring for the Swans on 48 minutes only to be pegged back by Firmino’s equalizer just three minutes later. Llorente restored Swnasea’s lead barely a minute late with his second and not to be outdone Firmino grabbed a second to draw Liverpool level on 69 minutes. Luckily before it could turn into the Llorente and Firmino show which just sounds like a ludicrous Chinese Italian comedy farce Sigurdsson scored the winner in the 74th minute for Swansea and record Paul Clement’s first triumph as the Swans manager.
This priceless if somewhat unexpected win took Swansea off the bottom of the Premiership and out of the relegation zone as results around them favoured the Welsh team.
Saturday Premiership Round Up
That man Wayne Rooney ran himself into the record books with a Manchester United club record 250 goals overtaking the legendary Bobby Charlton in the process. He managed the feat in a 1-1 away draw with a buoyant Stoke City side playing some wonderful football at the moment. They would have won all three points Scooby if it hadn’t been for that pesky Rooney firing over a free kick that eluded everyone and swept into the top of the right of the net.
Bournemouth and Watford played out an exciting 2-2 draw down on the South Coast where manager Eddie Howe will be disappointed not to grab all three points despite coming back with a goal in the 82nd minute from Afobe to give them a point.
Watford as I mentioned are on a pretty horrific run and in some relegation trouble if they don’t watch out. Talking of pretty horrific runs come on down Crystal Palace who have self destructed since big Sam and recently little Sam took charge of the South Londoners. Palace were dreadful yet again, where’s the urgency, where’s the camaraderie, more importantly where’s the fight gone! Seamus Coleman’s 87th minute late strike was enough to bag the points for Ronald Koeman’s men. Sam Allardyce needs to start talking to a few agents to get his team out of trouble. Oh I forgot that’s what happened to him last year. Palace are now 16th so in the relegation zone.
Another team that has to look over their shoulder towards the relegation zone below them are Middleborough. The North East club lost at home and are on a poor run at the moment. 3-1 at home to West Ham with Andy Carroll in exhilarating form with two goals and running the defence ragged.