The two best Premier League sides of the start of the season met in a derby that finished in a draw. It’s a result that favors the two team’s opponents and a performance that leaves plenty of questions for the two managers.
How did the derby find the two teams?
Manchester City started the season in dominant fashion. The injury of their most important player, Kevin de Bruyne, enforced the need for a few changes. The team leads the Premier League, but arguably not as comfortably as they’d like. Their performances in the Champions League have also showcased their vulnerabilities.
Liverpool started out strong and were especially lauded for the individual qualities of their squad members. Recent performances, however, have been below par. Winning against City could have been symbolic of a change in the pecking order in the Premier League. Liverpool look ready to dethrone City as England’s biggest team.
City and Liverpool happy with draw
It was an even game both in terms of results, as well as performance. Mohamed Salah was Liverpool’s biggest threat, but failed to show the finishing precision of last season. Jurgen Klopp opted to avoid taking any big risks. This was shown by the decision to have his full backs maintain mainly defensive duties.
Pep Guardiola made some changes to his strategy. City played with four defenders, more narrowly and deeper than usual. The champions could have taken the three points, through a penalty opportunity. Riyad Mahrez sent the ball way over the bar, however. It’s a result City looked prepared for. It leaves the club without having to readjust their plans.
Who does the result favor?
Both City and Liverpool, seen by most as the favorites of the current campaign, will be content with a draw. After all, it leaves both teams tied for first place on 20 points.
But there’s a third team who’s earned 20 points, Chelsea. Sarri’s experiments have proven successful and the team looked impressive as they won away to Southampton 3-0. Eden Hazard is the team’s mastermind and the London side will feel nervous about a potential injury further down the road.
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 8, 2018
Arsenal is the other big winner. Unai Emery’s side have managed nine straight victories, their last one being a 5-1 away thrashing of Fulham. Their opponents may not have been top tier, but the winning results mean Arsenal are only two points away from first place.
The Premier League title chase is not a two horse race anymore. The EPL contests return this weekend with free FootballCoin contests set to include all of the games in the league.
Author: Eduard Bănulescu