Everton 0-1 Manchester United
United got all three points but it was hardly a convincing particularly in the second half. Rarely does a David Moyes side put together a poor 90 minutes and so it was in this match.
As Everton pushed United back they were able to play more passes in the final third of the field. The first half United had pressed the Everton defence and midfield and had made it extremely difficult for Everton to cause the United defence any problems.
A couple of breaks from midfield from Jack Rodwell was the closest Everton came.
The only goal of the game came off a cross from Patrice Evra. It was a flat delivery that was just high enough to clear the Everton defenders but low enough to stop Tm Howard coming to collect.
However, it proved to be the exception rather than the rule as United’s crossing effectiveness was poor.
Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal
A lot of talk of Chelsea’s high-line and how defensively it failed. But as far as attempts on goal are concerned Chelsea had the edge 14-13.
Andre Santos was pin-pointed as a weak spot in the Arsenal back four as you can see by the number of angled passes played out to Daniel Sturridge in the 62 minutes he was on the park.
As it turned out it was more a case of Sturridge flattering to deceive. His passing in the final third was poor with only 6 of 12 finding the target. Sturridge was also culpable on Arsenal’s second goal scored by known other than Andre Santos. It hastened the departure of Sturridge from the match.
Santos had an “interesting” day. He made more successful tackles than any other player (6) but he also lost more tackles than anyone else (5).
Of the 10 defenders who stepped onto the park on Saturday the stand-out performance came from the often maligned Laurent Koscielny. He was spot on with his tackling and his reading of the game was exceptional.
There have been more than enough games over the last year or so where Koscielny has looked ill-equipped to handle the often physical play of the Premier League. But there are has also been times when his reading of the game and anticipation has been outstanding.
Finally to finish on the issue of defending with a high-line. Often the success or otherwise is determined more by the discipline or lack thereof of the opposition forwards. Here is how the offside calls went.
Any thoughts on these two games from Saturday?
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