STORMY SCENES AT STAMFORD BRIDGE AS THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE CONCLUDES WEEK 2.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on August 15, 2022
The 2022/23 Premier League season is only two weeks old but there has already been enough drama to satisfy even the most unmovable of fans with the heights of the weekend’s drama culminating at the Bridge in West London.
Reigning champions Manchester City have reclaimed the top spot after a perfect start, thanks to a dominant performance against a newly promoted side, Bournemouth who slumped to a 4 – 0 defeat at the Etihad. However, neighbours and close rivals Manchester United find themselves languishing at the bottom following a 4 – 0 thumping at the hands of Thomas Frank’s Brentford, losing a second successive game after going down 2 – 1 against Brighton last weekend at the American Express Community Stadium and also referred to as the Amex.
Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side are off to a perfect start to the season thanks to a 4 – 2 victory over Leicester City, after dispatching Patrick Viera’s side 2 – 0 last time. Gabriel Jesus was on song at the Emirates, notching 2 goals and 2 assists on his home debut after blanking last week against Crystal Palace. The ex-City player gradually settled into life in North London.
Jesse Marsch and his Leeds side must have had the belief that they were coasting to victory when they were 2 goals up against the Saints at Saint Marys up until the 72nd minute, thanks to a brace from Rodrigo. But Joe Ayodele Aribo scored the first of two goals, by Southampton which ensured that Ralph Hasenhuttl boys got back to level pegging at the 81st minute. The new Southampton acquisition scored on his home debut after switching from Rangers FC this summer.
Taiwo Awoniyi, the Nigerian International and new Nottingham Forest striker were on the scoresheet, scoring Forest’s first goal back in the English topflight since 1999, the striker getting in on the acts on his home debut. The former Union Berlin goal poacher’s strike was enough to see Steve Cooper’s boys earn a 1 – 0 victory over West Ham, in front of their 30,445 capacity-packed City ground stadium. West Ham captain, Declan Rice missed the opportunity to level things up for David Moyes’ side from the penalty sport. Nick pope was the hero of the day saving from the spot, his second save in 4 he has faced in the league.
But the major talking point of the weekend will definitely be the fixture set at Stamford Bridge, which saw Antonio Conte return to the grounds where he won the EPL title in 2017. Chelsea was off the mark in the 19th minute thanks to a perfect volley from Kalidou Koulibaly who was making his home debut, the former Napoli player latching on to another home debutant, Marc Cucurella’s corner kick. Chelsea would go into the break with the lead.
Tottenham restored parity in the 68th minute through a Pierre-Emile H0jbjerg shot, but this sparked outrage from the Chelsea gaffer, Thomas Tuchel, understandably so because video replay showed that Rodrigo Bentancur seemed to have knocked down Kai Havertz to get the ball off the German forward seconds before the goal, an incidence that greatly incensed Tuchel.
The first of the two major high points of the match saw Tuchel squaring up with Conte in a brawl, both managers going head to head, only to be separated by the rest of their coaching crew. referee Anthony Taylor wasted no time in Brandishing the pair with yellow cards.
Chelsea who are still trying to find a formula for their strikers upfront, with none of their attacking players yet to get off the mark this season, restored their one-goal lead when defender Reece James got on to the end of a Raheem Sterling pass to fire past Hugo Lloris in goal in the 77th minute to make it 2- 1. But it was Tottenham who was the luckier of the two teams, Harry Kane nodded in an Ivan Perisic corner in the 96th minute to ensure Spurs escaped defeat at the Bridge for the first time since November 2020 in the League.
Again incidents leading to the equalising goal were quite controversial again, neither Anthony Taylor nor Mike Dean in the VAR room spotted Cristian Romero pulling on Marc Cucurella’s hair just before the goal, an action strongly criticised by Tuchel in the post-match presser.
Emotions boiled over at the final whistle between both managers, as the pair were sent off in a stormy climax to a heated London derby. They again went eyeball to eyeball as they shook hands at the final whistle and had to be pulled apart in amazing scenes at Stamford Bridge.
The season may just be in its early stages, but if the steaming scenes at the Bridge are anything to go by, then it promises to be another amazing experience for all lovers and followers of the English game.