We’re almost at the halfway point of the 2021-22 English Premier League season and every match-day weekend has provided us with some edge-of-the-seat moments.
The pacy style of English football always has the potential to create a dramatic narrative, whether positive or negative, and in this piece, we’d like to take it up a notch by reminiscing those 5 matches that surpassed expectations or shattered teams in the process. Net-bursting goals, drama, big name signings and sackings – the 2021-22 EPL season has given us an abundance of all of these! We explore the Top 5 Unexpected EPL Results of the 2021-22 season.
West Ham 4 – 1 Leicester City – Matchday 2 (24th Aug., ’21)
Starting off what’s turning out to be a great season, David Moyes’ West Ham have pulled the rabbit out of the hat on many an occasion by surprising the opposition teams. Coming off a 4-2 win at Newcastle from Matchday 1, they hammered down on Leicester from the word go, pressing away when they were not in possession. A debatable first-half Leicester red card did help their cause, and they were able to take advantage of the one-man deficit and go on to score 4 goals once again, as they did in their season opener. Special mentions must go out to the Hammers’ front line for pressing Leicester’s back line and taking advantage of the half-chances and opportunities presented to them.
Crystal Palace 3 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur – Matchday 4 (11th Sept., ’21)
Coming in from a hard-fought game on Matchday 3, drawing 2-2 with West Ham, Crystal Palace were seen hosting fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur, who won their last game with a marginal 1-0 over Watford. The game started off aggressively with Palace’s Zaha darting all over the Spurs’ defense like he tends to do, but a defining moment was the sending-off of Japhet Tanganga who got a second yellow card for a completely avoidable challenge on Wilfried Zaha. To add insult to injury, Crystal Palace’s first goal came from a penalty due to a handball in the box from Ben Davies. Netted confidently by Zaha, no doubt! After that, debutant Odsonne Edouard scored a brace to secure an ecstatic win for the eagles.
Manchester United 0 – 5 Liverpool – Matchday 9 (24th Oct., ’21)
Probably the most talked about match in recent weeks and probably the confirming nail in the coffin of Olé Gunnar Solskjaer’s position as manager of Manchester United. Both United and Liverpool fans will understand the magnitude of this result and what it meant for both sides. Liverpool asserted themselves as serious title contenders and United just left more questions hanging in the air like – Is the manager good enough? Are the players delivering what they’re worth? What’s the vibe in the dressing room? It was a red affair altogether, with Mo Salah scoring a hattrick, leaving the Old Trafford loyal red-faced. Losing to arch rivals Man City in the following week only strengthened the anxiety among the fans all over the internet calling for “Olé out!” anywhere and everywhere.
Manchester City 0 – 2 Crystal Palace – Matchday 10 (30th Oct., ’21)
Stealing another victory from one of the “big” teams, recently one of the biggest in stature, Man City, Crystal Palace showed their relentless physicality in a tough battle with the blue side of Manchester. Again, in the thick of the action, their main man Wilfried Zaha, who put the eagles in the lead with the opening goal, was responsible for being in the right place at the right time and drawing a fowl from Aymeric Laporte, getting the latter sent off, and bringing Man City down to 10 men. City thought they had equalized, but the goal was disallowed due to the crosser Phil Foden being in an offside position. Taking advantage of the extra man, Palace worked a team goal at the other end to take it away from City and win the night 2-0.
Watford 4 – 1 Manchester United – Matchday 12 (20th Nov., ’21)
Again in the headlines for an extremely lack-lustre team performance and questionable team selection, United’s now ex-boss Olé Gunnar Solskjaer was the focus of everyone’s magnifying glasses when Manchester United visited Watford on Matchday 12, expecting to have the upper hand with a great squad of available players. But, no one seems to know what went wrong in that dressing room. The first goal came after David De Gea saved a penalty conceded by Scott McTominay at the edge of the box. Watford capitalized on the unconfident and apprehensive defending by United and made it 3 goals in the first half itself. With Raphaël Varane out injured, there seems to be no proper solution to United’s defensive woes. Harry Maguire, although team captain, has not played consistently since his return from the Euros, and in many matches has given away loose and soft balls to turn over possession into goals.
The introduction of Ralf Rangnick as the new United boss and interim manager Michael Carrick leaving the club after his 15-year stint as a player, coach and manager are more aspects that the team and the fans have to deal with. Who knows what’s in store ahead? So uncertain, just like the last 5-10mins of almost every Man United match. You never know what’s going to happen!
More sackings in the form of Steve Bruce from Newcastle United, Nuno Santo from Tottenham have really spiced up this season’s drama factor and we cannot wait to experience the upcoming action in the next few months! Till then, keep kicking!
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