Written By Contributor: Sean Gallagher
EPL Roundup Matchday 28/29: Ronaldo Steals the Show with Hat Trick over Tottenham; Chelsea Skate by Newcastle Amid Ownership Drama; Man City Stumble
It was a wild past 2 weeks of Premier League action capped by an unmissable performance by a legend of the sport. Let’s catch up on what’s happened across the league!
Manchester United-Tottenham (3-2)
Did Cristiano Ronaldo actually play a small part in Tom Brady coming out of retirement when they were spotted talking after the game?! Whatever happened in that conversation there won’t be any questions about the stunning performance the Portuguese superstar put on against Tottenham Hotspur. There’s been plenty of chatter this season about Ronaldo (and Lionel Messi) being over the hill this season. But that talk came to a quick halt after the legendary stuff we witnessed on Saturday.
It hasn’t been smooth-sailing for Ronaldo as of late, scoring just once in his previous 10 matches; and it’s safe to say nobody on Man Utd has stepped up to fill the void. Often times they live and die by the 37 year old striker with many of their Champions League wins this season coming from last-minute goals by him. He hasn’t shone as much in the Premier League this season and needed a vintage performance like this one to right the ship.
Manchester United and Tottenham are easily the 2 most chaotic teams in the Premier League. United’s woes this season are obvious and too long to state. Tottenham are unbelievably inconsistent. This clash was always going to be the goal-fest and mayhem we were treated to! Ronaldo had one of the best goals you’ll see in a while just after the start of the match setting the stage for the rest of the game. United’s lead was short-lived (per usual) after Diogo Dalot’s clear handball gave Tottenham a penalty kick to make it 1-1. Ronaldo quickly scored again, this time a tap-in to go up 2-1 thanks to a wonderful run and cross by Jadon Sancho.
With 70 minutes gone in the match Man United were poised to finally have a somewhat comfortable win over a decent team. But the mistake-prone Harry Maguire struck once again when his own-goal tied the game again. I’ve been very critical of Man Utd this season, but even I’d admit that they had been unlucky up to that point to not be leading the game. After all, Tottenham’s goals came from a penalty and an own-goal. Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t about to let that be the end of it. In very classic style, the United forward flew for a head ball off a corner kick and gave Hugo Lloris no chance of saving what ended up being the game-winning goal.
Manchester United lost to Man City 4-1 last weekend drew Atlético Madrid in the Champions League the week before and then beat Tottenham 3-2. Sounds about right.
It’s hard to talk about this match before addressing the extraordinary circumstances Chelsea find themselves in amidst the ongoing Russia/Ukraine situation. Chelsea are notably owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is now being sanctioned by the UK government as a result of his ties to Vladimir Putin. With no new ownership offer meeting the price tag set by Chelsea, it means that the club has a laundry list of penalties as a result of Abramovich continuing to be the owner (for now). Chelsea can’t offer new contracts to players, sell merchandise, sell tickets that haven’t already been bought, bring new players in via transfers; it’s a shock for a club as big as them. However, reports have started to come out of a group called Saudi Media who are willing to buy the club and might be successful in meeting the price. The group and multiple reports claim that they don’t have any direct ties to the Saudi government whose human rights record has been heavily scrutinized given their involvement in the ownership of teams like Newcastle. If successful the previously listed punishments of Chelsea will probably be gone. It would at least be a resolution for fans and the players who were on the verge of seeing their club practically disintegrate with all the sanctions being put on them. Whether or not the sale should happen, the ethics of the potential new owners… that’s a whole other story.
The Premier League sets their schedule before the season and yet somehow games always have perfect timing in their matchups and storylines. So of course Chelsea and Newcastle played against each other on Sunday! I’ve covered how Newcastle have impressively fought their way out of relegation and into safety for next season. Sunday’s performance was nearly another triumph for the Magpies. Eddie Howe’s men had multiple good chances in the first half; but where they could have gotten on the board was in the game’s big controversy. Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah made clear contact and pulled the jersey of Newcastle’s Jacob Murphy, but somehow no penalty was given.
Chelsea struggled to break down Newcastle all game who would’ve begrudgingly been happy with a draw against one of the league’s best. But Chelsea finally broke through in the 89th minute in large part thanks to the beautiful assist by Jorginho on a goal by Kai Havertz. It was a sigh of relief for a club in the type of turmoil that Chelsea find themselves in. They’ll hope to polish off French club Lille in the Champions League later this week.
- Arsenal had a nice couple of wins over the past 2 weeks skating by Watford and then taking care of Leicester. They’re now the front-runners to finish in 4th place
- Everton played versus Tottenham away last monday and lost 5-0. FIVE. Then they played against Wolves at home and lost 1-0. Their schedule is absolutely brutal the rest of the way. I would not want to be Frank Lampard right now
- Liverpool had a great week. They continued to ramp up the pressure on league leaders Manchester City after defeating West Ham in a gritty game and handled Brighton on Saturday. Man City’s draw versus Palace means the lead could slip to just a point. The Reds also had a tough Champions League game against Inter Milan but were able to progress to the next round
- American manager Jesse Marsch won for the first time with his new club Leeds United against Norwich on Sunday; it was a massive game in their battle to avoid relegation
- The Manchester derby on the 6th devolved into another Man City beatdown of rivals Man Utd. The Red Devils hardly laid a glove on their opponents in the second half
- Real Madrid staged a truly unbelievable comeback against PSG last week in the Champions League. The remaining English teams in the competition (Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, and Man Utd) should be very wary of a potential matchup vs ‘Los Blancos’