A Beggar For Good Soccer: England Expects

Jessica takes in some Premier League action

On previous visits to England, I focused mainly on matches in London (with one side trip to Yorkshire for a Huddersfield Town match). I planned this trip with the goal of attending games in other parts of the country. But when the fixtures for all domestic and cup competitions were released, I knew I would be back to London for a few games.

I started on a Saturday at Old Trafford, the Theatre of Dreams, for Manchester United’s Premier League fixture against Leicester. I was seated in a corner by the Stretford End, and the stadium lived up to the hype – it is a spectacular place to see a match. Manchester United won the match 1-0 on a Marcus Rashford penalty.

The next day, I headed south to see Watford take on Arsenal at Vicarage Road. Watford were off to a flying start but could not break through, while Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng scored twice for Arsenal in the first half. But Watford engineered a comeback to draw 2-2, and had several chances to win.

On Monday, I took the train north to Birmingham. Villa Park came alive for the Aston Villa vs West Ham matchup of Claret and Blue. West Ham had a player sent off in the 67th minute after receiving a second yellow card, but Aston Villa were unable to build significant scoring chances at the match finished 0-0.

As the first round of Champion’s League group stage play kicked off, I returned to London and Stamford Bridge for Chelsea’s match against Valencia. Valencia were up for the task in spite of their recent coaching drama, and an early injury to Mason Mount seemed to sap all of Chelsea’s creativity. Rodrigo scored for Valencia in the 74th minute, but this match will be remembered for Ross Barkley’s penalty miss in front of the Matthew Harding stand.

Europa League group stage play also got underway, and I returned to Old Trafford for Manchester United’s match against FC Astana of Kazakhstan. Mason Greenwood started and scored the match-winner in the 73rd minute for Manchester United.

I took in another Saturday Premier League match, this time in Liverpool for my first trip to Goodison Park. With Marco Silva’s tenure as manager already in peril, Everton was unable to score against promoted side Sheffield United as the Blades won 2-0.


Follow Jessica’s travels in real time at @jessicamalone85.