Last weekend in the premier league the title race took yet another turn with a late winner for Arsenal and City frustrated by Nottingham Forest.
Pressure continued to grow on Graham Potters future as Chelsea manager after yet another defeat.
Sunday featured a fiery London derby as well as a game packed with attacking flair at Old Trafford.
The relegation scrap hots up with a few teams picking up results and other teams dropping down into the bottom three.
Here is your roundup…
GAME OF THE WEEK
Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal
After Wednesday night’s top of the table clash between Arsenal and Manchester City all eyes were focused on this fixture to see how the gunners would react following their midweek disappointment. A trip away to Villa Park is always tricky so Arsenal had a tough test in front of them on Saturdays early kick-off.
With three games without a win now for Arsenal, Mikel Arteta made a few changes to their starting line-up. Leandro Trossard was handed his first start in the place of Gabriel Martinelli whose form has dipped in recent weeks. Ben White was also brought back into the team after Takehiro Tomiyasu was preferred against City. Jorginho recorded back-to-back starts with Thomas Partey still out injured, a big miss in Arsenal’s midfield.
There were also lots of people interested to see what changes Unai Emery would make to his Villa side after recording back-to-back losses and conceding seven goals in those games. Emery opted to make four changes with the likes of Lucas Digne and Leon Bailey dropping to the bench and players including Philippe Coutinho and John McGinn handed starts.
Arsenal got off to a slow start and Villa pounced on this after Matty Cash chipped a ball in-behind the Arsenal back line. Ollie Watkins was able to latch onto it and managed to beat William Saliba before firing the ball across goal and into the bottom right corner. An incredible start for Villa and Arsenals nerve being tested early on with yet another setback.
However, not too long after Arsenal levelled the game up. Tyrone Mings attempted to head a cross clear however his clearance fell into the path of Bukayo Saka who thrashed a half-volley into the roof of the net leaving Emi Martinez rooted to a spot without a chance of making a save.
Aston Villa threw the next punch with a brilliant team goal starting with goalkeeper Martinez and ending with Coutinho delivering the knockout blow with a smart finish wrongfooting Aaron Ramsdale and putting his side back ahead.
However, once again, Arsenal fought back. This time it was at the hands of Oleksandr Zinchenko because of a well worked short corner routine. This was the Ukrainian’s first goal for the club and what a time to score it getting his side back into the game.
Villa came close in the 82nd minute when Bailey got a chance on the break however his effort crashed against the woodwork, agonisingly close for the villains.
As all good teams do, Arsenal punished Villa for their missed chance. The winner came in the third minute of stoppage time after Martinelli cut the ball back to Jorginho on the edge of the box who lashed an effort, first time, towards the top corner. The ball came off the underside off the crossbar and cruelly bounced off Martinez’s head and into his own net. Jorginho will take all the credit for the winning goal however it will officially be credited as an own goal.
The result was sealed just moments before the final whistle when as a result of goalkeeper Martinez coming up for a Villa corner, Martinelli was able to pick the ball up on the counter-attack and pass the ball into an open net. A fourth goal for the gunners sealed a much-needed win,
Mikel Arteta will be hoping this result will be a platform for his side to build from after some poor form in recent weeks. After the midweek defeat to Man City, Arsenal slipped to second however they’ve reclaimed the top spot this weekend with City dropping points. The gunners are two points clear of City at the top of the table, still with a crucial game in hand.
This weekend’s loss marks three in a row for Villa now however with defeats to Manchester City and Arsenal part of those games it’s not too concerning just yet. On the other hand, what is concerning for Villa is their poor defensive form in recent games. Now with 11 goals conceded in their last three games Unai Emery will need to address his sides defensive issues quickly if they want to turn their poor form around.
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Manchester City
Manchester City couldn’t have come into Saturday afternoons game in any better mood with victory away at the Emirates against title contenders Arsenal. Couple this with their incredible record in games played on a Saturday at 3PM, everything pointed towards a comfortable City win.
It seemed that everything would go to script when City took the lead four minutes before halftime as a result of a corner. Nobody was able to meet Phil Foden’s cross in the penalty area, so the ball fell to Jack Grealish on the edge of the box. Grealish rolled the ball sideways to a waiting Bernardo Silva who struck a fierce effort goalward and crashing into the roof of the net.
In the second half City were presented with countless opportunities to add to their lead, the pick of the bunch falling to Erling Haaland just yards out from the goal. The Norwegian striker thrashed the ball over the bar from a chance you’d expect him to score 99 times out of 100.
With City missing many big chances, Steve Coopers Forest side will have received a lift with an increased belief they could get something out of the game. Unlike City when Forest got their opportunity, they took it. Morgan Gibbs-White curled an effort across the face of goal where substitute Chris Wood was waiting to turn the ball into the back of the net.
The City Ground erupted with fans unable to believe that Forest were holding the reigning premier league champions to a draw. Forest managed to hold on surviving the waves of Manchester City attacks to gain a valuable point, the result feeling like a win for the home side and a defeat for the away side.
Manchester City created five big chances and missed all five of them with Bernardo Silva’s goal being the lowest xG (expected goals) chance City created.
Forest are making The City Ground quite the fortress now with no defeat in Forests last 8 premier league games there. Forest have now put themselves five points clear of the relegation zone and with one loss in their last five premier league games, Forest fans will be hopeful their side has enough to steer clear of the drop.
The team at the top of the table once again changes with the pendulum swinging back Arsenal’s way. Pep Guardiola will know how big of a missed opportunity this is. City face Bournemouth at the Etihad next Saturday so if City want to keep up with the gunners, they must win this game.
Manchester United 3-0 Leicester City
With Leicester recording back-to-back wins against Aston Villa and Spurs scoring eight goals across the two games, there was real belief the foxes could go to Old Trafford and cause what would be a big upset against a high-flying Manchester United side.
Leicester did give it a good go, particularly in the first half when David De Gea was forced into making two brilliant saves one from a shot by Harvey Barnes and the other from a headed effort by Kelechi Iheanacho. These two saves were pivotal moments in the game as had Leicester gone into the lead early in the game the who rest of the game could have panned out differently.
United used these early scares as a base to build momentum from and after 25 minutes they broke the deadlock. Bruno Fernandes found Marcus Rashford with a pass played with the outside of his right foot. Rashford took his time and picked his spot in the bottom left corner, a clinical finish putting his side a goal up.
With the game far from over, Eric Ten Hag changed up the front line tactically and also brought on Jadon Sancho in an attempt to make United’s attacking moves free flowing.
Soon after the interval Fred slid Rashford in once again and when he’s in that position in front of goal what happens next is inevitable. The Englishman coolly slotted the ball in-between Danny Ward’s legs and marked his 14th league goal of the season.
The result was sealed just five minutes later when Fernandes and Sancho linked up well with the latter turning home a cross to give United a 3-0 lead. This goal is Sancho’s second goal in three games since returning from his mysterious long-term absence from the Manchester United team.
With the victory sealed, Ten Hag handed promising 17-year-old Kobbie Mainoo a premier league debut, with many more to come for the young midfielder. With Manchester City dropping points, United move just three points behind them.
With all eyes focused on the top two, Ten Hag will be hoping United can go under the radar and potentially fight for the title. However, for now his attention will turn to the Carabao Cup final next weekend against Newcastle. Because of this game United don’t have a premier league fixture next weekend and return to action the week after with a tricky trip to Anfield.
As for Leicester, they’re only four points away from the relegation zone despite some good results in recent weeks. The foxes will need to not slip back into their old ways to avoid the relegation dogfight.
Newcastle United 0-2 Liverpool
After a run of poor results, it seemed when Liverpool defeated Everton last weekend in the Merseyside derby, they may have turned a corner with many fans claiming the reds ‘are back’.
The game got off to a flying start with Newcastle calling Allison into action after just a few minutes. However, perhaps surprisingly, it was Liverpool who took the lead after ten minutes.
Trent Alexander-Arnold played an inch-perfect pass in- behind the Newcastle defence which Darwin Nunez controlled excellently before lashing a half-volley past Nick Pope.
Liverpool doubled their advantage just seven minutes later as a result of a good team move. Cody Gakpo started and finished the move by playing a pass inside to Fabinho who then played a forward pass to Salah which the Egyptian crossed first time curling the ball into the path of Gakpo who tucked the ball away. A vintage Liverpool goal that Jurgen Klopp will have been delighted with.
Things went from bad to worse for Newcastle when Nick Pope rushed out of his box to clear a quick kick that came from Allison. The goalkeeper butchered his clearance and fall on the ball grabbing it instinctively. Because he was outside of the penalty area when he did this he received a red card. After 22 minutes Newcastle were losing two nil and down to ten men, things couldn’t have been going any worse.
Despite this Newcastle still created some chances, the best of which falling to Dan Burn who saw a header crash against the bar.
Liverpool were able to see the game out comfortably, marking it only the second time Newcastle had lost all season, both of which to Liverpool. Liverpool continue to climb the table now seven points behind the top four with two games in hand. So, despite their poor start to the season, the reds are still in the hunt for champions league football.
Newcastle drop out of the top four after this result and results elsewhere, with a big cup final next weekend all attention turns to that for Newcastle.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 West Ham United
With Antonio Conte still recovering from his gallbladder surgery back home in Italy, assistant Cristian Stellini was once again spurs ‘acting’ manager. After a really poor result last weekend when they lost 4-1 away at Leicester as well as a poor result midweek in the champions league, pressure was on Spurs to put things right and defeat fierce London rivals West Ham.
Going into the game West Ham were undefeated in their last three Premier League matches, an upturn of form with the hammers not winning in the three premier league games prior to that.
The first half was one of few big chances, with neither team creating much of note other than a few half chances.
With a stalemate at halftime and not much to get the crowd excited Stellini instructed his players to get higher up the pitch, most notably the wingbacks.
And this was where Spurs opening goal came from, Ben Davies picked the ball up on the left wing, cut inside and then rolled the ball across the pitch to fellow wingback Emerson Royal. The Brazilian took a first time shot across goal calmy slotting the ball into the bottom-left corner. The two wingbacks combined to score the goal, just what Stellini would have been hoping for when he passed them their halftime instructions.
The caretaker manager revealed after the game that Conte was texting him and his staff throughout the game instructions and perhaps one of them was to bring Heung-Min Son off the bench in the 68th minute.
It took the South Korean just four minutes to make an impact, Kane found Son and Son found the back of the net with a composed finish. With the winger having an underwhelming season coming into the game with just four premier league goals so far this season, being dropped to the bench might be the wake-up call that’s required to get him back to his usual goalscoring ways.
With this result Spurs re-enter the top four jumping Newcastle. As for West Ham they slip into the relegation zone.
There is still pressure on David Moyes to get the hammers to safety with many claiming their squad is ‘too good’ to go down.
Chelsea 0-1 Southampton
Pressure on Graham Potters future has been growing in recent weeks with results for Chelsea disappointing to say the least. Therefore, coming into this game against managerless bottom-side Southampton there was a massive expectation for his side to get back to winning ways.
After rumours that a deal with ex-Leeds boss Jesse Marsch fell through to become Southampton’s new manager mid-week, many expected the saints to be downcast coming into this game.
The first half was very cagey with neither team creating too many chances and both sides lacking quality. However, in the first minute of first-half stoppage time James Ward-Prowse scored a delightful free kick which certainly wasn’t lacking in quality. The saints captain curled an effort over the wall with the ball dipping quickly and just out of the reach of Kepa in the Chelsea goal.
Once again Chelsea found themselves behind and at half-time the Chelsea fans let their thoughts be known with deafening booing.
In the second half Chelsea should really have equalised if not for the heroic defending from Romain Perraud blocking Raheem Sterling’s headed effort on the line.
This chance proved the be the best Chelsea would have of getting back into the game with Southampton managing to hold on for a massive three points.
Chelsea remain tenth place in the table and now 11 points away from the top four. With a London derby around the corner against Spurs, the Chelsea bored may run out of patience with Graham Potter should he not pick up a much-needed win.
Brentford 1-1 Crystal Palace
Going into this game Brentford hadn’t lost in their last ten premier league games whereas Crystal Palace hadn’t won in six, so it only looked that the result was going to go one way.
The game was one of few chances going into the interval with neither keeper being too challenged.
The breakthrough for Palace came in the 69thminute when Michael Olise picked out Eberechi Eze with a cross. Eze having only just come off the bench made an instant impact giving his side the lead with just 20 minutes to go.
However, it just wasn’t to be for Crystal Palace with the hosts equalising in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time with practically the last kick of the game.
Bryan Mbeumo put a cross in a dangerous area and Vitaly Janelt was on hand to nod the ball past Vicente Guaita, keeping the bees unbeaten run going for yet another week.
Heart-breaking for Palace and yet another draw marks their eighth of the season with only two teams drawing more games.
Brentford extend their unbeaten streak to 11 matches and with no fixture next weekend due to Manchester United’s involvement in the Carabao Cup final this run will have spanned from mid-October to the start of March.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Fulham
The big news going into the game was that Fulham would be without top-scorer Alexsandar Mitrovic who’d picked up a foot injury. With Fulham’s second top scorer only having four goals many Fulham fans would have worried where a goal would come from, particularly against a Brighton side that don’t concede many.
However up stepped Manor Soloman just minutes after he was brought off the bench by manager Marco Silva. The goal came on the break with Carlos Vinicius feeding Soloman. The Israeli charged forward and picked out the bottom corner excellently with a finish securing Fulham all three points.
Two goals off the bench in two games now for Soloman, he’s proving to be quite the super-sub.
Brighton dominated the chances with five ‘big chances’ however it was Fulham who came away with three points as well as managing to jump Brighton in the table and go into sixth.
Everton 1-0 Leeds United
Everton came into Saturday’s game one point behind Leeds and crucially in the relegation zone. This meant that this game could prove pivotal in both teams fight for premier league survival.
The game was decided by a moment of quality from Everton captain Seamus Coleman. Alex Iwobi played a ball in-behind the Leeds backline which Coleman managed to latch on to before volleying a bouncing ball over IIllan Meslier’s head from a very tight angle, near the byline.
This moment was the only thing to separate the two sides with Everton’s’ defensive solidarity proving vital in their win.
Under Sean Dyche Everton are an improved side and now they’re out of the relegation zone it will be all about being hard to beat and putting some breathing room between them and the bottom three.
A really disappointing result for Leeds with the team from Yorkshire not even registering a shot on target. Leeds fans will be eagerly awaiting the appointment of a new manager.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 AFC Bournemouth
Wolves dominated possession in this game however unable to do much with it, only registering four shots on target.
Despite not seeing as much of the ball, Bournemouth certainly made the most of their possession.
Their goal scorer was Marcus Tavernier who scored his third goal in his last four appearances for the cherries. The goal came from a drilled cross that Tavernier just managed to get enough on to guide it past José Sá in the Wolves goal.
This was Bournemouth’s first win since the world cup break and who better to get it against than a fellow relegation rival.