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We recap an exciting day of Premier League action
Today’s Premier League fixtures promised a lot and they certainly delivered. There was no shortage of action as 16 goals were scored in 4 Premier League games.
The first match kicked off at half 12 in what was one of the most highly anticipated Merseyside derbies in recent years. Everton have gotten used to playing second fiddle to Liverpool when it comes to the Premier League but there’s been a shift in momentum this season.
Everton are yet to lose a game in the league in what has been a superb start to the season while Liverpool have struggled to get going as of yet with a string of unimpressive performances for their standards. Everton’s unbeaten record remained intact today as they managed a 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Goodison Park.
Liverpool struck first in the game with an early goal from the prolific Sadio Mane. Seamus Coleman was partly to blame for the goal as Andy Robertson got past him all too easy on the way to putting the ball on a plate for Mane. Coleman wouldn’t last much longer as he was taken off due to injury before half time. New signing Ben Godfrey came on to replace the Killybegs man. This is the second injury Coleman’s gotten already this season, hopefully this doesn’t become a pattern throughout the season.
It didn’t take Everton long to strike back as Michael Keane scored from a corner in the 19th minute. James Rodriguez swung an accurate ball in which was met with force by the head of Keane. Adrian has had his critics recently but there was nothing he could do about this goal.
Van Dijk was taken off at around the 40th minute as a result of a dangerous challenge from Pickford in the Everton box. The referee’s decision to not book Pickford and award a penalty was a contentious one, with many feeling Pickford should have got a red for a scissor-like tackle. Reports have suggested that Van Dijk may be out for up to 8 months as a result of the injury, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Should that be true, it would be a massive blow to Liverpool’s title aspirations.
The match would remain 1-1 until the 72nd minute when Salah executed a scintillating finish on the volley to hammer home past Pickford. He had been quiet up until that point but all he needs is one sniff of goal, as he displayed with his finish.
Pickford produced a stunning reflex save minutes after the goal to keep Everton in the tie. Matip powered a header towards goal from the corner but Pickford had the reactions to get down and paw the ball out of the danger area. It was one of the saves of the seasons from the England number one.
Pickford’s save would prove vital as Everton had their equaliser in the 82nd minute, and who else but Dominic Calvert Lewin. Digne swung a floated ball into the box before DCL produced a jump that wouldn’t look out of place in the NBA before a brilliant header into the corner of the net. DCL had played well without reward beforehand but as he’s shown this season, he only needs one chance.
The drama wasn’t over just yet, though. Just as the game was coming to a close, Richarlison unleashed a horror challenge on Thiago. The referee didn’t take long to reach for his book and a red card was shown to the Brazilian. He did have some complaints coming off the pitch, but replays showed that the card was very much justified.
Because of Richarlison’s dismissal Everton opted to stick men behind the ball for the remainder of the game. That didn’t stop Liverpool, however, as they were picked apart by a lovely Thiago ball to Mane who thought he had provided Henderson with an assist. That wasn’t the case. Under controversial circumstances, VAR ruled that Mane was offside in the build by the most fractional of margins.
The game ended 2-2 after 90 minutes of thrilling action and controversy. It was undoubtedly one of the games of the season and an enjoyable watch for the neutral, maybe not so much for fans of both teams.
Chelsea and Southampton followed the Merseyside derby in what would be a hard act to follow. Many people expected a routine win by Chelsea given their superstar filled squad.
It appeared as that was going to be the case 15 minutes into the match as Timo Werner scored his first Premier League goal. Werner’s play before the goal was brilliant as he dummied past a Southampton defender before cutting into the box, going past a handful of players with his close control and finishing with aplomb.
29 minutes into the game and many would have thought the game was all but over as Werner scored his second after a brilliant ball in behind by Jorginho. Chelsea were controlling the game and didn’t look like surrendering many chances.
That all changed when Danny Ings pulled one back just before half time. Poor ball retention by Kai Havertz just outside the box allowed Southampton to steal the ball before a through ball was played into Danny Ings before he rounded the keeper and slotted in.
Havertz’s lack of urgency would be a sign of things to come. A calamity of errors on the 57th resulted in an easy finish for Che Adams. Kepa returned to the first team after an Edouard Mendy injury and he was partly at fault for the goal, as his indecisiveness allowed the Southampton player to round him on their way to goal.
Chelsea didn’t take long to hit back as Kai Havertz struck a couple minutes afterwards to make it 3-2. Werner was once again involved in the goal as he unselfishly rolled the ball into the feet of his German compatriot.
71 minutes into the game and the long-awaited debut of Hakim Ziyech finally happened as he replaced Mason Mount. He failed to get a foothold of the game, but Chelsea fans will be hope he can pull the strings in future games.
Theo Walcott’s arrival at Southampton was one of the most intriguing transfer stories of the window as he re-joined his boyhood club whom he left in 2006. His first appearance back in a Southampton shirt would be a good one as he teed up Vestergaard – after a misplaced shot – in the 92nd minute to make the score 3-3. It was an unlikely equaliser for Southampton as they looked to be down and out, but they fought their way back into the game for a second time.
Theo Walcott had one more opportunity just before the final whistle, but he struck just wide. The game finished 3-3.
Manchester City and Arsenal were up next in what promised to be an exciting encounter. The last time the two teams played Mikel Arteta managed to get one over on his former mentor as Arsenal comfortably beat City with a scoreline of 2-0. The result on that day would propel Arsenal to the FA Cup final, which they would ultimately lift.
The match itself didn’t deliver on it’s promise as it was a drab affair for the most part. Many Arsenal fans were frustrated with Mikel Arteta’s team selection as he opted to leave out new signing Thomas Partey. The decision to leave Partey on the bench may have came back to haunt Arteta as Arsenal were defeated 1-0.
Aguero came into the squad for the first time in months after injuries had kept him out. Aguero’s inclusion allowed Sterling to play on his preferred position of the left instead of striker, which he had been playing in previous weeks without much success. Sterling didn’t take long to get going as he scored in the 21st minute after a parry by Leno in the Arsenal goal.
Unfortunately, that would be the only goal of the game. Arsenal didn’t create too many chances after the goal, but most of their opportunities came from down the left side. Saka and Tierney combined well at times on the wing and fashioned some chances but to no avail.
Saka was arguably Arsenal’s most dangerous player throughout the match. Lively throughout, he showed viewers with his performance that he deserved his call up to the England team. The young player will likely play a key role in Arsenal’s season after a handful of impressive performances already. If Arsenal can keep hold of Saka and some of their other young stars, they could be on their way to building something special.
Thomas Partey made his Arsenal debut with 83 minutes on the clock but failed to make an impact – other than collecting a yellow card towards the end of the game.
The match finished 1-0 after paling in comparison to the day’s previous games.
Manchester United faced Newcastle in what was the final fixture of the day. Ole Gunnar Solskjær made plenty of changes going into the game, which left some Manchester United fans voicing their concern. Pogba was placed on the bench and Greenwood was nowhere to be seen. Van de Beek failed to make the starting XI, again.
Alex Telles also started on the bench as Ole opted for Luke Shaw. It didn’t take long for Luke Shaw to get involved in the action – to the displeasure of United fans – as he deflected a shot into his own net to make it 1-0 to Newcastle.
Bruno Fernandes managed to level the scoreline with 19 minutes played, or at least he thought he did. The goal was ruled out after deliberation from VAR who adjudged Juan Mata to be offside in the build-up. Man United fans were up off their feet again a few moments later as Maguire netted from a corner. There was no VAR needed this time as the goal stood. It was a much-needed break for Maguire, who has been lambasted by the media in recent months due to issues on and off the field.
The match remained an unentertaining affair up until the 52nd minute. A header from close range by Callum Wilson led to a spectacular David De Gea save.
De Gea’s save spurred United on as they began to control the game and fashion out chances. They were awarded a penalty in the 56th minute after Marcus Rashford was brought down in the box. Bruno Fernandes stepped up to take the penalty and in an unlikely event, he missed. Karl Darlow made an impressive save to keep Newcastle in the game.
United continued to control the game before they broke through in the 86th minute, and what a goal it was. Several players were involved in the build up which started well behind the halfway line. A collection of flicks and tidy passes resulted in Marcus Rashford playing in Bruno Fernandes who made no mistake as he finished into the top corner from a tight angle.
United weren’t finished there. They hit the net again in the 90th minute as Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored the first goal of his Manchester United career. It was a brilliant, powerful drive into the roof of the net which left Darlow with no chance after more good link up play.
Bruno Fernandes’ penalty miss didn’t hurt his confidence as he played Rashford through with an outstanding lobbed through ball. Rashford latched onto the ball and finished low into the corner to wrap it up. Fernandes and Rashford were heavily involved towards the end of the game as they both played their part in the final three goals.
The match finished 4-1 in what was an encouraging display at the dying embers of the match from Manchester United.
The Premier League resumes tomorrow in what will be a hard day to follow. Here are the fixtures for tomorrow in order of time:
Sheffield United vs. Fulham – 12.00
Crystal Palace vs. Brighton – 14.00
Tottenham vs. West Ham – 16.30
Leicester vs. Aston Villa – 19.15