The final weekend of Premier League action before the International break did not disappoint. In-form sides Liverpool and Chelsea both dropped points, as Manchester City calmly demolished their neighbours in the Manchester derby. There were promising results for struggling sides but managerial casualties give some teams much to ponder going into the break.
Liverpool Dealt a Hammer Blow – West Ham 3-2 Liverpool
West Ham continued their strong start to the season, taking all 3 points off an in-form Liverpool side.
Both sides started well but it was the Hammers that assumed some early dominance.
West Ham took an early lead thanks to some poor goalkeeping from Alisson. As an excellently-whipped Pablo Fornals corner headed straight for Angelo Ogbonna, Liverpool’s No.1 came to collect the cross. The Italian defender rose above him, causing Alisson to lose flight of the ball and knock it into his own net.
Liverpool bounced back quickly and continued to probe the edge of the West Ham penalty area.
The visitors drew level in the 41st minute thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold. The in-form set piece specialist curled a wonderful free kick from just outside the 18-yard box, leaving Fabianski with no chance and ensuring that his side headed into half time on level terms.
Despite Liverpool’s pressure, West Ham came out firing in the second half and were determined to impose themselves on the game.
Jarrod Bowen was at the heart of things and was able to slip through Fornals after a mazy run. Fornals stayed composed and poked the ball past Alisson in the 67th minute.
Just 10 minutes later, Kurt Zouma added to West Ham’s lead, as the Frenchman met another expertly delivered corner. Rising highest in the box, Zouma nodded the ball past Alisson, scoring his first goal for the club.
Looking to claw themselves back into the game, Liverpool were finally rewarded with five minutes remaining, Divock Origi beating Fabianski with a spectacular finish on the half-turn.
West Ham had opportunities to break away and seal the game as Liverpool pushed on, the ever-present Virgil Van Dijk being on hand to avert any threats.
Despite a nervy finish, David Moyes’s side secured the win and subsequently leapfrogged Liverpool in the table.
The Hammers’ outstanding season took another stride forward, settling into third in the table as we head into the international break, with a promising Europa League campaign to come.
Klopp will be disappointed with his side’s resilience as they failed to capitalise on dropped points elsewhere.
City See Off United in Style – Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester United’s dire run of form continued after their city rivals tore them apart in Saturday’s early kick off.
United had hoped to give the home crowd an improved showing following their 5-0 loss at home to Liverpool, but a strong City side dismantled the Red Devils, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s future hanging in the balance.
United started poorly and allowed City to take control of the ball.
City’s dominant start proved fruitful, thanks to a teasing cross from João Cancelo. As Cancelo found himself with space down the left wing, some lackadaisical defending from Bruno Fernandes was not enough to stop him whipping in a ball across the front post. Eric Bailly was unable to clear, instead slicing the ball into his own net.
Despite going behind so early, United failed to rise to the occasion and spent most of the first half chasing after Guardiola’s men.
United’s only clear chance of the game fell to Cristiano Ronaldo, but his left footed volley was saved by Ederson.
United looked to be heading into half time with a one goal deficit, but a complete lack of judgement from Luke Shaw allowed Bernardo Silva to double the visitors’ lead. Once again, João Cancelo found himself with space and his floated ball over the defence avoided everyone, but his compatriot was alive to the opportunity and was able to poke the ball past David De Gea at his near post.
Manchester United made no improvement in the second half and City toyed with them for the remainder of the afternoon, settling for their two goal lead.
Another incredibly poor performance and home defeat has the majority of those connected to Manchester United calling for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s head. With Tottenham appointing Antonio Conte, there appears to be a lack of world class managers available to United, which might favour Solskjær and give him time to turn things around.
Best of the Rest
Crystal Palace’s start to life under Patrick Viera has been outstanding and has continued following their 2-0 home win against Wolves. Wilfred Zaha opened the scoring before man-in-form Conor Gallagher sealed the game with his fourth goal of the season.
Norwich City picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Premier League newcomers Brentford. Despite their first victory of the season, Norwich parted ways with Daniel Farke, hoping a change can kick-start their survival campaign.
Arsenal picked up another three points at home to Watford with a 1-0 win thanks to Emile Smith-Rowe, his third goal in three consecutive Premier League games. After their dreadful start, Arsenal jump above Manchester United in the league table.
Southampton welcomed Aston Villa to the St. Mary’s on Friday evening and secured a convincing 1-0 win. Villa have struggled since the departure of Jack Grealish and their poor start to the season lead to the club confirming the sacking of Dean Smith on Sunday.
Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Burnley; Matěj Vydra with the 79th minute equaliser.
Leicester earnt a point through a 1-1 draw away at Leeds, whilst Newcastle picked up a vital point in a 1-1 draw at Brighton.
Antonio Conte’s first Premier League match in charge of Tottenham ended in a goalless draw with Everton.
Player of the Week – João Cancelo
Manchester City’s marauding full-back was at the heart of everything as his side overcame their rivals in the Manchester Derby. His two assists led to City’s well-deserved victory and Cancelo’s flawless all-round performance rightfully earns him our Player of the Week accolade.