Following the international break, England’s best got back to their respective campaigns in the Premier League for the fourth week of action; but who came out the best of the pack?
Stoke City 2 – 2 Manchester United
“But can they do it on a windy night at Stoke?” is a popular Premier League expression when discussing any team’s title credibility – and Manchester United struggled with exactly that, as many teams do when visiting Stoke’s home-ground. While United kept their attacking verve from previous matches, centre backs Jones and Bailly lacked composure and Stoke’s continuous pressure around and inside United’s 18-yard area allowed them to take two points off Mourinho’s side through new signing Choupo-Moting’s brace. United’s defence will definitely need to improve going forward as they’ll soon face much tougher tests than Stoke.
Manchester City 5 – 0 Liverpool
While this appeared to be an even match-up on paper, it ended up being anything but – primarily due to a 37th minute red card to Sadio Mané after a dangerous high challenge on City ‘keeper Ederson, resulting in needing to be stretchered off the field. With the extra man advantage and noticeable decrease in Liverpool’s early confidence, the combination of City’s front-line deftly passed their way through Liverpool’s defence multiple times after Aguero’s 24th minute opener, which was followed by two well-taken goals by Gabriel Jesus and another brace from Leroy Sané after he was brought on in the second half. Hopefully Liverpool manage to put this setback behind them quickly and return to the free-flowing football they displayed in their first three matches, but City will have been massively buoyed by their efforts.
Everton 0 – 3 Tottenham Hotspur
After Harry Kane’s dry spell in August, he hit the ground running in September by scoring his 100th goal to take Spurs to a comfortable 3 – 0 victory over Ronald Koeman’s Everton. The opener was a bizarre (possibly unintentional) cross-shot from Kane that managed to find the back of the net, but Everton were at fault for the subsequent goal as they poorly cleared a shot out of their box that Eriksen swept into the back of the net. Kane rounded out the afternoon after converting a Davies cross to take all three points and ask some serious questions about how much Everton have really improved with their slew of summer signings – they just don’t appear to have sufficient quality to compete with the top 6 sides.
Leicester City 1 – 2 Chelsea
Chelsea managed a hard victory against a Leicester City team determined to compete for all three points, despite facing off against the current champions. Alvaro Morata continued his good scoring-form for the Blues after he leapt highest to convert an Azplicueta cross with his head, but the goal of the game was reserved for former Leicester title-winner N’Golo Kante. The French midfielder rifled a shot in from outside the box that scrambled through a lot of bodies into the bottom corner and put the Blues 2-0 up. Despite a consolation penalty goal from Vardy, Chelsea managed to see out the game and now sit in third place, breathing down the necks of both Manchester sides.
Arsenal 3 – 0 Bournemouth
Despite the difficulties and uncertainty surrounding Arsenal, the Gunners managed a very smooth and comfortable victory against Bournemouth that may signify some of the urgency surrounding the club’s position. Wenger’s side played confident and slick-passing football all game, keeping Bournemouth’s defenders chasing ghosts and failing to deal with Arsenal’s mobile attackers. Welbeck was the forward doing all the damage and opened the scoring in the 6th minute, followed by an expert curling finish from new signing Lacazette. Welbeck added his second in the 50th minute with a textbook Arsenal goal building through midfield and ending with a low, angled finish past Bournemouth’s flailing keeper.
It was a good weekend for most of the chasing pack with Manchester United dropping their 100% record after their draw, with Chelsea and City the happiest clubs by clawing closer to pole position. United will be looking over their shoulder, and need to capitalise on their continuing easy start to rack up as many points as possible.
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