One side of Manchester was exceptionally happy after this weekend’s set of fixtures, while the other half put on a lethargic display and fell behind. More importantly though, there were a couple of shocks at the top of the table that has created a little bit of distance between the top three and the rest; so let’s dive into this week’s most important results!
Liverpool 0 – 0 Manchester United
This was supposed to be the headline match of the weekend, but unfortunately it petered out and didn’t live up to any of the hype. Liverpool hit the ground running and built up good attacks from the first whistle, but few of their chances really tested United’s keeper. The clearest chance came after a scramble inside the box, but De Gea managed to save with his foot, and Salah put the subsequent rebound wide. United had only a single clear chance in the match, which Lukaku swiped directly at Mignolet who parried the shot easily. Neither manager will be thrilled with this result, but Mourinho will be happy with the away point and the continuation of United’s unbeaten record.
Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Chelsea
Crystal Palace’s fortunes for the season took a remarkable upturn when they welcomed fellow Londoners, and current champions, Chelsea, to Selhurst Park. Palace put some quick passing and confident football on display and from the get-go managed to find space between Chelsea’s lines and create a lot of forward momentum. The Blues, on the other hand, left far too many gaps between their midfield and defensive lines, and paid for it when Azpilicueta was judged to put the ball into his own net off Cabaye’s shot, but Chelsea equalised from a corner seven minutes later through Bakayoko. Despite scoring no goals prior to this match, Palace would have the last laugh after brilliant dribbling by Wilfried Zaha which saw him get into an angled position and calmly pass the ball past Courtois. This marks Palace’s first win, but a frustrating day for Conte’s Chelsea who slip to 5th place.
Manchester City 7 – 2 Stoke City
Many expected this to be a tight affair, and although Stoke managed to drag the score back to 3-2 early in the second half, the match was really all about City’s on-song attack – masterminded by Kevin De Bruyne’s amazing passing and creation ability. City’s momentum was barely ever broken and they created attack after attack for nearly the entire game, starting their scoring through Gabriel Jesus, and then playing musical chairs from midfield to attack with their net-finders – with only Gabriel Jesus scoring two, joined by one each from Sterling, Fernandino, David Silva, Bernardo Silva, and Sané. The pick of the goals would have to be Fernandinho’s drive from almost thirty meters out that settled right in the top corner. This puts City two points clear of United at the top now, and with a vastly superior goal difference of 25 to United’s 19.
Watford 2 – 1 Arsenal
Watford have shown tenacity since making their way into the top flight a few seasons back, and they stayed true to form against the Gunners. Arsenal took the lead in the 39th minute after Mertesacker leapt highest to head home a Xhaka corner, but Arsenal failed to capitalise on their lead and Watford developed some attacking confidence in the second half. Their equaliser came fortuitously though, after Hector Bellerin was incorrectly penalised for a foul on Richarlison, and Troy Deeney slotted away the resulting penalty in the 71st minute. Arsenal would be robbed of their point in stoppage time after the ball ricocheted around the Arsenal box but dropped conveniently for Tom Cleverley who smashed it into the roof of the net from close range. This result puts Arsenal on 13 points, joined by Chelsea, Burnley, and Liverpool, and 9 points away from the summit.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Bournemouth
Spurs have had difficult adjusting to their new stadium, Wembley, having not registered a home victory since their move to the iconic ground this season. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth team gave a spirited account of themselves in the first half and managed to keep Spurs quiet, and even managed to fantastic chances of their own to go ahead, that they spurned. Spurs improved in the second half and managed to get more joy from Bournemouth’s well-drilled defence, but scored the opener and only goal in the 47th minute through an individual Christian Eriksen effort. He received the ball near the edge of the box and feinted his way past Steve Cook and slotted a low finish away. Their victory puts them in third place, just three points behind United.
City have emphatically announced themselves as favourites for the title after their massive victory over Stoke, and have another home fixture against Burnley next week to look forward to. Next weekend’s most promising match though will be Spurs hosting Liverpool at Wembley. Klopp will want to redeem their frustrating performance against United by getting a victory against Spurs, but Pochettino’s side will feel boosted after their first home win. Can City get another seven, again?
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