THE English Premier League returns with a full set of fixtures for the weekend after the international break. FocusM highlights some of the talking points from last night’s games.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 v Liverpool 3
The away side had a woeful track record in games in this time slot having lost the previous six. Jurgen Klopp’s men managed to turn the tide again, coming from behind, to finally put to rest the early kick-off hoodoo.
Wolves were great value for the first-half lead, overpowering a lethargic Liverpool team missing captain Virgil Van Dijk and his deputy Trent Alexander Arnold through suspension and injury respectively but the Merseysiders snapped out of their slumber to put three past a visibly tiring Wolves in the second half to keep their early-season momentum going.
Manchester United 1 v Brighton & Hove Albion 3
With off-field drama surrounding the futures of Jordan Sancho and Antony Matheus, Manchester United (MU) desperately needed some sort of tonic to boost dressing room morale. Brighton had other ideas, as they soon overpowered a disorganised MU side after an initially bright start by the home team.
Former MU striker Danny Welbeck came back to haunt Old Trafford with a superbly taken goal after Pascal Gross had opened the scoring for the Seagulls. MU did make a late charge, with substitute Hannibal Mejbri pulling one back but a 3-1 scoreline does not in any way flatter Brighton, who were extremely good value for the three points.
Jaoa Pedro completed the scoring for the visitors with the travelling supporters taunting Old Trafford with cries of ‘Can we play you every week?’ at the end.
Tottenham Hotspurs 2 v Sheffield United 1
Sheffield United’s travelling supporters must have thought their team had done enough to get their first win of the season. A well-taken goal by Gustavo Hamer in the 73rd minute gave the Blades the lead and the belief that they were about to pull off a hard-fought away win.
Alas, late goals from Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski gave the home side all three points as Ange’s post-Harry Kane revolution at Spurs gathers momentum. This result shows that the Spurs now have the tenacity to go with the champagne football that has been on display recently.
Fulham 1 v Luton Town 0
Luton are pointless and prop up the table but supporters will take plenty of positives from the performance. It was a solid, disciplined and passionate display from the Hatters but it was not enough to stop Fulham from taking all three points.
More performances of this ilk should see Luton climb up the table, whether beyond the drop zone remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Fullham are enjoying a fine start to their campaign as they sit comfortably in the top half with another satisfying win under their belts.
West Ham United 1 v Manchester City 3
Can anyone actually stop Man City from winning their fourth consecutive title? Despite the physical and mental exertions from winning a treble last season, their winning mentality remains unabated, swatting aside a spirited Hammers team that had the audacity to score first.
However in the end, it was business as usual for the reigning champions, with Erling Haaland again on the score sheet. If City’s dominance continues, the English Premier League (EPL) is in serious danger of turning into the Bundesliga which has had only one serial champion for the last 11 seasons. On current evidence, Pep’s side looks unstoppable.
Aston Villa 3 v Crystal Palace 1
The Eagles will be wondering just how they let this one slip after leading one-nil till the final three minutes of the allocated 90. Then an absolute rocket from Jhon Duran gave the Villans the equaliser before they added another two deep into injury time.
Palace will feel aggrieved that the penalty award that led to Villa’s second goal was not overturned by VAR and the capitulation was complete moments later when Leon Bailey added a third for the home side. A much-needed win for the Villans after recent wobbles against Newcastle and Liverpool.
Newcastle 1 v Brentford 0
Brentford started the game with the same fearless attitude as usual hoping to take advantage of Newcastle’s recent wobbles. The Bees put on a typically spirited display but the Geordies managed to dig out all three points with a dogged rather than stylish performance.
The win was secured courtesy of a Callum Wilson spot kick. The Toon Army faithful are hoping the Gulf money fueling the team’s resurgence will replicate Kevin Keegan’s swashbuckling sides, but they will also have recognised the importance of grinding out results like today’s. Ship steadied, for the moment at least, allowing Eddie Howe some breathing space. – Sept 17, 2023