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Matchday 8 roundup | Premier League 2019/2020

Ume Elvis
ANALYST
Feature
07 Oct 2019, 19:05 IST

Wolves' Adama Traore bagged a brace against Manchester City in what was the biggest shock of the week.
Wolves' Adama Traore bagged a brace against Manchester City in what was the biggest shock of the week.

We witnessed another weekend of exciting football, as the top 20 clubs in England battled it out for points in the Premier League.

The footballing action was spread across ten matches, with all teams attempting to gather momentum ahead of the international break.

As expected, there was no shortage of excitement, with matchday 8 serving up last-minute drama, comeback victories, shocks, and plenty of goals.

Tottenham Hotspur got the gameweek rolling with a trip to the south coast to take on Brighton. The Seagulls compunded Mauricio Pochettino's midweek agonies with a resounding 3-0 win over Spurs at the American Express Community Stadium.

The North London side came into the fixture off the back of their worst home defeat in their history; losing 2-7 to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League.

They would have sought to get a victory to boost their confidence. Instead, they made the worst possible start when Neal Maupey headed the hosts ahead inside the first three minutes after a blunder by Hugo Lloris.

The miserly kept piling on for Tottenham when Lloris had to be replaced after suffering what appeared to be a fracture when he dropped the ball on a routine catch that led to Maupey's opener.

It got progressively worse for the Londoners, as teenager Aaron Connolly doubled Brighton's lead thirty minutes later. The 19-year-old got his brace when he converted from Lewis Dunk's pass to put Brighton and Hove Albion 3-0 up and send their fans into delirium.

The defeat piles further pressure on Mauricio Pochettino who has managed just one victory from Tottenham's last six fixtures, with the elimination to League Two side Colchester United being the nadir of the dismal run.

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Incredibly, Spurs have not won away in the league since January and Pochettino could use the upcoming international break to come up with new strategies to get his side back on track.

There was also no respite for another under-fire manager in Marco Silva as Everton fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Burnley at Turf Moor.

The Toffees have been one of the league's bigger spenders in recent years. Yet, rather excruciatingly for fans, they have failed to translate this into positive results on the field.

Seamus Coleman was lucky to see just yellow after a horror tackle on Erik Pieters in the first half, but nine minutes into the second half, justice was ostensibly served, as the Irish international was sent off for a second bookable offence.

This made Everton's job much more difficult. They fell behind 16 minutes after the red card when Jeff Hendricks was left free to lash the ball home from a corner at the far post after some shambolic marking in the box.

The defeat means that the Merseyside outfit have lost four league matches on the bounce and have slipped into the relegation spots. At this rate, it is hard to see Marco Silva surviving the axe for much longer.

The clash of the weekend took place at Anfield, as Liverpool hosted a Leicester side that have been nothing short of brilliant under Brendan Rodgers' tutelage.

There were lots of underlying back stories to this fixture, with the most intriguing being Rodgers' affiliation with Liverpool in the past. Rodgers almost guided the club to their first Premier League title 2014 before falling short at the end and losing it to Manchester City.

It was a fixture between the leaders and the league's third placed side. Given the form of both teams, fireworks were expected.

What we got was a tight game with neither side giving much away. Sadio Mane put the home side ahead just before half-time with an expertly-placed finish from a James Milner through ball.

The hosts were content to sit back and protect their lead, handing the initiative to Leicester City. The 2016 champions were rewarded for their industrious approach when James Maddison equalised for the Foxes with just under ten minutes left. Adrian, for one, would not want to look back on that as he could have done better.

James Milner was Liverpool's hero in stoppage time.
James Milner was Liverpool's hero in stoppage time.

It seemed that Liverpool's 100% start to the Premier League campaign was about to come to an end. Just then, Sadio Mane was brought down by Marc Albrighton in the penalty box and referee Christopher Kavanagh pointed to the spot.

The VAR upheld the center referee's decision and the ever-dependable James Milner held his nerve to convert with what was virtually the last kick of the game.

The win saw Klopp's men extend their run of consecutive wins in the Premier League to 17; meaning they are just one behind Manchester City's record of 18.

Furthermore, it took them temporarily eight points clear at the top of the table and Sunday's events showed just how crucial a win this might be when the intricacies of the title race unfold.

A six-goal thriller was played out at Carrow Road, as Aston Villa hit Norwich City for five in the Canaries' back yard.

Brazilian forward Wesley was the star of the show, scoring two goals and assisting one. He could have had a hat-trick but missed his chance to do so from the spot when Michael McGovern saved his penalty.

Further goals were scored by Jack Grealish, Douglas Luiz, and Conor Hourihane but a defensive mix-up between Tyrone Mings and Tom Heaton in the 88th minute allowed Josep Drmic to score one and deny the Villains a clean sheet.

The victory saw Villa climb out of the bottom three upto 15th, while Norwich slipped to 19th on the table.

Watford and Sheffield United served up the only goalless draw of the weekend at Vicarage Road, with neither side doing enough to get all three points.

With the draw, Watford are still the only side yet to pick up three points this season and are rooted to the bottom of the league. Sheffield United continued their impressive form on their return to the top-flight and are currently placed 13th on the table.

West Ham United concluded Saturday's action when they hosted Crystal Palace at the Olympic Stadium in London.

Under Manuel Pellegrini, the Hammers have made steady progress, and came into the fixture in sixth place. Captain Mark Noble made grand proclamations of the club's ambitions to qualify for Europe this season ahead of the match.

Their hopes were given a major boost when their club-record signing Sebastian Haller opened the scoring in the 54th minute. Roy Hodgson's men were handed a lifeline when Haller went from hero to zero after committing a foul in the box, forcing Michael Oliver to point to the spot.

In the absence of their skipper and regular penalty taker Luka Milivojevic, left-back Patrick van Aanholt stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake to draw the Eagles level.

Ghanaian international Jordan Ayew got his third goal of the campaign when he put the visitors 2-1 up in the 87th minute. Ayew's late strike condemned West Ham to their first league defeat since the 5-0 mauling by Manchester City on the opening day of the season.

Sunday saw Arsenal host Bournemouth at the Emirates. Brazilian defender David Luiz's header in the ninth minute from a Nicolas Pepe corner was enough to hand all three points to Unai Emery's men.

Bournemouth, however, had several chances to get something, but were guilty of complaceny in front of goal, with Callum Wilson being the chief culprit.

The win means Arsenal are undefeated in eight matches in all competitions and head into the international break in third place, behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

Chelsea continued their impressive start to life under the stewardship of Frank Lampard and posted a thumping 4-1 win over Southampton at the St. Mary's Stadium.

Lampard has bounced back since his difficult start to the season with Chelsea.
Lampard has bounced back since his difficult start to the season with Chelsea.

Fresh off his first official call-up for the English national team, Tammy Abraham opened the scoring when he showed great technique to lift the ball over Angus Gunn. Despite the ball being cleared off the line by Maya Yoshida, goal line technology intervened within seconds and confirmed the lead for Chelsea.

His fellow academy product Mason Mount doubled Chelsea's lead in the 24th minute before Danny Ings gave Southampton a lifeline when he halved the deficit just six minutes later.

Second-half goals from N'Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi confirmed the result for The Blues and sentenced the Saints to their third consecutive Premier League defeat.

The shock of the weekend was delivered at the Etihad Stadium, with Manchester City falling to a 2-0 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The visitors had undergone a grueling trip to Eastern Europe when they traveled to Turkey to take on Istanbul Basakseshir in the UEFA Europa League and had less than 36 hours to prepare for this fixture.

This coupled with the fact that Liverpool had gone eight points clear with their victory the previous day meant that Manchester City were expected to romp to a routine win.

However, Nuno Espirito Santo has been one of the more difficult managers for Pep Guardiola, with Wolves having picked up a draw in the corresponding fixture last season. The hosts were also without the services of the highly influential Kevin De Bruyne, who was ruled out with a groin injury.

Defensive issues have cost City on occasions this season and this proved to be the case once again. Their back-line was all over the place against Wolves, with Nicolas Otamendi, Joao Cancelo, and Fernandinho at sixes and sevens for most of the match.

Going forward, the Cityzens lacked the verve and precision that they've become synonymous with. It was not a major surprise when Wolves went ahead through Adama Traore in the 80th minute.

With City pushing forward to force an equalizer, Traore pounced on a careless pass from Cancelo before netting his brace to double Wolves' lead in stoppage.

The defeat means City go into the international break eight points behind a rampant Liverpool. It might still be early days but Guardiola knows his side might come to rue this defeat come the end of the season.

Manchester United wrapped up the weekend's action with a visit to St James' Park to take on Newcastle United.

Both sides have not exactly been in inspiring form this season and it reflected in the quality of the game, with the match almost on the cusp of of resembling non-league football.

Teenager Matthew Longstaff scored on his debut to make it 1-0 in the 74th minute to take some pressure off Steve Bruce, while Ole Gunner Solskjaer continues to be under the pump. The Norwegian has failed to pick up a victory away from home in all competitions since their 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 last season.









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