Manchester United missed the opportunity to maintain their 100% start to the season as they drew 2-2 away at Stoke. If not for a fine save from Jack Butland in the final moments it could have been a perfect start to United’s season but as it was a draw is perhaps a fair reflection. Both sides attacked at pace early on but could not force an opening until Cameroon international Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting opening the scoring for the home side. United immediately hit back in first half injury time through Marcus Rashford from a corner. The away side then took the lead with Lukaku grabbing his fifth goal in as many games. The lead, however, did not last long as Choupo-Moting then equalised with 30 minutes remaining. Lukaku had a chance to win it 9 minutes from time but fired over and then Butland clawed the ball away in the 91st minute to rescue a point for Stoke. United stay top but now are level on points with City.
Arsenal probably won’t find more willing visitors to the Emirates this season than Bournemouth and after two defeats already this season that is likely a good thing. The home side got off to the best possible start with Danny Welbeck scoring after 6 minutes and Alexandre Lacazette doubled the lead before half time. The away side didn’t offer much in the first 45 but hit the post 3 minutes after the break. Not long after that opportunity, the Bournemouth midfield conceded possession in their own half and Arsenal broke with Danny Welbeck finishing well for his second, and Arsenal’s third. The score line could have been bigger but for some last ditch defending from Bournemouth who’s best chance came when Arsenal were down to ten men following an injury to Francis Coquelin but the clean sheet stood. Arsenal rise to 11th in the table and although it was a comfortable performance they will face tougher tests in the coming weeks. Bournemouth have had stages in previous seasons where they look candidates for relegation but turn it around, something they need to do sooner rather than later.
Manchester City retained their unbeaten record in style as they impacted Liverpool’s first loss of the season in the 5-0 drubbing at the Etihad. After a quiet opening 20 minutes, it took just one pass from Kevin de Bruyne to expose the away defence for Sergio Aguero to open the scoring. Then came the game defining moment as Sadio Mané looked to get onto a through ball but raised his foot to what was deemed a dangerous level and injured the City ‘keeper. He saw red and the home side tasted blood. Gabriel Jesus had an attempt ruled out for off-side but was then able to double City’s advantage in injury time in the first half. The Brazilian then grabbed his second after an unselfish Aguero squared the ball when through. Leroy Sané completed the rout with his brace, the second of which was the pick of the bunch. But for some fine saves by Simon Mignolet the afternoon could have been worse for Liverpool who fall away from the top of the table.
Chelsea move to a point off the top following their 2-1 win at Leicester City. Despite some nervy moments, it was a clinical performance from the champions as they gained their third win in a row. Both sides fluffed their lines early on as chances went begging. It was the home side who probably should have opened the scoring but instead, the opportunity was missed and less than a minute later Chelsea had the lead. Alvaro Morata heading home his third of the season to give a 1-0 lead at the break. Things then got better for Chelsea as former Leicester player N’golo Kanté doubled their lead in the 48th minute with a long range effort which came through a crowd and nestled into the bottom corner. Leicester did come back into the game after and on the hour mark Jamie Vardy won and converted a penalty to give them hope. They were unable to capitalise though and the game ended 2-1. Chelsea are currently 3rd in the league whereas Leicester drop to 17th with just one win from their opening games.
Tottenham won away from home for the second time this season as they hammered Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park. The fact this game ended only 3-0 was perhaps due to Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford who made some good saves despite poor defending from his back line. The opening goal, however, was rather fortunate as Harry Kane’s cross come shot looped over the young Englishman and into the net. It was Kane’s 100th Spurs goal and he would get his 101st just after half time. That goal made it three for the away side and although they did not score again the chances kept coming. Everton, on the other hand, did not offer much all afternoon and fans may grow concerned that they were unable to challenge one of the sides from the top six of which they are hoping to break into. Tottenham move 5th following the win whereas Everton drop to fifth from bottom.
Brighton had not scored in their opening three games of the season and so to come up against a team which had only conceded once so far would have concerned some fans. They did, however, have little to worry about as the home side recorded their first Premier League win in style, beating West Brom 3-1. They were made to wait almost a full half though until Pascal Groß scrambled in a shot which took a deflection off a defender on the way. Just after the break Brighton and Groß got their second. The home side broke quickly and the German midfielder shot before the defence could set themselves and West Brom were caught off guard. Groß was then involved in Brighton’s third as his excellent cross was headed home to seal the points. James Morrison pulled one back for West Brom with approval from goal line technology, which was perhaps fortunate for the Brighton defender who handled the ball on the line. Brighton stood firm through to get their season underway and climb the table. West Brom will be disappointed with the result as the first two goals perhaps could have been avoided but they remain in 9th place.
Watford are quietly impressing this season as they also remain unbeaten following their 2-0 win at Southampton. The away side were limited to long range efforts for the majority of the game but were able to convert two of them to take the points. Their back line was never truly troubled throughout the match as Southampton struggled to impact on the game. It is now three out of four games without scoring from Southampton which will start to become a concern, especially if they give up chances to the opposition. Watford climb to 4th in the table with two away wins and two home draws so far this season. They face Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea in the next five games so after that run we should have a better indication of how they will perform this season.
Burnley move up to 7th in the table following their 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace in the lunch time kick-off yesterday. After just 3 minutes, Chris Wood got his second goal in as many games after signing for Burnley in the summer. Palace then spurned chance after chance as they looked for an equaliser but were unable to convert any. They are still yet to score in the league this season and remain off the bottom of the league on goal difference. Palace did look better in this game though and so it is perhaps too early to write them off but they do play the top three sides in the next four games.
Jamaal Lascelles was Newcastle’s match winner in more ways than one in the second game yesterday as his side beat Swansea City away 1-0. Along with grabbing the match winning goal Lascelles had previously cleared a Swansea effort off the line to help his side keep their second clean sheet in a row. Newcastle are now up to 10th after their second win running, Swansea drop to 15th but look to have a favourable run of fixtures coming.
One match remains from the game-week as Huddersfield Town look to keep their unbeaten run going at winless West Ham. The home side are in desperate need of a victory to kick start their season as they currently sit bottom of the pile. Huddersfield will go at least 3rd with a win, or higher if it is a heavy one.
Despite not picking up another three points this weekend the opportunities to do so were there so there is little to concern United at the moment. A return to European football this midweek will be a welcome change but it must not divert their attention away from the league and Sundays encounter with Everton.