In what was being billed as a potential game of the season, defensive play won out. Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool was as drab and boring as the 0-0 scoreline suggests. The two sides, both lauded for their attacking ability, were nullified on the day as the points were shared at Anfield.
United themselves were able to almost completely dampen Liverpool’s attacking threat with Jose Mourinho’s tactical ability stifling their opponent’s usually so creative forwards. With regard to United’s own attacking, Liverpool did not really have to defend all that much as Mourinho’s game plan meant that the visitors stunted their own attacking ability.
Even though Manchester United’s game was an uninspiring one, albeit a defensive masterclass, there was a lot of action across the rest of the league.
The biggest and most frightening performance of the weekend came from Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s side outclassed Stoke City in a 7-2 demolition as they extended their lead at the top of the table. For City to hammer Stoke, who are usually defensively sound, it was clear that this was a warning to the rest of the league. Burnley played out a 1-1 draw with West Ham at Turf Moor with the visitors pleased with a point after Andy Carroll was sent off in the first half, while Swansea City returned from the international break with a win as they eased past newly promoted Huddersfield 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium.
Tottenham were able to break their Wembley hoodoo with a 1-0 win over struggling Bournemouth who sit in 19th after the game, while Everton were indebted to a late Wayne Rooney penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw with Brighton on Sunday. Pressure continues to mount on Ronald Koeman despite the point earned, with the Toffees massively underachieving this campaign. In the other Sunday game, Newcastle led twice but were pegged back by a double from Manolo Gabbiadini in an exciting 2-2 draw at St Mary’s.
Watford overcame Arsenal 2-1 in the late kick-off on Saturday with Tom Cleverley smashing home the winning goal following Troy Deeney’s penalty which was a point of contention as Richarlison went down under minimal pressure from Hector Bellerin. Perhaps the most surprising of results came at Selhurst Park as Crystal Palace downed reigning champions Chelsea 2-1 to record their first win of the campaign and make it two defeats in two for Antonio Conte’s men.
This all means that Manchester United remain in second despite their draw, with Chelsea and Arsenal both losing and only Tottenham making up ground on Mourinho’s men. United’s next Premier League game sees them travel to Huddersfield as they look to keep pace with City at the top. Playing away against a newly promoted team is never easy, but the players will be desperate to get the boring 0-0 draw with Liverpool out of their systems immediately.