All square at Stamford Bridge as Man United hold Chelsea
Saints peg back Arsenal as City close gap
UK -There was a lot of movement at both ends of the table as Nottingham Forest disrupt Liverpool’s momentum, Chelsea and Manchester United draw, Southampton end Arsenal’s winning run, City narrow gap and Newcastle jump into the top four.
Nottingham Forest put in a superb performance to take all three points from Liverpool, halting Jurgen Klopp’s side’s recent revival. The City Ground was bouncing as Forest supporters enjoyed their best day since promotion to the top flight.
Forest set up in a compact shape and were very difficult to break down, leaving Liverpool frustrated. When the visitors did find a way through, they were denied by the excellence of Forest goalkeeper Dean Henderson and by poor finishing. However, as well as being solid defensively Forest were dangerous on the break with Taiwo Awonyi being supported by Jesse Lingard and Morgan Gibbs-White. Early in the second half Awonyi, who left Liverpool in 2021 without making a competitive appearance, hit the winner. Awonyi himself had been fouled by Joe Gomez as Forest broke away. The resultant free-kick was well worked by Forest and Awonyi finished from close range after his initial attempt rebounded off a post.
Forest held firm with Henderson making top-draw saves from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Virgil van Dijk. Most of Liverpool’s best opportunities fell to Van Dijk and the Dutch central defender, usually effective in the opposition’s box as well as his own, had an off-day in front of goal.
Liverpool, after looking as though they were building momentum with a resounding Champions League win at Rangers, a rousing victory over Manchester City and a midweek success over West Ham, were a long way from their best. They remain without an away league win this season and without a league win at the City Ground since 1984. This was a sluggish performance before their trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax in the Champions League. The loss of Thiago Alcantara with an ear infection did not help Klopp’s cause.
Steve Cooper has taken time to integrate a huge number of new players into his squad since promotion and Forest have had a difficult start in their return to the Premier League. However, their victory was thoroughly deserved and a platform to build on in the coming weeks.
A stoppage time header from Casemiro gave Manchester United a deserved point against Chelsea after an intriguing encounter at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea appeared to have clinched victory on 87 minutes when Scott McTominay was penalised after grappling with Armando Broja at a corner. Jorginho duly dispatched the penalty, and although defeat would have been harsh on the Red Devils, it looked as if Graham Potter’s tactical switch had given his side a vital win. After being outnumbered in the middle of the park and outplayed by Man United in the first half, Potter switched to a back four and put an extra man in midfield. Chelsea improved in the second period and looked to have earned a narrow win.
But Erik ten Hag’s side kept going and got the reward their performance deserved when Casemiro, impressive throughout, met Luke Shaw’s cross deep into added time. Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga got a fingertip touch but was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line as it came back off the inside of the post.
Ten Hag had left Cristiano Ronaldo out of the matchday squad for disciplinary reasons, and his side continued where they had left off in their midweek win over Spurs with a dominant first half display. They had the better chances and a combination of good goalkeeping from Kepa and poor finishing kept the scores level.
Potter’s tactical switch ensured that the second half was much closer. United, and potentially France, were dealt a blow when Raphael Varane left the field injured, with the former Real Madrid central defender clearly concerned about recovering in time for the World Cup.
The match then concluded with a helter-skelter finish and the final outcome of a draw was probably a fair result. Chelsea only managed two shots on target, however after surviving the first half, improving and taking the lead so late they will feel they deserved something from the game. Manchester United, on the other hand, will feel that they should have made their dominance count in the first half but will be pleased to have come back after conceding so late. Chelsea remain unbeaten under Potter and Ten Hag continues to put his stamp onto his Manchester United side.
Arsenal dropped points for only the second time this season, as Southampton extended their unbeaten run to three matches, in a one-one draw at St Mary’s.
Arsenal needed a victory to maintain their four-point lead at the top, after Manchester City’s win over Brighton on Saturday. They made a great start when Ben White’s cross was swept home by Granit Xhaka on 11 minutes. Gabriel Martinelli had a shot deflected wide and Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu denied Gabriel Jesus as the Gunners threatened to add a crucial second goal to cement their first half dominance. They were punished for not adding to their tally on 65 minutes when a flowing move from Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team led to Mohamed Elyounoussi playing in Stuart Armstrong who coolly finished.
The result leaves Mikel Arteta’s side two points clear of second-placed Manchester City, while Saints stay in 15th – three points clear of the relegation zone. Southampton have won eight points from losing positions in the league this season – only Crystal Palace have collected more after going behind.
Haaland at the double as City win, Magpies see off Spurs, Villa and Leicester hit four
Manchester City got back to winning ways against Brighton. Two first half goals from Erling Haaland, taking him to 17 in the league from 11 games, put City in control. Leandro Trossard put Brighton back into the game on 53 minutes before a Kevin de Bruyne strike sealed the points for City.
Newcastle United claimed an impressive victory at Tottenham Hotspur. First-half goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron gave Eddie Howe’s side a two-nil lead at the interval, and although Harry Kane pulled a goal back for Spurs, United, who have the best defensive record in the Premier League, held out for a win. Newcastle’s pressing and intensity unsettled Tottenham and the Magpies are proving to be a difficult team to play against.
Aston Villa’s first game after the sacking of Steven Gerrard saw them race into a three-goal lead inside 15 minutes against Brentford at Villa Park. Brentford improved in the second-half but Ollie Watkins added a fourth on 59 minutes to underline Villa’s dominance.
Leicester City scored with their first four attempts at goal as they hammered Wolverhampton Wanderers four-nil at Molineux to move off the bottom of the table. Elsewhere Fulham won at Leeds, West Ham beat Bournemouth two-nil at home and Everton beat Crystal Palace three-nil at Goodison Park.
City close in on Arsenal, Newcastle go fourth, Leicester out of relegation zone
Manchester City’s win over Brighton sees Pep Guardiola’s team move within two points of Arsenal who drew at Southampton. Tottenham, who were beaten at home by Newcastle, stay third with the Geordies making up the top four. Chelsea in fifth and Manchester United in sixth both have a game in hand over the Magpies. Fulham’s fine start continues as they sit in seventh with Liverpool back in eighth. Despite Nottingham Forest’s fine win over Liverpool, they finish the weekend bottom of the table. Wolves are a place above and Leeds United are third from bottom, with all three teams in the relegation zone on nine points. Leicester are now fourth bottom, two points above the relegation places, after their thumping win at Wolves.
The Premier League continues on Saturday October 29 and Sunday October 30.
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