A drama packed encounter at the Etihad Stadium displayed Manchester City´s ability to grind out results, while highlighting the superb progress Fulham have made under Marco Silva.
City dominated proceedings early on. Andreas Pereira was arguably fortunate to avoid a red card for a late challenge on Rodri early on, and it did not take long for Pep Guardiola´s side to take the lead. Ilkay Gundogan received the ball in space from Rodri and split the defence for the in-form Julian Alvarez to crash a right-foot shot into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
The Citizens had chances to double their lead however, the match was turned on its head when Harry Wilson went through on goal before being blatantly barged by Joao Cancelo, resulting in a red card for the City defender and a penalty for Fulham. Pereira despatched the spot-kick, sending Ederson the wrong way to bring Fulham level, however, an angry home crowd spurred City on as Guardiola bravely left his side with three at the back and remained committed to seeking a win.
The penalty was Fulham’s first effort at goal, and they rarely threatened afterwards, even with the extra man, being content to sit deep and frustrate their hosts. City missed chances and it appeared as if Fulham would hold out. Erling Haaland, after two games out through injury, came off the bench and thought he had given City the lead when he headed home a Kevin de Bruyne cross with 15 minutes remaining, but VAR showed he was offside. City attacked with increasing desperation, and Fulham even began to look as if they could present a danger on the break. Haaland came no closer to scoring until Antonee Robinson tripped De Bruyne inside the area in injury time. Haaland took responsibility and fired his penalty into the bottom corner, despite the best efforts of Bernd Leno who got his hands to it, sparking wild celebrations.
Fulham came within seconds of claiming a draw and their organisation and spirit was admirable. As the season continues, they are establishing themselves as a genuine Premier League side who are difficult to beat.
Chelsea 0 Arsenal 1
Arsenal gave another indication that they are genuine title contenders with a deserved win at Stamford Bridge. The win takes the Gunners two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.
Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table as Gabriel’s close-range finish gave them victory away to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The visitors started strongly with Gabriel heading wide inside the first two minutes. Then Ben White shot wide from 15 yards, Gabriel Martinelli bent an effort over the bar and Gabriel Jesus was denied by a superb block by had Thiago Silva. However, Jesus should have done better when he was found at the back post by Martinelli, but his header failed to find the target from eight yards out.
Chelsea, by contrast, struggled to create chances with their former Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang quiet. Arsenal broke the deadlock on 63 minutes defender Gabriel after the hosts failed to deal with Bukayo Sako’s corner. Jesus was involved in the build as he gained possession from Silva and shot at goal, with Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy sending it behind for a corner. Saka swung the ball in, and Chelsea failed to clear before Gabriel volleyed into the net from close-range.
It was a great win for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal, and though they deserve great credit, Chelsea will be disappointed. Manager Graham Potter made a great start; however, it is two points from the last four Premier League matches for the Blues who now sit seventh in the table.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 Liverpool 2
A Mohamed Salah double saw Liverpool notch their first Premier League away victory of the season. Jurgen Klopp´s side have have lacked consistency and have made a disappointing start to the season, and there have been many games which have been held up as being turning points from which the Reds have been expected to kick on. Positive moments for Liverpool this season have been followed by more underwhelming results. They will be hoping that their midweek win over Napoli followed by this victory over Spurs genuinely does prove to be the return to their old levels of performance and consistency. Klopp will be delighted with this win at Spurs, who are shaping up as rivals for a place in the top four.
Salah, who has often cut a frustrated figure this season, was the inspiration, sweeping home left-footed from Darwin Nunez’s pass after 11 minutes, then capitalizing on Eric Dier’s misplaced headed back-pass to double Liverpool’s advantage on 40 minutes.
Spurs, missing the injured Son Heung-min, competed throughout, Ivan Perisic hit the woodwork either side of half-time before Harry Kane reduced the arrears on 70 minutes. Substitute Dejan Kulusevski, making his return from injury, provided Kane with the chance moments after coming on. He has proved to be a big miss for Antonio Conte´s side and his return hints at better things ahead for Tottenham. However, they failed to complete one of the comebacks, which is fast becoming a trademark this season. Spurs have often been accused of letting the first half pass them by this season. This was not the case today, they responded well to Salah´s opener and asked questions of Liverpool all game. They were, however, made to pay for their errors.
Liverpool look more solid at the back with Ibrahima Konate back in the side, however, they are still allowing the opposition too many chances, and rode their luck at times today. It is though, another positive result after their morale boosting performance against Napoli and it must be built upon if they are to make a charge up the table.
Magpies put Saints to the sword, Leeds comeback culls Cherries, Emery enjoys winning start at Villa.
Newcastle United moved into third position in the table with a four-one win at Southampton. Eddie Howe´s side were solid rather than spectacular and took the lead through Miguel Almiron´s seventh goal in his last seven games. However, Southampton had competed well and, against the meanest defence in the league, had chances either side of half-time, which they failed to take. They were punished when substitute Chris Wood turned to fire a great strike into the bottom corner on 58 minutes, before a swift counterattack saw Kieran Trippier play in Joe Willock for a third. Southampton got a consolation from Romain Perraud, before Bruno Guimaraes rounded things off with a fine curling effort.
Leeds United came from three-one down to beat Bournemouth four-three at a bouncing Elland Road with Crysencio Summerville hitting the winner on 84 minutes.
Unai Emery got off to a great start as Aston Villa manager with a deserved victory against Manchester United at Villa Park. The hosts were 2-0 up after 11 minutes through Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne. A shot from Luke Shaw took a wicked deflection off Jacob Ramsay to put United back in the game but Ramsay responded perfectly, latching onto a through ball to restore Villa´s two-goal advantage.
Elsewhere there were wins for Brighton at Wolves, Leicester at Everton and Crystal Palace at West Ham, while Nottingham Forest and Brentford shared four goals for a point each at the City Ground.
Arsenal continue to lead the table by two points from Manchester City. Newcastle move into third with Tottenham fourth. Manchester United and Brighton make up the top sixth with Chelsea and Liverpool back in seventh and eighth respectively. Leicester´s win at Everton lifts them away from the relegation zone, overtaking West Ham, Everton, Bournemouth and Southampton, who drop into the bottom three ahead of 19th placed Wolves and 20th placed Nottingham Forest. Only five points separate bottom placed Forest from twelfth placed Leeds.
EFL Cup resumes
Midweek action shifts to the EFL cup. Bournemouth host Everton in arguably the pick of Tuesday´s ties, while on Wednesday Chelsea travel to Manchester City, league leaders Arsenal host Brighton, Newcastle United are at home to Crystal Palace and League One Derby County face a daunting trip to Anfield. Thursday evening sees Manchester United get an early opportunity to avenge Sunday´s defeat to Aston Villa when the two sides lock horns at Old Trafford.
The final round of Premier League fixtures before the World Cup take place on Saturday November 12 and Sunday November 13.
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