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Everton versus Liverpool. Romelu Lukaku of Everton celebrates scoring his teams first and equalising goal in the 45th minute (Photo by Paul Keevil/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)
Premier League

Premier League Matchday 4: The good, bad and bizarre

(Paul Keevil/Actionplus/Icon Sportswire)
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Throughout the Premier League season, Sebastian Noren will provide analysis from the week of games, talking about the good, the bad and the bizarre.

The Premier League has finished up its fourth week of play. Manchester City took a big win over rivals United in the Manchester Derby, while Romelu Lukaku netted a hat-trick in Everton’s win over Sunderland. Here’s a full rundown of what happened over the weekend.

 

City Victorious in Manchester Derby

What Happened: Manchester City took a big win on Saturday, as they defeated heated rivals Manchester United 2-1 in the derby at Old Trafford after goals by Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho. City stay perfect with four wins in four games, and tops the Premier League table.

City took command of the game in the first half, as they dominated possession and forced United to make errors when they finally did have the ball by pressing high. The away side took the lead in the 15th minute through Kevin De Bruyne who had an excellent game for City. The Belgian international got a breakaway after a flick by Kelechi Iheanacho and slotted the ball in behind David De Gea with a well-placed shot in the bottom left corner.

Iheanacho made it 2-0 in the 36th minute after pouncing on a rebound after De Bruyne hit the post.

United got a lifeline shortly before halftime when Zlatan Ibrahimovic found the back of the net after an error by City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. The netminder, who was making his City debut, came out to handle the ball but ended up crashing into his own defender and spilled the ball to Ibrahimovic, who showed great composure to get the ball into the back of the net.

United looked a lot better in the second half, with Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford coming on at halftime to replace Mkhitaryan and Lingard, but City held on to grab the win.

Seb’s Take: United were extremely poor in the first half, and the decision by Mourinho to start Mkhitaryan and Lingard really came back to bite him in the ass, as both players had extremely poor showings before getting subbed off at halftime. De Bruyne was brilliant for City and seems to be flourishing in Pep Guardiola’s system.

 

Watford Impress In Comeback Win Over West Ham

What Happened: Watford managed  to turn a 2-0 deficit against West Ham United into a 4-2 win at London Stadium on Saturday.

The Hammers looked like they were cruising towards an easy victory, as they were up 2-0 after 33 minutes. Michail Antonio opened up the scoring in the 5th minute to get the homeside a perfect start. The England international scored on a header after a corner by Dimitri Payet who was back in the starting lineup after recovering from injury. Antonio added a second in the 33rd minute on another header after an absolutely stunning rabona cross by Payet.

But Watford came storming back. Ohio Ighalo made it 2-1 in the 41st minute after his shot inside the penalty area took a deflection and ended up in the back of the net. Ighalo’s striking partner Troy Deeney tied things up just before halftime after West Ham goalkeeper Adrian and James Collins botched things up, allowing Deeney the chip the ball into an open net.

Etienne Capoue continued his hot streak, as he gave the visitors the lead in the 53rd minute. Capoue has three goals in four games for the Hornets. Jose Holebas put the game out of reach for West Ham with a goal in the 63rd minute, to earn Watford their first win of the season.

Seb’s Take: Watford showed great resilience to come back from the 2-0 deficit. Dimitri Payet showed that he is still capable of some extraordinary things, and his assist on Antonio’s second goal was a real treat. Things were shaky at the back for West Ham, with Collins having a particularly poor game.

 

Arsenal Pulls Out Late Win

What Happened: Arsenal managed to come away with a 2-1 win over Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday after a late winner by Santi Cazorla.

It was Southampton that took the lead in the game, after an own goal by goalkeeper Petr Cech. Dusan Tadic hit a free-kick that went off the bar and hit Cech in the back of the head before trickling over the goalline. The Gunners tied things up in the 29th minute through centre back Laurent Koscielny who scored with an acrobatic bicycle kick from inside the penalty area.

Arsenal failed to create a lot of clear-cut chances, but they managed to get the win in the end after Cazorla scored from the penalty after Jose Fonte was deemed to have pulled Olivier Giroud’s shirt inside the penalty area.

Seb’s Take: Southampton squandered their chances in this one, with Shane Long missing a couple of opportunities. Arsenal will take the three points and try to build on it. Shkodran Mustafi made his first appearance for the Gunners, and he and Koscielny definitely have the capability to form a really strong centre back pairing. Southampton are still without a win this season, and will look to change that next weekend against Swansea.

 

Tottenham Dominates Stoke

What Happened: After an unconvincing start to the season, Tottenham showed that they have a slew of offensive firepower by beating Stoke City 4-0 at the Bet365 Stadium.

Heung-Min Son opened up the scoring for the visitors in the 41st minute and the South Korean international added a second in the 56th minute to extend the lead. Dele Alli made in 3-0 three minutes later before Harry Kane rounded off the scoring in the 70th minute with his first goal of the season.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes was sent off in the first half for verbally abusing the fourth official after Marko Arnautovic was shown a yellow card for simulation.

Seb’s Take: Spurs have looked a bit sluggish in the early parts of the season, but the win over Stoke is definitely the type of result that could kickstart their season as they try to compete at the top of the table and improve on last season’s third-place finish. Stoke are stuck at the bottom of the table with just one point in four matches.

 

Palace Picks Up First Win Of The Season

What Happened: Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha both found the back of the net as Crystal Palace grabbed their first win of the season by beating newcomers Middlesbrough 2-1 at Riverside.

Benteke was brought in for big money from Liverpool, and the Belgian striker has started paying it off, as he got the opening goal for Palace against Middlesbrough. Zaha put a well-measured cross into the box and Benteke leaped over his defender to head the ball in behind Victor Valdes.

Daniel Ayala showed that he’s pretty good at heading as well, as the Middlesbrough centre back scored with a powerful header to tie things up in the 38th minute. Zaha scored what turned out to be the winner in the early goings of the second half.

Seb’s Take: Palace finally got a win after opening the season with two losses and a draw. Benteke could easily turn out to be the difference between a comfortable mid-table finish and battling near the relegation zone. The Belgian cost the Eagles an initial fee of £27 million, but it could rise by another £5 million in add-ons. But fans will surely see it as well invested money as long as he keeps on scoring.

 

Wilson Comes Up Big For Bournemouth

What Happened: Callum Wilson scored the lone goal in Bournemouth’s 1-0 win over visiting West Bromwich Albion at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

Wilson’s goal in the 79th minute secured the first win of the season for Bournemouth, as they had one draw and two losses heading into this weekend. The Cherries dominated possession and created some chances, but WBA has shown on many occasions that they are difficult to break down.

Wilson, who missed a large chunk of last season due to injury, found the back of the net with a nice flick to break the deadlock. Jack Wilshere made his debut for Bournemouth as he came off the bench in the second half, much to the delight of the fans at Vitality Stadium.

Seb’s Take: It was a big win for Bournemouth that are looking to avoid the relegation battle in their second year in the league. With Wilshere joining the club on loan, they have added a quality player in their quest for survival. WBA continues to try to bore the opposition to death and then grab a goal on the counter attack or a set piece.

 

Snodgrass Rescues Point For Hull

What Happened: Robert Snodgrass followed up his impressive performance for Scotland during the international break by scoring the tying goal deep into stoppage for Hull City in their 1-1 draw against fellow newcomers Burnley on Saturday at Turf Moor.

The Scotsman scored a hat-trick for his country during the international break as Scotland took a 5-1 win over Malta to open up their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Belgian international Steven Defour gave Burnley the lead in the 72nd minute with his first ever Premier League goal. Snodgrass rescued a point with a brilliant free-kick deep into stoppage time to tie the game.

Seb’s Take: Hull has been impressive so far this season, picking up seven points in four games, despite having a very thin squad and a lot of off field issues. Having manager Steve Bruce leave the club just three weeks before the start of the season surely wasn’t ideal, but it didn’t seem to have impacted the players in a negative way.

 

Liverpool Smash Champions Leicester

What Happened: Liverpool picked up an impressive 4-1 win over reigning champions Leicester City in the late game on Saturday at Anfield. It was the first game with the new main stand at Anfield, which has raised the capacity of the stadium with about 8,000 seats to bring the total capacity up to 54,074.

And the fans were treated to a good display by Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Reds took the lead in the 13th minute through Roberto Firmino. Sadio Mane extend the lead in the 31st minute before Leicester snatched one back through Jamie Vardy after a huge error by a Liverpool defender in the 38th minute. England international Adam Lallana restored the two-goal lead in the 56th minute with a real screamer before Firmino capped things off with his second of the game with one minute remaining.

Seb’s Take: Liverpool have been a very bipolar side, mixing great performances with some subpar outings, like the 2-0 loss to newcomers Burnley. But on Saturday they were on their game, and despite the error that led to Vardy’s goal, the Reds can be happy with they did. Leicester look like they have the championship hangover, and it might take a while before all the new players adjust to life in the Premier League.

 

Costa Rescues Draw For Chelsea

What Happened: Chelsea only got a point in their meeting against Swansea on Sunday, as the game at the Liberty Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw.

Costa gave the visitors the lead in the 18th minute with a deft finish in the bottom right corner from around the penalty area. Swansea turned things around in the second half, as they were gifted a penalty in the 58th minute when goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois brought down Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic midfielder smashed the ensuing penalty smack down the middle to tie the game. Leroy Fer then gave the Swans the lead in the 62nd minute after dispossessing Gary Cahill of the ball and getting a one-on-one with Courtois.

Costa salvaged a point for the Blues with a magnificent bicycle kick from close range in the 81st minute.

Seb’s Take: Costa had a great game for Chelsea, and showed that he can be a very effective player. The Swansea defenders tried to get under his skin, but he ended up frustrating them instead. Fer clearly fouled Cahill before netting the second Swansea goal, and the Chelsea centre back had every right to be fuming afterwards, as he criticized referee Andre Marriner.

 

Lukaku Hat-Trick Hero For Everton

What Happened: Romelu Lukaku had a great game for Everton in the 3-0 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Monday, scoring all three goals.

After a scoreless first half, Lukaku opened up the scoring in the 60th minute with a header. His second goal came eight minutes later, also on a header, and he completed the hat-trick in the 71st minute with a well-placed shot to beat Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland net.

The win puts Everton in third place with 10 points, level with second-placed Chelsea and one point ahead of fourth-placed Manchester United.  

Seb’s Take: It was a bleak evening for former Everton manager David Moyes, as he saw his new side thoroughly beaten after some quality finishing by Lukaku. Ronald Koeman seems to have had an immediate effect on the Everton team that struggled last season under Roberto Martinez.

 

The Good: Romelu Lukaku

The Belgian striker was on target in the game against Sunderland, scoring all three goals in the 3-0 win. Lukaku was rumored to want a move away from Goodison Park, but after a talk with new manager Ronald Koeman, he’s set on spending at least one more season at the club.

That could turn out to be huge for the club, as he’s been a quality striker for them since joining from Chelsea in 2013 on loan. They quickly saw his potential and signed him permanently the following summer, and since then he’s scored 31 league goals for the club.

 

The Bad: Mark Clattenburg

It’s never a good thing when referee’s become the center of attention, but it feels like Mark Clattenburg loves making his mark on the game by making a controversial decision. In the Manchester Derby he missed a clear penalty for United, as City goalkeeper clattered into Wayne Rooney with the studs showing after fiddling around with the ball at his feet. Clattenburg deemed it to be a 50/50 challenge and opted not to blow his whistle.

It was a 50/50 challenge, but Bravo leading with his studs is a dangerous play, and it’s appalling that Clattenburg once again put himself in the spotlight by not giving the penalty. The FA needs to stop picking Clattenburg as the referee for the big games, as he’s clearly more interested in making himself stand out instead of correctly judge the game.

 

The Bizarre: Liverpool

Liverpool have been a bipolar side so far this season. They opened up the season with a thrilling 4-3 win over Arsenal, before falling 2-0 to newcomers Burnley the following week. After a 1-1 draw against Tottenham before the international break, they came out swinging on Saturday against reigning champions Leicester. The Reds did a great job of playing with pace and creativity, with Firmino scoring twice and Lallana finding the back of the net with an absolute laser of a shot. The only negative is that they still look a bit fragile at the back, and a huge error led to the goal for Leicester by Vardy.

Premier League Matchday 4: The good, bad and bizarre

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