By Charlie Ryan
The final gameweek before the international break saw Manchester City impress on the road, Arsenal continue their fine home form, Harry Kane lead Spurs to victory with two goals, and more. Though these results do not possess any particular significance in the long run, a poor performance creates a negative mood among supporters and around the club, only to be heightened over next week when domestic concerns are shelved in favor of international aspirations.
Manchester City Dominate at Stamford Bridge
Pep Guardiola’s men, hindered by the injuries of Sergio Aguero and Benjamin Mendy, put on a tactically brilliant display in their 1-0 victory over fellow title challenger Chelsea. Looking cool in possession, the Manchester side constantly probed the Chelsea defense with fluid movement off the ball, cutting runs, and intelligent passing selections. Kevin De Bruyne’s thunderous left-footed effort from twenty yards out saw City take a deserving lead late in the game and grab all three points. This statement win by City solidifies them as favorites for becoming Premier League champs.
Arsenal Defeat Brighton in Comfortable Home Victory
Arsenal continued their unbeaten streak at home with a 2-0 victory over newly-promoted Brighton. Defender Nacho Monreal got on the scoresheet early in the match after the ball pinballed around the box and fell kindly to the Spaniard, who calmly slotted it in low and hard. Alex Iwobi rifled one in early in the second half after a series of quick passes in tight spaces, followed up with a delightful backheel from Alexis Sánchez to find the young Nigerian with space to shoot and double Arsenal’s lead. Pressure mounted in the closing stages of the game with the entrance of Glenn Murray, whose large stature was a handful for the Gunners’ defense, but he was not enough to spoil Arsenal’s clean sheet. This win sent Arsenal to fifth place, even on points with Chelsea, and well and truly in the title race.
Harry Kane Dazzles in Tottenham Road Win
Tottenham talisman Harry Kane found the back of the net twice in their cool 4-0 win on the road over Huddersfield. Dominant in possession, threatening on the attack, and composed in defense, Mauricio Pochettino’s men got straight to business, scoring three goals in the first half. David Wagner’s Huddersfield had no remedy to the Tottenham onslaught, conceding a fourth goal to Moussa Sissoko in stoppage time. Kane will look to continue his excellent goalscoring form as England faces Slovenia in World Cup qualifying later this week.
Liverpool Falter in Draw at Newcastle
Philippe Coutinho’s stunning trademark strike from 20 yards out to beat keeper Rob Elliot was the only solace Liverpool supporters found in their 1-1 draw at St. James’ Park. Their defensive woes continued when Joel Matip was caught out on the counter and Joselu equalized for the home side. Liverpool’s draw on Sunday leaves them in seventh place, tied on 12 points with Burnley and Watford. The Reds have only won once in their last seven in all comps. Jurgen Klopp’s failure to shore up his defense has proven to be a severe hindrance just seven matches in, and if not addressed, will likely eliminate them from title contention.
United Cruise at Old Trafford
Manchester United waltzed to a 4-0 home win over relegation favorites Crystal Palace on Saturday. Jose Mourinho’s side were never on the back foot, conceding only one shot on target from the South London side, while battering the opposition defense with five big chances created and seven shots on target. This was an expected blowout at the hand of Romelu Lukaku and co., who registered his seventh goal of the season and tops the leaderboards for goalscoring. United will look to match Manchester City’s statement away win at Stamford Bridge with a win of their own when they face a floundering Liverpool side at Anfield next match.
Harry Kane celebrates a goal in Tottenham’s win over Huddersfield.
An elated Kevin De Bruyne after scoring City’s game-winner vs Chelsea.
Alex Iwobi celebrates doubling the Arsenal lead on Sunday.
Romelu Lukaku scores his 7th goal of the season in Manchester United’s win over Crystal Palace