Premier League weekend review: Costa a man for big occassions

Craig Forrest and Brendan Dunlop discuss Wayne Rooney setting the Manchester United scoring record and the fixture between Manchester City and Tottenham.

Here’s what happened in the Premier League this weekend, in case you missed it…

Saturday: Swans stuns Liverpool, Spurs come back vs. Man City and more
Special milestone: Rooney breaks United goal record
Sunday: Sanchez rescues Arsenal, Costa returns and more
Commentary: Lucky late winner masks Arsenal’s issues

Liverpool 2, Swansea City 3 || Middlesbrough 1, West Ham United 3 || Crystal Palace 0, Everton 1 || Stoke City 1, Manchester United 1 || Bournemouth 2, Watford 2 || West Bromwich Albion 2, Sunderland 0 || Manchester City 2, Tottenham 2 || Southampton 3, Leicester City 0 || Arsenal 2, Burnley 1 ||Chelsea 2, Hull City 0

Lucky Arsenal, Liverpool languishes
The top of the table looks a bit different than from the start of the weekend, as Arsenal leapfrogged Liverpool and Tottenham into second place. It must be said, though, that the Gunners were fortunate to earn a 2-1 win against Burnley. Playing with 10 men, Arsenal gained a penalty in stoppage time when Burnley defender Ben Mee was judged to have fouled Laurent Koscielny—the only problem was that Koscielny was offside. Alexis Sanchez stepped up and converted to give the Gunners a dramatic win. Really, it shouldn’t have come to that.

With all due respect to Burnley, Arsenal should have easily brushed them aside. Instead, Arsene Wenger’s men struggled to break down the Clarets, and the final score rather flattered them. Arsenal will take the win, of course, but this was hardly an impressive performance, and it won’t strike any fear in the hearts of league leaders Chelsea. Nor will Liverpool, who saw their 17-match unbeaten run at Anfield ended by Swansea City. The Swans climbed out of the relegation zone by earning their first league win away to Liverpool, a result that seriously dampens the Reds’ title hopes—they sit 10 points back of Chelsea. That’s not a huge gap to overcome, but considering the way Liverpool has played in recent weeks, it’s hard to see the Merseyside club seriously challenging for top spot.

A special day for Wayne Rooney

The penalty that never was but should’ve been
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was fuming (more on this later) on Saturday when Raheem Sterling was pushed by Tottenham’s Kyler Walker as he unleashed a shot from inside the box. The referee let play continue, and Spurs duly turned around, marched up-field and knotted the score at 2-2 through Son Heung-min on a set up by Harry Kane. There were several dreadful calls this weekend, but this one (a non-call) was the pick of the litter—Sterling was clearly fouled and should have been given a penalty. City ended up settling for a draw and remained in fifth spot in the table—incredibly harsh when you consider the way they came out flying and dominated Spurs for the first half or so.

Costa’s triumphant return
Diego Costa is a lot of things: a pest, a trouble maker and a nuisance. But he’s also a man with a keen sense of the big occasion. On Sunday, the Spanish international marked his return with a goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Hull City at Stamford Bridge. It was the perfect comeback performance for Costa, who sat out last week’s 3-0 win at Leicester amid reports of him falling out with the coaching staff after being linked with a move to the Chinese Super League.

Chelsea was playing in the last match on Sunday. Tottenham, Liverpool, and both Manchester clubs had all dropped points earlier in the weekend, so this was a perfect opportunity for the Blues to capitalize—and they did. Costa was back in the starting 11 and capped off an impressive first half with his 15th goal of the campaign just before the break. Hull’s steely resistance had been broken thanks to Costa, and it was all downhill for the Tigers at that point. Winners of eight straight at home, Chelsea will enter their next two league games—away to Liverpool and at home to Arsenal—with restored confidence now that Costa is back and showing no ill-signs from his time off.

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At 2-0 down away to Manchester City early in the second half, Tottenham looked dead and buried. But Spurs fought back to earn a draw in a thrilling contest with end-to-end action, drama and a bit of controversy.

Diego Costa’s “too much talk” goal celebration:

“I am sad for the players again because when we play sh*t I will say we are playing sh*t. It is a pity as they don’t deserve that.” – Pep Guardiola


Every week, Sportsnet’s soccer panel will debate The Big Question. Have your say by voting in the poll below:

• Wayne Rooney has scored more Premier League away goals (88) than any other player.
• Liverpool is the first Premier League team to score 50 goals this season, while Swansea City is the first to concede 50.
• West Ham United’s Andy Carroll has scored in successive Premier League games for the first time since April 2016.
• Manchester City on Saturday failed to win a Premier League game they were two goals ahead in for the first time since December 2014.
• Since the start of last season, Granit Xhaka has had more red cards (five) than any other player in the big five European leagues.
• Only Ryan Giggs (162) and Frank Lampard (102) have provided more Premier League assists than Cesc Fabregas (101, tied with Wayne Rooney).
Stats courtesy of Opta

1) Fernando Llorente, Swansea City: The Spaniard bagged a brace to help the Swans earn an important and historic win at Anfield.
2) Andy Carroll, West Ham United: The Hammers hitman bagged a double for the second week in a row.
3) Harry Maguire, Hull City: The young defender was brilliant in anchoring a back line that gave Chelsea’s attack plenty of fits.


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