Here’s what happened this weekend in the Premier League, in case you missed it…
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Leicester City 1, Liverpool 2 || Brighton & Hove Albion 2, Fulham 2 || Crystal Palace 0, Southampton 2 || Everton 1, Huddersfield Town 1 || West Ham United 0, Wolverhampton 1 || Manchester City 2, Newcastle United 1 || Chelsea 2, Bournemouth 0 || Cardiff City 2, Arsenal 3 || Burnley 0, Manchester United 2 || Watford 2, Tottenham 1 ||
WHAT STOOD OUT
Watford continues to be the surprise package of the season thus far, with Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Tottenham keeping them tied with Liverpool and Chelsea atop the table.
What’s been the key to their success? For one, they’re not giving their opponents much time on the ball. Through the first four games of the campaign, their opponents’ average possession length is 8.26 seconds, the third-shortest duration behind only Manchester City and Chelsea, as per @FB_WHISPERS. Also, their opponents on average lose the ball 57.39 metres from their own goal. That’s the second-best average of any side, behind Manchester City (55.62 metres).
So, it’s not just that Watford is winning the ball back so quickly, it’s also that they’re regaining possession so high up the field. Little wonder, then, that the Hornets have only conceded three goals, and have scored nine times – the same as Liverpool and Tottenham.
More to come from Liverpool and Chelsea?
Both Liverpool and Chelsea are 4-0 to start the season, but the Sportsnet panel wonders if both clubs have even hit top gear?
A reprieve for Mourinho
If ever Jose Mourinho needed a win, Sunday was it. After enduring a challenging week with widespread speculation about his future at Manchester United, Mourinho saw his side put in a top-notch performance in earning a convincing 2-0 road win over Burnley.
The Red Devils looked as though they would unravel after substitute Marcus Rashford was red carded in the 71st minute. His expulsion came just moments after Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart stopped Paul Pogba’s penalty attempt.
But United bunkered down, and bossed the rest of the game en route to recording its first clean sheet.
Alisson’s gaffe for Liverpool
When Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson received a terrible back pass, no teammate made himself available as an outlet, and Leicester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho was bearing down on him.
The smart play by the Brazilian goalkeeper would have been to knock the ball out of touch, and allow his team to reset defensively. Instead, he got cute and tried to dribble his way out of trouble. Iheanacho stripped him of possession and Leicester scored.
As Sportsnet commentator and former Premier League goalkeeper Craig Forrest said during Saturday’s broadcast: “Alisson thinks he’s better with his feet than he really is.”
Early in the second half with the score tied 1-1, Sergio Aguero shifted the ball to Kyle Walker. The Englishman took a touch and then hit a low, screaming drive from 25 yards out that blew by Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
Fulham goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli came up big midway through the first half, making a fabulous diving stop to deny Brighton & Hove Albion’s Pascal Gross from the penalty spot.
You have to love Andrew Robertson’s bullish run from off the wing, fighting off two Leicester players, before delivering the pass that led to Sadio Mane’s opening goal for Liverpool.
“I’m not going to be stupid and make the same mistake. We have to learn from our mistakes. It is part of my game but I am not going to be arrogant to stand here and say I’m going to keep doing it.” – Alisson
It’s going to take Alisson some time before he can live his mistake down.
THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
A complete performance by Senegalese forward Sadio Mane was one of the many reasons why Leicester City’s defence had a hard time containing Liverpool’s swarming attack on Saturday.
THE BIG QUESTION
Every week, Sportsnet’s soccer panel will debate The Big Question:
SIX PACK OF STATS
• Liverpool’s James Milner has now scored 80 Premier League assists, the same amount as David Beckham. Only six players have more in the history of the Premier League.
• Kyle Walker on Saturday scored his first goal for Manchester City in all competitions in his 52nd appearance for the club.
• This is only the second time in club history that West Ham United has lost its first four Premier League games in a season (also in 2010-11).
• Since his Fulham debut in February, Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored more goals (16) in English league football than any other player.
• Watford’s Jose Holebas has been directly involved in five Premier League goals this season (one goal, four assists), more than any other player.
• Manchester United have won each of their last 24 Premier League matches in which they’ve scored the opening goal.
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal: Set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal and then scored the later winner for the Gunners with a sublime finish.
2) Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United: The Belgian scored his first Premier League brace for the Red Devils since making his league debut for the club last August.
3) Glenn Murray, Brighton & Hove Albion: Bagged a brace to help the Seagulls earn a draw at home against Fulham.