Here’s what happened this weekend in the Premier League, in case you missed it…
READ ALL ABOUT IT
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Wolves 1, Manchester City 1 || Bournemouth 2, Everton 2 || Arsenal 3, West Ham United 1 || Huddersfield Town 0, Cardiff City 0 || Southampton 1, Leicester City 2 || Liverpool 1, Brighton & Hove Albion 0 || Watford 2, Crystal Palace 1 || Fulham 4, Burnley 2 || Newcastle United 1, Chelsea 2
WHAT STOOD OUT
Not just three wins. But three shutouts. That’s how Liverpool has started the season, its latest victory coming Saturday at Anfield over Brighton & Hove Albion courtesy of a goal from – guess who? – Mohamed Salah. Liverpool is level on nine points with Chelsea and Watford, but top the table due to a superior goal difference of plus-seven.
Thus far, the Reds have dispatched Brighton, West Ham United and Crystal Palace – none of them being world beaters. A visit to Leicester City on Saturday shouldn’t be too difficult, but sterner tests are not that far ahead: road games against Tottenham and Chelsea, and Manchester City at Anfield. We’ll soon find out if this flying start by Liverpool over mediocre teams can be sustained once they have to face serious competition.
The VAR debate
James Sharman and Craig Forrest debate the virtues of VAR, and if Saturday’s 1-1 draw between Wolves and Man City would have turned out differently if the review system was used in the Premier League:
Emery gets his first win
Finally! After a pair of losses to Manchester City and Chelsea, Unai Emery earned his first victory at the helm of Arsenal, as the Gunners beat West Ham United 3-1 on Saturday. It marked the first time in 22 years that a manager other than Arsene Wenger led Arsenal to a victory.
Whereas bad luck and a lack of finishing haunted the Gunners in their first two matches, good fortune finally smiled on them on Saturday. West Ham failed to clear its lines in the 70th minute and Aaron Ramsey headed the ball back into the area. It dropped for teammate Alexandre Lacazette, whose attempted cross deflected off of West Ham’s Issa Diop and into the back of the net. That own goal stood up as the winner.
Watford off to a strong start
Watford continued its strong start to the season with a 2-1 victory over visiting Crystal Palace on Sunday. It’s the first time in the Hornets’ history that they’ve won their first three matches of a top-flight campaign. As a result, they sit third in the table, tied with Chelsea and Liverpool, and ahead of Manchester City. Of course, it won’t last, but it’s still nice to see a team like Watford at the top of the table, even if only for a brief time.
Central to Watford’s success has been Argentine Roberto Pereya – the former Juventus midfielder has been directly involved in seven of Watford’s last 10 goals in the Premier League dating back to last season, scoring six and setting up another. Greek defender Jose Holebas has also been influential, especially at Vicarage Road, where he has one goal and two assists this campaign.
Watch as Jean Michael Seri gives Fulham an early lead against Burnley with a fantastic strike from outside the box:
Salah finished off a quick, counter-attacking move against Brighton with a sublime strike:
“I don’t work for the Premier League,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said when asked if VAR would have made a difference in Saturday’s 1-1 draw vs. Wolves.
It was back and forth between Fulham and Burnley, as the two sides combined for six goals in an entertaining affair at Craven Cottage:
A bit of an overstatement, but you get the idea…
THE GAME WITHIN THE GAME
One of the many reasons why Chelsea dominated possession against Newcastle in the first half was because of the play of Jorginho. The Italian was a wizard on the ball, completing all but six of the 92 passes he attempted, and continuously kept the ball moving, thus forcing the Magpies to chase.
THE BIG QUESTION
Every week, Sportsnet’s soccer panel will debate The Big Question:
SIX PACK OF STATS
• Mohamed Salah has scored 29 goals in 29 appearances for Liverpool at Anfield in all competitions.
• Since the start of 2017-18 season, Bournemouth have won a league-high 25 points from losing positions in the Premier League.
• Issa Diop is the eighth player to score an own goal in his Premier League debut and the first to do so for West Ham United.
• Wilfried Zaha is now Crystal Palace’s top scorer in Premier League history (24), overtaking Chris Armstrong.
• Richarlison’s red card was Everton’s 91st in Premier League history, more than any other team.
• Since Aleksandar Mitrovic’s debut for Fulham in February, no player has scored more league goals in the top four tiers of English soccer than the Serb (15, tied with Salah).
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Aleksandar Mitrovic, Fulham: Bagged a brace to guide the Cottagers to their first win of the season.
2) Eden Hazard, Chelsea: Put in a man-of-the match effort, registering five shots and scoring the winner.
3) Willy Boly, Wolves: Was the key figure in a back line that frustrated Man City, and he scored.