Leicester City 1-2 Liverpool: This was one of the better spectacles of Gameweek 4, the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday providing a very watchable game. Liverpool should have been a goal up in five minutes, Mo Salah scraping a sitter wide of the post, this didn’t live long in the memory though, as Liverpool went ahead through Sadio Mane just five minutes after Salah’s howler, Mane converting an Andrew Robertson cross from the left. The first half was a story that favoured the Reds, which was underlined on the stroke of half-time when Roberto Firmino lost his man to double Liverpool’s lead from a James Milner corner. The second half changed the game completely, Leicester flying out of the blocks and taking the game to their opponent. Liverpool’s £66m goalkeeper Alisson Becker handed the Foxes a way back into the game on 63 minutes, losing the ball in his own box after aimlessly trying to Cruyff turn. Kelechi Iheanacho stole the ball and passed over to Riyad Mahrez-lite player Rachid Ghezzal to slot home. Leicester kept up their assault and had some very good chances, Wes Morgan and James Maddison perhaps both should have scored, but ultimately couldn’t find a way through leaving three points in the hands of Liverpool.
Brighton 2-2 Fulham: The AMEX Stadium is one of the most difficult places for any team to go outside of the top 6, a fact which this resilient Brighton display underlined in an entertaining game. Fulham survived a Brighton penalty in the first half and took the lead on 43 minutes through André Schürrle, scoring his second in two games. Fifteen minutes into the second half, Fulham doubled their lead thanks to another Aleksandr Mitrović goal. Brighton rallied swiftly, main man Glenn Murray clawing back hope for the Seagulls just five minutes after Mitrović’s strike. Brighton kept up the pressure and were rewarded with an 84th minute penalty, which Murray dutifully stepped up for following Pascall Gross’s earlier spot-kick miss, slotting it away and saving a draw.
Chelsea 2-0 Bournemouth: Chelsea inflicted upon Bournemouth their first league defeat since 28th April this year, though it didn’t come easily. Bournemouth should have been ahead at the break had Callum Wilson and Nathan Ake been able to convert from close range either side of the half-time break. Chelsea had had chances of their own, Marcos Alonso hitting the post earlier in the match, and it was Alonso’s persistence from left-wing-back that saw the Blues make a telling breakthrough. Spanish star Pedro put the West Londoners ahead on 74 minutes, before Alonso broke into the area on 85 minutes and produced a deft reverse pass into the feet of Eden Hazard, who finished the game off. As much as I abhor Marcos Alonso, my principles go out of the window for my Fantasy Premier League tally, Alonso notching his fifth assist in four games.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Southampton: This week will be one that Christian Benteke will want to forget, after the Belgian missed a series of good chances that, in the absence of Wilfried Zaha thanks to a training injury, would have propelled him up the pecking order at Selhurst Park. This wasn’t the most gripping of encounters, the first half containing few moments of note – aside from a beautiful effort from Luka Milivojević which struck the top of the post. The first goal came just after half-time through local man Danny Ings, scoring his second for the Saints. Southampton had the chance to go two up when Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka handled the ball in the area on 59 minutes, but Charlie Austin was unable to get past Palace keeper Wayne Hennessey. Crystal Palace went all out for a goal which ultimately left them exposed late on, Southampton countering quickly leaving the Palace team stuck in their half for Pierre-Emile Højbjerg to seal the win three minutes into injury time.
Everton 1-1 Huddersfield Town: The Terriers produced a fittingly resilient showing away from home, sitting deep to soak up a dangerous Everton side. Their doggedness looked to have paid dividends when they took an unexpected lead on 34 minutes thanks to a Philip Billing header. However, their joy lasted all of two minutes, Dominic Calvert-Lewin guiding a header into the Huddersfield net from a delightful Lucas Digne cross from the left-hand side. The Huddersfield tactics worked a treat, limiting Everton to just one shot on target in the entire game. Town boss David Wagner identified Everton’s weakness from set-pieces and attacked it to great effect, and if he shows that level of tactical ability throughout the remainder of the season, he and Huddersfield could pull off a second shock survival.
West Ham United 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Wolves secured their first Premier League win since February 2012 at the London Stadium, much to the dismay of West Ham fans, who are rooted to the bottom of the league on 0 points after four straight defeats. West Ham had chances to get on the scoresheet, Michail Antonio and Marko Arnautović wasting the best of them. The moment of the match came right at the very end, in the third of four added minutes, when Wolves winger Adama Traoré broke free on the counter attack and smashed the ball past Łukasz Fabiański. West Ham have now lost their opening four matches for the second time in history, the last being 2010/11, a year in which they were relegated. Fingers crossed…
Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle United: A familiar tale in this one, Manchester City dominating the game heavily, creating an abundance of chances and taking all three points comfortably. Raheem Sterling put City ahead early on with an exquisite finish on eight minutes, a lead which was curtailed by Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin after thirty. Unlikely suspect Kyle Walker restored the advantage for City with an absolute thunderbolt of a strike from 30 yards, a goal so good it made Sterling’s effort look like a goal-line scramble. City went on to create a number of good chances and went for the jugular, but were unable to find the net again, Fantasy Premier League favourite Sergio Aguero having an uncharacteristically quiet day against Newcastle.
Cardiff City 2-3 Arsenal: Arsenal were far from convincing in this thrilling win. On numerous occasions they looked extremely shaky at the back, which was immediate from the offset with Petr Čech almost gifting Cardiff the lead with a misplaced pass to Harry Arter. Arsenal took the lead through Mustafi after 11 minutes, and lead until defensive frailties led to Victor Camarasa equalising on the whistle of half-time. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang restored the Arsenal lead on 62 minutes with a brilliant 20 yard finish into the bottom right corner, only to be cancelled out eight minutes later by Joel Ward, scoring his first Cardiff goal. It was Alexandre Lacazette that struck the decisive blow on 81 minutes, swivelling past his man in the area and rifling into the roof of the net. Cardiff will feel as though this was a point dropped though, captain Sean Morrison heading over right at the end of the match, which would have seen Cardiff avoid an undeserved defeat.
Burnley 0-2 Manchester United: Manchester United got themselves back on track after back-to-back losses with this victory at recent Europa League leavers Burnley. Romelu Lukaky scored a first half brace to set up a good second half for United, or so it should have been. Marcus Rashford was brought down by Aaron Lennon inside the area, leaving everyone beieveing the game to be over. Joe Hart overcame Paul Pogba however, keeping hope of a Burnley resurgence alive. On 71 minutes, things got very tasty. Rashford ws brought down by Phil Bardsley, who swung out at Rashford. Rashford reacted less than kindly, putting his head into the face of Bardsley, sparking a brawl and earning him a red card. The game was set alight by this incident, the game ascending into a remarkable end-to-end encounter with a rip-roaring atmosphere and a multitude of missed chances. For the neutral, this game had everything you could want, aside from a Burnley comeback.
Watford 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur: As a Spurs fan, I make no hesitation in saying that from a Spurs perspective, this result was an abomination. Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino made arrogant and needless changes from the 3-0 away victory at Manchester United and just didn’t bother to react during the game, failing to respect a Watford side in very good form, one of only four teams to have a 100% record prior to this game. The first half was highly uneventful, Watford were wary of Tottenham, and Tottenham were just incapable of doing anything. Watford sensed this in the second half and despite going behind after an Abdoulaye Doucouré own goal, they went for the jugular. Two set-piece goals in seven minutes from Troy Deeney and Craig Cathcart changed the complexion of the game completely, Watford being the dominant side in every aspect, a dynamic which didn’t alter through to the final whistle. Watford were deserved winners without a shadow of doubt, and fans of the Hornets will be very excited to see where Javi Gracia can take them this year.