Liverpool’s 17-match winning streak ends at Old Trafford; Sheffield United stun Arsenal and VAR’s hog the limelight
Manchester United ended Liverpool’s 17-match winning streak when the latter had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday. The hosts looked to be heading for a win on the back of Marcus Rashford’s 35th minute goal but Adam Lallana sneaked one in just five minutes before the final whistle to bring parity. Liverpool dominated possession, 68% to 32%, had more shots on target but had to wait long for the equalizing goal. The game’s major talking point surrounded Rashford’s goal, with Klopp adamant his side should have been awarded a free kick by referee Martin Atkinson for a challenge by Victor Lindelof on Divock Origi before the build-up to United’s goal. But the VAR (Video Assisted Referee) seemed to over-rule that. Manchester United still remain on a dismal 14th spot despite the draw while Liverpool maintain their top slot with 25 points, still 6 points ahead of closest rival Manchester City who closed the gap from 8 when they beat Crystal Palace 0-2 away at Selhurst Park.
Arsenal were pipped out of the Top four when they were shocked by Sheffield United away Bramall Lane 0-1 on Monday night. It was the same problem of failures in away games for the Gunners. Even a 68 per cent possession did not help with £72m signing Nicolas Pepe missing out on a golden opportunity to score from just six yards. The expensive French forward has found just one goal from his nine appearances for Arsenal and that, too, in the form of a penalty. But full credit to Sheffield United who have certainly shown plenty of grit on their return to the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in their shows against sides in the top six. Manager Chris Wilder Chris Wilder had challenged his new-look forward line to give Sheffield the cutting edge and Lys Mousset displayed just that, marking his first start for the Blades with a decisive goal in the 30th minute of play, shooting in Jack O’Connell’s knockdown from close range. Sheffield now sneak into the Top ten on the back of Monday’s win with 12 points from their 9 games while Arsenal move a couple of places down to the 5th.
Meanwhile Leicester City got the win they prayed for over Burnley to mark the anniversary of former owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s accidental death on an emotional day at the King Power Stadium. The visiting Clarets went ahead when striker Chris Wood headed the ball in from an excellent Dwight McNeil cross in just the 26th minute of play. Jamie Vardy replicated Wood’s act when he rose to head home Harvey Barnes’ cross to make it 1-1 at half-time. Youri Tielemans made it 2-1 for the hosts in the 74th minute when he powered a shot into the roof of the Burnley net. It was a bad moment for the VARs again. This time Burnley thought they had equalised through Chris Wood in the 82nd minute but his effort was controversially ruled out by the video assistant referee, which ruled the striker had accidentally tripped Jonny Evans before the ball entered the net. An overjoyed Leicester thus remain in the 3rd spot with 17 points while Burnley slip a place down to the 8th.
Chelsea edged out Arsenal out of the Top Four when they emerged winners in a hard-fought match against Newcastle 1-0 at home. Frank Lampard’s Blues are now in the 4th position with 17 points and have Arsenal’s Monday bungling away at Bramall Lane to thank for their improved rankings. Crystal Palace still find themselves at an impressive 6th despite their weekend home loss to champions Manchester City while European runners-up Tottenham Hotspur are still far away from their customary Top Four place. The North London find themselves in the 7th spot and should consider themselves fortunate that they didn’t slip a couple of places below after their Saturday’s 1-1 draw to Watford at the Tottenham stadium. Striker Abdoulaye Doucoure put the hosts immediately on the backfoot in just the 6th minute of play by sweeping a Daryl Janmaat’s cross past a hapless Paulo Gazzaniga who’s minding the posts in place of the injured Hugo Lloris for some time now. With the match slipping out of Tottenham’s grasp after the early Doucoure goal, the 86th minute saw Spurs mid-fielder Del Alli controlling the ball with his shoulder before turning it into the net. The visiting Hornets seemed to be have been given a late reprieve when the big screen said ‘no goal’ from Alli’s “shoulder” equaliser although referee Chris Kavanagh eventually made clear the goal stood. Watford will feel hard done by after more VAR controversy. It seemed like they should have had a penalty when 1-0 up in the first half as Arsenal defender Jan Vertonghen’s trailing leg brought down Gerard Deulofeu in the box. The VAR decided Kavanagh had not made a clear and obvious error in not awarding a penalty, so Spurs escaped. For a side that are at the bottom of the EPL table caoch Quique Sanchez Flores did wonderfully well in North London.
Everton moved up slowly away from relegation territory with a 2-0 win over West Ham who have slipped massively after a succession of defeats and are now out of the Top half of the table. The Wolves poor form continues as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home at the Molineux by a dour Southampton. Nuno Santes’s side have still not been able to break into the Top ten and in the 13th spot presently, behind clubs like Bournemouth (10th), West Ham (11th) and Brighton (12th). Newcastle have slipped into relegation territory after their away loss to Chelsea and have the company of Norwich City and Watford in that space.
Below are the standings of teams after 9 games with their respective points.