Liverpool 2-3 Swansea City
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I really didn’t expect much excitement from Swansea City’s trip to Anfield. The Swans went into Saturday’s match sitting dead last in the Premier League. Liverpool, on the other hand, were firmly in the title hunt with the chance to pull closer to Chelsea with a win. I’d be shocked if any Swansea fans really expected to take even a point form this clash, but what a day it would turn out to be for the Welsh club.
Despite a strong start from Liverpool, it was Swansea that came within inches of taking the lead in the 19th minute. Tom Carroll, who just joined the club from Tottenham, took a tight-angled shot from the left wing that took a deflection off of Dejan Lovren before smacking off the post and out of play. Carroll’s close-call was the closest either side got to scoring through the opening 45 minutes.
In the opening five minutes of the second half, Fernando Llorente gave the Swans a surprise lead. Liverpool failed to deal with Swansea’s corner and Llorente was there to stab the ball home on the edge of the six-yard-box. The Spanish striker doubled his tally in the 52nd minute when he headed home Carroll’s cross to shock Anfield and give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
The 2-0 lead was quickly cut down to one with Roberto Firmino nodding home a cross from James Milner in the 55th minute to give Liverpool some hope. The Brazilian would mimic Llorente’s two-goal effort finding the back of the net again 15 minutes after his first. A brilliant piece of chest control ended with Firmino firing a venomous volley into the back of the net. 2-2. Could Liverpool find a third to complete the comeback?
Much to the surprise of everyone watching, Swansea were the club to find the decisive third goal. A brilliant run from Carroll into Liverpool’s penalty area eventually saw the ball deflect out to Gylfi Sigurdsson who dinked his shot past Simon Mignolet.
The Icelandic midfielder’s goal was good enough to seal a historic win for Swansea and their new manager Paul Clement. The result sees Swansea push all the way to 17th in the table, while Liverpool drop down to fourth.
Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham
With Liverpool dropping points earlier in the day, the weekend’s blockbuster clash between Manchester City and Tottenham carried even more significance. If there was ever going to be a time for Spurs to top City at the Etihad, it was going to be Saturday. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were one of the most, if not the most, in-form clubs in the league, and the dynamic form of Dele Alli and Harry Kane looked set to tear apart City’s piecemeal defense.
City started the match off on the front foot with David Silva and Sergio Aguero both trying their luck in front of goal, but neither could deliver a lethal touch. Although the two sides went into the break deadlocked, you’d have to say that City probably deserved at least a goal for their troubles.
They finally got that goal in the 49th minute. A brilliant long ball from Kevin De Bruyne was missed by Hugo Lloris and fell through to Leroy Sane. The German teenager was never going to miss the empty net, and City found themselves with a deserved 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, another howler from Lloris after a cross from Raheem Sterling gifted De Bruyne with a tap-in and the hosts suddenly had a very comfortable lead in the match.
Just before the hour mark, Spurs gave themselves a lifeline. A swerving cross from Kyle Walker on the right flank was nodded home by Alli, and it was clear that this match wasn’t close to being done and dusted.
The big moment of discussion from the match came in the 76th minute. Sterling was clean through on goal when Walker gave him a slight push from behind to force him off balance. Sterling elected to stay on his feet and fire a half-hearted shot away, and he probably expected to get a penalty kick out of it. Somehow, Andre Marriner decided the push was clean and Spurs escaped without a scratch.
Moments later, Spurs were at the other end and Heung-min Son fired his shot into the bottom corner to save a 2-2 draw for the visitors. City and Guardiola will argue that they should’ve taken all three points from this match, but they’ll have to settle for the one. Spurs now sit third, while City maintain their two-point lead over Manchester United in fifth.
Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
Another matchup that probably didn’t catch too many eyes this weekend was Burnley’s trip to take on Arsenal. While this fixture didn’t produce the most goals out of the weekend, it definitely gave us the most exciting ending. A win for the Gunners would push them all the way up to second in the table, but that would prove to be easier said than done.
The two sides exchanged chances through the first half, but none of their shots really tested the opposition’s keeper. A somewhat dull affair through the opening 45 minutes would be more than made up for in the second half.
We finally got to see a goal just before the hour mark. Mesut Ozil’s corner kick was met by his compatriot Shkodran Mustafi. The defender’s glancing header had just enough on it to sneak into the far side-netting and Arsenal now had a slim one-goal lead to build on for the next 30 minutes.
The joy of Mustafi’s opener was quickly wiped out as Granit Xhaka earned himself a straight red card five minutes later. His rash challenge on Steven Defour will now see him sit out the Gunners’ next four matches, including a clash against Chelsea. In a more immediate sense, however, Arsenal would now have to play the remaining 25 minutes with just 10 men.
In the 92nd minute, we saw more drama unfold as Francis Coquelin’s challenge on Ashley Barnes gifted Burnley a last-gasp equalizing chance. Andre Gray’s penalty kick narrowly snuck past Petr Cech down the middle of the goal, and now the two sides were deadlocked at 1-1.
To make matters worse for Arsenal, Arsene Wenger earned his marching orders for dissent, and very reluctantly left the pitch. The drama wasn’t done, however, as the Gunners earned a penalty of their own in the 97th minute from a dangerous kick courtesy of Ben Mee. Alexis Sanchez delivered a cheeky chipped effort down the middle of the net to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory for the Gunners.