Manchester United 1-1 Bournemouth
My weekend got off to a pretty rocky start. After waking up bright and early at 6 A.M. on Saturday morning, I thought that I would be treated to a routine winning performance from my beloved Red Devils. Sadly, that wasn’t the case, and United ended the day with just a point.
United started off the match well enough, but there were also signs of some defensive cracks that would come back to haunt them. After 23 minutes of near constant attacking pressure, Marcos Rojo of all people found the back of the net for the Red Devils. The Argentinian defender got just enough of a touch on Antonio Valencia’s driven pass/cross to send it past Artur Boruc. For a moment, I relaxed and prepared for the beautiful attacking football that was going to follow this goal.
As stated before, that didn’t really come to fruition. Just before the 40th minute, Phil Jones, who had been struggling throughout the half, brought down Marc Pugh in the penalty area with a sliding challenge. Former United man Joshua King stepped up for the spot kick, and blasted his effort past David De Gea to level the scores.
The big talking point of the match came in the 45th minute. First, replays appeared to show Tyrone Mings delivering a painful stamp on the back of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s head while the Swedish striker was on the ground. Shortly there after, Zlatan delivered a menacing elbow to Mings’ face on a corner kick. The obvious result of this exchange was that Andrew Surman was sent off with a second yellow card. I’m honestly still not sure why that happened, but either way, United had the numerical advantage going into the second half and had to be considered favorites.
The Red Devils couldn’t take advantage of Surman’s dismissal, however, as they failed to find a way past Boruc. Zlatan even had the chance to win the match from the penalty spot, but was denied. The dropped points keep United in sixth, while Bournemouth gain a vital point in the relegation fight.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
Out of all of the Premier League matches this weekend, Arsenal’s trip to Liverpool had to be the most intriguing. Both of these clubs are battling to stay in the Champions League spots, and neither of them have really impressed in recent months. Arsenal started the match without Alexis Sanchez or Mesut Ozil on the pitch. Would their absences spur on the a passionate performance from the Gunners, or would it lead to an easy day at the park for Liverpool?
The answer to that question came pretty quickly. Just nine minutes into the match, Roberto Firmino found the back of the net. Sadio Mane’s cross cut across the box and was smartly left by Philippe Coutinho for his compatriot to tap in at the back post. 1-0 Liverpool.
The Reds continued to impose their will on the match, and just over half-an-hour later, they doubled their lead. This time, Mane finished off a pass from Firmino to make it 2-0, and you could hardly argue that Arsenal deserved more out of the match up to that point.
Despite their poor first half, Arsenal nearly found a dream start to the final period of play through Olivier Giroud. The big French forward got on the end of Nacho Monreal’s cross, but his header was beautifully denied by Simon Mignolet. In the 57th minute, Arsenal’s renewed pressure paid off as Danny Welbeck dinked a shot over the keeper to make it 2-1, and suddenly, Arsenal found themselves back in the match.
Sadly, for the travelling fans, that’s as close as they would get to reaching Liverpool. In stoppage time, Georginio Wijnaldum delivered the dagger with a low shot past Petr Cech. The 2-1 result pushes Liverpool two points ahead of Arsenal into fourth, while the Gunners downward slide continues.
Tottenham 3-2 Everton
If you wanted to see goals this weekend, you didn’t need to look any further than Everton’s trip to White Hart Lane. With two of the league’s top-scorers in Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku, battling it out, we were bound to see a shootout.
Tottenham started off the goal fest in the 20th minute through a Harry Kane wonder strike. The striker gathered the ball close to 30 yards out from goal and hammered a stunning shot just inside of the near post. As impressive as the goal was, Kane’s viral handshake with Dele Alli may have overshadowed it. One minute later, Kane nearly doubled Spurs’ lead after dancing past Everton’s defense, but Joel Robles made a close-range save to keep the deficit to just one.
Ten minutes into the second half, Kane finally grabbed his second goal of the day. After Dele won possession back in Everton’s defensive third, he quickly found Kane who easily slid his shot past Robles. 2-0 Tottenham.
The Toffees grabbed a lifeline in the 80th minute through who else but Lukaku. The Belgian striker muscled past his compatriot Jan Vertonghen before hammering a shot past Hugo Lloris. With ten minutes left on the clock, Everton were still very much alive in the match.
Any hope of a comeback was silenced in the 92nd minute, however, when Dele tapped home Harry Winks’ cross to make it 3-1. Everton grabbed a consolation goal less than a minute later through Enner Valencia’s close-range finish from a Ross Barkley set-piece.
Unfortunately, for the visiting fans, it was too little too late as Tottenham held on for a dramatic 3-2 win. With the win, Spurs hold on to the second spot in the table, but they still sit seven points behind Chelsea. Everton, on the other hand, drop to five points behind Manchester United in seventh.