EPL Wrap-up: United and Arsenal Battle to Draw; Touré Saves the Day

Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal

Waking up at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday is always a hassle. At least this time, I had Manchester United vs. Arsenal to look forward to. The Red Devils and the Gunners have a history of fiery exchanges, and their managers have a personal history of their own, but sadly, this match failed to see that animosity rekindle itself.

The first half failed to see either side really test the opposing keeper, and Arsenal failed to even get a shot on target. The only moment of drama came in the 35th minute. Antonio Valencia skipped past Nacho Monreal on the edge of the area, and the Spanish defender appeared to knock down the United man. Much to the dismay of José Mourinho, no penalty was given and the sides would go into the half deadlocked at 0-0 despite a late surge from the Red Devils.

Finally, United found the opening goal in the 68th minute. Paul Pogba started the move by finding a streaking Ander Herrera rushing towards the end line. Herrera slotted an inch-perfect pass back to his compatriot Juan Mata in the middle of the penalty area, and Mata coolly slotted his shot into a near empty net. 1-0 United.

Despite their dominance in the second half, and the poor play of Arsenal throughout the match, three points just weren’t in the cards for Mourinho’s men. In the 89th minute, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain easily ran past Marcus Rashford on the right wing, and his cross was hammered into the back of the net by the meaty French forehead of Olivier Giroud.

The 1-1 draw doesn’t really help either side as they end the weekend in the same spots as they started it.

Tottenham 3-2 West Ham United

11 weeks into the season, there was only one undefeated team remaining in the league: Tottenham. Spurs had only won five of their matches, but their six draws kept them within striking distance of the lead pack. West Ham, on the other hand, have been enduring somewhat of a nightmare campaign winning just three matches and sitting just above the relegation zone. Could the Hammers pull off the upset at White Hart Lane and begin to salvage their season?

Slaven Bilic’s squad started the match off on the front foot, and in the 24th minute their early pressure finally paid dividends. Dimitri Payet’s corner was initially headed onto the woodwork by Cheikhou Kouyaté; luckily for West Ham fans, Winston Reid was there to collect the rebound and send in another cross. This time, Michail Antonio headed the ball past Hugo Lloris to give the visitors a deserved one-goal advantage.

Their lead would carry on into the second half, but not much further than that. Five mintues after the restart, Spurs found an equalizer. After Darren Randolph did well to save Vincent Janssen’s powerful drive, Harry Winks was in the right spot at the right time to knock home from a yard out for his first ever Tottenham goal.

In the 66th minute, Spurs undefeated start looked to be in serious danger. A takedown from Janssen on Reid in the penalty area, saw the Hammers draw a penalty kick. Maneul Lanzini stepped up and hit a perfect spot kick into the bottom corner to put West Ham a goal to the good.

As the match dragged on, West Ham continued to press and Tottenham struggled to create. Then, Spurs clicked. First, in the 88th minute, Heung-Min Son’s low cross found Harry Kane waiting in the penalty area, and the striker easily found the back of the net to level the scores. Three minutes later, Son was brought down by a reckless challenge from Havard Nordveit to win a late penalty kick. Who else but Kane would step up and hammer it home to seal a dramatic 3-2 win for Tottenham.

Now, Spurs find themselves just a point behind Arsenal for fourth. West Ham’s struggles continue, however, as they now sit just a point above Hull city in 17th.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester City

Yaya Toure scores double in return

Getty Images

The reason that I want to spotlight City’s match against Palace is because of one player: Yaya Touré. The midfielder, or should I say his agent, had been in a very public row against manager Pep Guardiola and hadn’t made a single Premier League appearance this season. To the shock of many, Touré was included in the starting 11 on Saturday.

In the 26th minute, City fans held their collective breath. A long ball from Palace would end up causing a collision between Claudio Bravo and injury-prone Vincent Kompany. While Bravo easily collected the ball, Kompany went down awkwardly and was eventually forced off because of the injury. We hope that the Belgian has a speedy recovery!

In the 39th minute, the man of the hour delivered a moment of magic. A poor giveaway from Palace’s backline gifted City the ball on the edge of the area. It eventually found its way to Touré, and after a quick give-and-go with Nolito, he hammered his deflected shot into the back of the net.

Ten minutes into the second half, Christian Benteke had a glorious opportunity to level the scores. The former Liverpool striker had a free header from Jason Puncheon’s cross, but Bravo was in perfect position to deny him.

Almost ten minutes after that fans were put on an emotional rollercoaster. First, Sergio Agüero’s close-range redirection narrowly snuck past Wayne Hennessey, but Joel Ward delivered a goal-line clearance to save the day. In the ensuing counterattack, Connor Wickham skipped past Pablo Zabaleta before smashing his shot past Bravo to tie the match.

Sadly, for Palace, Touré decided he wasn’t done scoring for the day. In the 83rd minute, Kevin De Bruyne’s low cross somehow managed to roll all the way into the middle of the penalty area, and Touré was there to tap home the winner.

Touré’s dream start to the season was good enough to secure all three points for City at Selhurt Park. Guardiola’s side now sit just a point behind Chelsea for the top spot in the table.

 

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About the author: Collin Carpio

 

I am currently a senior at the University of Missouri in the Journalism School. I have been an avid follower of Manchester United since 2006 and of course I support the Stars and Stripes. Due to my St. Louis high school allegiances, I am a big supporter of Brad Davis and Sporting KC in MLS.

 

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