Manchester City 1-3 Chelsea
The biggest matchup of the Premier League weekend had to be Chelsea’s trip to take on Manchester City. The Blues went into this trip with a narrow one-point lead over the Cityzens for the top spot in the table. A win for Pep Guardiola’s side would see them leapfrog Chelsea for first place, but with the ridiculous form that Antonio Conte’s men were in, that was easier said than done.
Just before the end of the first half, Chelsea found the back of the net. Unfortunately, for the travelling supporters, they found the back of the wrong net. Jesus Navas worked himself a yard of space past Marcos Alonso on the right flank before sending a whipped cross into the penalty area. Gary Cahill tried to clear it but could only deflect it past Thibault Courtois to give City the lead.
Cahill’s goal would prove to be the only real moment of celebration for City on the day as Chelsea ran rampant in the second half. In the 60th minute, it was Diego Costa that muscled past Nicolás Otamendi before smashing a low shot past Claudio Bravo.
10 minutes later, Willian gave Chelsea the lead. The Brazilian winger, who has found playing time hard to come by under Conte, was sent in by a great through ball from Costa, and he made no mistake as he passed his shot into far side-netting. 2-1 Chelsea.
The Blues weren’t done just yet, as Eden Hazard added a third in the 90th minute. The reigning EPL Player of the Month punished City on the counter attack as he raced past Aleksandar Kolarov before smashing home past Bravo.
City’s frustration came to a breaking point in the final minute of stoppage time with Sergio Agüero earning a straight red card for a malicious tackle on David Luiz. The ensuing fracas saw Fernandinho earn a red card for pushing Cesc Fabregas over the advertising boards. Overall, a very forgettable day for Guardiola’s men at the Etihad.
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
Of all the teams to throw a wrench in Liverpool’s title chase, I don’t think anyone would’ve guessed that Bournemouth would be the one to deliver such an upset. The Cherries were firmly in mid-table going into the match, but even then, it didn’t look like they had the talent to compete with Jürgen Klopp’s Reds. Perhaps the best part of this result is the man who scored the winner.
Things started off well enough for the visiting squad with Sadio Mané finding the back of the net after just 20 minutes. Emre Can sprung the former Southampton man through on goal with a lovely lofted pass, and Mané easily muscled past Nathan Aké before tapping home.
Less than three minutes later, the Reds doubled their lead through Divock Origi. The young Belgian striker sprinted past Bournemouth backline to latch onto Jordan Henderson’s through ball. A questionable decision to come out by Artur Boruc left the goal gaping, and Origi delivered an inch-perfect finish into the side-netting to punish the keeper’s mistake. 2-0 Liverpool.
The two-goal halftime deficit must’ve seemed like an impossible mountain to climb for many of the Bournemouth supporters, and you couldn’t blame those that thought to leave a little early. Luckily, for those that stayed, they were treated to quite the show in the second half.
The introduction of Ryan Fraser proved to be instrumental as the 22-year-old earned a penalty kick after less than a minute of coming onto the pitch. A poorly timed challenge from James Milner gifted the Cherries a chance to score from the spot and Callum Wilson sent Loris Karius the wrong way to cut the deficit to just one.
Liverpool were quick to respond, however, with Emre Can’s golazo strike from outside of the box restoring his side’s two-goal lead in the 63rd minute.
A little over 10 minutes after Can’s goal, Fraser sparked the beginning of a historical comeback at Dean Court. Wilson found Fraser just inside the penalty area, and the 22-year-old curled his shot past Karius to pull the Cherries within striking distance.
In the 79th minute, Fraser played provider finding Steve Cook with a cross from the right flank. Cook took a touch to settle the cross before hammering into the bottom corner. Somehow, Bournemouth were now level with the Reds.
Cook’s goal wasn’t the final strike for the underdog Cherries, and in the 93rd minute, they found the winner. The move started with a seemingly harmless shot from Cook going straight at Karius. The German keeper couldn’t prevent a rebound, however, and Aké, who’s on loan from current league leaders Chelsea, was there to clean up the trash and secure a thrilling 4-3 result for his temporary club.
The 21-year-old’s strike sees Liverpool drop to third in the table, and now they are four points behind Chelsea for the top spot. I’m sure that Antonio Conte and a couple other members of the Chelsea squad will be calling Aké to congratulate and thank him for his stoppage time heroics.
Everton 1-1 Manchester United
The final, and in my opinion, most frustrating match of the weekend was Manchester United’s trip to take on Everton at Goodison Park. The Red Devils were coming off of a massive 4-1 win over West Ham midweek, and the momentum finally looked to be shifting back in their favor. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be Sunday.
After a very quiet first half that could only be described as scrappy, it was a goalkeeping error that proved to be the difference maker. In the 42nd minute, Anthony Martial lofted a deep through ball into the path of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. At first, it looked like the Swede didn’t have a lot of options in front of him, but for some reason, Maarten Stekelenburg rushed out of his net to try and stop the striker himself. This left the goal wide open and Zlatan lofted a shot that somehow hit the cross bar and the post before slowly rolling into the net.
The goal was the only real attacking moment of the half as both sides struggled to create chances. You could argue that United were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men in the 16th minute when Marcos Rojo delivered a horrendous two-footed challenge to Gareth Barry, but the ref only gave a yellow card.
In the second half, United looked dominant in spurts. Ander Herrera even hit the woodwork once, but they just couldn’t seem to find that finishing touch.
This inability to score caught up to them just before stoppage time when Marouane Fellaini gave away a penalty less than three minutes after coming onto the pitch. Leighton Baines narrowly placed his spot kick past an outstretched David De Gea to split the spoils from the match.