Liverpool 2-1 West Brom
Few teams have been more exciting this season than Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. The high-flying Reds were held to a lackluster 0-0 draw against Manchester United last weekend, and a visit from a mid-table West Brom side provided the perfect opportunity to rediscover their scoring touch. Could Tony Pulis’ Hawthorns throw a wrench in Liveprool’s plans?
20 minutes into the match, the Reds found paydirt. A swift counter attack ended with Sadio Mané hammering home Roberto Firmino’s cross, and just like that Liverpool had a one-goal advantage.
15 minutes later, Philippe Coutinho doubled the lead. A poor clearance from former Manchester United man Ben Foster gifted the ball to Liverpool in the midfield, and Mané was quick to find Coutinho. The Brazilian cut past two defenders before finding the back of the net.
In the second half, West Brom continued to struggle, and it looked like it would take a miracle for them to find just a single goal. On two occasions, Foster was called in to deny Firmino and Dejan Lovren with spectacular saves. To be honest, the Hawthorns were lucky to only be down two goals after an hour.
With less than 10 minutes left in the match, West Brom had their first real chance of the night and with it their first goal. A corner from Hal Robson-Kanu found Gareth McAuley in the box, and 36-year-old’s close-range finish salvage at least some respect for the visiting side. Sadly, it wasn’t enough as Liverpool held on for the 2-1 result.
Manchester City 1-1 Southampton
Despite some criticism directed at Pep Guardiola after his side’s recent demolition at the hands of Barcelona, it’s worth noting that the Cityzens were still sitting atop the table going into Sunday’s visit from Southampton. However, City were still winless in their previous four matches, and another failure to snatch all three points on Sunday would represent Pep’s longest winless streak in his career.
City started the match on the front foot, but they struggled to really test Fraser Forster with a meaningful shot. Their lack of killer instinct came back to bite them in the 27th minute. John Stones, who was brought in by Guardiola because of his distribution ability, played an errant backpass that sprung Nathan Redmond on a one-on-one chance with Bravo. Redmond easily dribbled past the keeper before passing the ball into the back of the net to give Southampton a surprising one-goal lead.
Just after the half hour mark, Stones thought that he atoned for his mistake by hammering in from close range, but his strike was cancelled out by the off sides flag.
10 minutes into the second half, two of City’s young guns combined for an equalizer. Leroy Sané got the ball on the left flank and slid Kelechi Iheanacho in for a tidy finish from six yards out. Now, the hosts had more than enough time to push on for a winner.
Despite City’s continued pressure in the final third, Southampton’s defense and Forster remained resolute. Their bend-don’t-break style was good enough to earn them a hard fought point at the Etihad, not an achievement a lot of clubs can claim. Even with the dropped points, City still remain top of the table on goal differential.
Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United
The biggest and most heartbreaking match of the weekend kicked off Sunday night at Stamford Bridge. The fixture was José Mourinho’s Premier League homecoming to Chelsea as he led his Manchester United team into a slaughter for the ages. I’ve finally stopped sulking enough to write this recap so let’s just get it over with.
My nightmare started after just 30 seconds. A comedy of errors from United’s defense and a mistimed run from David De Gea saw Pedro latch on to a long ball from Marcos Alonso and tap the ball home into an empty net. Chelsea grabbed the one-goal lead and Collin’s long morning was in full swing.
My pain was doubled in the 21st minute. A corner from Eden Hazard was poorly defended by United and Gary Cahill cleaned up the scraps like in D3 Mighty Ducks to finish off from six yards out. 2-0 Chelsea.
Just before the half time whistle, David Luiz delivered a studs up challenge on Marouane Fellaini’s knee that you could argue could have easily been a red card, but the Brazilian was only cautioned. When the whistle came for halftime, United were lucky to only be two goals down, and now the pressure was on Mourinho to save some pride in the second half.
To add injury to insult, Eric Bailly, who has arguably been United’s best defender this season, was forced off in the 52nd minute with what may be a serious knee injury.
Ten minutes after Bailly’s injury, Chelsea sucked any hope that United had out of the match. Hazard got the ball on the left wing and orchestrated a swift passing play for the Blues before hammering home past De Gea to make it 3-0, and tears began to form in my eyes.
As if 3-0 wasn’t bad enough, N’Golo Kanté added a fourth in the 70th minute. The former Leicester City man made United’s backline look like a bunch of amateurs before passing his shot into the back of the net to seal a humiliating defeat for the Red Devils and a statement victory for Chelsea.