EPL Wrap-up: Red Devils Squeak By; Sterling Terrorizes West Ham

Tottenham 1-1 Liverpool

This weekend Premier League action started off with Liverpool’s trip to take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Both of these sides have high expectations for the campaign, but have struggled to find consistency on the pitch. After beating Arsenal 4-3 at the Emirates, Liverpool slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Burnley. Tottenham, on the other hand, have been thoroughly unconvincing after a draw to Everton and a slim 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. Could either side make a statement on Saturday?

Just five minutes into the match, Liverpool found themselves right on Spurs’ doorstep. Roberto Firmino did well to dribble into the 18-yard box before laying it off to Philippe Coutinho on the left wing. The Brazilian playmaker should’ve given the Reds the lead, but Michel Vorm delivered a brilliant kick save to preserve his clean sheet.

The first half had a near frantic pace from both sides with Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli coming close for Spurs in the final third. Vorm was busy between the pipes on the opposite end, and luckily for the home fans he was able to stand his ground against Coutinho and Sadio Mané.

In the 42nd minute, a clip of the heels from Erik Lamela gifted Liverpool a penalty kick. James Milner managed to send Vorm the wrong way to give Liverpool a one-goal lead just before the break.

Joël Matip nearly scored on his debut to double Liverpool’s lead in the 52nd minute, but his header sailed inches over the woodwork. Three minutes later, the Reds thought they had doubled the lead through Mané only for the assistant to rule Adam Lallana offsides on the build-up.

After the disallowed goal, Tottenham’s attack came to life. Their prolonged pressure on Liverpool’s backline finally paid off in the 72nd minute. The Reds failed to clear Eric Dier’s cross and Danny Rose was there at the back door to thump an effort past Simon Mignolet. The defender’s strike was enough to earn the hosts a share of the spoils with a 1-1 draw.

Hull City 0-1 Manchester United

Marcus Rashford scores for United

Manchester United found themselves with a top-of-the-table clash Saturday against an unexpected opponent. Hull City, who are managed (at least for now) by former-assistant Mike Phelan, have defied the odds to start the season by winning their first two matches, including an opening day win against Leicester City. United have matched Hull’s impressive start, and life under José Mourinho has been pretty sweet for fans at Old Trafford. Which club could maintain their dream start?

Surprisingly, Hull City had the first big chance of the match. A brilliant free kick from Robert Snodgrass in the 25th came within inches of beating De Gea only to fly inches wide. Moments later, the former Norwich man looked set for a headed goal at the far post, but a good piece of defending from Luke Shaw put him off just enough.

Ten minutes later, United were knocking on the door step. After Juan Mata sliced and diced his defender on the right wing, his low cross eventually found the feet of Wayne Rooney. Rooney had almost a completely empty net to aim for, but his shot was blocked on the line by Curtis Davies.

After a scoreless first half, Mourinho’s squad began to press for an opening goal. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Wayne Rooney all tried their luck at highlight reel goals, and they all sent their shots wide of the frame.

In the 79th minute, 18-year-old Marcus Rashford beat several Hull defenders before forcing Eldin Jakupovic into a difficult low save. The striker continued to pester the Tigers backline, finding Henrikh Mkhitaryan wide open in the penalty area just minutes later, but the Armenian’s shot was blocked at the last second.

Just when it looked like the two sides were heading for a draw, vintage Wayne Rooney showed up. The England captain muscled past the defender on the right wing and set Rashford up for a tap-in in stoppage time. Rashford’s goal guaranteed the win, and Mourinho’s dream start continues.

West Ham United 1-3 Manchester City

The final match of the weekend featured Manchester City’s contest against West Ham United. The Hammers were coming off of yet another disappointing European campaign, unable to qualify for the group stages of the Europa League for the second season in a row. City, on the other hand, have been flying high under Pep Guardiola and they showed no signs of slowing down Sunday.

Seven minutes into the match, City were in the lead. Nolito slid in a perfect pass from the left wing to Raheem Sterling in the center of the penalty area, and the former Liverpool player made no mistake with his finish. A clinical shot past Adrián gave the Cityzens an early one-goal lead.

Ten minutes later, the lead was doubled. Kevin De Bruyne’s beautiful free kick found Fernandinho’s head leaving Adrián no chance. 2-0 City after just 18 minutes, would this turn into a bloodbath?

Luckily for West Ham fans, their side managed to limp into the second half just down by two. In the 57th minute, the Hammers grabbed an unlikely equalizer. Poor decision making from Willy Caballero on a cross gifted a header to Michail Antonio at the far post to cut the deficit to just one goal.

Antonio’s goal would prove to be meaningless in the end. In the 92nd minute, Sterling bagged his second of the match from the tightest of angles to put the match to bed and secure City a deserved 3-1 victory. Right now, they sit atop the table thanks to goal differential.

 

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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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