Tottenham 4-1 Manchester City
Few people would’ve expected the performance Tottenham pieced together Saturday afternoon (myself included). Even with Manchester City coming off of their first loss in league play last weekend, they were seen as heavy favorites for the match at White Hart Lane. Mauricio Pochettino’s men had other plans, however, as they handed the Citizens their biggest Premier League loss since 2011.
From the outset, Manchester City played like a title-winning team. Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero both tested Hugo Lloris in the opening stages of the match, but the Frenchman stood tall in net. The opening strike came in the 25th minute after a disastrous corner kick routine from Spurs sparked a lightning fast counterattack from City. Yaya Touré picked the ball up just outside his own penalty area and made a full field sprint before laying a pass off to De Bruyne (who may have been an inch off sides) and the Belgian smashed home his third goal in as many games. Raheem Sterling nearly doubled the visitors’ lead minutes later, but Lloris made a miraculous diving save to deny the former Liverpool winger. On the stroke of halftime, Spurs pulled back an equalizer. Kyle Walker, who should have been called for off sides, sent in a cross and after a poor clearance from De Bruyne, Eric Dier hit a low drive straight into the bottom corner to level the scores before the break.
After a seemingly uninspired first half performance, Tottenham grabbed the lead early in the second period of play. Summer signing Toby Alderweireld managed to get flick his header over a poorly positioned Willy Caballero to put the hosts one goal to the good. On the hour mark, Harry Kane doubled Spurs lead with his first goal of the season. The 22-year-old, who again appeared off sides, calmly placed the rebound from Christian Eriksen’s freekick into an empty net. Erik Lamela put away Spurs’ fourth goal of the match after dribbling around Caballero in the box and smashing home his short-range effort. The massive victory for Tottenham pushes them to fifth in the table, while City sinks to second behind rivals Manchester United (I’ve been waiting to write that for two years).
Leicester City 2-5 Arsenal
If you told me at the end of last season that Leicester City would be sitting above Arsenal going into this weekend, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. Low and behold, the Foxes went into Saturday’s fixture sitting fourth in the table (one ahead of Arsenal) and had yet to lose a match. Claudio Ranieri’s side had quickly become this year’s Cinderella story, but Arsenal had no plans of adding to this fairytale.
An upset looked on the cards early in the match, however, as Jamie Vardy slammed his shot past Petr Cech in just the 13th minute. The Gunners came back with a swift reply five minutes later as Theo Walcott dinked his shot in off the inside of the post to bring things back to level terms. The goals kept coming in the first half as Alexis Sanchez found what would be the first of his many goals in the 34th minute with an easy tap-in. Sanchez’s goal would mark the end of an exciting first 45 minutes, as the Gunners went into the locker-room with a one-goal lead over Leicester.
Sanchez opened the second half’s scoring after just ten minutes with a headed effort from six yards out. The real drama came in the closing stages of the match as Arsenal’s Chilean winger found his hat trick in the 81st minute with a swerving drive from just outside the box. Vardy pulled one back for the Foxes in the 89th minute after some scrappy play in the penalty area, but it was too little too late. To add insult to injury, Olivier Giroud slotted home a fifth for Arsenal in the 94th minute to secure all three points for Arsene Wenger’s men. The result moved Arsenal back into the top four, but Leicester sunk out of the European places into seventh.
Newcastle United 2-2 Chelsea
Things finally looked like they were moving back on track for José Mourinho’s Chelsea. The Blues were in the midst of a three-game winning streak in all competitions that included a much-needed 2-0 victory over Arsenal last weekend. Their hosts, Newcastle United, were still looking for their first win of the season and sat all the way down at 19th in the table. A win looked like a guarantee for Chelsea, but once again they struggled.
There were few surprises for the early stages of the first half as Chelsea dominated the chances while limiting Newcastle’s attack. However, as the half progressed, the Magpies started to find themselves in the attacking third more often. Defender Daryl Janmaat nearly found the opener just before the half-hour mark, but Asmir Begovic stood tall to keep a clean sheet. Césc Fabregas had Chelsea’s first real chance of the match in the 38th minute, but an acrobatic save from Tim Krul denied the Spaniard’s drive from distance. Just minutes after Fabregas’ chance, Ayoze Pérez provided the crowd with a moment of magic as he controlled Vurnon Anita’s cross before smashing home a thunderous volley. Pérez’s magnificent strike was enough to send Newcastle into the break with an unexpected 1-0 lead over the reigning champions.
Despite a quick start from Chelsea to the start the second half, it was Newcastle that found the back of the net. Pérez played provider for this one as his corner found Geroginio Wijnaldum’s head to double the hosts’ lead in the 60th minute. Steve McClaren’s side proceeded to remind fans why they were so low in the table in the final ten minutes of the match. Ramires sparked the frantic comeback with a magnificent 25-yard strike to finally put Chelsea on the board. His compatriot Willian scored the equalizer just minutes later as he curled in a free kick nearly identical to the one he scored in the Champions League to save a point for the Blues. Chelsea had plenty of opportunities in the final minutes to steal a winner, but poor finishing plagued the attack. While a draw wasn’t ideal for either of the sides, it will give Newcastle some much needed confidence as they strive to get out of the relegation fight. Chelsea, on the other hand, will be forced to ask themselves how they can salvage this season.