Reds Thump City at Etihad

West Brom 2-1 Arsenal

With Manchester United winning earlier in the day, the pressure was now on Arsenal to regain the top spot in the table. The Gunners traveled to the Hawthorns undefeated in their last seven Premier League matches, but injuries to key players have raised concerns about their ability to keep up that pace. West Brom, on the other hand, found themselves 13th in the table after two straight losses in their previous fixtures. On paper, this looked like a near guaranteed victory for Arsene Wenger’s club.

Just before the 15-minute mark, the Gunners suffered yet another injury. This time, it was defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin who went down (Arsenal have now confirmed he will be out for two months) and Mikel Arteta was called in to replace him. Almost 15 minutes later, Arsenal overcame this early setback as Olivier Giroud opened up the scoring. The Frenchman beat the West Brom backline to a Mesut Özil setpiece, and headed the ball into the back of the net to give Arsenal an early one-goal lead. The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as West Brom equalized less than ten minutes later. James Morrison delivered the finishing touch to a Chris Brount set piece and set the stage for a historic upset in Birmingham.

It looked as if Morrison’s goal disoriented the Gunners for the closing stages of the first half. James McClean raced into Arsenal’s penalty area and put in a seemingly harmless cross, but poor communication from Petr Cech and Mikel Arteta saw the Spaniard knock the ball into his own net. Arteta’s own goal put the hosts up by one goal, and hopes of returning to the top of the table began to fade. Özil nearly equalized just two minutes into the second half, but his shot beat Boaz Myhill only to hit off the woodwork. The Gunners had a handful of chances to get back into the match in the second half, but wasted them all. It looked like Santi Cazorla would equalize from the spot in the 84th minute, but a slip in the run up saw him put the ball over the net. The loss drops Arsenal all the way down to fourth in the table, while West Brom now find themselves 12th.

Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool

Liverpool beats Man City

The biggest matchup of the weekend was, without a doubt, Liverpool’s trip to take on Manchester City. Manuel Pellegrini’s side have looked unbeatable at times this season, and had only suffered one home defeat going into Saturday’s matchup. For Jürgen Klopp, this match gave him the opportunity to earn his first statement win as Liverpool manager and possibly spark a revival to the Reds dull season going into December. Nine points separated the clubs going into the match, but the prestige of the two clubs made this a massive fixture.

The goals started early for Manchester City. Sadly, their opening goal came when Eliaquim Mangala deflected Roberto Firmino’s cross into his own net to give Liverpool the lead just seven minutes in. 15 minutes later, Firmino was again involved in the action as he slipped a pass past the City backline into the path of his compatriot Philippe Coutinho, who made no mistake in the finish as his first-time effort flew through the legs of Joe Hart to double the visitors’ lead. Liverpool’s amazing start continued in the 32nd minute when Coutinho got on the end of a magnificent Emre Can backheel, before finding Firmino on the edge of the penalty area. The Brazilian tapped the ball into the back of the net to score his first goal for the club and give Liverpool a surprising 3-0 lead.

Just two minutes before the break, Sergio Agüero pegged one back for the hosts. The Argentine, who has been plagued by injuries as of late, found some space about 20 yards away from goal and smashed a shot past Simon Mignolet to put City within two. Agüero’s effort was too little too late though, as the Reds had all the momentum going into the second half. Adding insult to injury, Martin Skrtel cannoned a shot past Hart in the 81st minute to make the score 4-1 to top off a disastrous day for the former-league leaders. City is now third in the table, while Liverpool sits in ninth.

Tottenham 4-1 West Ham United

Going into Saturday’s match at White Hart Lane, Tottenham and West Ham sat fourth and fifth respectively and were separated only by goal differential. The Irons were coming off a 1-1 draw with Everton where they lost their most influential player, Dmitri Payet, to a long-term injury. Meanwhile, Spurs had still not lost a match since the opening day of the season. Could West Ham find a way to beat another Premier League big boy, or would the loss of Payet be too much for them to overcome?

Tottenham opened the scoring in the 23rd minute from who else but Harry Kane. The Englishman, who struggled at the start of the season, expertly rolled Arsenal-loanee Carl Jenkinson in the penalty area before smashing his effort past a helpless Adrián to give Spurs the lead. Just two minutes later, West Ham’s Cheikhou Kouyaté nearly scored the goal of the season, but his acrobatic effort cannoned off the crossbar and flew harmlessly out of the penalty area. Toby Alderweireld doubled Tottenham’s lead in the 33rd minute when he got his head to a Christian Eriksen corner kick. Manuel Pellegrini’s side should have been three goals up going into halftime, but Harry Kane somehow missed the goal completely in the 39th minute when he only had Adrián to beat.

The 22-year-old striker atoned for this atrocious miss in the 50th minute, when his low drive from 20 yards out snuck inside the near post to make it 3-0 Tottenham. The fourth goal came in the 83rd minute after a nifty give-and-go between Kyle Walker and Heung-Min Son gave the English defender a yard of space in the box. Walker, who scored the own-goal that led to Spurs’ only defeat of the season to Manchester United, finished off the move with a cheeky outside of the foot shot past Adrián. West Ham would have one highlight on the day as Manuel Lanzini sliced and diced his way past Walker in the penalty area before firing a rocket into the top corner of the net to make the score line 4-1 in favor of Tottenham. The result is worrying for West Ham because it could be a sign of things to come as long as Payet is forced to watch from the sidelines. Spurs, on other hand, remain in fourth, but now sit three points ahead of their London rivals.

 

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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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