Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Premier League Week 4 Results: Hat Trick Of Hat Tricks In High Scoring Weekend; Haaland Nets Three In Rout Of Fulham; Ferguson And Seagulls Send Newcastle To Third Straight Loss; Son Shines in Spurs Blitz; Arsenal Stikes Late To Beat Manchester United; Liverpool Blanks Aston Villa; Oh, Chelsea…

Three different Premier League players performed hat tricks over the weekend as the early season table begins to take form. Manchester City tops the Premier League table after four matches as the Citizens remained perfect in a 5-1 win over Fulham. Erling Haaland’s second half hat trick was more than enough to defeat outmatched Fulham. The league’s leading goal scorer, with six on the young season, also assisted on City’s opening goal versus a Cottager side impacted by transfer drama of the previous day. Fulham was playing without star Joao Palhinha who was yet to return from Germany where he spent Friday completing his medical and a picture shoot for an expected transfer to Bayern Munich. The Cottagers pulled out of the deal at the last minute when they were unable to find a suitable replacement for the Brazilian midfielder.

Son Heung-min scored his fourth Premier League hat trick as Spurs sprinted past Burnley 5-2 at Turf Moor.

The Clarets began the match promisingly with a fourth minute breakthrough against the London club. The Spurs defense would stiffen, however, and Tottenham Hotspur would score five consecutive goals, including Son’s trifecta, before Burnley would score again in the 94th minute. Burnley has lost all three of its matches played and is bottom of the table with a worse goal differential than Luton Town, the only other league team to have lost all its matches.

Luton Town were 2-1 losers to West Ham on Friday in their Premier League home debut. West Ham took a comfortable two goal advantage on goals by Jarrod Bowen and Kurt Zouma before the Hatters scored a consolation goal with their first shot on target in the 92nd minute. The Hammers are one of four clubs with ten points in the table, two points behind league leading Manchester City.

Liverpool and Arsenal join the Hammers and Spurs in that pack of pursuers. The Reds thrilled the Anfield faithful with a decisive 3-0 home win over Aston Villa on Sunday. Newly acquired Dominik Szoboszlai set the tone for the victors with his first Liverpool goal just three minutes into the contest.

Villa would lose hope after a 19th minute injury to Villa center back Diego Carlos was followed one minute later by an Aston Villa own goal as a Darwin Nunez shot ricocheted off the post and the back of Villa defender Matty Cash. Nunez would also assist Mohamed Salah’s second half clincher for Liverpool. The weekend’s joy for Liverpool supporters was tinged with anxiety, however, amid the Saudi Pro League’s continued pursuit of Mohamed Salah. The Reds rejected an offer by the Saudis on Friday but were expected to receive a significantly larger bid this week as the Saudi Arabia transfer window remains open.

Arsenal stayed in the thick of the title chase with late match fireworks in 3-1 defeat of Manchester United at the Emirates. Manchester United thought they had snatched victory in the 88th minute on a breakaway goal by 19-year-old Alejandro Garnacho. That goal, however, was deemed offside and the Red Devils were undone by fatigue and a thin bench in stoppage time. Emergency signing Jonny Evans and the unwanted and seldom used Harry Maguire were anchoring Manchester United’s back line and defensive midfielder Casemiro was exhausted, with no suitable replacement at hand, when Arsenal struck for its two late goals. Declan Rice put Arsenal ahead with a deflected shot off Evans in the 96th minute. Gabriel Jesus would seal matters five minutes later.

Brighton is just a point behind Arsenal in the table after the Seagulls rocked Newcastle with a three-goal performance by 18-year-old Evan Ferguson. The striker became just the fourth Premier League player to register a hat trick before their 19th birthday. Newcastle, meanwhile, went down to defeat for a third consecutive match as the grumbling grows louder among the Tyneside Geordie faithful.

Brentford was tied with Newcastle for the most draws in the Premier League last season and the Bees are continuing that run of inconclusive results after a 2-2 result against visiting Bournemouth. Brentford has started the current campaign with three draws from four matches after a joint league leading 14 non-decisions last season. The Bees were happy to salvage the point from Saturday’s contest after Bryan Mbeumo bagged the equalizer in the 93rd minute. Bournemouth would have been satisfied with a point leading into the match but the late concession heightened whispers regarding the viability of its new manager’s aggressive tactics. Former Rayo Vallecano manager Andoni Iraola remains in search of his first win in England. That win might come against Chelsea when the clubs return from international break.

The euphoria of Chelsea supporters following a win over temporary league resident Luton Town quickly evaporated with the club’s first loss to Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge since 1995. Nottingham Forest has been a notoriously bad away club, winning just once in the 20 tries away from home prior to Saturday. Former Manchester United forward  Anthony Elanga scored in the 48th minute to hang the embarrassing loss on the homestanding Blues. Chelsea’s record signing Moises Caicedo was culpable for the loss of possession which led to Elanga’s winner. Despite another expensive transfer window, the London club ended the weekend in 12th position, the same place the Blues finished in the table last season. Nottingham Forest’s second win of the season put the Tricky Trees in the top half of the table entering the international break.

Crystal Palace is a point above Forest after slaying Wolves 3-2 at Selhurst Park. The Eagles have players taking wing in attack to compensate for this summer’s departure of winger Wilfried Zaha. Odsonne Edouard had a brace on Sunday while fellow forward Jean-Philippe contributed two assists after bagging a hat trick in EFL Cup play on Tuesday. Midfielder Eberechi Eze scored the other goal for Palace and was a constant threat for the Eagles. A Wolves consolation goal in the 95th minute made the final score more flattering than deserved for a Wolverhampton club which has now lost to all its opponents this season save for Everton.

The Toffees faced off with another relegation candidate in Sheffield United on Saturday. The two clubs each earned their first point of the season in a 2-2 draw. If the season were to end today, Everton would go down on goal differential, joining pointless Luton Town and Burnley. 

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