Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Premier League Week 7 Results: Wolves Shock Manchester City; Spurs Steal A Win; Aston Villa Blitzes Brighton; Arsenal Crushes Cherries; Hatters Top Everton’s Big Head; Mudryk Magic For Chelsea

What a weekend in the Premier League. Things started with Saturday’s early game when Aston Villa surprisingly routed third palace Brighton 6-1. Ollie Watkins’s hat trick spearheaded Villa’s assault which continually asked questions of a vulnerable Brighton defense. The high-flying Seagulls have scored the most goals in the Premier League this season. After Saturday’s capitulation to Aston Villa, however, the Seagulls have also now conceded more goals than any club not in the relegation zone. The debacle at Villa Park for Brighton marked the first time the Seagulls had conceded a six pack in a topflight game. Aston Villa, meanwhile, responded to a puzzling mid-week loss to Everton in the Carabao Cup by putting an exclamation point on a tenth consecutive Premier League win at Villa Park.

Surprise was to give way to shock on Saturday when previously perfect Manchester City was ambushed by Wolves at Molineux Stadium. The upset provided just a brief glimpse of hope that there could be a title chase in the Premier League season. Wolves won’t be part of such a chase, of course, but Manager Gary O’Neil can take pride in his club’s perseverance and composure to capture all three points from a contest in which it seemed overmatched.

Manchester City dominated the play with 68 percent possession and 23 shots to only 3 by Wolves. The defending league champions had difficulty converting their chances, however, while spotting their hosts with an early lead on an own goal by Manchester City’s Ruben Diaz. Things appeared to be reverting to the norm when Julian Alvarez scored on a curling free kick to bring Manchester City level in the 58th minute. Wolves, however, would win the day by converting their only shot on target, a 66th  minute goal by Hwang Hee-Chan. A suspended Pep Guardiola watched in disbelief from the stands as City dropped its first points of the season. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal would both move within a point of Manchester City with victories on Saturday.

Arsenal had a relatively easy time in a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth, which included two penalty kicks against the error prone Cherries. Even Kai Havertz scored as the notably unproductive former Chelsea player scored on one of Arsenal’s penalty tries for his first goal as a Gunner. Things are looking dark for the Cherries who dropped into the relegation zone, joining fellow cellar dwellers Sheffield United and Burnley as the only Premier League sides not to have won a match this season.

Tottenham Hotspur had a far more difficult time capturing three points on Saturday and it’s debatable whether they truly earned their 2-1 victory over Liverpool. The referees’ association (PGMOL) has already apologized over “significant human error” which incorrectly disallowed a Luis Diaz goal for Liverpool. The Reds were already down a man for a red card assessed to midfielder Curtis Jones when Diaz seemed to open the scoring for the visitors. The assistant referee, however, incongruously raised his flag for offside. The VAR official mistakenly thought the goal had been initially ruled good and therefore ruled his cursory review complete, mistakenly thinking he was allowing a clear goal. Apparently, no corrective action was available after his silly gaffe and Diaz and Liverpool were deprived of the goal which would have ultimately salvaged a point on a difficult day. Son Heung-Min would score for Spurs. Cody Gakpo would even things for the shorthanded Reds. Then a second red card was assessed to Liverpool in the 69th minute. Bravely defending with nine men, Liverpool looked to have escaped defeat until the final minute of stoppage time…when an own goal was committed by weary Liverpool defender Joel Matip. Spurs walked away with all three points as Liverpool was left angry and heartbroken.

Manchester United fans, on the other hand, are at risk of becoming apathetic as poor performances are becoming commonplace for the Red Devils. A 25th minute goal by Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen handed the Red Devils a 1-0 defeat, a second successive league loss at Old Trafford and a fourth Premier League loss of the young season. United is off to its worst start after seven matches in 34 years.

West Ham ended a two-match losing run in the league as first half goals by Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek sufficed to defeat Sheffield United 2-0. Sheffield United managed two shots on target, one more than they had in their embarrassing loss to Newcastle last week so at least that’s some progress for the woeful Blades.

The Magpies’ defense, meanwhile, allowed only two shots on target Saturday in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over Burnley. Newcastle pelted the Clarets with 20 shots, 8 on target, though only Miguel Almiron found the net from the run of play. Alexander Isak added the insurance goal with a 76th minute penalty kick after Anthony Gordon was fouled in the box.

Nottingham Forest salvaged a point at home when Nicolas Dominguez scored his first goal for the club to equalize matters at the City Ground in a 1-1 draw with Brentford. It was the fourth draw in seven matches for the Bees who jointly led the league in non-decisions last season.

Hats off to the Hatters after Luton Town emerged from the relegation zone with its first Premier League victory, a 2-1 win at Everton. It was a ridiculous loss for the Toffees at home versus a Hatters side which had scored only three times all season heading into the match. Everton had been gaining confidence after a league win and a Carabao Cup victory in their last two outings. All that optimism vaporized with the loss to the Hatters. It wasn’t Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s fault. The oft injured striker scored in a third consecutive appearance to give the Toffees a chance in the 41st minute after goals by Tom Lockyer and Carlton Morris had given the Hatters an almost incomprehensible early two goal advantage. Everton could do nothing more, however, and went down to defeat in front of their new prospective club owners watching from the Goodison Park stands and perhaps wondering what exactly they might be getting themselves into.

Chelsea’s owners have been under fire for assembling an expensive, potentially mismatched, cast of young players who have failed to produce. One of those players took a step toward redemption on Monday when Mykhailo Mudryk scored his first goal for the Blues in a 2-0 London derby victory at Fulham. Mudryk had been looking to find the net since his arrival last January but his clinical finish on Chelsea’s opening goal hinted at his unrealized potential. Chelsea’s second goal came from another unexpected source as striker Armando Broja marked his Premier League return by scoring in his first league action since injuring his knee last December. 

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