Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Premier League Week 9 Results: Spurs Alone At The Top; Arsenal Grabs Late Point At Chelsea; Manchester City Ends Skid; Salah Scores Twice In Liverpool Derby Win; Newcastle Roll Continues; Villa Hammers West Ham; Revenge For O’Neil As Wolves Overtake Cherries

Tottenham Hotspur is alone atop the Premier League table after defeating Fulham 2-0 on Monday while rival Arsenal dropped points at Stamford Bridge. Son Heung-min and James Maddison provided the goalscoring in a win which gave Spurs Manager Ange Postecoglou the most points ever for a Premier League manager in their first nine matches. Undefeated Spurs have recreated themselves following the departure of striker Harry Kane with Son and Maddison leading the charge. The South Korean is now just two goals off the pace of league leading goal scorer Erling Haaland while former Leicester player Maddison is just one assist behind league leader Pedro Neto of Wolves.

Chelsea was the better side for 75 minutes versus Arsenal before letting the Gunners back into Saturday’s match at Stamford Bridge. Cole Palmer scored a penalty kick and Mykhailo Mudryk lofted a seeming cross into the net over Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya to give Chelsea a 2-0 lead in a match it seemed to have well in hand. Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez let the Gunners back in with a sloppy pass that was intercepted and converted by Arsenal’s Declan Rice at the 77-minute mark. An unmarked Leandro Trossard tapped in the equalizer seven minutes later to salvage a point for the Gunners and leave Chelsea manger Mauricio Pochettino shaking his head over the lost opportunity.

Manchester City drew level with Arsenal, both clubs two points behind Spurs, as the Citizens responded to back-to-back league losses with a 2-1 home win over Brighton. Goals by Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland inside of the first twenty minutes seemed to promise a decisive victory but Brighton was able to regroup. The Seagulls defense tightened and a 73rd minute goal by on loan Barcelona player Ansu Fati made things interesting. A stoppage time red card assessed Manchester City Manuel Akanji made for a nervous final few moments for the Citizens. Brighton leads the league in goals allowed but Manager Roberto De Zerbi will take some solace at the Seagulls shutting off the spigot after City’s second goal, avoiding the type of disaster that occurred at Aston Villa when the Seagulls conceded six times.

Villa moved to within a point of the top four with a 4-1 victory over West Ham. Douglas Luiz posted a brace, one goal coming via penalty, as Aston Villa won an 11th consecutive league home match, its best run of home form in 40 years.

Fourth place Liverpool, however, has perhaps the league’s most intimidating fortress, having lost just one of its last 45 matches at Anfield after Saturday’s  2-0 victory over rival Everton. Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp notched a record ninth Premier League victory in the Merseyside derby. A frustrating day for Everton saw defender Ashley Young tossed for a second yellow card in the 37th minute. The ten-man Toffees then doggedly held off the Reds until Salah converted a 75th minute penalty kick following a hand ball in the box by Everton’s Michael Keane. A stoppage time goal by Salah, his seventh of the season, sealed the victory.

Newcastle continued to display its goalscoring muscle in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace at St James Park. The Magpies have scored 22 goals, conceding just three, in their last eight matches across all competitions. Crystal Palace had conceded only seven goals in its first eight league matches before being taken apart by the Magpies. The Newcastle victory puts Manger Eddie Howe’s side up to sixth place in the table by virtue of a better goal differential than Brighton.

Manchester United is a point behind the Magpies and Seagulls after a less than impressive 2-1 win at Sheffield United. Defensive midfielder Scott McTominay opened scoring with his third goal in two matches for the Red Devils. McTominay would then be penalized for a handball, however, as Sheffield United ‘s Oli McBurnie drilled the ensuing penalty kick for the equalizer. It was left to fullback Diogo Dalot to rescue the result for Manchester United with a 77th minute strike, only his fourth goal for the club across all competitions since joining the Red Devils for the 2018/19 season. Manchester United forwards continued their season long struggle as they contributed nothing to the scoresheet against the Premier league’s worst club with the Blades having earned just a single point on the season. No club has survived Premier League relegation after accumulating no more than a point after its first nine league matches.

Bournemouth has been little better than Sheffield United this season and insult was added to injury on Saturday. Former manager Gary O’Neil, controversially sacked after helping Bournemouth survive last season, took new team Wolverhampton down to the south coast and watched his new charges overcome an initial deficit to win 2-1 on an 88th minute goal by late substitute Sasa Kalajdzic. Bumbling Bournemouth went down to 10 men in the 54th minute and conceded the winner off a poor pass from Cherries’ goalkeeper Neto. Bournemouth remained winless and above only Sheffield United in the table as current manager Andoni Iraola hangs by a thread. O’Neil, meanwhile, has Wolves 12th in the table, currently eight points above his former club.

Newly promoted Luton Town also executed a comeback this weekend, fighting back from two goals down at Nottingham Forest to salvage a point from a 2-2 draw. A stoppage time goal by Elijah Adebayo secured the point for the Hatters and put a damper on a two-goal performance by Nottingham Forest’s Chris Wood. Luton Town is currently safe, 17th in the table and a point above fellow promoted side Burnley. The currently relegation bound Clarets lost 3-0 at Brentford on Saturday. The 14th place Bees won for the first time in the league since August.  

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