Manchester City remains the only Premier League club to maintain a 100% record after beating rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford; Chelsea move into second after a draw in South Wales, and West Ham has troubles in more ways than one.
Manchester City is the only Premier League side left with a 100% record after Week 4 courtesy of a stunning victory against their inter-city rivals Manchester United, at Old Trafford.
It was the most eagerly anticipated Manchester derby game in modern times. The two best coaches in the world, some of the best players, and two 100% records to protect.
Both Manchester sides missed their star men in this one. Sergio Aguero started his three-match suspension for elbowing West Ham’s Winston Reid in Week 3. And you could be forgiven for forgetting Paul Pogba was on the pitch such was his dismal display in such an important early season rubber.
City fans got to see what all the fuss was about as the former Barcelona goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, made his debut after his £17.1m move. Jose Mourinho continued to confuse United fans by leaving Marcus Rashford on the bench, preferring to start with Jesse Lingard; Henry Mkhitaryan also made his debut with Anthony Martial and Juan Mata dropping to the bench.
Under Louis van Gaal United held the ball longer than any other team in the Premier League. City finished this game with 60% possession, showing how dominant they were, particularly in the first half, when United just wasn’t at the races.
City’s opener came in the 15th minute when a long punt up field from Aleksandr Kolarov, was flicked on unchallenged by Kelechi Iheanacho, and Kevin De Bruyne gave Daley Blind the slip to put City ahead.
The blue half of Manchester was two goals to the good in the 36th minute. Once again, the ginger Belgian was at the heart of the action, finding space in the midst of four United defenders to squirm a shot against the foot of the post, and Iheanacho was on hand five yards out to poke the ball into an empty net.
The pace of the game was frenetic, and United looked like they were going to be blown away until a calamitous moment from Bravo gave United hope. Wayne Rooney tossed in a free kick from the right, Bravo came off his line to neither punch nor catch the thing. It dropped in front of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score his fourth goal of the season with a precision strike.
The Swede could have, and should have, evened things up in first half injury time after another howler from the new keeper. Lingard chased a hopeless through ball towards the edge of the box; Bravo made a hash of the clearance, and Ibrahimovic shot weakly towards goal when he had more time to put a bit of beef behind it.
A more assertive United emerged for the second half. Rashford came off the bench and immediately made an impact setting up Ibrahimovic who blazed over the bar, and then the young England striker looked like he had levelled things only for the linesman to give offside against the lumbering Zlatan for getting in the way of the keeper.
Then a defining moment in the game when Bravo stormed off his line and lunged into a two-footed tackle on Rooney. It was a blatant penalty and City should have lost their debutant keeper but the officials turned a blind eye, and City held on for the win.
Chelsea And Spurs Maintain Unbeaten Runs
Three more sides are still to taste defeat in the Premier League. Ronald Koeman’s unbeaten Everton face Sunderland on Monday night, and both Chelsea and Spurs came away from their weekend ties undefeated.
We will start with the third-favourites for the title, Chelsea, who faced Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. Going into the match, Diego Costa had scored more goals against Swansea than any other Premier League player, and he lengthened that record to eight with a brace.
The Spaniard opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Oscar has been preferred to Cesc Fabregas this season and with good reason. The diminutive Brazilian brought the ball down from the moon with pinpoint precision before setting up Costa to curl the ball home with his right foot.
Eden Hazard sliced through the Swans like a knife through butter only to find Lukasz Fabianski standing in his way, and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who recently signed a new four-year contract to remain in South Wales, also saw a blistering shot miss by inches.
Then, in the 59th minute, Swansea broke down the left with Mo Barrow, and Sigurdsson found himself without company in the middle of the park. Barrow found him; so did Thibaut Courtois’ studs, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, and the Icelander put the ball into the back of the net.
The Swans took the lead three minutes later after a howler from Gary Cahill. He failed to deal with a relatively innocuous pass along the box, and Leroy Fer nipped in, nutmegged Courtois and tapped the ball home for his third goal of the season.
It looked like an unlikely win for Swansea until some great play from Branislav Ivanovic inside the box produced a save from Fabianski, and Costa reacted quickest with an acrobatic overhead kick to save the tie with ten minutes remaining.
Stoke remain rooted to the foot of the table after Spurs destroyed them at the Bet365 Stadium. Opposing teams often talk about making the difficult trip to Stoke – not Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came into the tie having won five times at the gambling companies gaff since 2010, including a 4-0 thrashing last season, and it was a case of deja vu.
Spurs were rampant, helped in part by Stoke’s inability to fight when they go a goal down. With Mark Hughes sent to the stands for some over zealous complaining, Spurs put the hammer down with two outstanding goals from the South Korean Son, and a goal a piece for the England duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane. It was Kane’s first goal in 567 minutes of football. Last time he ended a goal drought like this he went on to become the Premier League’s top marksman.
A Familiar Look to the Table
The Premier League table resembles a Premier League table after four weeks. The top teams look mean. The teams who overachieved last season seem to have been put back in their place – for now.
Champions Leicester has already lost two games in the opening four after going 38 games only conceding three last season. They clearly miss N’Golo Kante in that midfield enforcer role after conceding another four goals away at Liverpool.
It was the opening game in front of their new Anfield stand, and they put on a display of worthy note. Sadio Mane scored his eighth goal in his last eight Premier League games; Firmino bagged a brace, and Adam Lallana hammered home a screamer. Jamie Vardy scored a consolation goal after a howler from the makeshift centre-half Lucas.
Arsenal took all three points at home against Southampton thanks to the officials. The game had crept into injury time 1-1 after an own goal from Petr Cech and an overhead kick from Laurent Koscielny when referee Bobby Madley pointed to the spot after a tussle between Jose Fonte and Olivier Giroud. It was never a penalty, but Santi Cazorla didn’t care as he rifled the ball home to move Arsenal into sixth.
West Ham was one of the star teams of last season, but they have seemed to have lost the winning way. They were two goals to the good in lightning fashion at the London Stadium courtesy of two headed goals from the new England man Michail Antonio, the second of which came after a world class rabona cross from Dimitri Payet.
The West Ham fans expected a goal rush, but Watford somehow managed to turn an obvious defeat into a stunning success smashing four goals past the hapless Adrian, when in truth, it could have been six or seven. West Ham slump into the bottom three, and even more alarmingly, fans fought inside the stadium after the match leaving children in tears. It’s the third time West Ham fans have incited violence in and around the London Stadium, this season. It seems West Ham have lost the plot on more than one front.
Here are the rest of the results.
Premier League Results (Week 4)
Man Utd 1 v 2 Man City
Burnley 1 v 1 Hull
Bournemouth 1 v 0 West Brom
West Ham 2 v 4 Watford
Middlesbrough 1 v 2 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 2 v 1 Southampton
Stoke 0 v 4 Tottenham
Liverpool 4 v 1 Leicester
Swansea 2 v 2 Chelsea
To Be Played (Monday, 12 Sep)
Sunderland v Everton
Premier League Table
- Man City – 12
- Chelsea – 10
- Man Utd – 9
- Tottenham – 8
- Liverpool – 7
- Arsenal – 7
- Hull – 7
- Everton – 7
- Middlesbrough – 5
- Watford – 4
- Crystal Palace – 4
- West Brom – 4
- Swansea – 4
- Bournemouth – 4
- Burnley – 4
- Leicester – 4
- West Ham – 3
- Sunderland – 1
- Stoke – 1
Premier League Title Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City – 110
Man Utd +450