Premier League favourites, Manchester City, win their 16th successive game of the season with a victory over Leicester, Man Utd maintain the eight-point gap with a win over Newcastle, and Spurs drop to fourth after losing to arch-rivals Arsenal.
Manchester City continues to make the rest of the Premier League look like a bunch of toilet scrubbers after another convincing win away at Leicester City.
I had this down as a potential banana skin. Leicester beat City home and away last season, scoring seven goals in the process. I also felt Vincent Kompany’s ring rust would have been a problem for the Blues, and my premonition nearly bore fruit; Kompany bringing Vardy down when clear through on goal early enough in the game that the referee gave a ring rusty yellow card instead of a natural red.
Vardy was a threat throughout, but it was City who opened the scoring just before half-time when Gabriel Jesus scored his 15th league goal in 21 games, after a build-up that left Leicester players chasing the briefly stunning arc of a flashing meteorite.
The second half started sprightly for the Foxes, and fortune didn’t favour Harry Maguire when the centre-back’s shot hit the post within minutes of kickoff.
22-seconds later and the ball was in the back of the Leicester net.
Leroy Sane tore down the left with the pace of Usain Bolt before cutting the ball back for Kevin De Bruyne on the edge of the box. The Belgian faked to shoot with his right, dragged the ball onto his left peg and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal. It was De Bruyne’s 16th goal in 76 matches, and when added to his 34 assists, he becomes the most prolific midfielder in the Premier League by some distance.
City could have scored more, Jesus and Silva both coming close. Jamie Vardy had a header cleared off the line by Kyle Walker, but all told, it was another superlative performance by a team who has now won 16 on the bounce in all competitions, matching Roberto Mancini’s 2011-12 record of 34 points in the opening 12 games.
The only blot on the City copybook was a first-half injury to John Stones. The England centre-back suffered a hamstring injury keeping him on the bench for a minimum of six weeks. Kompany’s return could not have been more timely.
Man Utd 4 v 1 Newcastle
Old Trafford is prison-like for Newcastle.
The Geordies had lost 35 times in the Premier League against Man Utd, more than any other side, and right on cue, they made it 36.
Rafa Benitez was hoping to be the first manager to win at Old Trafford with three different clubs (Chelsea and Liverpool), and his side began well; Dwight Gayle scoring within 15-minutes after some super-speedy work down the right by DeAndre Yedlin. It was the first goal United had conceded at Old Trafford in over 21 hours of Premier League football.
But it was early in the game. The pot had briefly hung over the fire, and by the end of the first half, it was boiling. Paul Pogba, returning from a nine-week layoff, jinked past a Newcastle defender on the right before chipping the ball to Anthony Martial and the young French starlet headed home at the far stick.
Then with first-half injury time running out, Ashley Young (who seems to have learned how to cross the ball this season) sent a missile into the box, and Chris Smalling nutted the ball home with authority.
Ten minutes after the restart and United moved light years ahead. Romelu Lukaku was sent sprinting down the right wing. Marcus Rashford arrived like an express train at the back post. The ball came over, and the teenager cushioned a header into the path of Pogba who scored from close range.
Then with 20-minutes remaining, the sight that all United fans wanted to see, as Romelu Lukaku ended a seven-game drought, finishing with aplomb after a neat one-two with Juan Mata.
United has now won seven home Premier League games on the spin, but the gap remains eight points thanks to the relentless pace of their noisy neighbours. Another plus point was the return from injury of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who had a 15-minute runout, his first since April.
Newcastle drops to 11th, and face a tough December where they face Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City.
Arsenal 2 v 0 Spurs
Spurs dropped to third, three points behind United, and only a point ahead of Burnley, Arsenal and Liverpool, after losing to the Gunners at The Emirates by two goals to nil.
It was the first time this season that Arsene Wenger had used Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette in an attacking trident and judging by this display that’s been a mistake.
Arsenal’s dogs were vicious, snapping away at Spurs’ ankles from the moment a ball was kicked, and they cleaned up the game in a raucous five-minute span ten minutes before half-time.
The mercurial Ozil floated a contentious free-kick into the box, and Shkodran Mustafi leapt higher than anyone else to bullet a header past Hugo Lloris for the opening goal. Then, five minutes later, the €50m man Lacazette found space down the right, crossed to Sanchez and the little Chilean scored from close range.
Spurs looked off the pace from the beginning.
Christian Eriksen looked tired, Dele Alli ineffectual, and Harry Kane looked sluggish after missing the international break through injury. Mauricio Pochetinno’s side has now lost 12 games on the spin at The Emirates.
Here are the rest of the results in full:
Results in Full
Arsenal 2 v 0 Spurs
Liverpool 3 v 0 Southampton
Crystal Palace 2 v 2 Everton
Leicester 0 v 2 Man City
West Brom 0 v 4 Chelsea
Bournemouth 4 v 0 Huddersfield
Burnley 2 v 0 Swansea
Man Utd 4 v 1 Newcastle
Watford 2 v 0 West Ham
To Be Played (Mon, 20 Nov)
Brighton v Stoke
Premier League Table
- Man City – 34
- Man Utd – 26
- Chelsea – 25
- Spurs – 23
- Liverpool – 22
- Arsenal – 22
- Burnley – 22
- Watford – 18
- Brighton – 15
- Huddersfield – 15
- Newcastle – 14
- Leicester – 13
- Bournemouth – 13
- Southampton – 13
- Stoke – 12
- Everton – 12
- West Brom – 10
- West Ham – 9
- Swansea – 8
- Crystal Palace – 5
Premier League Winning Odds (courtesy of Oddsshark)
Man City 1/8
Man Utd 14/1