With UEFA Champions League and Europa League beginning this week, teams will have to make adjustments and rotations for this week’s games.
The past weekend was marred with drama and controversy – the handball was active and the new rules have made it clear that any time the ball touches the hand or arm inside the box, it will be penalised.
We had some great action nonetheless and some surprising results.
Brighton 2-3 Man United
In a game that was played until the last second, Brighton were extremely unfortunate not to come away with a point and United fans will be relieved after a careless Neal Maupay conceded a handball at the death.
Brighton opened the scoring after Tariq Lamptey was brought down in the box and Maupay converted a penalty. An unlucky own goal from Lewis Dunk occured minutes after to level the scores at the half.
A fluid counterattack from United put them ahead after Marcus Rashford took on a few defenders on the break to score. But as the game progressed, you could sense Brighton were on the verge of equalising. They had bombarded David de Gea and hit the crossbar on numerous occasions.
Solomon March equalised in the final minutes until a handball gifted a penalty to the Red Devils. Bruno Fernandes calmly slotted in the penalty and came away with the victory.
Brighton would feel hard done by and have been unlucky not to get points against Chelsea and Man United. There are still encouraging signs for the team.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the gift that keeps on giving – he scored yet again, along with Richarlison, as Everton held on to win 2-1.
Both sides were unbeaten going in but as expected, Everton had too much talent for the Eagles. However, the difference in this game came down to a handball against Joel Ward.
The addition of James Rodriguez continues to pay off as his talent and vision shines, while his ability to make the right plays with long and short passes whether on the wings or in midfield is amazing.
The Toffees did well to minimise Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew, and the wings of Eberechi Eze and Andros Townsend were unable to create quality chances.
Outside of a corner, Everton seemed comfortable in defence and limited Palace’s counterattack.
West Bromwich 3-3 Chelsea
Frank Lampard continues to have headaches over his defensive line-ups, inserting Willy Caballero and Thiago Silva, and the more things changed, the more they remained the same.
Chelsea conceded three goals in the first half due to a lack of concentration and defensive errors. Fortunately, their attacking firepower was good enough to equalise during stoppage time.
Fans have reason to be concerned as they look shaky.
Burnley 0-1 Southampton
Southampton earned a much-needed win thanks to an early goal from Danny Ings.
There wasn’t a whole lot of notable action in this game although Chris Wood almost equalised for Burnley before being ruled offside by VAR.
Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds
This game was a showcase of the goalkeepers, as Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield and Illan Meslier of Leeds made seven and four saves respectively.
Pat Bamford continues to star for Leeds as he eventually got the breakthrough, scoring off a header late in the game to seal the three points, while Rodrigo has found it difficult to establish himself in attack.
Sheffield’s are still looking for their first goal but were unfortunate to not score it in this game.
Tottenham 1-1 Newcastle
The story of the game was the handball incident involving Eric Dier in the waning moments. Under the new rules, Spurs were penalised and Callum Wilson converted to see Tottenham drop two points.
The star of the match was Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow, who produced 11 saves!
Like Brighton and United’s game, the longer Spurs went without a second goal gave Newcastle belief and fortune came their way.
Tottenham ironically had one of their better performances and did well to create a number of chances but their inability to convert cost them.
Manchester City 2-5 Leicester
In one of the more shocking results of the weekend, a Jamie Vardy hat-trick helped Leicester make City look ordinary.
City drew first blood off a Riyad Mahrez volley, however their defence let them down as they conceded a total of three penalties – two scored by Vardy with the final taken by Youri Tielemans.
The exclamation point was made when James Maddison scored a screamer outside the box before Nathan Ake scored a consolation goal towards the end.
The Foxes have been on fire to start the season and currently sit on top of the table. Meanwhile, City will be hoping this performance is an outlier.
West Ham 4-0 Wolves
This game tops the list of unexpected results with West Ham blasting four goals.
The Wolves defenders never closed out on the ball allowing the Hammers time to place their passes and shots.
Wolves dominated possession but only had two shots on target. If they expected an easy result, they were delivered a reality check.
Fulham 0-3 Aston Villa
Aston Villa’s midfield and Jack Grealish were instrumental in driving the Lions to a 3-0 win. Fulham looked overmatched defensively and could not conjure up enough major chances to threaten.
Fulham had one instance where they looked like scoring, off a Bobby Reid tap-in, but VAR showed a foul just before.
Overall, there isn’t much to say about this game except that Fulham look like early contenders to be relegated.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
There was plenty of optimism for Arsenal heading into the game and after they survived an early barrage, the Gunners scored first. Their joy was short lived as Liverpool quickly responded with two goals to take the lead.
New signing Diogo Jota made an immediate impact, involved in a number of chances before scoring late and killing the game.
For Gunners fans, the important thing will be to see how the team reacts and perform in their next game.
For Liverpool, it’s amazing how deep their midfield rotation goes, with the likes of Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri not even in the squad.