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Red card 'spoils' Liverpool v Chelsea, Gunners' 'cowardly' exit in City romp piles pressure on boss

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29th August, 2021
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Ten-man Chelsea have held on for a battling 1-1 draw at Liverpool as both sides missed the chance to go top of the English Premier League table.

Kai Havertz opened the scoring with a superb looping header, but Mohamed Salah levelled with a penalty during a dramatic end to the opening period.

Referee Anthony Taylor sent off Chelsea fullback Reece James after reviewing a goal-line clearance and awarding a penalty which Salah converted.

The Blues were furious with the decision but channelled it in a positive fashion as Thomas Tuchel’s men dug deep to secure a draw.

“For me it (red card) is a bit the spoiler of the game. Nobody I think wants to see that for 45 minutes, they want to see a high-level game and even me when I’m watching on TV I don’t like it,” Tuchel said.

“I can understand the decision and I’m not saying it’s a wrong decision but I did not like the way the referee checked it because for me he checked only the image.”

Liverpool poured forward for the remainder of the game but could not break down a resolute Chelsea, who celebrated as if they had won at the final whistle.

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“It was absolutely harsh. Spoils the game? Yeah probably. It changed everything,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said of the red card.

Manchester City thrashed 10-man Arsenal 5-0 to pile on the misery for under-fire Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners capitulated after Granit Xhaka’s straight red card in the 35th minute and are now bottom of the table.

It was Xhaka’s 11th red card of his Arsenal career and he was savaged by former Liverpool star Michael Owen, who said he let his team down “in a cowardly way”.

Arsenal icon Ian Wright was livid with a performance that leaves coach Mikel Arteta fighting to survive.

“What I saw was a lot of disorganisation,” Wright said. “Not enough endeavour, fight, not enough of anything.

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“We knew this would be a tough game coming to City, without a doubt – but I didn’t think for a minute it would be that easy for City.

“Experienced players, there to help the youngsters at this club, are getting booked for ridiculous fouls and (getting) sent off.

“It is worrying – because … first time manager, first time technical director, first time CEO – so much inexperience.

“Who is going to turn it around when you look at the inexperience in the squad itself, when the older players are getting booked for ridiculous challenges and being sent off.”

City manager Pep Guardiola, who had Arteta as one of his assistants at City between 2016 and 2019, called on Arsenal fans to keep the faith.

“I work two, three years together with him, and I learned many things,” Guardiola said.

“He’s above and beyond a good manager. The character, personality, the leading. He’s incredibly beloved from all of us, we were sad when he left.

“Sometimes people expect results immediately. The squad he played today isn’t the team he dreamed because they had seven or eight injuries. Really important players — Ben White, Thomas Partey.

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“He can’t use the players he needs to do it. All the managers need the deep squad.

“All our players except Kevin (De Bruyne) and Phil (Foden) are fit. I am a big fan of him and if they trust him he will do a good job at Arsenal.”

It was Arsenal’s ninth successive league loss to City, stretching back into Arsene Wenger’s reign.

Arteta has had 20 months in the job since being hired away from City.

But the Gunners look further than ever from getting back into the Champions League, let alone winning the title for the first time since 2004.

Arteta now has two weeks of the international break to face more questions about his suitability to continue as Arsenal manager.

A despondent Arteta pointed to his lack of options but called for a quick turnaround given the club finished eighth last season and out of European qualification places.

“We have some players here, hopefully we can get some players back,” Arteta said.

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“It’s time to reflect and look in the mirror at each of us. We need to change the dynamic straight away.

“I don’t think today is the day to talk about any problems with the process.

“Today we have to talk about the result and what happened on the pitch. And that’s it.”

West Ham’s 100 per cent start was halted in their derby clash with Crystal Palace, which ended 2-2 at the London Stadium.

Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, twice equalised for Patrick Vieira’s side after Pablo Fornals and then Michail Antonio’s 50th Premier League goal had edged the Hammers in front.

Everton extended their unbeaten start under Rafael Benitez with a deserved 2-0 win at Brighton.

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New signing Demarai Gray’s second league goal of the season gave Everton an early lead and Dominic Calvert-Lewin converted a 58th-minute penalty after Joel Veltman’s foul on Seamus Coleman.

It was Everton’s first win at Brighton since 1983 and ended the Seagulls’ 100 per cent start to the season.

Leicester bounced back from Monday night’s 4-1 defeat at West Ham with a 2-1 win at Norwich, who remain without a point.

Jamie Vardy pounced on a mistake by Norwich’s on-loan Manchester United defender Brandon Williams to give the Foxes an early lead.

Teemu Pukki equalised from the penalty spot after Caglar Soyuncu’s sliding tackle on Pierre Lees-Melou, but the visitors regained the lead through Marc Albrighton’s deflected shot.

Norwich were denied a second equaliser by VAR when Kenny McLean headed in a corner, with Todd Cantwell deemed to have been off-side.

Brentford remain unbeaten since winning promotion to the top flight following a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.

Ivan Toney’s thumping finish gave Brentford an early lead before Villa’s new signing Emiliano Buendia levelled five minutes later with his first goal for the club, a superb finish into the top corner.

Newcastle registered their first point of the season, but were denied victory by James Ward-Prowse’s stoppage-time penalty in a thrilling 2-2 home draw against Southampton.

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