Monday Night Football capped off yet another enthralling week of Premier League action. Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City all kept up their impressive early season form, each putting four past their respective opponents. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea now haven’t conceded since the 3-0 drubbing at Arsenal, that’s an impressive four games, as they remain hot on the tails of the teams above them.
Sunderland’s barren run continued – they now boast the worst ever start to a Premier League season – not a record David Moyes wanted on his CV. Stoke City’s resurgence continued, while Bob Bradley and his Swans continued to struggle. Elsewhere, Ronald Koeman’s Toffees condemned the Hammers to yet another defeat. Whilst wins for Watford and Middlesbrough saw them both firmly cement their place in mid-table. Finally, a stellar performance from England back-up keeper Tom Heaton saw Burnley share the spoils at Old Trafford, despite the Red Devil’s bombarding the Burnley goal with 37 shots, none of them finding the net.
Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal
Dear, oh dear. When Jermain Defoe equalised from the spot in the 65th minute, Sunderland fans were awarded a glimpse of hope that this season wouldn’t be the nightmare they feared. Yet, perhaps fittingly on this Halloween weekend, just 13 minutes later they were 4-1 down and fans were streaming out of the Stadium of Light. When Alexis Sanchez is beating 6 ft 5 inch Lamine Kone effortlessly in the air, you know something is wrong. Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain breezed in behind their back line with ease and stood up a teasing cross which the Chilean duly finished. Half time came by and the Black Cats were lucky to still be level, yet their fortune was not to last. Despite Duncan Watmore winning a penalty for Defoe to pull them level, Olivier Giroud soon ended the excitement, scoring twice in five minutes. The Frenchman had taken the game away from Sunderland with his first and second touch of the game, both goals coming off his head. Sanchez grabbed his second minutes later to complete the rout, leaving Sunderland lying on two points from 10 games. Sadly, this is now officially the worst ever start to a Premier League season for Moyes and his men. Something has got to give.
MOTM – Alexis Sanchez
Scorers – Defoe(P) – Sanchez(2), Giroud(2)
Manchester United 0-0 Burnley
It’s just not clicking for Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now failed to score in 550 minutes of football, Jose Mourinho is losing his cool, and Ander Herrera was shown his first red card of his Premier League career. United have won just one of their last seven league games, and perhaps Zlatan’s drought is much to blame for this. Despite his 57 shots in 10 games – more than any other player, he’s only managed to bag four Premier League goals. Regardless, perhaps Burnley deserve more credit for their incredible display. Tom Heaton made one of the most impressive goalkeeping displays I have ever seen, and every single player in a Burnley shirt was willing to throw themselves in front of every ball from the first whistle to the last. When Zlatan rose to meet a cross with a scissor kick, he’ll have been ready to wheel away in celebration – not if Heaton had anything to say about it. He spread himself impeccably, and somehow got something behind the thundering strike. In fact, Heaton said it ‘nearly broke his arm’! United dominated, but simply put didn’t have enough firepower to break down the resolute Clarets backline, led by former red Micheal Keane.
MOTM – Tom Heaton
Scorers – N/A
Middlesbrough 2-0 Bournemouth
A game typified by a surging 60-yard solo run and goal by Gaston Ramirez ended in a comfortable victory for Aitor Karanka’s men at the Riverside. Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth weren’t quite at the boil on the day, but for Boro, it was a vital win which leaves them comfortably outside the drop zone, even at this early stage in the season. It is just the second win of the season for Boro, and unsurprisingly only the second time they’ve scored two or more goals in a game since the win against Sunderland in August. Stewart Downing bagged his first goal of the season, and he was ably supported by the athletic Adama Traore who by the way clocked the highest speed of the season! Karanka will hope Boro can push on from here, they have lacked cutting edge this season, perhaps a win will give them the hunger, desire and crucially the momentum to secure some more points in the coming weeks.
MOTM – Gaston Ramirez
Scorers – Ramirez, Downing
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Leicester City
This was Spurs’ fifth draw of the season. Defensively they are hard to fault, yet the inability may inevitably cost them in what promises to be the tightest title race in years. They hit the post twice, through Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli, but nearly just isn’t enough. Vincent Janssen has struggled to adapt to Premier League football, so he’ll be happy to get his first goal – albeit from the penalty spot. Their full-backs, Kyle Walker and Danny Rose, were up and down the flanks all game long, yet continuously failed to provide the perfect cross for Janssen to poach on. Leicester deserve credit, though, they have failed to earn a point on their travels this season, yet a courageous performance saw them earn a point through Ahmed Musa’s goal just after the break. Spurs will welcome the return of Harry Kane, who has been a big miss upfront. The 63% possession from Spurs is encouraging, yet until they can be more clinical in front of goal, these frustrating draws will haunt them in the long run.
MOTM – Jan Vertonghen
Scorers – Janssen(P) – Musa
Watford 1-0 Hull City
Mike Phelan’s side succumbed to their sixth straight loss in the Premier League. Watford are a good side however, they have now kept three successive clean sheets, are unbeaten in four and sit cosily in seventh, above Mourinho’s United. The defeat was cruel on the Tigers, however, an 82nd-minute own goal from Micahel Dawson saw the Hornets steal all three points. Amazingly, for the first time since 2006, a Premier League game was won without the winning side having a shot on target! All of a sudden Watford are proving a force – Jose Holebas, Sebastien Prodl, Nordin Ambrabat, Etienne Capoue and deadly strike force Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney provide an impressive spine. In an even game such as this 3 o’clocker, it is the side that can get the win one way or another that deserve the credit, and Walter Mazzarri deserves credit for the way his Watford side kept their shape at the weekend. For Hull, their squad simply isn’t strong enough, Phelan had a pool of youngsters on his bench, and in the Premier League that will more often than not, result in defeats, and ultimately relegation.
MOTM – Nordin Amrabat
Scorers – Dawson(OG)
West Bromwich Albion 0-4 Manchester City
Alas City have rediscovered their form! Ilkay Gundagon was impressive in the midfield, and when you give Sergio Aguero chances, he doesn’t need a second invitation. West Brom were outclassed, City were too fluid, fast and clinical for Tony Pulis and his Baggies. Salomon Rondon should have pulled a goal back, but ultimately a City back line that included Fernando as a makeshift right back was easily able to keep the opposition at bay. James McClean did provide some problems, but overall it was a good day at the office for Pep Guardiola at the Hawthorns. It was nice to see Chris Brunt returning from his long injury lay-off, and given City surely had one eye on their crucial Champions League clash against Barcelona, they will be relieved they weren’t given a more difficult afternoon than it proved to be.
MOTM – Ilkay Gundagon
Scorers – Gundagon(2), Aguero(2)
Crystal Palace 2-4 Liverpool
Neither side can defend. But boy can Liverpool attack. Phillipe Coutinho was immense yet again, he has been the player of the season for me. This game was thrilling to watch, where else in the world would you see a scoreline of 3-2 at half time? As a Liverpool fan, I wasn’t worried every time Palace scored, as I knew Liverpool had the ability to change gear and score another goal whenever they pleased. The fluidity between Roberto Firmino, Coutinho and Sadio Mane is ridiculous, it leaves opposition defenders perplexed as to where they are playing, and is great to watch. Dejan Lovren had a howler to gift James McArthur Palace’s equaliser, yet he made amends minutes later, showing great character. Overall an enthralling game and easily the most entertaining clash of the weekend, Selhurst Park boasts an intimidating atmosphere but provides a fantastic occasion.
MOTM – Phillipe Coutinho
Scorers – McArthur(2) – Can, Lovren, Matip, Firmino
Everton 2-0 West Ham United
I really like Koeman. Everton are playing flowing, entertaining football. With a poacher as able as Romelu Lukaku up front, goals are always around the corner. As was eminent with the Toffees opener when Yannick Bolasie pounced on Adrian’s palm out, to set Lukaku up for the easiest goal he’ll score all season. Their second once again revolved around the big Belgian. Yet Ross Barkley started and finished the flowing move to seal all three points for Everton. As for West Ham, something needs to change. Dimitri Payet is not the player we saw at the Euro’s and defensively they are shambolic. Sunday was an improvement, however, Bilic and his men will need to work together to grind out some results sooner or later, or the relegation zone will come knocking. However, with key players such as Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Arthur Masuaku returning, I’d expect a turn around sooner or later.
MOTM – Ross Barkley
Scorers – Lukaku, Barkley
Southampton 0-2 Chelsea
I was disappointed with Southampton on Sunday. Claude Puel has built a good passing side, who are defensively sound, but Chelsea outplayed them on Sunday. With the three at the back, N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic sitting in front, and Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses providing yet more defensive cover Chelsea have inevitably incredibly difficult to break down since switching to the 3-4-3. Southampton too were unable to break down the sea of blue defenders. Yet upfront they have enough quality to score goals too. Diego Costa has been fantastic this season, highlighted by his sumptuous 20-yard curler on a Sunday. Eden Hazard also looks to have refound the form of two years ago, bagging 5 goals already this season, one of which came on Sunday.
MOTM – Diego Costa
Scorers – Hazard, Costa
Stoke City 3-1 Swansea City
Stoke are flying! What started off as a nightmare has developed into an impressive run of form, led by that man Joe Allen. The Welshman grabbed two more assists in this one and is thriving in his new found number 10 role. Swansea frankly struggled on a cold night in Stoke, the rarity that is a Wayne Routledge headed goal was not enough for them to take anything from the game. Wilfried Bony bagged his first goals for the Potters, who climb up to 12th in the table! Mark Hughes should be proud of his players who put in a spirited performance and fully deserved the 3-1 victory, for Bob Bradley it’s a timely reminder that in the Premier League you have to fight for every single point. If the Swans are to stay up this year, he needs to find a winning formula.
MOTM – Charlie Adam
Scorers – Bony(2), Mawson(OG)
This article is written by James Clements, you can follow him on Twitter at @JamesClements55. What are your thoughts? Let us know by dropping a comment via our comments box below. Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Google+, Instagram and like us on Facebook.