By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week four
- Full results from the weekend
Goals, debuts, controversial decisions and a managerial sacking to go with it. Match-week four of the Premier League had it all, and here is a run down of the lessons we learned from the weekend.
Shades of last season for Manchester United
Manchester United dropped their first points of the season as they were held to a 2-2 draw away at Stoke on Saturday. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting put Stoke ahead just before half time, but their lead did not last until the break as Marcus Rashford levelled the score in stoppage time. United would turn it around in the second half through Romelu Lukaku, but Choupo-Moting headed in his second of the game just minutes later to rescue a point.
It was a match that eerily looked similar to United’s outings of last season. Although they were not completely dominant, The Red Devils once again let a lead go against a side that they would have been expecting to beat. It was also the first goals they have conceded in 535 minutes of league football.
On a positive note, they still remain one of the few undefeated sides in the division and sit at the top of the Premier League table. Everton is next up for Jose Mourinho and his men, a match which could be their toughest of the season so far.
Mane’s sending off was the right decision
The game was fairly even until the sending off. Sergio Aguero had given the Citizens the lead after 24 minutes, but Liverpool were still creating chances. Then Sadio Mane was sent off eight minutes before the break for a high challenge on Ederson that forced the goalkeeper off with facial injuries.
From there, Pep Guardiola’s side took full control of the match and were rampant in their attacking assault. Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane would both grab braces as City thrashed the ten man Liverpool in the second half.
The red card changed the game, and left Liverpool with an extremely uphill task to overturn their deficit. There was controversy surrounding the decision from John Moss given that Mane had no other way to challenge for the ball.
There is no evidence to suggest there was any intent to hurt Ederson, after all it was a challenge for the ball with the keeper rushing out, but that was the risk the Liverpool winger took. If he got the ball he likely scores and levels the match, if not he risks sending off.
The laws of the game say that dangerous challenges that could harm an opponent should be sanctioned as serious foul play, and in this case it certainly was dangerous play.
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Away form will be key for Spurs
After a disappointing two weeks at Wembley, Spurs are back to winning ways with a 3-0 away win at Everton on Saturday.
It is September so Harry Kane has woken up for the new season. The Englishman admitted his 100th Premier League goal was a fluke, but his cross-come-shot looped over Jordan Pickford and nto the back of the net to give Spurs the lead.
Christian Eriksen scored Spurs’ second from close range just before half time, before Kane sealed the game just 47 seconds after the break.
It was a fine performance from Mauricio Pochettino’s men, much more reminiscent of their form from last season. It is becoming clear that away form will be key to Spurs’ success as they struggle at Wembley. They outclassed Everton here and grabbed a much needed win after two games without one.
For Everton, this is another loss to a top four side. The Toffees spent a lot during the summer transfer window to close the gap between themselves and the top six, but on evidence so far they have failed to achieve that.
Sanches will need time
Much focus was put on Swansea’s new loan signing Renato Sanches on Sunday as their hosted Newcastle at the Liberty Stadium. The 20-year-old Portuguese International had impressed many with his performances during Euro 2016 and for Benfica that season, but after a big money move to Bayern, Sanches has fallen short of game time.
His arrival at Swansea was seen as one of the best deals of the summer and he came into his first game for the club with plenty of hype. Unfortunately, the midfielder failed to deliver. Swansea would lose the game 1-0 to Newcastle with Sanches in particular having a poor outing. He showed signs of his talent, but overall gave the ball away too many times and failed to influence the game in a positive way.
Many have criticised the Portuguese man, but the fact is he will need time. Not only is he joining a new league, Sanches is low on confidence after failing to break into the Bayern Munich first 11, and a player as young as him needs game time to develop.
There is a lot of talent there, and after a few games of finding his feet he will surely start showing his capabilities.
Frank de Boer wins the managerial ‘sack race’
Four games into the season and we have seen the first managerial sacking of the season. After failing to even register a goal in his first four Premier League games as Crystal Palace boss, Frank de Boer has been relieved of his duties as manager of the Eagles.
The Dutchman took over the club in the summer after Sam Allardyce left, and was aiming to bring the fluid football to London that gave him success as manager of Ajax. But in his first four games, his influence failed to yield success. It might be premature after just four games of the new season, but it is obvious the hierarchy at Palace feel they need a change in direction. Roy Hodgson is rumoured to be taking over the role as manager.
Overall it was a poor week for our team with Niall scoring only five points, and Neil edging him with 6. Both correctly guessed the score of the Leicester vs Chelsea game, but the difference in the end came with Neil picking Spurs to beat Everton.
Overall the gap is closed to 11 points. Neil sits on 19 after four weeks with Niall ahead on 30. Can Neil close the gap further in match-week five?
||Actual Score||Neil (19)
|Man City 2-2 Liverpool (0)
||Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool||Man City 2-2 Liverpool (0)
|Arsenal 2-1 Bournemouth (1)
||Arsenal 3-0 AFC Bournemouth||Arsenal 3-1 Bournemouth (1)
|Brighton 0-1 West Brom (0)
||Brighton & Hove Albion 3-1 West Bromwich Albion||Brighton 0-1 West Brom (0)
|Everton 1-1 Tottenham (0)
||Everton 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur||Everton 1-2 Tottenham (1)
|Leicester 1-2 Chelsea (3)
||Leicester City 1-2 Chelsea||Leicester 1-2 Chelsea (3)
|Southampton 1-0 Watford (0)
||Southampton 0-2 Watford||Southampton 2-0 Watford (0)
|Stoke 0-2 Man United (0)
||Stoke City 2-2 Manchester United||Stoke 0-2 Man United (0)
|Burnley 2-1 Crystal Palace (1)
||Burnley 1-0 Crystal Palace||Burnley 2-0 Crystal Palace (1)
|Swansea 2-0 Newcastle (0)
||Swansea 0-1 Newcastle||Swansea 1-0 Newcastle (0)
|West Ham 1-1 Huddersfield (0)
||West Ham 2-0 Huddersfield||West Ham 2-2 Huddersfield (0)
The Premier League returns on September 15th
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