By Cameron Winstanley
Thankfully, the final international break until March, the Premier League returned ahead of its busy run into the Christmas period. The ever changing leaders at the top of the table continued to ebb and flow and the bottom of the table began to take shape after Brighton’s win at Villa Park, leaving a five point gap between them, in 16th, and the relegation zone. Here’s a recap of the weekend’s standout performers.
Record-breaking Liverpool have now gone 64 games unbeaten at home in the league as they moved level on points with Tottenham Hotspur, at the top of the table with an excellent 3-0 win against Leicester City on Sunday night. The Red’s injury problems coming into the game had neutrals expecting a close game, especially with a potential Leicester win sending them to the top. However, it was anything but close with Liverpool dominating from start to finish and sending out a stark reminder to the rest of the league. Diogo Jota scored his fourth goal of the season to add to his great start to life at Anfield as his bright movement was found by Andy Robertson’s cross to double Liverpool’s lead after a Jonny Evans own goal. The third, a deft header from, Roberto Firmino, who after being wasteful earlier in the game, finally found the back of the net, scoring only his third goal in 24 games. The perfect performance from Jurgen Klopp and his side.Embed from Getty Images
Burnley finally earned their first win of the season as they beat Crystal Palace, 1-0 at Turf Moor to climb out of the relegation zone. Burnley only had two points from seven games coming into this fixture. Chris Wood’s early strike and Burnley’s first home goal of the campaign along with a fantastic performance from Nick Pope between the sticks, was the difference on Monday night. Turf Moor finally becoming a ‘happy place’. Palace were left without Wilfred Zaha after a positive coronavirus test and couldn’t have got off to a worse start after a mistake from Cheikou Kouyate saw the ball fall to Jay Rodriguez, who laid it on a plate for Wood’s to pass home past Guaita. Burnley could’ve doubled their lead when Johann Berg Gudmundsson, struck the bar with Guaita beaten. Christian Benteke had the pick of the chance for Palace with Nick Pope’s brave save securing the three points for the Clarets and doing his chance to be England’s number one for the upcoming Euros no harm.Embed from Getty Images
Pep Guardiola was outdone by his old adversary, Jose Mourinho, as City slumped to a 2-0 defeat away to Tottenham Hotspur. The defeat leaves City with just twelve points from eight games, the worst start to a league since Mark Hughes’ side finished tenth in the 2008/09 season. Whilst the ten goals scored so far this season is the lowest after eight games during the Abu Dhabi regime. It was Déjà vu with Spurs repeating the same tactics and result. However, Tottenham found their opening goal much earlier this time. Tanguy Ndombele’s perfectly timed and weighted pass to Heung-Min Son, who slid through Ederson’s legs with just five minutes gone. Substitute, Giovanni Lo Celso added Spurs’ second midway through the second half, set up by the imperious Harry Kane. Despite the overwhelming possession and shots throughout the game, City looked toothless and short of ideas with Kevin De Bruyne, yet again failing to make an impact. Guardiola’s new contract may take the pressure off him in the short-term, but he must find form if his side want to be anywhere near a title challenge.Embed from Getty Images
The Blades were cut even further adrift in the early stages of what many didn’t expect to be a relegation threatened season for Chris Wilder’s side. The 1-0 defeat to West Ham United on Sunday, exacerbated by Burnley’s win on Monday night, now sees the Blades four points from safety, with Burnley in 17th, having a game in hand. There wasn’t much that defensively could have prevented the game’s only goal. A thunderbolt from Sebastien Haller, found the top corner from the edge of the box, just out of the reach of Aaron Ramsdale. Oli McBurnie was left frustrated by Lukasz Fabianski twice with the game goalless and then striking the bar late on. The win sees The Iron’s climb up to eighth and become the first London side to win at Bramall Lane since Chelsea in October 2006. United have now become only the third side in Premier League history to pick up just one or fewer points from their opening nine games.Embed from Getty Images
Sub-Edited by Samuel Brady