Manchester City suffered a 2-0 defeat to Wolves at Etihad Stadium, leaving the reigning Champions eight points behind Liverpool in the title race. Adama Traoré left City dazed at the Etihad with a late double in the final ten minutes of the game.
Wolves first capitalised on a mistake by Joao Cancelo, who gave the ball away cheaply. Raúl Jiménez came racing down the left flank and sent an excellent cross into Traoré’s path. Ederson had also come out of the six-yard box, leaving the goal exposed allowing Traoré to fire it home with ease.
Rui Patrício did have to make some key saves against City, blocking efforts from Raheem Sterling and David Silva, who had also missed out on a goal earlier in the game when his attempt hit the crossbar.
Traoré slotted the second one home into extra time, with Jiménez providing the assist again. Fernandinho made pace but wasn’t quick enough and the Spaniard drilled a low ball into the net without having to get into a tussle with the midfielder-turned-defender.
Wolves had put an end to the Premier League Champions winning streak on home turf and their first win at the Etihad since 1984. It was a morale-boosting performance from the Midlands team who have experienced a shaky start this season.
Both sides had been in European combat in midweek, City in the Champions League and Wolves in the UEFA League. But City were at home whilst Wolves had to travel 4,000 miles to Turkey and back.
City have now shelled five points in their opening four home games of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign. In the whole of last season, they dropped just three and then seven the year before that. Though, Pep’s men are having to contend for the title without key players at this stage of the season.
Kevin Du Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones are all out due to injury, with the former two arguably being City’s most creative players.
Fernandinho has had to step in as a centre back to make up for City’s dwindling defence and though he has flourished as a stand-in during some games, it’s becoming apparent that this makeshift defence is proving to cost Pep Guardiola.
City are the best in England and potentially, even in Europe but with so many players out are they still capable of closing the eight-point gap, or more importantly overtaking their Northern rivals? Last season they did well to beat Liverpool to the line but this latest setback has sparked reason for concern.
Nuno Santo’s forwards ran free three times in the first half, more times than Man City should be allowing if they want to achieve the triple title.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Pep Guardiola said: “We were not at our best. We had chances to score but it was a bad day and we lost the game.”
A bad day indeed.
Leicester City miss out on a point in the final minutes
Meanwhile, James Milner, one of the unsung but most effective players of his era, notched an injury-time penalty to maintain Liverpool’s winning streak in a controversial victory over Leicester City.
Mane, pressing hard for the win, came under contact from Marc Albrighton and the referee awarded the Reds with a penalty, sparking controversy and an on-pitch scuffle. Some pundits accused the Senegalese striker as diving after the contact with Albrighton but VAR allowed the penalty and so Liverpool maintain their flawless start to the Premier League this season.
Liverpool now have 17 successive Premier League victories under their belt, beaten only by Manchester City’s 18 wins that took place between August and December 2017. They also top the table for the longest unbeaten home run in any of Europe’s five elite leagues (Premier League, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga & Serie A), being undefeated in 44 consecutive league games at home.
But Leicester City continue to present themselves as a top four force as Brendan Rodgers’ side posed a real threat to the Reds and looked to be on course to end Liverpool’s winning run at Anfield. It came after Perez found James Maddison, who scored a low finish between the legs of Adrian to equalise ten minutes before time.
The Foxes, well organised by Rodgers continued to show resistance and came close when James Vardy received a brilliant ball from Albrighton but the former England International couldn’t see it through. Then, moments before City equalised Dennis Praet’s effort just skimmed wide.
On BBC’s Match of the Day, Klopp acknowledged: “It was a super game. We upped the tempo. The football we played was so important.”
“The penalty was obviously a penalty. We knew it would probably happen, we knew we were going to fight for the win – and we did. Without luck, we cannot win the amount of games we have won, but over the 90 minutes we deserved it – we deserved the three points. Milner held his nerve and that was superb.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers had other thoughts, stating: “It’s cruel to concede so late. I am very proud of the team. We’re playing against the European champions and we looked like we could get goals. We were always a threat in the game, we had the confidence to pass the ball. We are showing our personality in how we played.”
Spurs suffer a 3-0 defeat
Sadly, Tottenham Hotspur‘s woes continued as they fell at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion following a disappointing result at home to Bayern Munich. For Brighton it was good news as the Seagulls picked up their first win of the 2019/20 campaign at the AMEX Stadium.
After Spurs 7-2 loss in the Champions League, head coach Mauricio Pochettino was expecting his players to have a much better performance on the South Coast but perhaps it was a game damned from the start, as within the first three minutes, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was being carried off on a stretcher.
The French man dislocated his elbow after falling awkwardly in his attempt to keep hold of Pascal Gross’s cross. Pochettino stated that losing Lloris “changed the emotions of the game, the team suffered a lot and couldn’t find the way to be solid and play football.” Lloris has now been ruled out of the EURO 2020 Qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.
Aaron Connolly added insult to injury for Tottenham by doubling Brighton’s lead and in his first Premier League start too. Gazzanga, who replaced Lloris denied the 19-year-old Irishman’s first attempt but couldn’t clear his second effort.
And although Spurs picked up in the second half, renewing hope with a change of formation, they couldn’t recover. Brighton continued to threaten and Connolly sought the double, producing a well-taken strike in the 65th minute to seal Brighton’s first home win since March.
The youngster described it as, a “dream come true” and it was a truly remarkable debut for the teen, who is the first teenager to appear and score for the club in this Premier League era.
Spurs had some opportunity after the third goal, as Lucas Moura was denied twice by Matthew Ryan, Harry Kane fired over the crossbar and Son Heung-Min just failed to get a foot on the ball following a pass from Moussa Sissoko.
Manchester United head further down the league table
One team it’s not looking good for is Manchester United, who lost 1-0 to Newcastle United last weekend. The Red Devils now sit in twelfth position on the Premier League table, having won only two of eight games played so far this season and talks have already ignited about Ole’s future at Old Trafford as Man United seem to be in a crisis.
Whilst Man United struggled to find their groove, Newcastle were dancing after Matty Longstaff’s decisive goal. In his Premier League debut for the club, the 19-year-old drove a low finish home, leaving the Red Devils just two points above the relegation zone and fifteen points behind leaders, Liverpool who they will go head-to-head with after the international break.
And Matty, playing in midfield alongside his brother Sean Longstaff, could have made the score 2-0, after a first-half effort rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard drive.
This has been Man United’s worse start to the league since the 1989-90 campaign, where the Red Devils finished 13th in the league. Solskjær is missing six of his first team players to injury but that cannot be used as an excuse for much longer, given United’s downwards spiral has been apparent since the start of the campaign. But who would takeover should they decide to get rid of Ole?
He needs to find a solution, and quickly at that.
Chelsea climb to fifth
Down at St. Mary’s Stadium, ‘Super’ Frank Lampard could have put his feet up as Chelsea made an example of the Saints. Tammy Abraham scored his eighth league goal of the season, with Mason Mount, N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi also all going down on the score sheet for the Blues.
Chelsea dominated from the outset, taking the lead after Abraham drilled a shot into the home sides net following a cross from Callum Hudson-Odoi. Saints defender, Maya Yoshida attempted to volley it clear before it had crossed the line but his efforts turned out to be in vain.
Mount soon doubled the Blues lead, firing a lovely ball from Willian at close range, before Danny Ings halved the deficit, to give Southampton a foothold back in the game. But they were no match for Lampard’s men.
From the edge of the box came N’Golo Kante with a stunning strike that took a destructive deflection off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and past Saints goalkeeper, Angus Gunn.
Batshuayi and Christian Pulisic combined to seal the fourth. Pulisic sent a fine pass to Batshuayi, who came on just six minutes from time before slotting it home. The duo has since acquired the nicknames of Batman and Captain America following their impressive link-up.
Chelsea continue to improve week by week and Lampard has made sure to mention that his side have much more to offer. Let’s hope Chelsea continue as they mean to go on after the international break, when they will take on Newcastle.