Just like that, all’s right with the world. Chelsea? Doesn’t know how to concede a goal. Manchester City? Dominated a struggling Blades side that was lucky to concede only one goal. Liverpool? Clawed their way back from a 1-0 deficit to take all three points and regain sole possession of first place in the table. Tottenham, Leicester, and Arsenal all picked up three points as well. Manchester United were the odd man out, and Ole might be out of a job if United continue to drop points. For the first time all season, Leeds were well and truly beat by Leicester. Bamford’s early failed header led to a goal not 45 seconds later at the other end of the pitch, and the wind was taken out of Leeds’ sails. Jamie Vardy is still a man in form. Speaking of men in form, Gareth Bale earned his first match-winner for a Premier League side in seven years, rescuing all three points for Tottenham against a Brighton side that was punching well above its weight. Let’s dive in:
Liverpool equaled a club record by going 63 consecutive home league matches unbeaten.
Rayan Ait-Nouri became the youngest-ever Frenchman to score on his Premier League debut, a debut largely fueled by injuries in the Wolves roster. He looked dangerous all match, and could quickly become a permanent fixture in the Wolves lineup.
Hakim Ziyech became the first player to score and assist on his Premier League debut since Ruben Neves, and only the third African ever.
James Ward-Prowse became the first player since Christian Eriksen in 2015 to score two direct free kick goals in a match, and only the ninth player ever in the Premier League.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang became the first-ever Arsenal player to score a penalty at Old Trafford.
Gareth Bale’s aforementioned game-winner was his first Spurs goal in 2,723 days.
Jamie Vardy became the seventh player in Premier League history to score nine or more consecutive goals away from home, and the first since Harry Kane (13) in 2017.
Since I’m late once again with this article, with two matches just hours away, I wanted to highlight the them: Brighton vs. Burnley is an incredibly important fixture, and while some may write it off, I will not be one of those. Burnley finished in the top ten last year after earning just one point in their first five matches, putting them one match behind. They will look to get on track against a Brighton team that has had a rough spell, having played some of the best clubs in the league. Brighton look young and exciting, with players like Lamptey, Trossard, and Maupay. Burnley’s duo up top, Barnes and Wood, scored more goals than any other upfront combination last season, but have hardly contributed during this one. This match provides both clubs with a platform to rebuild their campaigns. Southampton vs. Newcastle provides an even more exciting fixture, with two teams competing for top four spots. Southampton is only three points off first place, while Newcastle is only five. A win today would put Newcastle in 4th place, albeit temporarily. Meanwhile, a win for Southampton means the Saints would rise to the top of the table for the first time…ever.
In other news, England announced its latest squad to face Ireland, Belgium, and Iceland. My takeaways: Southgate is noticing what’s happening in the league right now. Greenwood was dropped. Ward-Prowse is becoming a permanent fixture, as are several other players from “lesser” sides. Chelsea is now providing the backbone of the squad. Arsenal are finally pulling their weight. Conor Coady is the new best CB in the Premier League. And finally, the loss of Kalvin Phillips is an important one, and one that leaves a window into the holding midfield role for England. Hopefully Southgate sees fit to try something more ambitious than 3-4-2-1 that converts to a 5-2-2-1. Also, a bone to pick with Southgate: if Marcelo Bielsa is willing to pull his central holding midfielder 21 minutes into a match against Aston Villa, shouldn’t Southgate be willing to pull a defender far more likely to earn a second card, when his bench is quite literally brimming with defensive talent?