VAR controversies and contentious penalties continued to rain down upon the Premier League sides as this matchday created just as much drama and scintillating matches as the last two. Here are the results from Matchday 3:
Matchday 3 Results:
Brighton vs Manchester United 2-3
Crystal Palace vs Everton 1-2
West Brom vs Chelsea 3-3
Burnley vs Southampton 0-1
Sheffield United vs Leeds 0-1
Tottenham vs Newcastle 1-1
Manchester City vs Leicester 2-5
West Ham vs Wolves 4-0
Fulham vs Aston Villa 0-3
Liverpool vs Arsenal 3-1
Matchday 3 Grades:
Shocking as it might seem for a defeat, they deserved points from this game for the way they played. They hit the post a record five times as well as scoring twice and a big save from De Gea to deny Trossard. It was their own stupidity that cost them the win with Maupay trying to block the ball with his arm but played exceptionally well and will look for revenge on Wednesday in the cup.
MANCHESTER UNITED 7.5/10
It wasn’t an even game. If United had dropped points like it looked would happen, then this would be a different analysis. The players still don’t look fit and Wan-Bissaka was culpable for the equaliser and so was Fernandes. Nevertheless, his attacking contributions with all three of United’s goals and, most importantly, the emphatic winner. A big win but United need a lot of work. Unsung hero was Nemanja Matic and was outstanding all game. Michael Carrick-esque!
CRYSTAL PALACE 5/10
Hard done by for the loss as it wasn’t a penalty. However, it was in the 40th minute and so should have gone for the game in the second half so to register one shot on target in the whole game is unacceptable. A bubble may have burst for Palace as they started so well. Chelsea next who look weak defensively and Palace’s counterattack could wreak havoc.
It wasn’t convincing but a good win and a third win in Matchday 3 for Everton now. James is running the show at the moment and they look excellent in possession. The game against Liverpool will determine how their season will go as that is their first big challenge. However, with Brighton up next after a cup game against West Ham and they will tough out any points they earn.
WEST BROM 7.5/10
I had trouble finding this a rating. Yes, they played exceptionally in the first half and deserved a win from there, but they bottled it in the second half. Outplayed in the second 45 and couldn’t defend the Chelsea onslaught which began with a fantastic strike and ended with a tap-in.
Credit to get themselves back into the game and get the point from such a difficult position but they never should have been in it. Awful mistakes from Alonso and Silva hit Chelsea badly. Werner still needs to acclimatise to the Premier League but missed a crucial chance to score early on. You could say unlucky, but he has to keep it low as the keeper was going the wrong way. They still look a long way off the title but Ziyech, Chilwell and Pulisic are missing and are desperately needed.
Could have had a penalty but I do think it was soft. They had a couple of opportunities but I think they will need another month before they start causing problems like they are known to do. They have a tough run in the next month and I can see them struggling.
They got the goal from some great play from Walker-Peters and Adams. They sat back and countered and let Burnley struggle to mount possession attacks. A tough run ahead and I do expect them to grow and cause problems.
SHEFFIELD UNITED 6.5/10
They still haven’t got a win this season but this game was far better than the last two. Ramsdale was forced into some excellent saves but so was Meslier and it could easily have been a Blades win. I don’t expect them to get a result against Arsenal. Perhaps if they can dig deep and counter, they can kickstart their season against the Gunners.
LEEDS UNITED 7/10
Leeds got a massive three points as it could have easily gone the other way. I said this season would be the last chance Bamford would have to play regular Premier League football. So far he is taking it well. Consistency is the key and for all season long but he is doing very well so far.
So very unlucky in the first half and when Son came off they stuttered in the second. Many say the penalty was a disgrace. While I don’t agree it was disgraceful, the rules need to factor intent and never should have been awarded. Still, Tottenham had a lot of time to make it 2-0 and didn’t/couldn’t. That still has to be said, they still cannot break teams down as efficiently as when Eriksen was there. A busy week ahead and you never know how these weeks turn out. Not to forget that all their opposition have far fewer matches. It could be rough.
Did not for one second deserve this result. Never a penalty and they could have conceded three from Son. Darlow was excellent and that is why this is a 6.5 and not fewer. They did dig deep in the second half and stole a point.
MANCHESTER CITY 1/10
[Rubs hands] I am going to enjoy this. That was a shambolic performance. A great goal out of nothing to open the scoring but could not break down this valiant Leicester defence and the counter attacks began. The amateur defending cost Manchester City and every single penalty was one without a doubt. Of course Laporte wasn’t playing and neither was the now-new signing, Ruben Dias but City still remain without a left back that can defend. Will Pep put Ake there? I can’t say for sure. De Bruyne was nowhere to be seen but because he wears blue and not red you won’t hear about it. They look so susceptible to the counter in possession it’s concerning even from a rival fan. Leeds to come and I do expect City to win but not easily based on the way they played against Liverpool.
LEICESTER CITY 10/10
Fantastic foxes! Battered City on the counter and an injured Vardy did more damage than a fully-fit Sterling did all game. I thought without Ndidi and Maddison starting that this would be a tough game but far from it. Mendy and Amartey came in and did excellently and Castagne for me has been one of the signings of the season already. A magnificent flick from Vardy along with the penalties and what a goal from James Maddison (what could have been!). This is a big statement after their 2020 drop in form. They have a decent run in the league before going to Liverpool in late November but will the Europa League leave a hangover? We will have to see.
WEST HAM 10/10
Outstanding performance. They looked shaky at times in the last couple of games and I’ll be honest, I am shocked at this result. Bowen and Fornals ran the first half and they controlled the second. I did think they would get relegated after not making any big signings and letting Diangana leave. The run they have coming up cannot get any worse with Leicester, Spurs, City and Liverpool in a row. If they can get points from at least two of these matches it will be a good foothold in their plot to do much better than a lower table finish.
The reason this is not a 1 like Manchester City is sympathy. Wolves had a campaign that lasted longer than a year and only had 27 days to recover from the exit from the Europa League. They looked absolutely battered. Jimenez, Neves, Moutinho and the usuals for Wolves definitely are not fit yet. It’s probably a godsend they aren’t in the Europa League so they can get fit and focus on the league this season. They have a good chance to bounce back against Fulham. Only one winner here and it’s the half-fit team not the half-competent one.
Again this is different to Wolves. No sympathy for Fulham as they look totally out of their depth already. They have played against Arsenal, Leeds and Villa and managed no points from any of these games and what’s more is they have conceded ten goals. This game in Matchday 3 epitomises their poor start as it was another six pointer they failed to turn up to. Scott Parker has done a sensational job to get this team back up immediately after relegation but I think he will have to do it again because even with two new defenders as was openly promised by the DOF, they do not anywhere near the Premier League standard. I would love to be proven wrong because they have some very solid players who are Premier League quality but I don’t expect I will be.
ASTON VILLA 9/10
Played quality football and earned the win almost effortlessly but look like a proper Premier League side this early on in the campaign. They will be glad Grealish stayed and have acquired a quality striker in Ollie Watkins. I do expect them to stay up now but they have two massive tests in the next two matches against Liverpool and Leicester. If they can manage at least a point in either game then they will be in a good position to continue.
Regardless of the controversies and obvious sloppiness at times defensively, Liverpool played scintillating football and the kind that the Liverpool fans fell in love with Klopp for from the beginning. Liverpool deserved the win but won it somewhat controversially. Firstly, Mane should have been sent off, undeniably. I’ve watched the replay over and over and, while initially Mane aims to hold Tierney off, he moves his arm further up and ends up catching him full on in the face with his fist. That is a shocker from VAR. Secondly, the Jota goal was controversial but I do think it was fine to be allowed. There was no certainty that it hit his arm below his sleeve and so VAR cannot say with certainty that it was a ‘valid’ handball.
There remains a sloppiness and openness about Liverpool this early on and especially without Henderson in the side. I still think they could struggle and teams can cause them trouble with some of the limitations in their squad. Nevertheless, they keep their 100% win record in the league and I do not expect that to change going into the international break.
I think they showed Liverpool far too much respect when looking at how Leeds managed to capitalise on Liverpool’s errors and weaknesses. There were big errors leading to the goals they conceded with Leno and Tierney at fault for the first and Willian for the second. The latter very similar to that which almost caught Manchester United out on Saturday. Ceballos came on and changed the game for them but it baffles me how Lacazette missed two massive chances like that which could have effectively won Arsenal the game or certainly changed the ascendancy in the match.
If Pepe starts for Arsenal, Willian drifts to the left and Aubameyang starts up front, you have a deadly front three who are all better than Lacazette. Defensively of course there remains a big question mark. Arteta has a massive couple of months ahead and some tricky fixtures. This set will probably determine Arsenal’s season.