Football Article

City Continue Goal-Fest, Liverpool Win, United Lose

The second round of fixtures of the 2018 – 2019 season was played out over three days, Saturday to Monday.

Saturday

Matters got underway as newly promoted Cardiff City hosted Newcastle United in what turned out to be a drab, poor quality match, marred by ill-discipline from the away side, who saw winger Kenedy escape a red card completely after lashing out at Cardiff’s Victor Camarasa, and then had substitute Isaac Hayden sent off for a nasty challenge. The 10-men had a chance to win it in injury time, when Newcastle missed a penalty, but neither side deserved to win on the day.

Everton beat Southampton 2 – 1 at Goodison Park, although it was a game of two halves. In the first period the home side were on top almost from the off, taking the lead when Theo Walcott scored after being left one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Scored then turned provider as he set-up record signing Richarlison to head the second.

However, Southampton were resurgent after the break, and former Liverpool striker Danny Ings pulled a goal back. They had other opportunities to equalise but with Walcott missing a golden chance at the other end, the home side held on for victory in the end.

Leicester City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 – 0 but lost England striker Jamie Vardy to a straight red card that took the gloss off their afternoon somewhat. Leicester took the lead, slightly against the run of play, when Wolves defender Matt Doherty inadvertently deflected the ball into his own net, and then, moved further ahead, when new signing James Maddison scored from the edge of the area. However, Vardy’s reckless challenge on Doherty saw him sent off in the 66th minute, with his side hanging on to claim all three points.

At Wembley Tottenham Hotspur beat Fulham 3 - 1 in an entertaining London derby. It was Spurs who dominated the first half but had little to show for it until Lucas Moura curled it a fine opener just before half-time. Fulham came back into it after the break and equalised when Aleksandr Mitrovic scored with a close range header.

At that point the visitors were on top, but then Spurs went ahead again when Kieran Trippier provided memories of his World Cup exploits with a fine free-kick. Three minutes later Harry Kane made the game safe, with a goal that ended his August goal drought – it was the first time he had ever scored in the month.

West Ham United, heavily beaten on the opening day of the season, lost again, as Bournemouth came from behind to win 2 – 1. It was actually West Ham who led at half-time through a Marko Arnautuvic penalty, but the visitors scored twice in six second-half minutes, to clinch all three points as Callum Wilson’s fine solo goal was followed by defender Steve Cook’s headed winner.

In the Saturday evening fixture Chelsea beat Arsenal 3 -2 in a thrilling match. It was the home side who took an early lead when Pedro shot under Arsenal keeper Petr Cech, and then doubled their lead through Alvaro Morata, just 60 seconds after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang spurned a golden chance to equalise. Henrikh Mkhitaryan missed another clear chance but then made amends, scoring from the edge of the box, and then turned provider, pulling a cross back for Alex Iwobi to slam home an equaliser. The second half was more controlled, but Aubameyang missed another good chance which ultimately proved cost. Substitute Alexander Lacazette carelessly gave the ball away to Eden Hazard, who eventually worked a cross for full-back Marcus Alonso to sweep home at the near post.

Sunday

In the first of the lunchtime fixtures, Watford scored their first away goals since January to beat Burnley 3 – 1. It was the visitors who took an early lead through Andre Gray who scored against his old club, only for James Tarkowski to equalise three minutes later. Watford retook the lead early in the second half when captain Troy Deeney poked them ahead, and then confirmed victory through Will Hughes who hit a long-range shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Meanwhile Champions Manchester City hammered Huddersfield Town 6 – 1 at the Etihad Stadium with Sergio Aguero scoring a hat trick. Aguero gave City the lead in the 25th minute and 1 – 0 quickly became 3 – 0 as Gabriel Jesus added a second and Aguero scored again. Jon Gorenc Stankovic pulled a goal back before half-time, but City continued to dominate, and David Silva slotted home a fine free-kick. Aguero completed his hat-trick and Terence Kongolo’s own goal completed the scoring.

Brighton deservedly beat a woeful Manchester United 3 – 2 at the Falmer Stadium to record a famous win, although United’s defending, particularly in the first half was woeful. It was Brighton who took the lead when he was allowed to get in front of his defender to flick home a left-wing cross, and the Seagulls extended their lead when, two minutes later, United could not clear their lines from a corner, and Shane Duffy stroked home his first Premier League goal. Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back, but then Brighton extended their lead on the stroke of half-time when Eric Bailly, who was having a shocker in central defence, brought down Pascal Gross in the box, who picked himself up to convert the penalty. United were tighter in the second half, but created little, and even though Paul Pogba scored a penalty of their own deep into injury time, it came too late to make a difference.

Monday

The final match of the weekend saw Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 2 – 0 at Selhurst Park on Monday night. Liverpool had the better of the first half but were lucky to go in a goal up at half-time when referee Michael Oliver gave a highly contentious penalty for a foul on Mo Salah, and James Milner scored from the spot. Then in the second-half Salah broke free and Aaron Wan-Bissaka brought down and was sent off for a professional foul. Liverpool played within themselves against the ten men but, in injury time, Salah played in Sadio Mane on the break and he rounded the goalkeeper to seal the win.

Rajeev mcallister
Sports Pundit staff writer

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