The title race got interesting this weekend as Manchester City lost for the first time this season, in a 2-0 defeat away to Chelsea. Liverpool remained on top of the table standings courtesy of their 4-0 win at Bournemouth in Saturday’s early kickoff. The gap between Liverpool and City is just one point and this is set to make the title race even more exciting. Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are also looking to narrow the gap that exists between them and the two leading sides, with eight points separating the first and fifth-placed side. For neutral observers, this makes for an interesting run-up to the Premier League title.
James Milner’s career highlight
As Liverpool moved to the summit of the table, James Milner happened to have been playing his 500th Premier League game. This personal feat makes him the 13th player in the history of the Premier League to reach this landmark. He will also be the second youngest player to have done this at age 33 after Gareth Barry did the same whilst a number of days younger.
Manchester City were beaten for the first time in the Premier League this season during their weekend trip to Chelsea. Goals from N'Golo Kante and David Luiz in each half gave Maurizio Sarri a timely statement victory following a poor recent run of form. Luiz was particularly outstanding in his role as he managed to keep his calm in the face of a team that punishes every mistake. He was largely blamed for Chelsea’s loss away to Tottenham but Sarri will have been impressed with his contribution on Saturday. He was basically Chelsea’s creative outlet as City sought to suffocate them in their own half with timely pressing.
Burnley brought to an end their eight-game winless run with a 1-0 victory against Brighton at home. The result ensured that they were effectively out of the relegation zone in the Premier League table. The Clarets had not won in over two months heading into this fixture. They are now two points above the relegation teams and they will want to build on this result in the coming days.
Ralph Hasenhuttl's first match in charge of Southampton did not go according to plan as they suffered a shock 1-0 defeat. The result catapulted Cardiff to 14th in the table whilst Southampton dropped to 19th. Hasenhuttl was happy about the attitude of his players but he will surely need more than that to dig his side out of the relegation battle. He is still very new in the Premier League but he has demonstrated in the past that he is a good coach and he will need to demonstrate to the Saints faithful in the near future what he is capable of.
Fulhams’ porous defence
Manchester United ended a four-game winless streak with a 4-1 win at home against Fulham. The Cottagers are under the tutorship of Claudio Ranieri who took over recently in a bid to save them from being dropped at the end of the season. Manchester United began the match on a high note and they were focused on exploiting the visitor's defensive frailties. Fulham have now conceded in 20 consecutive top-flight games and 40 goals in their opening 16 Premier League games this season. Barnsley are the only team to have conceded more than that at this stage of a top-flight campaign since the start of the 1965/66 season.
Arsenal managed to salvage three points late into their fixture at home to Huddersfield when Lucas Torreira's late overhead kick handed the Gunners a hard-fought 1-0 win and extended their unbeaten run to 21 games. However, they found themselves frustrated in an afternoon that saw a total of nine yellow cards dished out, three of which were for simulation by the Arsenal players. The culprits were Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Stephan Lichtsteiner. Referee Paul Tierney was always alert and he was able to deny Arsenal three wrong penalty claims that could have altered the final result had they been awarded.