The beginning of the 2019-2020 Premier League had a familiar feel to how the competition ended last season, with both Liverpool and Manchester City going on incredible runs that saw both teams pile up blowout wins along the way.
It surely seemed to be the case early during opening week, in which both teams won their affairs by at least three goals of difference. However, thanks to a City 2-2 draw at home against what seemed to be an overmatched Tottenham squad in match week two and Liverpool’s latest 3-1 crushing of Arsenal at home, the Reds sit atop the Premier League table with nine points through three games. Here’s what happened in the Premier League’s third week of fixtures.
Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal
A fresh new Arsenal squad with the additions of forward Nicolas Pépé, midfielder Dani Ceballos and center-back David Luiz looked to avenge the 5-1 trouncing they suffered the last time they visited Anfield in 2018. However, this time around, although there were some positive signs to take from the 3-1 loss, like Pépé’s performance, the overall result did not change much from one year to the other.
Liverpool controlled much of the game and was the side constantly creating attacking opportunities. The Reds had a total of 25 shots on goal against only nine by Arsenal. Forward Mohamed Salah gave fits to the Gunners’ defense all match long, to the point that David Luiz, not being able to stop the Egyptian, clearly dragged him down by his shirt inside the penalty area. The referee awarded the penalty kick, and Salah scored the first goal of what would become a brace for the Egyptian in an easy win for Liverpool.
Norwich 2-3 Chelsea
The Blues finally got their first win under new manager and club legend Frank Lampard in what was arguably the game of the week at Norwich City. Chelsea struck first with a beautiful finish by striker Tammy Abraham after a cross into the middle of the penalty area by right-back César Azpilicueta. Norwich delivered a blow on their own only three minutes later with Teemu Pukki assisting Todd Cantwell for an easy finish next to the left post. Chelsea would strike again with another youngster, this time around with a brilliant dribble across the penalty area by midfielder Mason Mount, who ultimately notched the ball in the right corner of the goal, giving no chance to Norwich’s keeper Tim Krul. Yet, Norwich leveled the score once again with a finish past Chelsea’s keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to the left side.
The Finnish forward has been having an amazing start of the season for Norwich. After three matches, he is tied with Raheem Sterling from Man City for most goals in the league with five. He has also been directly involved, either scoring or assisting, in all six goals scored by Norwich in the Premier League.
However, Pukki’s heroics were ultimately not enough to secure points at home against Chelsea. In the 68th minute, Abraham dribbled past Norwich defenders Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis with ease just outside the penalty area. He then shot in Krul’s backfoot toward the left side to put Chelsea up 3-2 and seal the victory for his squad. This was the first time an English player scored a brace for Chelsea since Frank Lampard did it himself back in 2012. Despite the Chelsea victory, both teams should feel really good about this game. Norwich has proved so far that it has enough firepower to compete to remain in the Premier League, while Chelsea is seeing its academy players rising to the occasion in a tumultuous transfer ban year.
Two teams that should feel less optimistic about this week’s results are Manchester United and Tottenham. Both were expected to score some points with easy home fixtures against Crystal Palace and Newcastle respectively.
United dominated all facets of its game against Crystal Palace with more ball possession (71.3 percent), more shots created (22 against three by Palace) and more passes (568 against 231).
Yet, when it comes to shot on goals, they tied Palace with only three. A missed penalty kick by Rashford and a defensive miscue by star keeper David De Gea in stoppage time encapsulate what was a frustrating Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford in a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace. Manchester United will now focus its attention to an away matchup against Southhamptom at St. Mary’s Stadium.
Spurs, much like the Red Devils, had the upper hand statistically against Newcastle throughout the whole match. However, a lack of finishing touch to deliver on some promising attacking opportunities saw the North London squad unable to capitalize on its superiority against an overmatched Newcastle. A perfect cross by Newcastle’s midfielder Christian Atsu to striker Joelinton was all it took for the visitors to jump ahead by 1-0 early in the first half, and the goal ultimately proved to be enough to secure Newcastle’s first win of the season.
Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City
Manchester City, on the other hand, had another routine win against Bournemouth, 3-1. Striker Sergio Agüero received a bounce pass from midfielder Kevin De Bruyne to open the score for City with an easy finish from the penalty mark. This was De Bruyne’s fourth assist of the season, leading all players in the category so far. Sterling increased the visitors’ lead with a well-placed shot past goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, after a nice feed by midfielder David Silva. Bournemouth was able to cut back City’s lead back to one thanks to an absolutely perfect free kick on the 48th minute by midfielder Harry Wilson, who placed the ball in the top right corner giving no chance to City’s goalkeeper Ederson Moraes.
Wilson’s efforts, though, were not enough to avoid the defeat as Agüero sealed the 3-1 win another tap in from the goal area. Manchester City will face next Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium looking to close the two-point game separating them from leaders, Liverpool.
Matchweek four will open on Saturday, August 31 with Southampton hosting Manchester United at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports. The most anticipated matchup of this upcoming week should be Arsenal against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, with both teams trying to rebound from bad results. This game will be broadcast by both NBC Sports and Telemundo at 11:30 a.m. ET.