Liverpool couldn’t go top of the Premier League after being held to a 0-0 draw by bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Monday night. The stalemate has left Liverpool fourth, while United are now five points off the pace in seventh.
Manchester City are still top despite failing to win in two matches after being held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at the Etihad Stadium. City’s slip wasn’t the only one among the top contenders, though.
Tottenham Hotspur put the Citizens to the sword last week but couldn’t win at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. Spurs’ slip allowed in-form Arsenal to move into the thick of the title race after a fifth league win in a row.
The Gunners are playing some superb football going forward, and found three goals to narrowly see off Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium. A 3-2 defeat marred Bob Bradley’s debut as Swans manager and also put the 2013 League Cup winners into the bottom two, just a couple of points ahead of David Moyes’ winless Sunderland.
Here are the full results from the season’s eighth week:
Premier League Results: Week 8 Scores
Home Score Away Chelsea 3-0 Leicester City Arsenal 3-2 Swansea City Bournemouth 6-1 Hull City Manchester City 1-1 Everton Stoke City 2-0 Sunderland West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham United Middlesbrough 0-1 Watford Southampton 3-1 Burnley Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United
Here’s what those results mean for the updated standings:
Premier League Standings: Week 8
Position Club Played Won Drawn Lost Goal Difference Points 1 Manchester City 8 6 1 1 11 19 2 Arsenal 8 6 1 1 10 19 3 Tottenham Hotspur 8 5 3 0 9 18 4 Liverpool 8 5 2 1 8 17 5 Chelsea 8 5 1 2 6 16 6 Everton 8 4 3 1 6 15 7 Manchester United 8 4 2 2 5 14 8 Southampton 8 3 3 2 3 12 9 Crystal Palace 8 3 2 3 2 11 10 Watford 8 3 2 3 0 11 11 Bournemouth 8 3 2 3 0 11 12 West Bromwich Albion 8 2 4 2 1 10 13 Leicester City 8 2 2 4 -6 8 14 Burnley 8 2 1 5 -6 7 15 West Ham United 8 2 1 5 -8 7 16 Hull City 8 2 1 5 -12 7 17 Middlesbrough 8 1 3 4 -4 6 18 Stoke City 8 1 3 4 -9 6 19 Swansea City 8 1 1 6 -7 4 20 Sunderland 8 0 2 6 -9 2
The Week 9 fixtures:
Premier League Fixtures: Week 9
Date Time Match Saturday, October 22 12:30 p.m. / 7:30 a.m. Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. Burnley vs. Everton Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. Hull City vs. Stoke City Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. Swansea City vs. Watford Saturday, October 22 3 p.m. / 10 a.m. West Ham United vs. Sunderland Saturday, October 22 5:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m. Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion Sunday, October 23 1:30 p.m. / 8:30 a.m. Manchester City vs. Southampton Sunday, October 23 4 p.m. / 11 a.m. Chelsea vs. Manchester United
Liverpool and United Play Out Bore Draw
After all the hype, Liverpool and United engaged in an arduous battle of attrition that made for painful viewing at times. The visitors were content to slow things to a crawl and pack numbers into defensive areas.
BBC Sport’s Phil McNulty noted how the tight affair suited away manager Jose Mourinho perfectly:
Liverpool 0 Man Utd 0 at HT – a mess but just the sort of mess Jose Mourinho might approve of at this stage. Barely a chance created.
— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) October 17, 2016
Things were barely any more progressive after the break, although Liverpool’s Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho did at least force Red Devils stopper David De Gea into a highlight-worthy save.
Ultimately though, the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson witheringly summed this one up best:
— jamie jackson (@JamieJackson___) October 17, 2016
United played for the point and got it, but Liverpool will rue not finding their forward fluency to punish the negative tactics. It has to count as an opportunity missed for the one side that tried to win the match.
Anfield chief Jurgen Klopp will hope for more vibrancy against West Brom, another defensively stubborn team, next week. Meanwhile, Mourinho will focus on his return to old stomping ground Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.
The Blues look suddenly on-form after thrashing champions Leicester City. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte finally reverted to the three-at-the-back tactics that served him well at Juventus and with Italy.
But Chelsea’s attacking riches will present another test of Mourinho’s miserly methods. In particular, he’ll need to craft a way to keep the division’s hottest striker quiet, per the Premier League official site:
Mourinho also won’t be able to ignore the free-scoring exploits of Eden Hazard, whose prolific form from midfield was detailed by BBC’s Match of the Day after he scored against the Foxes:
Did you know since his debut in August 2012, Eden Hazard has scored more PL goals than any other midfielder? #MOTD #CFC pic.twitter.com/Q05jZOKvae
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 15, 2016
It’s going to be another examination of United’s ability to stay solid in the biggest games.
City Struggle Again
It’s tough to accurately gauge what’s ailing Manchester City after they’ve dropped five points in two matches. Yet it’s probably not any one thing.
Against Everton, it didn’t help that manager Pep Guardiola rested star striker Sergio Aguero, perhaps with the forthcoming UEFA Champions League reunion with Barcelona in mind. Still, even a squad as rich in talent as City’s can ill afford to rest its talisman and not expect a drop off, particularly against a side as capable as Everton.
Guardiola took too big a risk to rest Aguero against Everton.
The Toffees had their own marquee centre-forward to thank for an unlikely point after Romelu Lukaku beat half the City team to score a wonderful individual goal. Yet as good as the Belgian’s strike was, it once again highlighted the suspect nature of City’s defending.
After all, this is a team breached six times in its last three matches in all competitions. Guardiola needs to get oft-injured skipper Vincent Kompany back up to speed and find more protection for the men at the back.
He’ll need to do it before next week’s visit from Southampton. The Saints are loaded with quality in forward areas, especially mercurial schemer Dusan Tadic, per Squawka:
Most chances created in the Premier League this season:
D. Tadic (27)
J. Puncheon (26)
D. Silva (24)
K. De Bruyne (23) pic.twitter.com/tFugVOKrYv
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 16, 2016
But most of all, Guardiola will need Aguero’s movement and goals against a stingy Southampton defence that conceded a rare goal in the 3-1 win over Burnley, according to BBC Match of the Day:
That’s the first goal Southampton have conceded in 612 minutes of action (all comps)
612 minutes! https://t.co/MQE4mZrfKL #SOUBUR pic.twitter.com/uVL3LAHmS0
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 16, 2016
City may be four games without a win by the time they face a very tricky Saints team. Guardiola should expect another stern test.
Arsenal Rampant Up Front
The Gunners still have some defensive frailties, but few can criticise their weaponry up top. In particular, lightning-fast duo Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott are ripping through defences on a weekly basis.
It’s the latter who is proving more prolific in front of goal after helping himself to a brace against the Swans. The goals, both excellently taken by a forward whose quality as a finisher has always been underrated, continued Walcott’s inspired start to the new season:
That was five goals for Theo Walcott in his last five Arsenal appearances 🔥 #MOTD #AFC pic.twitter.com/WFQdkXfu4Y
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) October 15, 2016
Returning to his familiar and natural right-wing berth has helped Walcott, but there’s more to his prolific form than a position switch. In general, the Gunners are more dangerous going forward this season because of the intelligent runs of Sanchez.
He’s been a floating, almost false centre-forward, one whose movement often drags defenders out of the middle and creates opportunities for others to get into dangerous positions.
Walcott’s been the most obvious beneficiary of the Sanchez wanderlust, but he’s not the only one. Premier creator Mesut Ozil is also getting into scoring areas more often and netted Arsenal’s third against Swansea.
The Sanchez and Walcott partnership has inspired Arsenal’s winning run.
The whole forward line is more free-flowing and tough to mark. It’s bad news for Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka, who has seen his team leak 11 goals in eight matches after being the stingiest unit in England’s four leagues last term.
Karanka will know he has plenty to fix before making the trip to the Emirates.
The Gunners will be counting on Jack Wilshere to help loan club Bournemouth take points off Spurs. It won’t be easy, even though the Cherries are in fine fettle after sticking six past Hull City. However, few teams treat Tottenham’s formidable defence the same way.
Wilshere is now part of an increasingly impressive Bournemouth outfit.
Yet Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has made his footballing side a deceptively tough proposition at the Vitality Stadium. More dropped points would stunt the excellent momentum Spurs have built in the title race as the Premier League’s last unbeaten team.