VAR rules the day as Manchester City show signs of mortality – Premier League Matchday Two

The second week of the 2019/20 Premier League season has come and gone. Now we have narratives opening up and discussion points to get talking about. Here’s our look at Premier League Matchday 2.

Saturday:

Arsenal 2, Burnley 1

Far from smooth sailing in Arsenal’s first home game of the season. They needed goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubamyeang in order to see themselves earn three points against a competitive Burnley side.

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Burnley’s hero from matchday one, Ashley Barnes, got himself on the scoresheet once again thanks to some lackadaisical defending from Sokratis.

After only two games in the new season, Arsenal are only one of two teams with 100% records. A stat that is guaranteed to change next weekend as they face the other – Liverpool.

New signing Dani Ceballos had a very good home debut for the Gunners. He got assists for both of Arsenal’s goals and looks like a proper number 10 that they can rely on for the remainder of the season.

Three O’clockers

Southampton 1, Liverpool 2

The other side with a 100% record went about getting their three points in appropriately anxious fashion.

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Liverpool looked second best for large parts of the first half and Sadio Mane’s opener came largely against the run of play. Before making it 2-0, Roberto Firmino had more than one chance that he squandered, including one that looked a cert.

Following the second goal, Liverpool looked much more assured – something to do with the introduction of captain Jordan Henderson from the bench – until Adrian fulfilled his rite of passage as a Liverpool goalkeeper to have an absolute blunder.

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The Spaniard, who was the hero in midweek, basically passed the ball straight into the path of former Red, Danny Ings. Ings made no mistake with the finish and Southampton ensured a nervy finish. It wasn’t to be and it sets up next weekend nicely with Liverpool vs Arsenal at Anfield.

Aston Villa 1, Bournemouth 2

Jack Grealish has now lost in 20 consecutive Premier League appearances.

To be fair, when you give away a penalty in the first minute, there’s only so much you can do for the rest of the game – ask Spurs.

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It gets even worse when you concede a second just ten minutes later, to a 25-yarder from Liverpool’s on-loan Harry Wilson.

Villa tried valiantly to get back into the game but it wasn’t happening for the Villains, despite Douglas Luiz’s late effort.

Everton 1, Watford 0

Everton have their first three points of the season with a pretty standard win over Watford. Bernard scored early and that was pretty much that.

The closest Watford came to equalising was Craig Dawson hitting the woodwork but other than that, they didn’t offer much.

Brighton 1, West Ham 1

Brighton were the first victim of the dreaded VAR this weekend. Leandro Trossard put the ball in the back of the net and it was ruled offside by the video referee.

Moments later, Javier Hernandez made it 1-0 to West Ham. Completely confounding Brighton’s misery.

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Thankfully, Trossard was able to get himself on the scoresheet for real, scoring the equaliser on his debut.

Norwich 3, Newcastle 1

If you said that Teemu Pukki would have four goals in two Premier League appearances before the season started, I’d have called you a liar. However, here we are, we’re just here living in Pukki’s world.

The Finn scored a magnificent hat-trick to make Newcastle fans feel worse than they did already. The best the former Celtic forward had to offer was his fantastical volley to open the scoring.

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Jonjo Shelvey scored a consolation in added time at the end of the game but it obviously wasn’t enough to win Newcastle their first point of the season.

Manchester City 2, Spurs 2

Here we are. The main talking point from the weekend and it involves City, Spurs and VAR. Where have I heard that one before?

Early on, City looked like their lethal selves. They looked dangerous on every attack and were threatening often.

It took 20 minutes before Raheem Sterling bagged his fourth of the season and it looked like City were going to run away with it.

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Then, Erik Lamela decided that he wasn’t going to let Spurs go down without a fight. He blasted one in from range giving Ederson no chance. Sergio Aguero reinstated City’s lead ten minutes later.

Then, in the second half Spurs needed something, so Pochettino brought on Lucas Moura for Harry Winks, a sign of intention. One that most certainly paid off too. 19 seconds after stepping foot on the pitch, Lucas scored the equaliser, making it 2-2.

Into injury time we went and Gabriel Jesus put the ball in the back of the net. City had surely won it. The celebrations said they did.

The video assistant did not.

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City had their goal ruled out for handball. The ball accidentally hit Aymeric Laporte on the hand and thanks to revisions to the handball rule, it was a correct call.

Sunday:

Sheffield United 1, Crystal Palace 0

Sheffield United have their first win back in the Premier League and it came at the expense of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.

There’s not really anything else to say other than congratulations to the Blades.

Chelsea 1, Leicester 1

After disappointment in midweek, the tough times continue for Frank Lampard as Chelsea boss.

His homecoming to the Bridge did not go as planned. Chelsea failed to secure three points and Frank Lampard is still without a win in a competitive fixture.

Mason Mount scored the goal for Chelsea. He looks like a proper little player. One bright point on a day in which Chelsea fans didn’t have much to cheer.

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Wilfried Ndidi equalled things up for the Foxes and that’s how the game finished. Work to do for Lamps and Chelsea.

Monday:

Wolves 1, Manchester United 1

Congratulations to Manchester United for playing themselves.

After bigging up Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka all summer, both new signings had absolute stonkers as United drop points in a complete change from the 4-0 win over Chelsea on opening day.

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Anthony Martial continued his impressive form playing up-front for United with another goal here but it was cancelled out by a lovely strike from Ruben Neves.

As always, it’s been a hectic week in the Premier League. Let’s hope for more of the same next week and less of the VAR talk.

What are your thoughts on VAR? Let us know @TheAnfieldTalk on twitter. Too VAR? Not VAR enough?

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