, June 12, 2021

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Premier League Return Highlights: Liverpool Misfire in Merseyside Derby as Arsenal Implode at Brighton

  •   8 min reads
EPL Return Highlights and Goals
David Luiz was solely responsible for two goals as the defender was served a red card in Arsenal's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Laurence Griffiths/EPA.

Premier League leaders Liverpool dropped points for the third time this season after they were held to a scoreless draw in Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park.

Earlier on Sunday, Chelsea escaped a potential bout of the blues when they came from behind to beat Aston Villa 2-1 in Birmingham to move five points clear in fourth place.

Arsenal lost 3-0 at Manchester City in midweek and were agonised to crumble 2-1 at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday having briefly held the lead and controlled a fiery contest for the most part. For their part, City followed their win over Arsenal with a 5-0 dismantling of Burnley on Monday.

Manchester United remain fifth for the time being after fighting back to clinch a 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur, where neither fit-again Harry Kane or Marcus Rashford got off the mark. Wolverhampton Wanderers climb to sixth and are level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side on points after they bested West Ham United 2-0, making the most of 10-man Sheffield United’s 3-0 capitulation away to Newcastle.

Crystal Palace and Southampton each secured road victories at Bournemouth and Norwich City, respectively, but Leicester City suffered following late drama away to Watford in a tense 1-1 draw.

The bottom three look the same coming out of Week 30 as they did going in, with Bournemouth, Villa and Norwich still in prime place to drop down a division come season’s end.

Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal

Pep Guardiola's sides never stop, no matter how many points down they are. Looking up at first-place Liverpool by a margin of 25 points, Man City came out with the same ruthless defend-high-attack-often strategy that they've employed successfully countless times.

In the end, it was an Arsenal player that provided the biggest lift for City. David Luiz flubbed a routine clearance in the 45th minute, allowing Raheem Sterling in on an otherwise-incandescent Bernd Leno. Only six minutes into the second half, the defender was sent off in the 50th minute for pulling down a goal-bound Riyad Mahrez. Kevin de Bruyne coolly scored the resulting penalty, while a Phil Foden goal from a Sergio Aguero post-rebound capped the scoring.

Everton 0-0 Liverpool

Despite missing out on maximum spoils away to their bitter rivals, Liverpool are now five points from putting the finishing touches on the Premier League crown following a stalemate at Everton.

Carlo Ancelotti & Co. did a fine job of keeping the Reds at bay in both clubs’ first game in more than three months. Liverpool are still all but certain to claim their first top-flight trophy in 30 years, as Match of the Day’s Gary Lineker noted:

The Toffees bided their time on the counter and came close through Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the second half.

Takumi Minamino started on the right as Mohamed Salah failed to appear off the bench in his search for full fitness. Andrew Robertson was also missed at left-back by Liverpool, who couldn't manage to get Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane the space they wanted in front of goal en route to a bore draw.

Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal

There aren’t many ways one can imagine a worse return for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal. A second loss of the season against a Brighton team that hadn’t previously won in 2020, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno suffering an injury that looks as though it could keep him out for the rest of the season.

Nicolas Pepe built on a bright first half when he fired the Gunners ahead after 68 minutes. The guests’ brittle defence broke just minutes later, however, when Lewis Dunk scored from a set piece, and Neal Maupay finished smartly to break Arsenal hearts in the 95th minute:

The decider was especially hurtful for those players who took umbrage with Maupay’s challenge on Leno, which resulted in him being stretchered off. However, Brighton’s match-winner took delight in suggesting some Arsenal stars needed a lesson in humility, via BBC Sport:

Arteta called the result “unacceptable” in his post-match comments, with his team having recorded two defeats in four days since resuming the campaign following lockdown.

Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea

Christian Pulisic came off the bench to play a hero’s role for Chelsea in their trip to the Villans, cancelling out Kortney Hause’s first-half breakthrough within minutes of his introduction:

Less than two minutes after setting Pulisic up for the equaliser, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta pulled back for Olivier Giroud to steer the guests ahead. The Frenchman has now scored in his last seven appearances against Villa, who were in desperate need of a result at home.

London native Hause scored his first goal for the club but couldn’t keep the Blues at bay, with Frank Lampard’s side moving within three points of Leicester directly above them.

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Manchester United

Tempers were certain to flare when Tottenham chief Jose Mourinho welcomed former employers United to north London, and ‘The Special One’ conceded a draw was “not the result we wanted” in Friday’s late kick-off.

Steven Bergwijn showed Harry Maguire a clean pair of heels and embarrassed David De Gea to put Spurs one up early on at home, his third goal since joining the club in January:

Bruno Fernandes equalised with a penalty won by substitute Paul Pogba and almost earned a last-minute spot-kick of his own as Tottenham weathered a torrent of late pressure.

Newcastle United 3-0 Sheffield United

Sheffield United’s Europa League hopes suffered in the wake of their first defeat since January, succumbing in a big way at Newcastle while failing to get on the scoresheet for a second time in as many games since the Premier League resumed.

John Egan’s sending off early in the second half allowed the floodgates to open at St. James’ Park, where Allan Saint-Maximin, Matt Ritchie and Joelinton made the difference for Steve Bruce’s side:

The Magpies have gone unbeaten in their last three league games (two wins and one draw) and are now up to 13th. The Blades remain seventh for the time being but are in need of goals if they’re to realise their European dreams.

West Ham United 0-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

Raul Jimenez added another record to his belt on Saturday after scoring his 14th goal of the top-flight season in Wolves’ 2-0 win at West Ham. His header broke the deadlock late in east London and beat Javier Hernandez’s previous best for goals netted by a Mexican player in a single Premier League campaign:

Nuno Espirito Santo made superb use of his bench as Wolves dominated for large portions, with substitute Pedro Neto thundering past Lukasz Fabianski to double the cushion:

David Moyes’ side have a tough run of fixtures ahead and are very much in a battle to avoid the drop, while Wolves rise to sixth and can afford to dream of another season on the continent.

Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace looked sleek in a  Saturday trip to Bournemouth and were rarely troubled by their hosts at the Vitality Stadium, emerging with a well-deserved 2-0 result in their favor.

Luka Milivojevic arced the Eagles ahead with a pinpoint free-kick into the top-left corner, and Jordan Ayew resumed his scoring habits with a cute finish before 25 minutes had passed:

Bournemouth don’t budge from 18th and look to be in for a struggle based on the most recent display. Roy Hodgson is enjoying opposite fortunes at Selhurst Park, meanwhile, having lifted Palace to ninth and putting the club on course for their best top-tier finish since 1991.

Norwich City 0-3 Southampton

The great escape will need to be that much greater for Norwich City following a 3-0 loss at home to Southampton, who may just be able to count themselves as safe for another Premier League season.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints have won 23 of their 37 points this campaign on the road, securing a fifth away win in their last seven league trips thanks to goals from Danny Ings, Stuart Armstrong and Nathan Redmond:

Watford 1-1 Leicester City

Watford and Leicester saved all the best drama for last at Vicarage Road, where the Foxes thought they’d stolen three points at the death only to suffer late disappointment of their own.

Left-back Ben Chilwell showed why Chelsea have been strongly linked with his signature after taking it upon himself to fizzle home the opener in the last minute of normal time:

Brendan Rodgers’ side couldn’t hold on, however, as Watford centre-back Craig Dawson justified his selection with an out-of-character overhead-kick finish, his first goal in Hornets yellow:

A point against his old club could be crucial for Nigel Pearson come the end of the season, moving Watford one point above West Ham and Bournemouth immediately below them.

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