ENGLAND—The ninth round of the English Premier League season got underway with Friday night’s match between West Ham and Brighton at the London Stadium, Brighton coming away with a convincing 3-nil victory, with a brace from Glenn Murray, a header and a penalty, sandwiching another from Izquierdo. The result moves Brighton up the table and temporarily eases the pressure on manager Chris Hughton, whilst adding further pressure on the position of West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, loudly booed by their fans at the end of the game, who has been under pressure from the start of the season after losing the opening 3 matches. Results at their London Stadium home have continued to disappoint despite being into their second season at the venue.
In Saturday’s early game, Chelsea hosted Watford in the early game at Stamford Bridge, where they took an early lead through Pedro’s strike, before Watford replied through Abdoulaye Doucoure and led through another goal from Roberto Ferreira, and then Chelsea fought back to win 4-2 with a brace, including the fourth goal, from Michy Batshuayi, and another from Cesar Aspilicueta.
In later games, Huddersfield entertained Manchester United at the John Smith Stadium, and took a 2 goal lead with strikes from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre, before United pulled a goal back through Marcus Rashford, but Huddersfield defended stoutly to secure a deserved 2-1 victory which inflicted United’s first defeat of the season; Manchester City hosted Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, and took the lead through Sergio Aguerro’s disputed penalty, given for an infringement on Bernardo Silva, a goal that tied Eric Brook’s all time goalscorer record for City of 177, and then added further goals from Nikolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane for a 3-nil win; Stoke City entertained Bournemouth at the Bet 365 Stadium, and fell two goals behind due to finishes from Andrew Sturman and Junior Stanislas, before pulling a goal back from Mame Biram Diouf but still falling to a 1-2 defeat; Swansea City hosted Leicester City at the Liberty Stadium, and fell two goals behind from a Fernandez own goal and a strike from Shinzi Okazaki, before pulling a goal back through Alfie Mawson but still ending with a 1-2 defeat, the latter’s first game under caretaker Michael Appleton following this week’s sacking of incumbent Craig Shakespeare; Newcastle United won 1-nil against Crystal Palace at St James’ Park, with the winner a late goal from Mikel Merino; whilst Southampton entertained West Bromwich at St Mary’s Stadium, the only goal in a 1-nil win coming from a fine individual solo goal, a potential goal of the season, from Sofiane Boufal.
Sunday saw Everton host Arsenal at Goodison Park in the early kick off, with under fire Everton taking an early lead with a fine strike from Wayne Rooney, only for Arsenal to strike back to dominate with goals scored by Nacho Monreal, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazzette, and Aaron Ramsey, before Oumar Niasse reduced the deficit with Everton’s second, and Alexis Sanchez concluding proceedings with Arsenal’s fifth for a 5-2 victory. Everton fans expressed their displeasure at manager Ronald Koeman with mass booing before streaming out of the exits early, as the result saw Everton drop into the relegation places; whilst in the later game Spurs entertained Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, with Spurs taking a 2-nil lead through goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, Liverpool cutting the deficit with Mohammed Salah’s reply, before Dele Alli restored their 2 goal advantage with another goal prior to the half time break, and then Kane collecting his brace in the second half for a 4-1 win.
Manchester City lead the table with 25 points from 9 matches, with Manchester United and Spurs in second on 20 points from the same games, whilst Crystal Palace hold up the table with 3 points from 9 matches, and are already a little adrift of the 17th placed team, the one above the relegation places.
Allan Jackson has been involved in soccer for more than 40 years as a player, referee, administrator and freelance writer.