The fifth round of the English Premier League season got underway with Friday night’s game between Bournemouth and Brighton at the Vitality Stadium, with Bournemouth desperate to claim their first points of the season. However, Brighton opened the scoring early in the second half when Solly March’s header finished off a cross from Pascal Gross, but an equaliser from Andrew Surman was followed by a low drive from Jermain Defoe into the bottom left hand corner of the net, both provided by Jordan Ibe, for Bournemouth to claim the three points, and leave Crystal Palace as the sole remaining pointless side.
Saturday’s early kick off saw Crystal Palace face Southampton at Selhurst Park in Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge as the new manager, and the game was settled by a 5th minute strike from Saints’ Steven Davis which gave Southampton a 1-nil victory and consigned Crystal Palace to an unenviable top flight record of losing their first 5 consecutive games of the season without scoring a goal. With the next 3 EPL games against the current top 3, the two Manchester clubs and Premier League Champions Chelsea, more dark days appear to lie ahead for the South London side, and could lead to such a lack of confidence if the results are bad, that they will struggle to make any impact in reducing any headway against the points difference to the teams above them over the remainder of the season.
In later games, Huddersfield hosted Leicester City and drew 1-all, taking the lead through Lauren Depoitre and then suffering from two contentious decisions, the first being the award of a penalty converted by Jamie Vardy after Andy King was deemed to have been fouled whilst going nowhere on the right hand edge of the box, with the second being the disallowing of a goal by Elias Kachunga for offside, that looked marginal; Liverpool were held 1-all by Burnley at Anfield, Burnley taking a 27th minute through Scott Arfield, only for Mohammed Salah to equalise 3 minutes later, though Liverpool were frustrated by their lack of conversion of their 33 shots during the game, but partially due to the outstanding performance from stand in goalkeeper Nick Pope whilst regular Tom Heaton is sidelined for 4 months with a shoulder injury; Newcastle United hosted Stoke City at St James’ Park, and came away with a third consecutive win, winning 2-1 with an opener scored by Christian Atsu equalised by a drive from Stoke’s Sherdan Shaqiri, before captain Jamal Lascelles struck the winner; Watford faced Manchester City at Vicarage Road, and were totally dominated by the visitors who won 6-nil with a first half brace from Sergio Aguerro and one from Gabriel Jesus, along with second half goals from Nikolas Ottamendi, Sergio Aguerro’s hat-trick goal, and Raheem Sterling’s late penalty after being brought down himself; and West Bromwich drew nil-all with West Ham at the Hawthorns.
Spurs took on Swansea City at Wembley Stadium in the late kick off, with Spurs frustrated by a determined Swansea rearguard and spurned chances that also led to a nil-all draw.
In Sunday’s early game, Chelsea hosted Arsenal at Stamford Bridge, and in a match of few chances, where Arsenal’s goalkeeper Petr Cech comfortably dealt with whatever shots Chelsea created, and the nearest that Arsenal came to scoring was when Aaron Ramsey hit the post, the result was a nil-all draw. Chelsea saw David Luiz red carded late in the game causing him to miss Chelsea’s next 3 matches through suspension.
In Sunday’s late kick off, Manchester United hosted Everton, in the last of their difficult start to the season games against a host of top 6 opposition, a game that brings Everton’s Wayne Rooney back to the club where he had a stellar career amassing a host of trophies as well as becoming all time record goalscorer, whilst conversely bringing United’s most expensive summer signing, Romelu Lukaku, to face his previous employers. Although United scored a 4th minute goal with a fine driven volley from the edge of the box from Antonio Valencia, they could not add to their lead until scoring 3 late goals in the last 10 minutes through Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Romelu Lukaku, and an Anthony Martial penalty.
Manchester United and Manchester City lead the table with 10 points each from 5 matches, both having a goal difference of 14, whilst Crystal Palace hold up the table with a start of 5 consecutive defeats and zero goals scored.
Allan Jackson has been involved in soccer for more than 40 years as a player, referee, administrator and freelance writer.