EPL Matchweek 3 Review
Updated: Oct 12, 2021
The first blockbuster day of fixtures of this year’s Premier League season has been and gone. Gameweek 3 saw a Master vs Apprentice battle at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester as Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City faced off against Mikel Arteta’s struggling Arsenal side.
In the late kick-off, two of the genuine title contenders this season in Liverpool and Chelsea faced off hoping to gain an upper hand in the early rounds of the competition. The matchup between goal machine Romelu Lukaku and defensive stalwart Virgil Van Dijk had football fans licking their lips the world over.
MAN CITY 5 vs ARSENAL 0
There was no mercy shown for former apprentice Mikel Arteta by Pep Guardiola’s rampaging Manchester City side as they absolutely demolished the struggling North Londoners. The game was over in the 35th minute when former Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka was sent off with his side already 2-0 down. Gabriel Jesus made it 3-0 right before halftime to kill the match as a contest. Goals from Rodri and Ferran Torres in the second half made it a 5-0 shellacking.
The scoreline certainly didn’t flatter the hosts. They amassed 25 shots with 10 on target to Arsenal’s paltry effort of 1 shot, zero on target. The Citizens dominated possession with a ridiculous 80% share of the ball.
Arsenal’s insipid performance would not have alleviated any of the pressure on their under-fire boss. Another performance like this could see the Arteta era at Arsenal mercifully terminated.
LIVERPOOL 1 vs CHELSEA 1
A rampant Anfield welcomed modern-day rivals, Chelsea. The atmosphere at the home of the Reds was only heightened by the return to the starting lineup of Roberto Firmino, Fabinho & Scottish left-back Andy Robertson.
The Reds started the early minutes well but the visitors started gaining the upper hand and by the 22nd minute they had the lead through German wunderkind Kai Havertz. His incredible looped header flew past Alisson from a Reece James corner in front of a shell-shocked Kop.
Chelsea started to make their dominance count after taking the lead and things went from bad to worse for the home side when Roberto Firmino hobbled off injured, replaced by Diogo Jota.
Cue madness deep into first-half stoppage time.
The Chelsea defense just couldn’t clear a corner deep into time added on and as Sadio Mane tried to force the ball over the line the ball hit Reece James’ thigh and ricocheted toward his hand. The British right back then instinctively swatted the ball away from the goal line with his hand. A quick VAR check saw Liverpool awarded a penalty and the unlucky James sent off.
Mohammed Salah slotted the penalty home (does he ever miss from the spot?) for his 99th Premier League goal, bringing Liverpool right back into the game. Chelsea players mobbed the referee the whole way off the field at the break and even into the changerooms. They had lost their heads.
What followed in the second half must have been the result of some world-class man-management from Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel.
The Blues survived the inevitable Liverpool onslaught after the break and even managed to create one big chance for number 9 Romelu Lukaku. Liverpool was out of ideas. Even the introduction of midfield maestro Thiago Alcantara could make a difference. The Chelsea rearguard was impervious as they held on to their point despite the disadvantage.
Tuchel and his players deservedly celebrated like it was a win, whilst the home side has to feel like it was two points dropped. The result left both sides with identical records after game week 3.
Man City 5 v Arsenal 0
Aston Villa 1 v Brentford 1
Brighton 0 v Everton 2
Newcastle 2 v Southampton 2
Norwich 1 v Leicester 2
West Ham 2 v Crystal Palace 2
Liverpool 1 v Chelsea 1