Manchester City was once again left fuming by the part played by VAR in the fixture against Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad. This time it was a Premier League schedule fixture between the pair that was marred with controversy as Gabriel Jesus had thought that he had given City a second win on the bounce.
However, as the players lined up for kickoff, Michael Oliver raised his hand and indicated that the goal had been disallowed. The ball was directed into the path of Jesus after hitting the arm of Aymeric Laporte.
The new FA rules do clearly indicate that no goal scored with a hand involved with be able to stand in the Premier League this season. However, these rules are now being scrutinized for favoring the defending players, as not every handball would be a penalty. Pep Guardiola was furious at the final whistle and was quick to compare the Jesus goal with other handballs that haven’t been penalized. This includes Fernando Llorente’s winner in the Champions League tie between the sides.
City will count themselves as very unfortunate not to have got all three points because, in truth, it was the most one-sided 2-2 draw in recent memory. Raheem Sterling had put the hosts ahead after 20 minutes with a brilliant header into the bottom right-hand corner after a cross from the imperious Kevin De Bruyne.
Lucas Moura: always the perfect sub
However, Spurs equalized three minutes later when Ederson’s strange positioning was caught out by Erik Lamela’s curling effort from outside the box. The Brazilian keeper seemed to have drifted too far towards his left-hand post, and the Argentinian had more than enough space to find on the opposite side.
The Citizens continued to dominate and were back in front again before half time when another De Bruyne cross found a City attacker. This time it was Sergio Aguero who got the finish, after running off the back of Toby Alderweireld to find the bottom left-hand corner. Guardiola’s side had the chances to kill the game, but Oleksandr Zinchenko and De Bruyne were both thwarted by Hugo Lloris.
Mauricio Pochettino decided to bring on the pacey Lucas Moura, and within seconds the traveling side was level again. A Lamela corner was headed in the Brazilian, as he rose above Kyle Walker before nodding the ball over the outstretched Ederson.
City would have been disappointed to leave with just a point, while Spurs would have been thrilled. It was a captivating afternoon, but once again it was VAR that was the talking point.
Narrow Arsenal and Liverpool Wins
Away from the Etihad, two of the other teams in the top six continued their perfect start to the season. The Gunners made it two wins out of a possible two to start the season for the first time in ten years by beating Burnley 2-1 at the Emirates.
Alexandre Lacazette had put the home side ahead, but they were pegged back by a third goal in two games for Ashley Barnes. Arsenal continued to push for the winner, however, and it dually arrived after an excellent right-footed finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The highlight goes to Dani Ceballos, who arrived this Summer on loan from Real Madrid and made the assists for both Arsenal goals.
Liverpool was made to work hard for their win (1-2) against Southampton at St Mary’s after the SuperCup hero, Adrian, made a mistake that gifted Danny Ings a goal with seven minutes remaining.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s side was able to hang on after earlier goals from Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. At the second weekend, the Reds top the Premier League table, holding on goal difference against Liverpool. They can be caught by Manchester United though, who plays Wolverhampton this evening.
Contrasting Results For Promoted Trio
Norwich City and Sheffield United celebrated their first home games back in the Premier League with wins and they showed they are prepared for the topflight. Teemu Pukki was the star for Norwich, as his hat-trick was the first from a Norwich player in the top-flight for 26 years and led them to a routine 3-1 win over Newcastle. The heavy defeat casts another shadow of doubt on Steve Bruce’s appointment.
The Blades also had a winning start on Sunday, as John Lundstrom scored the only goal of the game in their 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane. Two matches and not a single loss yet, as Sheffield has a draw and a win so far.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa was left rueing a slow start against Bournemouth. Joshua King and Harry Wilson goals in the opening 12 minutes for the Cherries ensured it would be a disappointing afternoon for the Villa, despite a late strike from Douglas Luiz, to finish the game 1-2. With two losses so far, the Summer spending signings of Villa haven’t produced any point yet.
Home Draws For Lampard and Potter, Everton Win
Frank Lampard continued his winless run at Chelsea with a home draw (1-1) against top-six chasing Leicester City. Mason Mount scored his first Blues goal to cap a strong start at Stamford Bridge after a Ndidi mistake, but the same Ndidi redeemed himself with a header. This makes two draws in two games for Leicester, while Chelsea, doesn’t seem to have fully recovered from the heavy defeat at the hands of Manchester United.
Another team who suffered heavily last weekend was West Ham. This time they secured a draw away at Brighton. Graham Potter saw his side go behind to a Javier Hernandez goal at the Amex before Leandro Trossard scored a debut goal to salvage a point.
Trossard also had a goal disallowed in the first half after VAR found that Dan Burn was in an offside position before crossing the ball to the Belgium international.
Everton continued their unbeaten start to the season with a less than convincing performance at home against Watford. The Toffees went ahead after an early goal from Bernard, but Everton still needed Jordan Pickford to make an excellent save from Troy Deeney to solidify the three points.
Watford is now at the bottom of the league and Javi Gracia needs to rethink his strategy to bring the team back to the safe positions.
The Premier League weekend concludes this evening with Manchester United visiting the Moullinex Stadium, to play Wolverhampton Wanderers.