The Premier League provided a number of interesting games following the international break and there was plenty of controversy with regards to the application of the VAR. Table-toppers Liverpool saw their perfect run to their league campaign come to an end against Manchester United but they still managed to salvage a point, which could prove vital during the backend of their title pursuit.
Three things we learned from Gameweek 9:
Liverpool fail to impress at Old Trafford once more: Jurgen Klopp’s side had the perfect opportunity to beat their arch-rivals at Old Trafford but it was unfortunately a case of deja vu with the team struggling to impose themselves in the final third of the pitch. The injury absence of Mohamed Salah was undoubtedly felt during the course of the game and they struggled to provide any threat until the dying minutes where Adam Lallana pounced on a defensive lapse from the hosts to find the equaliser in a 1-1 draw. On any other day, that may have turned to be the winner, considering the VAR did not overrule Marcus Rashford’s opener for United despite a clear foul on Divock Origi by Victor Lindelof in the lead up to the goal. Ultimately, the Reds failed to take advantage of United’s injury concerns and they have now gone six league games without a victory at Old Trafford.
Arsenal produce another dismal away performance: The Gunners have been average away from home in the Premier League in the past few seasons and that trend has continued this campaign with just one win from five outings. Against Sheffield, the north London giants suffered a 1-0 defeat on Monday night and the defeat saw them miss out on the chance of jumping into the top four. Unai Emery’s side had just three attempts on goal and one of them fell into the path of Nicolas Pepe, who messed up an easy tap-in from four yards. Still, a section of the Gunners faithful may feel hard done by the result, given they were denied a penalty through the VAR when Sokratis’ shirt was clearly pulled in the box. The result has certainly increased the criticism towards Emery from the club’s faithful as he took the surprise decision to drop Mesut Ozil from the matchday squad for the fourth game on the bounce.
Chelsea continue to excel under Frank Lampard: Chelsea have been on an upward trend since the 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United in August. Over the weekend, the Blues secured a hard fought 1-0 win over Newcastle United and that meant that they registered their fifth-straight victory across all competitions. The sparkling run of form has propelled them into the fourth spot in the Premier League standings behind Leicester City on goal difference, and they have a good chance of maintaining or bettering their position with winnable fixtures against Burnley, Watford and Crystal Palace before the next international break. A number of club graduates have excelled under the guidance of Lampard and most recently, Callum Hudson-Odoi has caught the eye following his injury comeback. The teenager has contributed a goal or an assist in each of his five club appearances this season.