Premier League Matchday 8 review: Madness at the top
Some more questionable officiating in a couple of games…
Matchday 8 of the Premier League season has provided us with some interesting results that have thrown the league order up in the air.
It's crazy to think that just two weeks ago it was looking like it would be business as usual at the top, and now it looks like it could be anyone’s title to win this season.
Although saying that, there are some familiar names and results towards the bottom of the table.
See what we have to say about the weekend in our Premier League Matchday 8 review, where we label the good, the bad and the ugly, the biggest winner and the star player/players across the 10 fixtures.
Arsenal beating Manchester City is a massive result not just for both sides but also for Tottenham and Liverpool. Even Brighton and Aston Villa have benefitted from the result.
It means the Gunners join their biggest rivals in Tottenham at the top on 20 points each and leaves them two as the last two unbeaten sides in the league.
City are still in third, just two points back, with Liverpool in fourth on 17 points. Brighton and Villa are then next, both on 16 points, so it’s all very open right now for anyone to go on a good run and find themselves at the top.
Liverpool and Brighton’s 2-2 draw prevented either of them from taking a big step to being right behind the top two, but it’s still a result that keeps them in the shout.
Spurs were actually somewhat lucky to come away with a win as they only won 1-0 over Luton while being a man down. The result could’ve easily gone the other way.
Elsewhere down the table, Manchester United and Chelsea both avoided further embarrassment, coming back from a goal down in each of their games to win.
Chelsea avoided the bigger shock after going 1-0 down early on to Burnley. They fought back with a strong second-half performance to win 4-1 and continue their more positive run of form as of late.
United very narrowly escaped a loss to Brentford at home, with unlikely hero Scott McTominay netting twice in added time at the very end to steal the win away.
While the result is positive and they did deserve something from that game, we can’t help but think it’s still not quite good enough from them to be leaving it so late. Yes, you fight to the end for results like these, but they won’t get these sorts of opportunities against stronger oppositions.
Everton bounced back after giving Luton their first Premier League win last weekend, with the Toffees convincingly beating Bournemouth 3-0 to send the Cherries to the drop zone and give themselves a slender advantage to the four at the bottom.
There wasn’t really anything that bad this weekend, but we’ll put the more unsatisfactory results for some in here.
Villa could have benefitted more from the Arsenal win if they had taken their chances, but instead, they only managed a 1-1 draw with Wolves. They seemed to have their opponent’s number throughout but just couldn’t find the back of the net enough.
Newcastle and West Ham drew when a win for either would’ve moved them closer to the top four too. Newcastle especially will be ruing the result as they conceded late to spoil it for themselves.
The promoted teams continue to be outclassed by their opponents week in week out. Luton may have got a win last week but they still don’t seem any better.
Sheffield genuinely might break the record for the least points scored in a season. They just don’t seem capable of a result right now.
And Burnley are the biggest disappointment so far to us. Many expected Vincent Kompany’s Championship-topping side to be tough opponents for many this year, but like the other two, they seem so much weaker than almost every other team in the league, and it is a big shame.
But the biggest ugly factor this week is once again the poor officiating. As mentioned earlier, Man City were lucky to not go a man down, and we genuinely can’t understand how they didn’t.
Mateo Kovacic made two identical tackles that both could and in our opinion should have been a straight red anyway. How he was only given a yellow for the first one is mental, but the fact that he did it again and got nothing the second time is mindblowing.
It wasn’t like VAR didn’t check it either. They looked at both challenges, saw the potentially ankle-breaking flying studs up challenge both times, and thought ‘Nah, that’s fine’. Completely ridiculous, but thankfully Arsenal got their justice in the end.
Then you had the Liverpool game, where we believe Brighton were robbed of a penalty. The ball clearly strikes Virgil van Dijk’s hand, and while it does bounce off his thigh first and then onto his hand, that has been given plenty of times before. Why not this time?
The lack of consistency in the calls from Premier League referees and VAR is ridiculous and is making a mockery of the league. They have to do better.
Arsenal are the clear biggest winners this week. They needed that win to keep themselves in the top four and in the fight for the title.
It is still very early doors so the result may mean nothing by the end of the year. But it could also mean everything, the decider at the end of the year if they are still fighting for the title come May.
Every result matters, especially against those you are directly fighting with, so the well-earned win for the Gunners over their biggest challenge isn’t just helping them in the table, but will give them further hope that they could win the title this time around.
Let’s take a look at the best performers this weekend. No hat-tricks this week but three players helped their team to some points with a brace each.
Top performer in the league this week in our opinion. Unlikely hero to win the game for Man United at the death, scoring two good goals (the first in particular) to rob Brentford of any points.
Newcastle’s main talisman bagged a brace to take his season total to six goals, joint second with Tottenham’s Son Heung-min.
His first goal was a well-worked Liverpool goal with Salah brilliantly finishing it off. The second, a confident penalty. The Egyptian at his finest once again.