Arsenal strengthened their grip at the top of the Premier League as Manchester City’s bid to reel them in was dealt a significant blow at Anfield.
The Gunners rode their luck to prevail at Leeds and City succumbed at Anfield as the pace-setters in the race for the title enjoyed differing fates during an intriguing round of fixtures.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at an eventful weekend in the top flight.
Hang on a Mo
Reports of Liverpool’s demise appear to have been exaggerated. Having started the day 13 points adrift of Manchester City, the Reds, for so long the main challengers to Pep Guardiola’s men, produced a performance of true grit and endeavour to beat them 1-0 at Anfield. A thrilling contest, during which City’s Phil Foden saw a goal chalked off and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was sent to the stands after an angry touchline rant, was ultimately settled by Mohamed Salah’s cultured finish, and the fact that Erling Haaland for once failed to find the back of the net.
If leaders Arsenal are going to do something unexpected this season, they will need not only to maintain the quality of their performances, but also deal with adversity and ride their luck. On Sunday afternoon, they cemented their place at the top of the pile courtesy of an eventful 1-0 win at Leeds. In a game suspended for 40 minutes by a power cut, the Gunners took a 35th-minute lead through Bukayo Saka, but then saw substitute Patrick Bamford miss a second-half penalty before a second spot-kick and a red card for defender Gabriel were overturned following a VAR review.
Fluffed lines at the Theatre of Dreams
The suspicion that Old Trafford is not as forbidding as it once was seems to grow by the week. Three days after Manchester United needed a last-gasp Scott McTominay goal to see off Neil Lennon’s Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League, Newcastle emerged with a 0-0 draw and might have left with more to show for their efforts had Joelinton not been denied twice by the woodwork. With both Brighton and Real Sociedad having already won at United this season, the fear factor which often engulfed visiting sides appears to have ebbed away.
Minging afternoon for Tyrone
Tyrone Mings’ hopes of making Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar took a turn for the worse on Sunday afternoon. With Southgate watching from the stands, the Aston Villa defender handed Mason Mount Chelsea’s opening goal in a 2-0 win for the Blues when he got his attempt at a headed clearance horribly wrong, and then fouled Mount to concede the free-kick from which he doubled his tally.
Ivan the one and Toney
If Southgate has decisions to make at the back, the pool of strikers available to him appears to be growing with Brentford’s Ivan Toney the latest to raise his hand. Toney’s audacious flick for the opening goal in the Bees’ 2-0 win over Brighton on Friday evening was special, but it was his second, yet another expertly-converted penalty, which may have sown a seed in the mind of a manager who has endured more than his fair share of shoot-out misery.