Premier League returned after the first international break of the season with yet another exciting round of games. Aston Villa maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season 2020/21 after gameweek five with 12 points in four games. Leeds United tasted their second defeat of the season in a Monday night fixture against the Wolves. Manchester United put up a stellar show at the St. James Park as they won by four goals to one – their first convincing victory of the season.
In this column, FootTheBall brings you all the action from the biggest matches as witnessed in gameweek five of Premier League 2020/21.
Everton 2 – 2 Liverpool
This was not the present Jurgen Klopp expected on completing five years at Liverpool FC. The Toffees were on course to repeat their form of 1984/85 season – this time with Dominic Calvert-Lewin who stepped on the Goodison Park for this derby with nine goals in all competitions, including two hattricks.
A 4-3-3 system was used by both managers. While Everton were at full strength, Klopp had to do without Alisson as Adrian was once again given the duties to guard the goal. The visitors, however, stunned Everton in the opening three minutes. An effective switch play involving Alexander-Arnold Trent, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane saw Andrew Robertson dribble past Seamus Coleman at the far end of the box. His square pass was effectively pinned by Mane, straight into the back of the net.
However, the fifth minute was the turning point. Jordan Pickford went in for an egregious challenge on Virgil Van Dijk. The English shot-stopper was lucky to not concede a penalty as the VAR declared it offside. The Dutch centre-half could not continue and had to be replaced by Joe Gomez after consultation with the physio. Consequently, Calvert-Lewin found a lot of room in the right half-space and was a target of frequent through-balls. After Calvert-Lewin forced a corner in the 19th minute, Michael Keane scored his second league goal of the season to make it one-one.
Liverpool took control of the game in the aftermath and pounded numerous attempts. Mane had another chance from a similar square pass delivered by Robertson, ten minutes before the break. The Senegalese winger put it wide though.
Richarlison wasted his moment, a minute before the hour mark when James Rodriguez served his signature left-footed dipping cross at the far post. The Brazilian headed it to rattle the woodwork. What should have been two-one for the hosts, was the score in Liverpool’s favour after 12 minutes of Richarlison’s effort. Salah volleyed the second-ball on his first go after Yerry Mina carelessly back-heeled Jordan Henderson’s cross.
What previously appeared to be a dry game for Calvert-Lewin – had another surprise in store. Nine minutes before the full-time whistle, Everton’s top scorer took advantage of Liverpool’s weakened central defense. Calvert-Lewin towered in Lucas Digne’s cross to get his team back on level terms with their neighbours.
The game, however, ended on a bad note for the hosts. Richarlison was sent off for a reckless tackle on Thiago in the closing moments of the game.
What else do you expect from a Merseyside derby?
For now, it is advantage Everton who lead the Premier League table, having played an extra game than Aston Villa.
Chelsea 3 – 3 Southampton
Time is slipping through Frank Lampard’s fingers after Southampton gave Chelsea the Blues. Yet another draw for Chelsea – yet another scoreline of three-all.
Lampard now had an almost fully fit squad with Hakim Ziyech making it to the bench. Christian Pulisic stared alongside Mason Mount. The German duo of Timo Werner and Kai Havertz held the central position in attack with the former Bayer Leverkusen attacker filing the hole behind Werner in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Ralph Hasenhuttl deployed his usual 4-4-2. Theo Walcott started on the right-wing as Nathan Redmond returned to play on the opposite flank.
This game featured two aggressive attacking teams although Chelsea were the better side in the first half. Lampard made good use of Chelsea’s one-touch combination passes to lure pressure on the right-hand side and switch the attack to the left. As a result, Ben Chilwell got an early chance to open Chelsea’s account in the third minute. His lowly attempt was parried by Alex McCarthy who stood firm to deny Havertz on the second attempt.
A goal had been coming for Chelsea and it was Timo Werner who broke the deadlock after 15 minutes into the game. Werner deceived Jan Bednarek to collect Chilwell’s pass, using his speed to break free of the Polish centre-back. The German striker drifted centrally and created space for himself before pulling the trigger to score the first goal of the game.
Almost 13 minutes later, Werner doubled Chelsea’s lead. Jorginho was clever to ask for a pass from Havertz as the Italian maestro acknowledged the space in behind Southampton’s defensive mid-block. Jorginho’s long pass saw Werner once again beating Bednarek. Werner maintained his composure to lob the ball over McCarthy before heading it home in an empty net.
Chelsea looked certain to maintain their clean-sheet before the break. However, Havertz erroneously lost possession in his half which gave Che Adams the space to feed Danny Ings, who reduced the deficit to one goal.
Adams also got his name on the scoresheet in the second half. A poor back pass from Kurt Zouma and a goalkeeping howler from Kepa Arrizabalaga gave Adams the space to equalize. The 24-year old initially struggled to score but somehow found the net as he retreated from the byline towards the edge of the six-yard box. Southampton’s happiness was short-lived as Havertz got Chelsea back in the lead, two minutes after Adams’s goal, at the hour mark.
The visitors made it three during additional time. Theo Walcott struck a half-volley as Jannik Vestergaard ducked carefully to apply a touch from the tip of his head, diverting the ball into the back of the net.
Manchester City 1 – 0 Arsenal
Sergio Aguero was back in the starting eleven after four months, playing upfront in a 4-3-3 while Kevin De Bruyne missed the game due to an injury. Ruben Dias paired up with Nathan Ake in the heart of the defense. Ilkay Gundogan was available on the bench after recovering from Covid-19.
Pep Guardiola’s disciple, Mikel Arteta, decided to place David Luiz in his three-man defense – a decision that came in at the 11th hour after Rob Holding picked up an injury in the warm-up. Thomas Partey traveled with the squad albeit did not start after featuring in only two training sessions. Nicolas Pepe, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, and Willian started in the attack.
As expected, the Cityzens spent most of their time camping in Arsenal’s half. The visitors, on the contrary, used a similar approach that got them through to the FA Cup finals last season. Aubameyang and Willian were the prime targets of a long-pass from Kieran Tierney on the left flank.
The hosts scored the only goal of the game after 23 minutes. Raheem Sterling pounced on Bernd Leno’s wondrous save from Phil Foden’s strike to make it one-nil.
Arsenal gained momentum and raided Manchester City’s half but could not get past Ederson. Ten minutes before the break, Foden got another chance to double the lead. City formed a siege outside Arsenal’s box as the Gunners struggled to build their attack from the back. The visitors fell prey to City’s aggressive pressing which saw Leno closing in on Foden to squeeze out a crucial save.
Arsenal got the biggest chance to equalize in the 40th minute. Bukayo Saka played a one-two with Aubameyang to collect the ball in the box, behind City’s last line of defense. Unfortunately, he could not beat Ederson in a one-v-one.
Tottenham 3 – 3 West Ham
Spurs are serious contenders for the Premier League title this year – well…almost.
Jose Mourinho and his team hosted West Ham United in one of the fiercest London derbies. Gareth Bale made it to the bench as Steven Bergwijn started on the right-wing. David Moyes used the same lineup which saw West Ham winning three-nil against Leicester in gameweek four of the Premier League.
With only a quarter of the game played, Spurs seemed to have put the game to bed by going up three-nil against the Hammers. Tottenham displayed an exquisite vertical strategy. 45 seconds into the match and Harry Kane launched a long-pass for Heung-min Son who finished the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal. Kane scored two goals within a span of eight minutes with his first strike arriving in the eighth minute. Tottenham’s number ten pulled the trigger from outside of the box as Son earned an assist. He completed his brace when Sergio Reguilon found room on the left flank to overlap. The Spanish full-back delivered a pin-point cross as Kane got his head to it.
Son had another beautiful chance to make it four-nil, ten minutes before the first-half whistle. Lukasz Fabianski valiantly saved Serge Aurier’s cross to deny Son his second goal of the evening.
West Ham were a completely different side in the second half. Eight of their 13 shots came in the second half. Pablo Fornals could have pulled one back, five minutes after the break. Michael Antonio dribbled from the left edge of the box to drift inside. Fornals got his head to Antonio’s deflected shot at the far post but he went aiming for the stars.
Spurs had, apparently, won the game but we were yet to see a repeat of the famous “Istanbul” comeback – this time from the Hammers – in the closing moments of the game. Fabian Balbuena scored following a set-piece delivery from Aaron Cresswell in the 82nd minute. Three minutes later, West Ham got their second through a Davinson Sanchez own-goal. Manuel Lanzini completed the most unlikely of comebacks from a long-range screamer in the penultimate moments of injury time.
Everton and Aston Villa in the top four after Gameweek five – This is Premier League
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) October 18, 2020
(Featured Image: Twitter/@premierleague)