Premier League roundup: United find redemtpion, Leicester rocked by Southampton

Premier League roundup: United find redemtpion, Leicester rocked by Southampton
Premier League roundup: United find redemtpion, Leicester rocked by Southampton
Premier League roundup: United find redemtpion, Leicester rocked by Southampton
Manchester United hosted and surprisingly defeated an underwhelming Liverpool 2-1, Leicester's poor start to the season continued after Southampton beat them 2-1 at the King Power Stadium, Crystal Palace powered past a timid Aston Villa, while Everton's blushes were saved by Demarai Gray against Nottingham Forest.

Everton - Nottingham Forest

Frank Lampard’s men were looking for a first point of the season, with valiant displays in their first two outings going unrewarded. Despite rampant speculation over his future, Anthony Gordon started for the Toffees, who shaded a tightly-contested first half on Merseyside. Demarai Gray was at the heart of the hosts’ attacks, with his dangerous free-kick delivery narrowly evading a decisive touch to open the scoring. Gray tested Dean Henderson moments later, as the on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper made a smart double save to deny Gordon.

Forest were by no means out of the contest though, with Neco Williams and Taiwo Awoniyi forcing Jordan Pickford into saves before HT. The performance of new midfielder Orel Mangala would certainly have encouraged Steve Cooper, but the visitors would lose his presence shortly after the restart, forced off through injury.

Gordon was proving Everton’s main threat after the break, forcing Henderson into a smart save to tip the ball round the post. As time went on, anxiety was growing around Goodison, with Forest becoming ever-more dangerous, albeit struggling to test Pickford. When the England number one was tested though, the visitors found the breakthrough. Ryan Yates’ shot from range could only be parried by Pickford, and Welsh international Brennan Johnson was on hand to slot home the rebound.

Just as all hope seemed to be lost, Everton struck a crucial equaliser with just two minutes left on the clock. Pickford’s long ball unlocked the Forest defence, releasing Gray through on goal, and the winger showed tremendous composure to round Henderson and slot into an empty net. A last-gasp strike ensured Everton avoided a third straight defeat to start the season for the first time since 1990, while Forest’s dismal record at Goodison continued, winning just two of their previous 20 visits.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Demarai Gray (Everton)

Leicester - Southampton

Having picked up just a single point from their opening two league matches, the hosts looked like a side with a point to prove in the opening exchanges. Jamie Vardy, fresh from signing a new contract with the Foxes, stretched the Southampton backline at every opportunity, as Ayoze Pérez wasted the best chance of the opening half-hour, failing to connect properly from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s inviting delivery.

Despite their bright start, Leicester became somewhat subdued as HT approached, with clear-cut chances at a premium and Southampton defending in numbers. James Maddison saw a floated free-kick comfortably palmed away by Gavin Bazunu and the lively Harvey Barnes dragged an angled effort wide of the far post, as the two sides went into the interval level.

Similarly to the first half, Leicester dominated proceedings at the start of the second and deservedly found the breakthrough in the 54th minute through a moment of brilliance from Maddison. The influential midfielder whipped a free-kick superbly around the wall and into the bottom corner, this time beyond the despairing dive of Bazunu.

Having fought back to claim a 2-2 draw against Leeds United last time out, manager Ralph Hasenhüttl described his side’s recovery as “phenomenal”. The Saints, faced with another deficit, responded well to Maddison’s opener, and levelled the score with 22 minutes remaining as Ché Adams’ low strike was diverted into the net via an unfortunate touch from James Justin.

With less than 15 minutes on the clock, both sides went in search of a decisive goal, and Southampton found it when James Ward Prowse’s cross was acrobatically fired home by Adams, much to the delight of the travelling faithful. Leicester, stunned by Southampton’s fightback, tried to compose themselves for one final push, but the Saints’ rearguard held firm for a vital three points.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Ché Adams (Southampton)

Fulham - Brentford

Thomas Frank’s men were in imperious form as they demolished Manchester United last time out, but were caught cold in the first minute by the Cottagers. Andreas Pereira won the ball high up the field, and Fulham capitalised as Jay Stansfield’s shot was deflected onto the bar, allowing Bobby Decordova-Reid to tap-in the rebound. Marco Silva’s men were in complete control, and deservedly doubled their lead after 20 minutes. Andreas Pereira’s teasing corner found João Palhinha rising highest, and the Portugal international’s thunderous header flew past David Raya. 

The Bees were reeling and needed to regain their composure before mounting a comeback. One thing in their favour was their proficiency from set-pieces, and that earned them a goal back before the break. Mathias Jensen’s corner picked out Christian Nørgaard who was completely unmarked to unleash a venomous volley and reduce the arrears.

Brentford rescued a point on the opening day after trailing by two goals at Leicester City, and were threatening to repeat the act against their West-London rivals. Ivan Toney had the ball in the net within five minutes of the restart, but his clinical finish was chalked off for offside. After a period of pressure, the visitors did find a leveller through their talismanic striker. Yoanne Wissa’s cross was intelligently dummied by Keane Lewis-Potter, giving Toney a tap-in.

With Brentford looking to complete a remarkable turnaround, Fulham found a killer blow in the 90th minute. Decordova-Reid’s pinpoint cross found Aleksandar Mitrović, who produced a perfect header to seal Fulham’s first PL win since March 2021. A first win in 25 top-flight London derbies temporarily sends the Cottagers into the top four.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Bobby Decordova-Reid (Fulham)

Crystal Palace - Aston Villa

An exhilarating opening 10-minute period sent Selhurst Park wild, as Crystal Palace took less than two minutes to level the score after going a goal down. Ollie Watkins superbly drilled a finish into the bottom left corner in the sixth minute, following some lightning one-touch play, but homegrown icon Wilfried Zaha wasn’t going to let his side sit back and soak the pressure. The number 11 picked a pass on the left flank and executed a sublime piece of solo run to wrong-foot the opposition and make it 1-1.

Drama ensued midway through the half, when Villa let their guard down on the back of a free-kick. Taking advantage, Jeffrey Schlupp made a yard for himself in the 18-yard-box and unleashed a well-timed finish past Emiliano Martinez. However, VAR spoilt proceedings for the home side by ruling the goal for offside in the build-up play. Undeterred, Zaha continued threatening the visitors, providing Jordan Ayew with a brilliant chance to score against his old club minutes before HT. Yet, despite being unmarked, the Ghanian merely sent his shot directly at Martinez.

Perhaps motivating themselves with the fact that their only win in London last campaign was here, the Villans re-emerged the stronger of the two outfits. Jamaica international Leon Bailey struck the crossbar with a fantastic left-footed drive, before their luck came crashing down following a controversial handball by Lucas Digne in the penalty area. Zaha saw his spot-kick saved by specialist stopper Martinez, but the Argentine could do little to keep his rebound shot from going in.

Substitute Jean-Philippe Mateta doubled the hosts’ lead just as the final quarter-hour dawned, having entered the pitch less than two minutes earlier. Following an extraordinary one-two between Tyrick Mitchell and Zaha, the former sent an inch-perfect cross Mateta’s way, which the Frenchman made no mistake lodging in the back of the net to seal the win. 

Flashscore Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Manchester United - Liverpool

Considering the negative headlines surrounding the club, it was scarcely believable that Erik ten Hag’s side could leapfrog Liverpool in the Premier League standings with a victory here. However, the Reds' rocky start meant that they arrived at Old Trafford looking for their first win of the season. It wasn’t to be, however, as United produced an excellent display of attacking prowess and defensive resilience to defeat their old adversaries.  

Ten Hag became the first United manager to start his tenure with two defeats in over a century, after his side’s 4-0 defeat to Brentford last time out. His charges started wickedly here though, full of energy, and United’s pressure almost told ten minutes in with Anthony Elanga guiding his effort onto the post. A regular fixture in their title winning season, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk looked uncharacteristically nervy and a menacing Jadon Sancho opened the scoring with a composed finish just five minutes later. 

The game was played at breakneck speed, with Liverpool’s defence split open on numerous occasions and United showing new spirit and determination as the Old Trafford crowd roared their side on. Liverpool improved as the half drew to its conclusion, with Lisandro Martinez clearing off his own line, but a stubborn United backline held out as the half time whistle blew. 

Smelling blood in a nervy defence, the hosts would strike again just eight minutes into the second period after some swift buildup play saw Marcus Rashford set free before the forward slotted past Alisson to double his side's lead. Liverpool had little answer for the majority of the half, but Mohamed Salah headed in with little under ten minutes remaining to set the scene for a thrilling Old Trafford finale. 

It would be a night to remember for United however and there was a tangible sense of optimism, despite the earlier protests, as Ten Hag’s name rang around Manchester, with the Red Devils capping off a fine performance by seeing out the victory.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)