Title contenders Liverpool and Manchester City shared the points in an Anfield thriller, Cristiano Ronaldo was benched and Watford’s Xisco Munoz became the first managerial casualty of the Premier League season.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the main talking points from the weekend.
They went toe to toe and threw punch for punch like the two thoroughbred heavyweights they are. Liverpool and Manchester City produced a breathtaking 2-2 Anfield draw which swung one way and then the other. Chelsea might sit top after their weekend win over Southampton, but many will not be fooled by that right now. Liverpool remain the only unbeaten team in the league and City won comprehensively at Chelsea last week. Mohamed Salah and Phil Foden underlined the wonderful attacking play of the two sides by scoring from almost-impossible angles.
Five goals in as many games and a nomination for Premier League player of the month was not enough for Cristiano Ronaldo to start for Manchester United against Everton. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dropped his 36-year-old superstar to the bench, with the United manager saying he had to “manage the players’ workload” after midweek Champions League action. Ronaldo did arrive in the 57th minute to make his 200th Premier League appearance, but Everton soon equalised to force a 1-1 draw. Ronaldo looked far from happy at the end, heading down the tunnel at a pace that the watching Usain Bolt would have admired – leaving Solskjaer to insist he had no regrets about his bold Ronaldo call.
Andros Townsend admits he spent hours on the training field as a youngster trying to copy Cristiano Ronaldo. So there was only one thing on his mind when he equalised for Everton at Old Trafford and headed towards the corner housing celebrating Toffees’ fans. Out came the Portuguese’s iconic “Siiuuu” goal celebration as Townsend channelled his inner Ronaldo. “Maybe I should’ve tried harder with the celebration because it wasn’t a great execution,” Townsend said. “It was a bit of respect to Cristiano, it’s an honour to be on the same field as him.” Townsend capped a perfect day by bagging Ronaldo’s shirt after the game.
In under 10 months Xisco Munoz won promotion at Watford and settled them nicely into Premier League life. But that did not prevent the Hornets saying ‘Adios’ as the Spaniard exited through Watford’s managerial revolving door. Watford have had 15 managers (as well as two caretaker appointments) since June 2011, so perhaps no one should be surprised Munoz was on his way after a 1-0 defeat at Leeds made it three winless games in all competitions. A Watford club statement spoke of a “negative trend at a time when team cohesion should be visibly improving”, but it will be a brave man who succeeds Munoz at the 15th-placed Hornets.
Wolves loanee Hwang Hee-chan has made an instant bang in the Premier League. The South Korea striker failed to score in his first Bundesliga season at RB Leipzig and Wolves’ move for him in August appeared something of a gamble. But Hwang came off the bench to score on his debut at Watford last month and delighted the Molineux faithful as his double secured a 2-1 win over Newcastle. Both goals were set up by Raul Jimenez and the pair are hinting at a fruitful partnership as Wolves start to find momentum under new boss Bruno Lage.