The first month of the English Premier League is now in the books, and Europe’s most popular division is beginning to take shape. The best teams have raced to the head of the pack, signaling their intentions to challenge for the title and a top-four finish. Some big names have been slower out of the traps than expected, while others have been woeful in the opening exchanges. Prepare for another unpredictable campaign.
The final round of games for August gave EPL lovers many surprises, including Arsenal’s four-goal draw at home to neighbors Fulham and Everton’s loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park. Man Utd also battled back from two goals down inside four minutes to beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 on Saturday in a fixture that showed the Red Devils’ fighting spirit.
Man City bagged a third win in three games to extend their perfect start, placing them ahead of fellow unbeaten clubs West Ham United, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Arsenal. The best betting sites in Florida have published their outright betting odds, and the leading firms believe Man City is the team to beat. Pep Guardiola’s men have won the last three titles and already lead the pack in the hunt for number four.
Super Sunday shocks
Round three of the EPL gave some memorable games, but the standout fixture came from St James’ Park, where local side Newcastle United played 2020 Premier League champions Liverpool. The fixture is world-famous for being a goal-fest, providing supporters and armchair fans with plenty of goals and even more talking points.
August’s renewal lived up to the billing and then some, producing three goals, a red card, and a stunning fightback. The Magpies entered the game holding the home advantage, and some respected pundits expected them to cause an upset by landing three points before their adoring fans. The thousands packed into the stands on Tyneside boosted the millions watching on TV and live streaming apps worldwide. The scene was set for a cracker, and both teams played their part.
Anthony Gordon scored on 25 minutes to give Newcastle a surprise lead against the run of play. Liverpool had looked bright in the opening exchanges, but their opponents are dangerous on the break and exploded with style. With Liverpool missing a good chance, the ball was in the net in the blink of an eye.
Liverpool lose van Dijk
An error in the Reds’ defense allowed Gordon to capitalize, and he broke the deadlock to send the home fans into dreamland. Liverpool handed Newcastle the lead on a plate, but home fans weren’t complaining, and it was about to get even better, or so they thought. Liverpool, already a goal down, saw defender Virgil van Dijk sent off for a clumsy challenge on 28 minutes in a hard-hitting early setback.
The Reds captain pled innocent and made his feelings known to the officials, but he wouldn’t change the referee’s mind. The towering Dutchman disappeared down the tunnel, and it appeared he was taking Liverpool’s chances of winning three points with him. But we can take nothing for granted in this league, especially when Jurgen Klopp’s brave Liverpool side is involved. Never write off the Reds.
The first half finished with Newcastle leading 1-0, and with that score remaining inside the last 10 minutes, it appeared a home win was on the cards. But there was a twist in the tale, with Nunez scoring an equalizer on 81 minutes and a winner deep into injury time. The match-winner scored on 93 minutes to turn the game on its head and leave the home fans in shock.
Leading at home with 10 minutes left and a player extra, Newcastle know they caused their downfall. That’s a game they should’ve been good enough to get across the line, and they went close, too. But the Magpies lacked the concentration to earn three points against a rival, switching off near the end and allowing Liverpool back into the game.
Spotlight on Nunez
Darwin Nunez’s late show was remarkable as he struck to stun the home side into silence. Newcastle fans thought their club had done enough to see off the ten men of Liverpool, but 1-0 is always a fragile lead, which was proven again by the Reds, who refused to feel sorry for themselves, settle on the result, and accept defeat.
Uruguay striker Nunez had started the game on the bench but arrived at 77 minutes for Argentina’s World Cup winner, Mac Allister. Nunez planned his arrival perfectly and sprinted away from the Newcastle defense to make it 1-1. It was a goal scored out of the blue and made entirely by Nunez, who showed passion and commitment to get through.
Nunez had teammate Mo Salah to thank for playing a part in the build-up to what proved to be the winner. The Egyptian forward found the goal hero with an inch-perfect pass deep in stoppage time, and Nunez took the ball in his stride before unleashing an emphatic winner. From the second it left his boot, Liverpool fans cheered.
It was a remarkable finish to a stunning game, and Newcastle will feel they ran out of luck, but fans know they threw the game away. An inability to win with an extra man and a 1-0 lead with 81 minutes on the clock shows this Newcastle side is less talented, strong, and bold than some supporters believe.
That defeat from a winning position saw Newcastle slip to 13th in the Premier League following a win and two defeats. If they had held on for the three points, the Magpies would be flying high inside the top eight, within touching distance of the major places. They now face Brighton away and Brentford at home in September.
Liverpool climbed to fourth in the league with two wins and a draw, sitting two points off the pace set by Man City. The Reds host Aston Villa to usher in September before visiting Wolves.