Through nine weeks and six games of the 2017-18 Premier League season, results have, in large part, fallen in line with expectations. And Saturday’s five 3 p.m. kickoffs mostly fell in line with that trend.
Manchester City beat West Brom, Arsenal beat Swansea, Liverpool beat Huddersfield Town, and at the end of the weekend, City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool will be the league’s top six.
After United snuck into sole possession of second place in Saturday’s early kickoff, the rest of the Big Six kept pace. There was also drama at bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace, but more on that later. We’ll begin our Saturday roundup with the Biggest of the Six.
West Brom 2-3 Manchester City
City was excellent, as usual. It had West Brom heads spinning in the first 10 minutes with its movement and passing. And Leroy Sane capped off those 10 minutes in style:
Jay Rodriguez stole in for an equalizer against the run of play three minutes later …
… but a Fernandinho strike – and a very, very unfortunate deflection, from West Brom’s point of view – restored order:
Kyle Walker fed Raheem Sterling for a third in the 64th minute, and although the Baggies battled, there was no way back into the game. They grabbed a consolation goal late, but ran out of time to make it anything more than that.
Arsenal 2-1 Swansea
Arsenal found itself 1-0 down at halftime of what should have been a walk in the park, a home date with Swansea. Swans striker Tammy Abraham, a talented prospect on loan from Chelsea, played a wonderful ball inside Hector Bellerin, and Sam Clucas beat Petr Cech to give the visitors a surprise lead:
The Gunners decided against leaving their fans on edge for too long, though. Or at least Sead Kolasinac made that decision. The Bosnian left wing-back ran onto a loose ball and buried an equalizer into the far side netting:
He then picked out Aaron Ramsey, and in a span of five minutes, Arsenal went from behind to ahead:
Liverpool 3-0 Huddersfield
Huddersfield fans were wholeheartedly enjoying their trip to Anfield through 45 minutes. “You’re just a s*** David Wagner,” they sang of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, a close friend of Huddersfield manager Wagner, as the Terriers held the Reds in check.
But Liverpool had the final say – or rather final says – in the second half. Daniel Sturridge’s neat finish broke the deadlock:
Roberto Firmino doubled the lead:
And Georginio Wijnaldum extended it to 3-0 with 15 minutes remaining.
The second-half performance was an imperative recovery for Liverpool after a 4-1 loss to Spurs and a subsequent tense week.
Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham
Speaking of tense weeks, Slaven Bilic reportedly had two games to save his job at West Ham. One was a mid-week League Cup match against Tottenham. The other was Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
The Hammers came from 2-0 down on Wednesday to win 3-2 and seemingly keep Bilic employed. But on Saturday, it was their turn to cough up a two-goal lead. Just as Tottenham was on Wednesday, they were 2-0 up at halftime thanks to Javier Hernandez and Andre Ayew:
The second half, though, was all Palace. The hosts, who still sit at the bottom of the table, got one goal back from the penalty spot. They then pushed for an equalizer, and on several occasions nearly got it.
Finally, in the seventh of six minutes of added time, they did get it:
Watford 0-1 Stoke
A lot has gone right for Watford during the first quarter of the Premier League season. A lot has gone wrong for Stoke. Both regressed to the mean, but in opposite directions, on Saturday at Vicarage Road. A clever corner routine from the away side gave them a 1-0 victory through Darren Fletcher:
In second-half stoppage time, Watford’s rage turned into stupidity. Troy Deeney was somehow not sent off for this:
Nah deeney is a real life bully pic.twitter.com/1GlAY2HUkh
— slim jim (@MrMarioNotLuigi) October 28, 2017
Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea
In Saturday’s final game, Chelsea beat relegation-zone strugglers Bournemouth on an Eden Hazard goal shortly after halftime:
Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham
Earlier in the day, United and Spurs engaged in 80 minutes of cagey sparring. Then Anthony Martial changed the narrative with a well-timed run and smart left-footed finish.
On Sunday, Southampton plays Brighton, and Everton and Leicester meet in a battle of clubs who have recently sacked their managers. The final game of Matchday 10 is Monday, when Newcastle travels to Burnley.
– – – – – –
Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.