5 Things We Learned: Premier League Matchweek 5
1. VAR drama in the Merseyside derby
The Merseyside derby was the game of the week last week, and it certainly lived up to the hype. For the neutral fan, it was an amazing game to watch. Fans of Liverpool or Everton may have different takeaways from the game.
The video assistant referee (VAR) was the main talking point, as it had a presence in this game. It started off with a Jordan Pickford tackle in the box on Virgil Van Dijk, which left him with a torn ACL and out 6-8 months. VAR checked to see if it was a red card offense and deemed it not to be.
In the 92nd minute of the game, Jordan Henderson scored what would be a game-winning goal—that was until VAR deemed Sadio Mane offside by mere millimeters, disallowing the score.
SInce VAR has come into the league, people are starting to question it. Is VAR the problem, or is it the rules of the game that need to be changed?
2. Heroic Hammers stun Spurs
The drama does not stop at the Merseyside derby. The first London derby of the year saw West Ham come back down 3-0 in the final 10 minutes of the game to draw Tottenham Hotspur 3-3.
Manuel Lanzini came onto the scene and made an immediate impact on the game. A Harry Kane masterclass performance was overshadowed by perhaps the goal of the season, when Lanzini pulled the trigger from distance. The Hammers scored three goals in the matter of 12 minutes to take a point from the game.
3. Villains on fire
Aston Villa kept the momentum rolling from their 7-2 win over the defending champions for a hard-fought victory over Leicester City, giving all three points to Villa in a close game.
New signing Ross Barkley gave the Villains the win in the 91st minute of the game. At the moment, Aston Villa is the only team in the Premier League to win all four of their games.
4. Man City back to its winning ways
The master met his apprentice at the Etihad Stadium, where Manchester City defeated Arsenal 1-0. Raheem Sterling's goal in the 23rd minute pushed City over the line.
The Man City defense that was in question last year made a statement in this game by shutting down a blistering Arsenal attack. But consistent goal-scoring has been City’s kryptonite this year. With Sergio Aguero coming back from injury, Man City will have to rely on him to get goals, instead of scoring by committee.
5. Is Liverpool no longer the title favorite?
With the injury to Virgil Van Dijk, is Liverpool still the favorite to win the league? Van Dijk has been their rock in the backline since 2018. He made an immediate impact when he first came into the team, and this will be the first time he has missed a game due to injury.
Other Injuries to Thiago and Joel Matip have also stunned the Reds early this season. Thiago has been Liverpool’s most creative player, and Matip is an experienced center back.
Could these injuries provide the opportunity for another team to take the top title odds away from Liverpool? Only time will tell.
Cole Koffler is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.