Premier League: Arsenal 2 Wolves 1
With closest challengers and reigning champions Manchester City not in action until Sunday, Mikel Arteta’s side took full advantage as Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard struck in the opening 16 minutes before a nervy ending brought about by Matheus Cunha’s strike.
The Gunners ultimately ran out 2-1 winners on an afternoon where their early goals were the peak of a performance that promised more than it provided.
Having thrashed Lens here 6-0 on Wednesday to ensure safe passage into the last 16 of the Champions League, Wolves proved they were made of sterner stuff and stayed in the contest until the last.
Saka needed less than six minutes to put the home side ahead as Arsenal scored their earliest Premier League goal of the campaign so far.
It is something manager Mikel Arteta has been keen to improve on, stopping sides being able to sit deep and defend in numbers.
Gabriel Jesus fed Takehiro Tomiyasu, who slipped in for Saka to coolly convert and continue what is fast becoming a fine season for the England forward.
Saka’s speedy opener gave Arsenal a platform to build on and they doubled their lead just seven minutes later.
Jesus was again involved, this time playing in Oleksandr Zinchenko down the left with the full-back then squaring for Odegaard to sweep home and finish off another eye-catching move.
Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa appeared to pick up an injury attempting to keep out Odegaard’s effort but was on had to bravely block a Leandro Trossard shot as Arsenal continued to turn the screw.
That turned out to be Sa’s final contribution, however, as he limped off to be replaced by Dan Bentley.
The visitors enjoyed more of the ball but created very little before being caught on a counter-attack that ended with Gabriel Martinelli hitting the base of Bentley’s post with a curling strike.
Jesus then failed to finish a difficult chance at the back post as Saka’s ball in was deflected into the Brazilian’s path.
Wolves finally had a telling chance in the dying embers of first-half stoppage time but Hwang Hee-chan could not take full advantage of Zinchenko’s weak back-pass as David Raya rushed off his line to block.
Cunha stung the palms of the Arsenal goalkeeper early in the second half just after Jesus had a penalty claim turned down at the other end.
Declan Rice drilled wide and Saka bent a long-range strike inches over the crossbar as the game seemed to be petering out to a conclusion.
Tomiyasu was forced off with what appeared to be a calf injury as Ben White replaced the Japan international for the final 12 minutes.
Trossard should have added a third moments later but could not finish when played in on goal as Bentley made a smart stop to deny both the Belgian and Saka, who followed up the initial effort.
Instead though, it was Wolves who would reduced the arrears and set up a nervy ending for the hosts as Nelson Semedo nipped the ball off the toes of Zinchenko and Cunha slammed home.
Arsenal should have immediately re-established their two-goal cushion but substitute Eddie Nketiah hit a post when presented with a fine opportunity.
The Gunners, though, hung on to seal the win and put a gap between themselves and the chasing pack ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Luton.
Nottingham Forest 0 Everton 1
Dwight McNeil’s second-half goal clinched Everton a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest and lifted them off the foot of the Premier League table.
Everton had slipped to the bottom before the late kick-off at the City Ground after Burnley’s win against relegation rivals Sheffield United.
But McNeil lashed home the only goal to clinch Everton a morale-boosting victory one day after the club lodged their appeal against their 10-point deduction for breaching the Premier League’s financial rules.
Everton, who have not lost at the City Ground since 1995, notched their third win in five league matches to climb to within two points of safety while Forest slipped to a third straight defeat and back-to-back home losses.
Wayward finishing and heroic defending ensured a goalless first half as both sides spurned scoring chances.
Everton should have broken the deadlock in the 23rd minute, with Beto blazing over an empty net when he looked odds-on to register his first Premier League goal.
Forest goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos dropped a cross after tangling with team-mate Willy Boly but Beto, back in the starting line-up for the first time since September in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, fired off target.
Forest had made the better start but came under siege for a prolonged spell in the first period and were also indebted to Murillo. The Brazilian defender cleared McNeil’s angled shot off the goal line and needed treatment after falling awkwardly into the net.
Anthony Elanga had earlier pulled a low shot wide for Forest, who could have snatched the lead in first-half stoppage time through Morgan Gibbs-White but he fired into the side netting after being played in by Ibrahim Sangare.
Forest made a fast start to the second half, with substitute Felipe soon in the thick of the action.
His shot following a goalmouth scramble clipped a post and moments later the Brazilian was booked for hauling down McNeil outside his own area.
Ryan Yates had gone to ground under Doucoure’s challenge following the corner which had led to Felipe’s effort, but Forest’s penalty appeals were waved away and they fell behind soon after.
Jack Harrison’s cross from the right picked out McNeil at the far post and he took one touch before rifling his first goal of the season into the far corner.
McNeil raced in on goal shortly after but was thwarted by Serge Aurier’s last-ditch tackle and Forest went close to an equaliser when Elanga rounded Jordan Pickford only to shoot into the side netting from a tight angle.
Pickford rescued Everton in the 81st minute when racing out of his goal to deny Elanga and saved well again from Murillo’s fierce effort.
Forest poured forward in search of a late equaliser but Elanga’s shot curled inches wide and at the final whistle soon after, Everton’s travelling fans burst into a chorus of We Shall Not Be Moved.
Burnley 5 Sheffield United 0
Burnley ended their wait for a Premier League home win in style with a 5-0 rout of fellow strugglers Sheffield United, climbing off the foot of the table and piling pressure on Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom.
Jay Rodriguez needed just 15 seconds to head Vincent Kompany’s side in front and Jacob Bruun Larsen doubled the lead in the 28th minute, with United ending the first half a man down after Oli McBurnie collected two petulant yellow cards in quick succession.
More pain followed for United in the second half as Zeki Amdouni and Luca Koleosho scored two in the space of three minutes before Josh Brownhill added a fifth, giving Burnley their biggest ever Premier League win.
No English league club had ever opened a season with eight home defeats and Burnley could not afford to set that record against a United side who began the day one point better off, with these two starting the day first and second in terms of the worst starts to a Premier League season by promoted sides.
Both Burnley’s wins to date have come against teams promoted alongside them in the summer, but after encouraging displays against Crystal Palace and West Ham, three points offer tangible reward for improving performances.
For United it was another chastening day, the pain of defeat increased by the loss of McBurnie to a needless suspension. There was no sign of the sort of quality that will be needed to get them out of trouble.
Burnley scored the opener with a move straight from kick-off. James Trafford punted the ball forward, Amdouni shifted it to the left and Charlie Taylor whipped in a first-time cross for Rodriguez to head home.
It was the quickest Premier League goal of the season, and made Rodriguez the first player in the league’s history to score in the opening 15 seconds of two separate games, 10 years and one day after he pounced for Southampton against Chelsea.
Burnley doubled their lead when Bruun Larsen got in front of Luke Thomas to reach Dara O’Shea’s long ball, cutting in off the right before passing the ball under the despairing dive of Wes Foderingham.
United’s frustrations soon surfaced. McBurnie, back in the starting 11 after scoring the late consolation in last week’s home defeat to Bournemouth, was lucky to only see yellow for catching O’Shea with an elbow in the 36th minute, leaving Kompany livid on the sideline.
Moments later O’Shea caught McBurnie, who delivered enough theatrics to ensure his counterpart also saw yellow, and Kompany joined both players in the book for his remonstrations.
More was to follow and when McBurnie caught O’Shea with an arm once again in first-half stoppage time, he earned a second yellow card and a head start on the trudge to the dressingroom.
Heckingbottom, already forced into one substitution due to an injury for George Baldock, made a triple change at the break as Benie Traore, James McAtee and William Osula came on for Thomas, John Fleck and Cameron Archer.
It meant only half United’s outfield players that started the match were still on for the start of the second half. But it did little to change United’s fortunes and the floodgates opened after the 73rd minute.
Burnley’s third came when United failed to clear a corner and Jordan Beyer headed the ball down for Amdouni to spring between Jack Robinson and Anel Ahmedhodzic before playing the ball beyond Foderingham.
Moments later Koleosho cracked a shot off the crossbar when Foderingham could only parry Amdouni’s shot, but the teenager was soon celebrating his first Premier League goal as he shrugged off a challenge and beat the goalkeeper at his near post.
Brownhill rifled in the fifth from the edge of the box with 10 minutes to go.
Brentford 3 Luton Town 1
Brentford scored three second-half goals to edge an important Premier League victory over Luton at Gtech Community Stadium.
Neal Maupay opened the scoring and Ben Mee added a second soon after. Although Luton’s Jacob Brown pulled a goal back, Shandon Baptiste sealed a 3-1 success for Thomas Frank’s men with nine minutes remaining.
However, the Bees’ injury troubles worsened when Kristoffer Ajer picked up a knock in the warm-up, with Saman Ghoddos replacing him.
The hosts lacked any edge to their play in the first half as they struggled to play without midfield operator Mathias Jensen, who remained sidelined with an abductor injury.
Luton’s absent Alfie Doughty, who picked up a hip injury in the week, was replaced by centre-back Amari’i Bell, who slotted in as a makeshift left-wing back.
In the early stages of the contest, Bryan Mbeumo beat Jamaica international Bell on the outside, before his deft cross was dealt with by Luton’s tight defence.
Neither side registered a shot on target inside the first half-hour, although Yehor Yarmoliuk came close for the hosts. The midfielder’s close-range effort took a heavy deflection off Carlton Morris before the ball narrowly missed the inside of Thomas Kaminski’s post and went out for a corner.
The Bees gained momentum from this and Mbeumo was in the thick of things again in the 37th minute. The attacker glided past his marker, driving inside, before producing a whipped curling shot which narrowly missed the target.
The six-goal man was Brentford’s only real outlet in the first half and his neat flicks and feints opened opportunities up for attack partner Yoane Wissa, who tested Kaminski moments later.
The home side came out for the second half strongly and broke the deadlock in the 49th minute.
The pacy Wissa took up a dangerous position on the left and sent a testing cross into the box. The ball cannoned off Gabriel Osho and into the path of the alert Maupay, who opened the scoring.
Frank’s half-time wisdom paid dividends for the west Londoners and they doubled their lead in the 56th minute through Mee.
Mbeumo’s corner found the head of the rising central defender, whose effort deflected off Morris and into Kaminski’s net.
Luton had paid the price for an erratic opening 10 minutes of the second half, as their defensive structure and organisation abandoned them.
However, Rob Edwards’ team sought a way back and Brown, who helped them to a first home win of the season last week, came off the bench to make it 2-1 in the 76th minute.
A week after his 83rd-minute winner against Crystal Palace, Brown cut through the middle of the Brentford backline and shot powerfully into the bottom corner of Mark Flekken’s goal.
However, in keeping with the Hatters’ day, a series of mishaps led to Brentford sealing the win five minutes later.
The ball pinballed around Luton’s penalty box and no defender managed to clear their lines before a poor parried save from Kaminski gifted Baptiste with an easy tap-in to round off the scoring.
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