Aston Villa hold City 1-1; Spurs, Chelsea win

Sports Desk, Sep 3 (EFE).- Another goal from Erling Haaland was not enough for defending champions Manchester City to take all 3 points Saturday against Aston Villa, while Chelsea prevailed courtesy of a controversial VAR decision and Harry Kane went third on the Premier League’s scoring list with a game-winner for Tottenham Hotspur.

City, with 14 points, trail first-place Arsenal by just a point, but the Gunners can extend their lead with a victory Sunday over Manchester United.

Level with City on points, Spurs are third due to a smaller goal difference. Surprising Brighton & Hove Albion remain fourth, ahead of Chelsea.

The hosts started the contest at Villa Park hoping to avoid an eighth consecutive loss to Man City and they managed to keep the champions at bay until the 50th minute, when Haaland became only the third player to score 10 goals in his first sixth Premier League matches.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez denied Haaland on two opportunities after that and got help from the cross-bar in repelling a shot by Kevin de Bruyne before Leon Bailey knotted the score at 1-1 with a fine goal in the 74th minute.

Six minutes later, Philippe Coutinho appeared to put Villa up 2-1, but the goal was disallowed for offside, and Martinez thwarted Phil Foden in stoppage time to secure the point for the hosts.

Spurs, coming off a disappointing draw with West Ham United, were clearly the better side Saturday against promoted Fulham and led 1-0 at the break on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s goal in the 40th minute.

Even so, not until Kane made it 2-0 with 15 minutes left did Tottenham supporters begin to relax. And the tension returned eight minutes later with Aleksandar Mitrovic’s equalizer for the visitors.

Richarlison looked to have made it 3-1 in the final minute of regulation, only for VAR to disallow the goal for offside, but Spurs hung on to claim all 3 points.

Saturday’s other London derby pit a Chelsea side that had already lost twice against West Ham, with only two goals in their first five matches.

Though the Blues had the lion’s share of possession in the first half at Stamford Bridge, Hammers keeper Lukasz Fabianski was not tested and the scoreless deadlock persisted until the 62nd minute, when Michail Antonio put the visitors up 1-0.

Ben Chilwell brought Chelsea back on terms in the 76th minute and assisted on Kai Havertz’s goal in the 88th to make it 2-1 for the Blues.

Just seconds later, West Ham’s Maxwel Cornet put the ball in the net with Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy lying on the ground. The Hammers celebrated the equalizer, but VAR intervened, urging the referee to scrutinize the replay for a possible foul.

The referee concluded that Mendy was fouled and the goal was struck off, to the fury of the West Ham players and coaching staff.

Saturday’s action began with an enthralling Merseyside derby that ended 0-0 thanks to heroics from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and his Liverpool counterpart Alisson at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The visitors struck the woodwork three times through Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and a last-gasp effort from Mohamed Salah, whose 95th minute shot was tipped onto the inside of the post by the England No. 1 as Liverpool desperately searched for a breakthrough goal.

It would have been harsh on Everton, who gave as good as they got in a gripping derby match, and will feel unlucky not to have scored themselves.

Their best opportunities came on the counter attack during a frenetic second half, with Alisson first denying Neal Maupay from close range before he brilliantly tipped over a deflected strike from Dwight McNeil.

Everton thought they had broken the deadlock on 70 minutes when Conor Coady tapped in Maupay’s shot, sending the home fans into raptures, but the effort was correctly disallowed for offside by VAR.

The draw leaves Everton in 16th place, while Liverpool are sixth. EFE

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