Premier League: Man City boss Guardiola is happy despite draw at Liverpool
Mahrez misses late penalty at Anfield while Chelsea and Arsenal secure big wins
Liverpool 0 Manchester City 0
Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty as Manchester City and Liverpool fought out a goalless draw at Anfield on Sunday. The Algerian blasted his spot kick over the bar on 86 minutes after Leroy Sane was brought down by Virgil van Dijk.
If there was no doubt about the penalty there was doubt about the decision to hand the ball to Mahrez, a man who has missed four of his previous seven penalty kicks in the Premier League.
With Sergio Aguero substituted, Gabriel Jesus appeared ready to assume responsibility, only for Mahrez to overrule his teammate. It was a bad error of judgement that ultimately cost the Sky Blues two points.
‘A good result’
In truth a draw was a fair result in a match that never came close to living up to the hype. Neither side managed a shot on target until the 62nd minute on a flat afternoon at Anfield, but City boss Pep Guardiola didn’t sound too disappointed at the final whistle.
“We tried to win and we didn’t concede at Anfield which is quite special,” Guardiola told the BBC. “We had our chance and we tried to be ourselves. It is a good result.”
On the question of the missed penalty, Guardiola said of Mahrez: “He had the courage and the balls to take the penalty. In training he shoots perfect penalties but sometimes it happens. The usual taker is Sergio Aguero but he wasn’t there.”
Mind the gap
The draw was the result wanted by the pair’s closest rivals, both of whom won comfortably earlier in the day to close the gap at the top. Chelsea brushed Southampton side 3-0 at St Mary’s, while Arsenal crushed Fulham 5-1 at Craven Cottage.
The Gunners are now in the top four for the first time this season, on 18 points, and edging Tottenham out of the Champions League qualification positions on goal difference.
Goal difference is also the reason Chelsea are in second place, ahead of Liverpool, while City lead the way going into the international break.
Barkley banks a goal
Eden Hazard was again influential for Chelsea. The Belgian opened the scoring for the visitors on the half-hour mark, while Ross Barkley (with his first league goal since May 2017) and substitute Alvaro Morata added to the tally after the break.
“We are enjoying playing well and scoring goals,” said Hazard. “The first-half was not so easy, they missed big chances and then we have had a bit of luck for our first goal, but we controlled the match in the second half.”
It was Hazard’s seventh league goal of the season. Asked if he was in the form of his life, the Blue replied: “I don’t know if I’ve played better [than I am currently]. I’m just playing good football because we are playing good football. I want to keep doing it and keep everyone happy.”
Carnage at the Cottage
Just as happy are Arsenal, who extended their winning streak to nine (six in the Premier League) with a 5-1 demolition job on Fulham.
There were two goals apiece for Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as a sublime effort from Aaron Ramsey that will be a contender for goal of the season.
The Welshman finished off a length-of-the-field move with a wondrous flick that went in off the post.
“We are happy because I think this shows the commitment we have in training and the quality and the understanding of our tactical position,” Arsenal boss Unai Emery said of the goal. “We must keep taking confidence.”
Premier League results
- Brighton & Hove Albion 1 West Ham United 0
- Burnley 1 Huddersfield Town 1
- Crystal Palace 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
- Leicester City 1 Everton 2
- Tottenham Hotspur 1 Cardiff City 0
- Watford 0 AFC Bournemouth 4
- Manchester United 3 Newcastle United 2
- Fulham 1 Arsenal 5
- Southampton 0 Chelsea 3
- Liverpool 0 Manchester City 0