Arsenal’s winning start to the season was finally spoiled by a Manchester United side on the rise as a host of controversial decisions saw VAR back in the spotlight.
Here, the PA news agency picks five things we learned from this weekend’s Premier League action.
If the introduction of VAR was intended to make decision-making a smoother prospect in the Premier League, this weekend provided a strong argument that it has achieved the opposite.
West Ham boss David Moyes criticized the refereeing in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea, having particularly choice words for VAR official Jarred Gillett after Maxwel Cornet’s last-gasp equalizer was chalked off following a monitor review of Jarrod Bowen’s contact with Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy .
In an extended rant, Moyes slammed the incident as “no excuse for VAR”, a sentiment shared by Eddie Howe after Newcastle were denied a potential win in a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace.
A deflection from Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell appeared to result in an own goal, but the decision was overturned after a VAR check determined Joe Willock had fouled Eagles keeper Vicente Guaita in the build-up.
The resulting controversy led to the Premier League announcing it would review Newcastle and West Ham’s decisions with refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which on Sunday effectively admitted the calls were incorrect.
United’s improvement halted the Gunners’ winning run
A few weeks ago, neither bookies nor fans would have backed Manchester United as the most likely to stop Arsenal’s 100 per cent start to the season, but that is exactly what happened as the upwardly-mobile Red Devils prevailed 3-1 to finish the weekend in fifth. place
Since starting the campaign with disappointing defeats to Brighton and Brentford, United have now won four in a row – including notable victories at Old Trafford against arch-rivals Liverpool and Arsenal.
Sunday’s victory, secured by goals from big-money debutant Antony and a Marcus Rashford brace, will be all the more satisfying for Erik ten Hag as it came against a hot Gunners side who won in all of their opening five matches.
The forest is not outside the forest
Promoted Nottingham Forest broke the Premier League transfer window record this summer as they welcomed 21 new faces to the City Ground.
While fans celebrated the spend with quadruple-decker team bus memes, their side’s effort against Bournemouth on Saturday – where they surrendered a 2-0 half-time lead to lose 3-2 – was showed more work will be needed to avoid a return ticket to the Championship.
It was a fourth defeat from six games for Forest as Gary O’Neil claimed his first win as interim head coach of the Cherries.
Toney’s hat-trick has sparked England cap talk
Ivan Toney certainly got off Gareth Southgate’s radar with his hat-trick in Brentford’s impressive 5-2 win over Leeds.
The uncapped striker has been in fine form, netting five times and picking up two assists in six Premier League appearances so far this season. His standout performance on Saturday included a penalty, a curling effort from 20 yards and a chip from distance.
Bees boss Thomas Frank has argued that no striker other than Harry Kane is in better form than the 26-year-old, who sits just behind the Three Lions captain and Tammy Abraham for goals scored of English players in the top five European leagues from August 2021.
Foxes financial problems reduce risk
Leicester suffered a fifth consecutive Premier League defeat in their 5-2 hammering at Brighton and remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point this season.
It is the latest chapter in a story with no silver lining for supporters, who last week witnessed the long-awaited departure of Wesley Fofana from Chelsea.
Meanwhile, the only arrivals at the King Power stadium were goalkeeper Alex Smithies, who joined Leicester on a free transfer, and centre-back Wout Faes from Reims.
Leicester chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha even acknowledged the spending challenges in a program article ahead of Leicester’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester United last week, citing the “undeniable” impact of the pandemic on the difficulties he faces and the club.
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