The international break was pretty entertaining, but nothing can beat club football and the Premier League returned in spectacular fashion for the ninth round of fixtures.
Manchester City and Liverpool remain joint on points at the summit of the table after victories over Burnley and Huddersfield respectively, whilst London trio Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all sit two points behind the leaders.
Watford move up to seventh after an impressive victory over ninth placed Wolves, whilst Everton made it three wins in succession by beating Crystal Palace to go up to eighth.
Manchester United are in tenth place after drawing with Chelsea, with Brighton only three points behind the Red Devils after winning away to bottom of the table Newcastle.
Here, we take a look at the players who stood out and those who crumbled under the pressure this week.
1) Anthony Martial – Manchester United
The Frenchman has found it difficult to get a run of games for United this season, but Jose Mourinho handed him a start at Stamford Bridge and it certainly paid off.
The winger finished well from inside the box to make it 1-1 and gave United the lead shortly after with a superb curling effort.
That’s three goals in his last two league appearances and with such strong goal scoring form, it’s hard to see Martial losing his place in the team.
2) Josh Murphy – Cardiff City
The winger was virtually unplayable as he tormented the Fulham defence all afternoon, helping his side earn their first victory of the season.
Murphy scored in Cardiff’s last home game and netted once again, but he could have had more if it wasn’t for some fine saves by Fulham keeper Bettinelli.
Murphy could not be handled by Calum Chambers, who was withdrawn at the break after being ripped apart by the pacey winger.
3) Mesut Ozil – Arsenal
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may have scored twice, but it was Ozil who ran the show at the Emirates as Arsenal beat Leicester 3-1.
The German coolly slotted in the equaliser and after that, he was at his magical best to inspire the Gunners to victory.
Ozil was captain on the night and he certainly led the team, playing an exquisite through ball in the build-up to the second goal and then nonchalantly chipping the ball across the box for the third. A mesmeric performance from the playmaker.
1) Joe Hart – Burnley
Hart had a disastrous return to his former club as he leaked five goals against a rampant Manchester City.
The Englishman was required to make some decent stops throughout the match but showed his frustration as he kicked the goalpost after conceding a fifth late on.
Not a day to remember for Hart at the Etihad, where he created so many beautiful memories.
2) Luka Milivojevic – Crystal Palace
The Serbian had a golden chance to give Palace the lead at Goodison Park from the penalty spot, but his effort was easily saved by Jordan Pickford.
Normally so reliable from 12 yards, Milivojevic lacked conviction in his strike and with the score locked at 0-0, could have put his side on course to a valuable away win.
3) Newcastle United
The Magpies are in serious trouble and just can’t seem to find the back of the net. Rafa Benitez is still looking to guide his side to a victory this season and the unrest off the field regarding the ownership of the club certainly isn’t helping.
Winning at home to Brighton was simply a must for the Magpies, but they have now lost three matches in succession.
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And we are back. Premier League football returned after the international break and while some prospered, others plummeted.
Keeping tabs on all 20 Premier League teams is the Sport360 Stock Exchange (360SE), our season-long measurement for top-flight sides as we track each club throughout the campaign and take into account their results to assign positions.
We initially used reputation and squad worth to determine the starting price but from Gameweek 2 onward, we’ve examine their output to create a new value.
Without further ado, here’s the rankings after GW9.
1. Manchester City: 540 / 545 / +5
Total for 2018/19: +49
Sean Dyche and Pep Guardiola were born 10 days apart. That same gap was almost mirrored in the scoreline between their respective sides. The City juggernaut continues to show no signs of deceleration and even after a taxing international break for much of Guardiola’s squad, they looked imperious.
It’s not just that the champions are scoring aplenty, it’s the quality of them, too. Fernandinho’s silky side-foot finish into the top corner was sublime, as was Riyad Mahrez’s deliciously curled strike. City kept another clean sheet as well, their fifth straight and oh, Kevin De Bruyne is back available after making his injury return in the 5-0 slamming.
2. Liverpool: 527 / 529 / +2
Total for 2018/19: +54
The Liverpool side of 2018/19 is all grown up. It’s not much fun anymore, though. Indeed, a maturation was necessary if Jurgen Klopp’s side were to truly challenge City this season but it’s come at a price. Expectations after their summer splurge has expanded and now, just winning games isn’t nearly enough to satisfy the insatiable appetite of the Liverpool fan base. Yet, for a club which has been starved of trophies over the last decade, perhaps they should recognise being fed a steady diet of points outweighs the odd Michelin Star-feast.
Against Huddersfield at Anfield, Mohamed Salah’s delightful first away goal of the season was enough to claim all three points. This was exactly the type of fixture in which points would have been dropped last term. They sit alongside City and there’s nothing wrong with that. Style points is why Guardiola’s men are so far ahead in terms of stock value, however.
3. Chelsea: 467 / 470 / +3
Total for 2018/19: +40
Truly a fixture of two contrasting halves. And yes, believe it or not there was a football match going on and not a boxing fight. Inevitably, the post-match melee dominated column inches but it also worked to mask some of the massive deficiencies in this Chelsea team. How they remain unbeaten is anyone’s guess because at times the Blues have been so open. United capitalised on that ugly trait in the second half through a delightful Anthony Martial double having trailed from an Antonio Rudiger header. Ross Barkley’s last-minute tap-in protected their run.
4. Arsenal: 443 / 453 / +10
Total for 2018/19: +23
Arsenal marked Arsene Wenger’s 69th birthday with an attacking display their former boss would have been proud of. It may not have looked that way for just over 30 minutes, as Leicester impressed before eventually taking the lead. But once they sat off, and allowed Mesut Ozil to dictate and display his undoubted creative quality, there was no stopping Unai Emery’s men.
From Ozil’s expert finish, to his defence-splitting pass for the second and the exquisite team goal that sealed the win, all three goals were special in their own right. It’s ten straight wins for Emery’s men in all competitions and a ten-point stock rise for them after this impressive display.
5. Tottenham Hotspur: 440 / 444 / +4
Total for 2018/19: +23
Again unconvincing, again Mauricio Pochettino won’t care a jot. It’s 21 points from nine games after Eric Lamela ghosted into the box to glance a header home on his first league start of the season. After that opener just before the break, though, it was largely all West Ham at the London Stadium.
Hugo Lloris reinforced his status as one of the elite goalkeepers in world football to ensure Marko Arnautovic couldn’t find an equaliser on numerous occasions. Quite like Liverpool, they are far from their exhilarating best in comparison to last season’s efforts, but Spurs are doing just enough to keep pace and that hands them another marginal stock increase.
6. Manchester United: 440 / 444 / +4
Total for 2018/19: -25
United were utterly predictable in the opening period at Stamford Bridge but the attitude adjustment in the second half saw them almost finish Chelsea off. They were more direct and actually tried to get bodies into the box after the break, thinking forward first as opposed to sitting in their defensive block. Invariably United reverted to type when they went 2-1 up and then Barkley snatched a precious three points late on. Still, a point away at Stamford Bridge is an excellent result and United deserve a stock boost.
7. Everton: 365 / 369 / +4
Total for 2018/19: -1
Three is truly the magic number for Marco Silva. Everton’s third win on the bounce arrived thanks to two goals in the final three minutes of regulation time after his three substitutes made their mark. Dominic Calvert‑Lewin, introduced alongside Ademola Lookman just five minutes prior, headed home in the 87th minute to put the hosts head against Crystal Palace.
A minute later and the other man to rise from the bench made his impact as Cenk Tosun finished confidently after breaking clear to seal a fine late win. “Sometimes you change and everything goes well, like this afternoon, and other times it doesn’t work the same,” the Blues boss said. Here, it’s the same as last week for Everton as they receive another stock jump.
8. Leicester City: 353 / 353 / 0
Total for 2018/19: +3
For just over 30 minutes, Claude Puel’s side were superb, exploiting the glaring gaps and wide open space in behind the Arsenal defence. A stunning save from Bernd Leno had denied Harry Maguire the opener, before Ben Chilwell’s deflected cross handed them a shock, but very much deserved, lead at the Emirates.
From that moment on, it all went wrong for Leicester, who were also denied a penalty for a blatant handball, as they sat off and allowed Arsenal to dominate. They could do very little about any of the goals, and while they may not have been expecting a result, they will be disappointed they didn’t build on their bright start to the game.
9. West Ham: 350 / 352 / +2
Total for 2018/19: -8
Defeated, but West Ham’s bright spots against Spurs indicate a team which has established itself far better than lower-dwelling sides even if they’re just off the upper echelon. Manuel Pellegrini is showing he still possesses plenty of tactical acumen as his side repeatedly ripped open the visitors by attacking inside their full-backs. Ultimately, it’s two straight defeats, against Brighton and now Spurs, but they merited more from the two awkward losses. Overall, Hammers fans can be happy with the style and direction. The marriage of solidity at the back and enterprising football in attack will eventually take them far both in the stock exchange and in the league.
10. Wolves: 340 / 336 / -4
Total for 2018/19: +36
Conor Coady has been a fine addition to the Premier League in tandem with Wolves. The sight of him being nutmegged by an Etienne Capoue thunderbolt gives you an idea of just the type of day he and his side had against Watford. After being rocked by Capoue’s stinging drive, they then conceded another barely a minute later to Roberto Pereyra. Having only conceded once in their last five league games, two in mere seconds was a death wish.
A Premier League record of nine straight fixtures with the same XI called into question whether changes are necessary. The 3-4-3 employed by Nuno Espirito Santo has paid dividends, but against physical opponents, the midfield base of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves can be crowded out. Playing the opposition in future could aid the newcomers.
11. Bournemouth: 322 / 324 / +2
Total for 2018/19: +54
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe best assessed his team’s 0-0 draw with Southampton. He said: “It was a game in which I felt we never truly got going. I think you could possibly say the same of them. I thought we cancelled each other out. It was very bitty. We had our moments, which we didn’t take, but all-in-all I thought the effort was there, just the end product wasn’t quite with us today.”
This was a contest which will quickly be forgotten about and it’s a case of taking the point and moving on.
12. Watford: 286 / 294 / +8
Total for 2018/19: +44
The Hornets have regained the eight-point stock value hit they took after a beating from Bournemouth by bouncing back in awesome fashion at Wolves. Javi Gracia was without Christian Kabasele, Troy Deeney and Andre Gray and so you would be forgiven for predicting a home for the high-flying new boys. However, Gerard Deulofeu and Isaac Success came into the side to form an enticing attack and the two were excellent. Capoue and Pereyra inflicted the damage but Gracia can be pleased with his side’s efforts. Huddersfield and Newcastle next up presents an opportunity to really steam up the rankings.
13. Crystal Palace: 294 / 292 / -2
Total for 2018/19: +2
Palace have a glaring weakness and it’s in front of goal. Even from the penalty spot, they failed to convert, albeit Everton’s Jordan Pickford produced a great stop to deny Luka Milivojevic. However, with only Huddersfield scoring fewer goals, Roy Hodgson should be a concerned man. He’ll be even more worried when he looks at the fixture list to see Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United are all up in their next five games. Although with little expected, don’t be surprised to see the obvious talent they do possess produce the goods.
14. Brighton: 280 / 285 / +5
Total for 2018/19: +35
A first win on the road in the Premier League since beating Swansea last November is a welcome sight for Chris Hughton. They were organised and required last-ditch defending to ensure they escaped St James’ Park with the points. There was, though, a nasty looking head injury to Glenn Murray in the opening 10 minutes which sucked some of the cheer out of the win, yet this is a Brighton team full of soul and their 12th position in the league table will soon be reflected in the stock exchange.
15. Burnley: 287 / 283 / -4
Total for 2018/19: -7
Dyche was right in his vexation over City’s second goal, and it was, to be fair, a crucial one as well. David Silva was not only offside in the build-up, the ball was farcically out of play before the Spaniard cut back for Bernardo Silva to finish. From there, the champions were in complete control and any hope of a result at the Etihad Stadium evaporated. Joe Hart, who has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance this season, was bombarded on his first return to City and he booted the post in frustration at full-time. Metaphorically, Burnley need a good booting as well, even if the result was entirely predictable.
16. Newcastle United: 285 / 280 / -5
Total for 2018/19: -10
As the old adage goes, what you put in, is what you get out. Mike Ashley failed to adequately equip Rafael Benitez with the funds he so desperately required to push Newcastle on. Now, the Spaniard resides over a side which is enduring its worst run of form since 1898, is one of two teams without a win this season and has only managed to collect two points. The despair was heightened when Beram Kayal’s deflected effort separated Brighton and the hosts on Saturday. Newcastle are heading into winter on the back of a glacial period as a result of a blanketed summer. You fear it could get worse before it gets better and therein lies the reason why United are plummeting quicker than the UK temperature.
17. Fulham: 280 / 275 / -5
Total for 2018/19: -15
Fulham remain the only Premier League side so far this season yet to register a clean sheet. They don’t even look close to doing so either. Their guard was down several times against Cardiff and in the end, the visitors were beaten black and blue. Andre Schurrle had given them the lead with a peach of a strike and Ryan Sessegnon equalised for a landmark goal as he became the first millennial to score in the Premier League.
Beyond that, it was embarrassing for Slavisa Jokanovic. Having spent more than £100million in the summer, you might expect more than the 25 goals conceded – six more than any other side and the second worst at this stage of a Premier League season – and just one win in nine.
18. Southampton: 265 / 268 / +4
Total for 2018/19: -2
Manolo Gabbiadini’s head found his hands as the Saints striker attempted to hide his face from embarrassment. Shame he wasn’t as accurate using his head prior to that. The Italian should have snatched all three points from a tight contest with Bournemouth after he looped an effort over the bar with the goal gaping from Nathan Redmond’s finely executed cross.
The pressure is on for Mark Hughes, with rumours that recently axed Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim could be lined up to replace him. The main problem is up front, though, as only four teams – the top four – have managed more shots per game (13.9) than Southampton and yet they sit 16th. Regardless, a point away at Bournemouth is enough for a stock bump.
19. Huddersfield Town: 218 / 219 / +1
Total for 2018/19: -1
Liverpool weren’t at their best and Huddersfield are a big factor in why that was the case. The away side were positive, on the front-foot, fearless in playing out from the back and also hit the post. David Wagner said after the game his post-match comments are becomingly increasingly repetitive and he’s right. They again had chances, showed they could score but didn’t and now are still one of two sides still without a victory so far this season. “It’s a wonderful challenge we face and it’s exciting,” Wagner said. A challenge indeed.
20. Cardiff City: 198 / 208 / +10
Total for 2018/19: +8
Neil Warnock has been hammered in the Stock Exchange ever since the genesis of these rankings. Their initial stock value placed them at the foot of the table and a failure to win a game has ensured they remained there. But credit where credit is due. Cardiff doubled their entire season’s tally of goals in one game and were in full flow during their 4-2 win over Fulham. Yes, the away side helped them, but Josh Murphy in particular showed there is ample quality in the ranks. In danger of being cut well adrift, this confidence-boosting result will do them a world of good.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery praised Mesut Ozil after he captained the Gunners to a 10th successive victory with a comeback win over Leicester on Monday.
The Foxes deservedly took the lead at the Emirates Stadium through Hector Bellerin’s own goal before Ozil levelled on the stroke of half-time.
The German, captaining Arsenal from the start for the first time, then played a pivotal role in a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace as the striker came off the bench to score twice for the second game running and secure a 3-1 win.
Aubameyang’s second was the end result of a sublime team goal, with Ozil at the heart of the move.
Ozil himself described the display as “sexy football” in a social media post and Emery was also pleased – although the Gunners head coach made it clear he expects even more from his stars.
“Today I am very happy,” he said after the win.
“The performance is together and also each player showed us their quality, their capacity, and we are also demanding a lot of quality from ourselves.
“Mesut Ozil had a very good performance today. We are going to push to demand more from ourselves and from him also.
“In the team we have a lot of players with this capacity (to be captain) because each player can help us with their quality and capacity.
“We have very clear captains and each one is important, but I think he (Ozil) can play every match with his commitment and his quality.
“We are going to demand this commitment and behaviour from every player, and then with our quality we can help each other on the pitch.”
The victory takes Arsenal up to fourth in the Premier League, just two points behind Manchester City and Liverpool.