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De Bruyne superb as magnificent Manchester City thrash Stoke

De Bruyne superb as magnificent Manchester City thrash Stoke


Arsenal were the victims of a dodgy penalty and an injury-time winner as they threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 away at Watford.

Per Mertesacker headed Arsenal in front from a corner on 39 minutes, but the second half played out in disastrous fashion for Arsene Wenger's side.

Minutes after Mesut Ozil had missed a huge chance for 2-0, Richarlison clearly dived to win a penalty which Troy Deeney tucked away on 71 minutes. As Arsenal timidly tried to close the game down, Tom Cleverley struck in injury time to move Watford, not Arsenal, fourth.


For just over an hour this looked like an efficient and professional away performance from Arsenal -- unspectacular, admittedly, but effective. It all unravelled from there.


The result, clearly, and the nature of the performance in the second half, which bordered on insipid at times. Arsenal lacked quality in the final third and looked utterly unconvincing as they attempted to manage the game towards the end. Oh, and injuries to Danny Welbeck and Laurent Koscielny.

Manager rating out of 10

4 -- Marco Silva showed how to turn a game as his introduction of Deeney in the second half transformed this as a contest. By contrast, Wenger's substitutions were ineffective. He was completely outfoxed by his opposite number.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 6 -- Could do little about a well-hit penalty from Deeney but was made to look a little foolish by Cleverley's scrappy winner.

DF Laurent Koscielny, 7 -- Defended as stoutly as usual as Watford were restricted to few chances on goal, but a late injury saw him withdrawn, which will be a big concern.

DF Per Mertesacker, 7 -- Wenger should consider giving his captain more game time on this evidence as he defended impressively for most of the match and scored the opener with a towering header. However, he was relieved to see a big deflection off his chest hit the post with seven minutes left and ended the match as an auxiliary forward in desperation.

DF Nacho Monreal, 7 -- Continues to impress. Monreal always looked alert and stuck his boot in when required. Even stepped into midfield on occasion.

MF Hector Bellerin, 6 -- The Spaniard could consider himself very unfortunate to concede the penalty as Richarlison clearly made the most of minimal contact. Didn't do enough elsewhere.

MF Granit Xhaka, 7 -- Showed his intent after 13 minutes when lofting a gorgeous ball over the top. Xhaka was in confident mood and his corner for Mertesacker's goal was a fantastic delivery.

MF Mohamed Elneny, 5 -- Kept the ball moving in midfield but Arsenal are crying out for something more than Elneny offers.

MF Sead Kolasinac, 5 -- Charged around the pitch as usual but he didn't bring enough quality in the final third of the pitch.

FW Alex Iwobi, 6 -- Had one of the best chances of the game when his near curling effort was tipped round the post on 63 minutes. Too quiet though.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 5 -- Worked hard enough but his decision-making was suspect at times, particularly when wasting a great counterattack with a poor pass on 54 minutes. Arsenal wanted more effective link-up play and introduced Giroud.

FW Danny Welbeck, 6 -- The forward was playing his first game in almost a month after returning from injury and put in a good shift, almost connecting from close range on 34 minutes, before being forced off with yet another muscle injury.


FW Mesut Ozil, 5 -- Arsenal lacked quality with the final pass before his arrival but he almost set up Iwobi for a goal within minutes with a perfectly judged pass. But when Iwobi returned the favour minutes later, his finish was poor with Heurelho Gomes at his mercy. Watford promptly scored.

FW Olivier Giroud, 6 -- Got a header on goal but didn't make the impact required.

DF Rob Holding, N/R -- Jack Wilshere was primed to come on for the closing stages but when Koscielny was injured, it was Holding who made it on. He was poor for Watford's winner.

Tom is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @tomEurosport

Manchester City continued their high-scoring start to the Premier League season with a 7-2 against Stoke.

City have now scored 29 goals in eight games this season and sit two points clear of nearest rivals Manchester United, who could only manage a 0-0 draw with Liverpool.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and David Silva in the opening half hour put Pep Guardiola's side in a commanding position, before Mame Biram Diouf and a Kyle Walker own goal looked to have brought Stoke back into the game.

However, a second goal from Gabriel and further strikes from Fernandinho, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva made sure of the points for City as they racked up a seventh win in eight games.

United's trip to Liverpool again failed to live up to expectations as Jose Mourinho's safety-first policy saw him once more frustrate the hosts at Anfield in a goalless draw.

United goalkeeper David De Gea made one brilliant reaction save from Joel Matip in the first half but Jurgen Klopp's side failed to break down well-organised opponents.

It is a criticism which has been regularly levelled at United this season but was perhaps excusable on this occasion considering the rivalry and the quality -- United began the day joint top -- they faced.

While United were not as dour as in last season's game here, there was no doubt Mourinho had reined in the attacking intent of a side which had previously scored 33 goals in 11 matches.

Crystal Palace ended a run of seven defeats without scoring by beating Premier League champions Chelsea 2-1 at Selhurst Park.

Palace went ahead courtesy of a Cesar Azpilicueta own goal in the 11th minute, when Yohan Cabaye's effort was deflected past Thibaut Courtois in the Chelsea goal.

The lead was short-lived as Tiemoue Bakayoko headed Chelsea level from a Cesc Fabregas corner in the 18th minute.

But Wilfried Zaha, on his return from injury, slid Palace back in front at the end of the first-half to earn them a much-needed first win of the season.

Arsenal gave away a lead to lose 2-1 away to Watford as Tom Cleverley netted an injury-time winner.

Arsenal had gone ahead in the 39th minute when Per Mertesacker headed home from Granit Xhaka's corner.

However, Watford found a route back into the game when Troy Deeney converted from the penalty spot after Hector Bellerin was deemed to have fouled Richarlison.

The hosts snatched victory in the dying moments of the game as Cleverley seized on a loose ball to smash home.

The result sees Watford up to fourth, with Arsenal trailing fifth-placed Chelsea on goal difference.

Tottenham won their first Premier League game at Wembley, beating Bournemouth 1-0.

Christian Eriksen was set up to score by Dele Alli three minutes into the second half.

Eriksen looked to have set Harry Kane up to score a second shortly before the hour mark but the goal was ruled out for offside.

Kane was also denied twice at point-blank range as Spurs searched in vain for a second goal.

Michail Antonio's 19th-minute strike was not enough to earn 10-man West Ham three important points against Burnley.

Antonio rounded Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope to score following a long ball forward from Joe Hart.

Soon after the Hammers were a man down when Andy Carroll received two yellow cards in the space of 99 seconds, the second of which was for contesting an aerial ball.

And Burnley made their numerical advantage count thanks to Chris Wood's equaliser in the 85th minute.

Tammy Abraham scored either side of half-time to give Swansea a 2-0 win against newly promoted Huddersfield.

The hosts capitalised on a mistake by Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl to take the lead in the 42nd minute.

Then, three minutes after the break, Chelsea loanee Abraham added a second following good work from Jordan Ayew.

That victory ended Swansea's run of four games without a win, but saw Huddersfield go a fourth game without scoring.

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A Christian Eriksen goal early in the second half gave Spurs their first home Premier League win of the season as they defeated Bournemouth 1-0. The first 45 minutes were largely forgettable, with the visitors intent on keeping men behind the ball and Tottenham lacking either the pace or the guile to find a way through. Indeed it was the visitors who came close to breaking the deadlock with two chances inside a minute midway through the first period.

The game opened out after Spurs took the lead but Tottenham were unable to add to their tally. Unlike against Burnley when they conceded a late equaliser, this time Spurs held on through a nervy last 20 minutes to take all three points.


It wasn't pretty but Spurs have finally beaten their Premier League Wembley jinx. The relief among both the players and the home fans at the final whistle was obvious. Hopefully with this win behind them, the team will be able to relax a bit more in future home games, starting against Liverpool next weekend.


Spurs still look a different team to the one than plays away from Wembley. Once again, they looked nervy and tentative on the ball, with few players willing to commit to forward runs. Their build-up play was often slow and laboured and they are still missing the killer instinct to finish off teams at Wembley when they're there for the taking.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Mauricio Pochettino finally found a way to get his team to a home win but it was a much closer affair than he would have liked. He knows teams like Bournemouth will come to Wembley intent on packing the defence and he has to make Spurs as clinical as they were last season. Changing his formation to a back four with Ben Davies sidelined, it took time for the rest of the team to adjust. Plenty of room for improvement but right now all he will care about is the three points.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 7 -- Had to be alert late on to keep out a near post effort from Spurs old boy, Jermain Defoe. Otherwise had a quiet afternoon and did all the basics well.

DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- It still feels as if Trippier isn't fully on his game. He seems unsure of when to drive forward and when to hold back and his final ball, which made him such a potent threat last season, is now all too often wayward.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- Adjusted well to the changed formation and was quick to snuff out danger. Never lost an aerial challenge and was the lynchpin of the central defence.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 6 -- Was badly out-muscled midway through the first half and that mistake almost allowed Bournemouth to open the scoring. Needs to show that he can concentrate for the full 90 minutes.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 8 -- Spurs player of the match. Was secure in defence, making one crucial interception late on, and made several telling runs forward in both halves. Not a natural wing back, but what he lacks in pace he makes up for in intelligence and effort.

MF Eric Dier, 7 -- Came close to adding a second goal late on but his shot from inside the area was deflected over the bar. Generally tidy in his familiar role of defensive midfielder but his distribution tends to slow the game down.

MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Was one of Spurs' brightest sparks in midfield during a first half in which his side was struggling. Carried on making forward runs right until the end even when his teammates were opting for the square ball.

Vertonghen was a rock in the Tottenham defence as Mauricio Pochettino's side hung on to beat Bournemouth.

MF Christian Eriksen, 7 -- Had a bit of luck when the ball rebounded to him after he had appeared to lose control, but took his goal with his customary poise. Had another effort from outside the box tipped wide, but otherwise tended to play too much from deep.

MF Heung-Min Son, 6 -- Started out on the left but switched over to the right late in the first half. Made a few telling runs but as so often in the past, he tended to delay too long in playing the final ball.

MF Dele Alli, 7 -- Kept going right till the end, but his flicks and touches are still not making the impact they did last season. Came close to getting the goal that will do much to settle him late in injury time.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Saw almost nothing of the ball in the first half. Worked his way into the game in the second half and did find the net with a header only to be ruled offside. Had a few other half-chances but he wasn't at the top of his game. Hopefully he's saving himself for Real Madrid.


MF Moussa Sissoko, NR -- Made an impact when he was brought on late in the game, but his final ball let him down. More clinical passes could have given Spurs the safety margin they craved.

FW Fernando Llorente, NR -- Late replacement for Kane. A couple of nice touches but still no sign of his first goal for the club.

MF Georges-Kevin N'Koudou, NR -- An injury time replacement to wind down the clock. Was upended outside the area when closing in on goal.

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.

This is all getting a bit ridiculous now, isn't it? Manchester City's tally of 29 goals after eight games is the best in the English top flight since Everton hit 30 in 1894 -- the year City were founded. Pep Guardiola's team, 7-2 winners on Saturday, ripped through Stoke as if they weren't there and once again laid out their credentials as title-contenders.


City were able to ease through the gears to find the net at will in two spells of total domination. It meant the fans got to see some of the best attacking football the Premier League has ever witnessed and Guardiola was able to get his big stars off the pitch to rest up before the visit of Napoli on Tuesday.

The way City moved the ball going forward was sublime and you felt they could have hit double figures had they not taken their foot off the gas towards the end. This was all without star striker Sergio Aguero, too.


It's the first time City have conceded twice in a game this season, although it has to be said it was down to two big slices of bad luck. Fabian Delph almost blocked the first, deflecting it past Ederson in the process, while Kyle Walker could do nothing as Mame Biram Diouf's off-target header hit him to cross the line.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Guardiola spoke prematch about being able to keep the momentum for the club before the international break and his team didn't disappoint.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Ederson, 6 -- There was nothing the goalkeeper could do about the two strikes that deflected past him and he was rarely tested otherwise.

DF Kyle Walker, 8 -- Unlucky to have been credited with an own goal, Walker was a shining example of what makes City tick this season. He powered up and down the right flank in support of Raheem Sterling ahead of him, earning a great assist in the first half, too.

DF John Stones, 9 -- This is the defender City thought they were getting last season. Assured on the ball, composed under pressure and brilliant timing to come away from challenges with the ball, Stones is really hitting the right notes in the absence of Vincent Kompany.

DF Nicolas Otamendi, 8 -- Far more disciplined this season, Otamendi is quietly getting on with business and forming a solid partnership with Stones. He's positionally aware and has, more or less, stopped diving into stupid tackles.

MF Fabian Delph, 7 -- Asked again to play out of position, it was another solid display from the midfielder operating as a makeshift left-back. He did, however, get lost for the first Stoke goal -- though he did almost recover, only to deflect Diouf's shot past Ederson.

MF Fernandinho, 8 -- The Brazilian put in a strong performance to anchor City's midfield, but it was topped off with style as he kept the ball moving to keep his team on the front foot. He crowned off his performance with a sensational long-range effort, in off the crossbar.

MF David Silva, 9 -- What more is there to say about a creative midfielder that continues to impress each week? Once again, his eye for a pass was brilliant, and he worked perfectly with Leroy Sane on the left, with Delph less likely to overlap.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 10 -- It was another performance from De Bruyne that displayed just how crucial he is to City's attack working. He pressed aggressively, forcing Stoke mistakes, and he ran the show until he was substituted with 25 minutes to play. Three more assists go on his tally, and he's now been involved in 18 goals in his last 18 games -- scoring three and laying off 15.

MF Raheem Sterling, 9 -- Every time the ball was played through for Sterling to run on to, there was panic in the Stoke defence. He was decisive with his passing and he was in the right place to slot home for his goal.

MF Leroy Sane, 9 -- It's hard to believe the winger is still a long way from his prime and is still learning his trade. Once more, he terrified the opposition full-back, twisting inside and out at pace, and his finish in the second half was a beauty.

FW Gabriel Jesus, 9 -- That the forward managed to shine in an attack that had so many leading lights is a credit to him. Two more goals to his personal tally and constant harrying of defenders mean the fans will have enjoyed his performance greatly.


MF Bernardo Silva, 8 -- Replacing Jesus on 63 minutes, the Portuguese midfielder slotted straight into the team and scored to finish off a lovely move for City's seventh.

MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- The midfielder kept things ticking over after he came on for De Bruyne on 66 minutes.

MF Yaya Toure, N/R -- After coming on to give Fernandinho a rest, it was like watching a dad playing with the kids. Toure was strolling around the pitch, swatting off opposition challenges, and barely needed to break a sweat.

David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney