As EPL resists VAR, Man City concedes goal scored with arm
AP Global Soccer Writer
LONDON — After failing to convince Premier League rivals of the need for VAR, Manchester City has contributed more evidence why the technology is needed. It came at the cost of dropping two points early in its title defense.
The champions fell behind at Wolverhampton on Saturday when Willy Boly used his arm to divert the ball into the net when attempting to meet Joao Moutinho’s cross with a header. That was clear from the replays but England is the only major European league that has yet to allow referees to defer to a video assistant referee for a second opinion.
With City at least recovering to draw 1-1 — through Aymeric Laporte’s header — City manager Pep Guardiola kept his cool. In public, at least.
“I don’t work for the Premier League,” Guardiola replied when asked if VAR would have made a difference.
While City backed the introduction of VAR, it requires at least 14 of the 20 clubs to approve any changes in the league. And when it came to a decision in April, the majority of clubs determined that further improvements were required after advanced testing this season.
So a VAR at the league’s London control room is likely to have reviewed whether Sergio Aguero or David Silva should have been awarded penalties for City at Wolves. But that information isn’t fed to the referee yet.
The draw leaves City, which won the league in May by 19 points, with seven from a possible nine so far.
Not just three wins, but also three clean sheets as Liverpool chases a first English title since 1990. Investment in the defense and a new goalkeeper is paying off for the 18-time champions.
It’s significant too that manager Juergen Klopp kept hold of last season’s league top scorer, Mohamed Salah. The Egypt forward curled a low shot inside the far post in the 23rd minute against Brighton to take his tally to 29 goals in as many home games. Goalkeeper Alisson made sure of a 1-0 victory when he kept out Pascal Gross’ header.
For the first time in 22 years a manager other than Arsene Wenger has led Arsenal to victory. At his third attempt, Unai Emery has his first win after the Gunners beat West Ham 3-1.
Arsenal had to come from behind in the London derby. The hosts were cut through with ease on the left when Brazilian playmaker Felipe Anderson and Marko Arnautovic exchanged passes before the Austria forward struck from 20 meters (yards) to beat goalkeeper Petr Cech in the 25th minute.
The visitors’ lead lasted five minutes. Left back Nacho Monreal advanced into the West Ham penalty area and was left unmarked to meet Hector Bellerin’s cross and send the ball past former Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Arsenal relied on some good fortune to go in front in the 70th minute when West Ham failed to clear and Aaron Ramsey headed the ball back into the area. It fell to substitute Alexandre Lacazette, whose attempted cross ricocheted off Issa Diop’s chest for an own goal. Substitute Danny Welbeck made it 3-1 in stoppage time, turning and spinning before shooting home.
Mesut Ozil was missing from the Arsenal lineup, which Emery said was the result of a cold rather than a reported argument with the Germany playmaker.
Referees were busy across the league, sending off four players — the most in a single day in the Premier League since 2015, according to statistics company Opta. Two came at Bournemouth, which scored twice in five second-half minutes to claim a 2-2 draw with Everton.
Despite losing Richarlison for headbutting Adam Smith before halftime, Everton went in front after the break through goals from Theo Walcott and Michael Keane.
Bournemouth couldn’t make the most of its man-advantage. Only after the hosts also had a player sent off — Smith — did they mount a fightback. Joshua King’s penalty and Nathan Ake’s tap-in secured the point.
Keane left the field on a stretcher following a collision with teammate Idrissa Gueye and he was taken to a hospital.
From Samara to Southampton. Harry Maguire scored his first goal since England’s World Cup quarterfinal victory over Sweden to give Leicester a 2-1 win at Southampton.
The defender struck in stoppage time after Southampton had been reduced to 10 men. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was sent off for a second bookable offence after he dived in Leicester’s box in the 77th minute. Demarai Gray had already canceled out Ryan Bertrand’s opener for Southampton.
Southampton’s wait for a first win of the season goes on. Huddersfield and Cardiff also remain winless after they drew 0-0.
There are three games on Sunday. Chelsea travels to Newcastle, Watford hosts Crystal Palace and Fulham takes on Burnley. Manchester United plays Tottenham on Monday night.
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