Socceroo cheered off despite own goal debut, Dyche delight as Arsenal lose to Everton, Liverpool lose again
Another topsy-turvy afternoon in the Premier League saw basement-dwellers Everton record a stunning win over league leaders Arsenal, Socceroo Harry Souttar score an own goal on debut for Leicester – but still win – and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp apologise to fans after a seventh defeat of the season.
World Cup hero Souttar got his Premier League career off to the worst possible start, putting through his own net in the first half of the Foxes’ Midlands derby with Aston Villa. His own goal made it 2-1 to the Birmingham side, but Leicester recovered to win 4-2.
In the headline clash of the day, Everton hosted Arsenal with new manager Sean Dyche taking charge for the first time on Merseyside.
Mikel Arteta’s table-toppers paid the price as Dyche immediately made his presence felt, with one of his former Burley stalwarts, defender James Tarkowski, heading in to seal a shock 1-0 win.
There was no such joy for neighbours Liverpool as they slumped again to a 3-0 loss at Wolverhampton, and Jurgen Klopp’s troubles deepened.
Victory for Everton was their first in any competition since October – a drought that led to the sacking of manager Frank Lampard last month and the appointment of Dyche in a desperate bid to avoid relegation.
Dyche led unfashionable Burnley into the league in 2016 and repeatedly upset the odds in his near-decade years there. In that sense, it was business as usual against an Arsenal team looking to open an eight-point gap on second-placed Manchester City.
Dyche was back in his element as he barked orders and Goodison Park celebrated a win that could have significance at both ends of the table.
“It’s a starting point,” he said. That one (win) doesn’t guarantee the next one. The way they have taken ownership and pride in what we have tried to do this week, I value that.”
Arsenal lost for only the second time in the league and will see their lead cut to two points if City beat Tottenham on Sunday, though the London club have a game in hand.
The result also gave hope to Manchester United and Newcastle that they could yet challenge for the title.
United beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at Old Trafford and are now eight points behind the leaders having played a game more.
Newcastle failed to take full advantage of Arsenal’s loss when held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham.
Liverpool’s season is unravelling after a seventh league loss made a bid for Champions League qualification look increasingly unlikely.
“We better change it. That’s true, 100 per cent” said manager Jurgen Klopp. “I have no words for it really, I’m sorry.”
United have seen the heart of their team torn apart after Casemiro was sent off just days after Christian Eriksen was ruled out for most of the rest of the season through injury.
Erik ten Hag’s rebuild, which has seen United reach the final of the League Cup and a league title challenge reignited, has been heavily reliant on his overhaul in midfield.
But Casemiro will be suspended for three games after being sent off for violent conduct when putting his hands around the neck of Palace midfielder Will Hughes.
Newcastle conceded in the league for the first time since November, and it proved costly in their draw with relegation-threatened West Ham as they dropped to fourth, two points behind United.
Callum Wilson scored after three minutes for Newcastle but Lucas Paqueta evened the score in the 32nd.
Elsewhere, it was another difficult day for fellow strugglers Southampton, who lost at Brentford 3-0 and Kaoru Mitoma might be Brighton’s latest star find as the Seagulls star continued to shine.
The Japan international stunned Liverpool last weekend with a goal in added time to send the holder out of the FA Cup. On Saturday, his 87th-minute header sealed a 1-0 league win against Bournemouth.
Brighton has been impressive in spotting and developing talent. Marc Cucurella was sold to Chelsea for around $A104 million last summer, and Moises Caicedo could command an even bigger fee at the end of this season.