EPL UPDATE WEEK 3

Man Utd beat Burnley despite Rashford red and missed Pogba penalty
• Arsenal need late Lacazette strike to see off spirited Cardiff
• Watford shock Spurs to maintain perfect start

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Manchester United recovered from back-to-back defeats to beat Burnley despite Paul Pogba missing a penalty and Marcus Rashford being sent off.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice in the first half as the Red Devils – beaten by Brighton and Tottenham in their previous two Premier League matches – were largely untroubled by their hosts.

Pogba had the chance to stretch United’s lead midway through the second half but his penalty – after Aaron Lennon fouled Rashford – was saved by former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

And two minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Rashford was sent off for leaning into Burnley defender Phil Bardsley with his head.

That made the closing stages unnecessarily tense for Jose Mourinho’s side, but the Clarets were unable to find a way through.

Victory took United up to 10th in the table – level on points with Everton in seventh.
Mixed from United, but solid in defence
United’s first-half performance at Turf Moor was thoroughly professional, but it was a different story in the second 45 minutes.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by discussion of the Red Devils’ stuttering start to the season, and the club’s executive vice-chairman was the target of a banner that flew over the ground before kick-off reading ‘Ed Woodward: A specialist in failure’.

If the United players were aware, they were unaffected during a comfortable first half.

Lukaku looked back to his clinical best when he rose highest to power home Alexis Sanchez’s clipped cross after 27 minutes.
And the Belgian reacted well for his second on the cusp of half-time, slamming the ball home after a series of kind deflections.
But, with the game stretched in the second half, he failed to complete a hat-trick – squandering the best chance after rounding Hart under pressure from Ben Mee.

Rashford, who had won the penalty shortly after coming on, lost his cool in an altercation with Bardsley and was shown the first red card of his career.

More pleasingly for Mourinho, his defence – again changed from the previous match – looked solid, keeping United’s first clean sheet of the season and a 10th in their past 11 visits to Turf Moor.

Burnley’s poor start continues

A second home defeat of the season leaves Burnley 19th in the table with just one point taken from their opening four matches.

They offered little throughout, perhaps affected by their Europa League exit to Olympiakos on Thursday.
Even after going behind, Sean Dyche’s men seemed reluctant to attack United, and teenage winger Dwight McNeil had their only shot on target in the opening 45 minutes.

Dyche attempted to give his side more impetus by bringing on Sam Vokes on 58 minutes, and the Wales striker forced United goalkeeper David de Gea into two good saves.
But the Spaniard as not tested enough and Burnley are now without a league win in nine games, a run stretching back to April.

The international break gives them a chance to regroup, while their exit from the Europa League at least allows them to focus solely on domestic matters.

But Dyche will not be looking forward to January’s return fixture – after eight attempts, he is still yet to beat Mourinho in the Premier League.

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Arsenal secured their first away win of the season as they edged a pulsating Premier League encounter with Cardiff City.
Alexandre Lacazette’s powerful late winner proved the difference in a contest full of attacking quality and defensive fragility.

The Gunners led twice, through Shkodran Mustafi’s header and a curling effort from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, before Lacazette crashed home the winner on 81 minutes.

Victor Camarasa’s first Cardiff goal, on the stroke of half-time, and Danny Ward’s header had seemed as though they would earn Neil Warnock’s side a point as they scored their first goals of the league campaign.

Ozil returns as Emery picks two strikers
Arsenal manager Unai Emery this week denied reports that he had fallen out with midfielder Mesut Ozil after the former Germany international withdrew from the squad that beat West Ham last weekend, citing illness.

There have been suggestions Ozil’s style does not fit with a manager who demands high-energy pressing from his forwards, but Ozil started in an attacking-looking line-up that paired Aubameyang with France striker Lacazette up top.

Ozil and former Cardiff favourite Aaron Ramsey were given licence to roam in behind, and for large periods in the first half, Arsenal’s shape and roving full-backs troubled Cardiff.

Emery’s side took the lead on 11 minutes with a goal that will have left Warnock incredulous as Mustafi headed home, unopposed, from Granit Xhaka’s corner.

But for a wonderful save from Neil Etheridge, who denied Nacho Monreal from point-blank range, the Gunners might have given Cardiff a mountain to climb inside 20 minutes.

However, as always seems to be the way on the road – Arsenal came into this game having lost eight of their past nine away games – the Gunners allowed the hosts a way back in by failing to either extend their advantage or keeping their opponents out.

The first period especially was a game full of attacking intent and flimsy defensive resistance on both sides and Lacazette underlined the danger he posed when he rattled the inside of the post on 33 minutes as Arsenal streamed forward.

Emery’s men almost replicated their opening goal when Mustafi got a firm header to Xhaka’s corner, but this time Etheridge repelled the danger.

Lacazette and Aubameyang struggled to find a rapport at times, but were perfectly in tune just past the hour mark when they combined beautifully to allow Aubameyang to curl home from just outside the area, his 150th goal in one of Europe’s top five leagues.

Cardiff’s quest for a goal is finally fruitful

While Arsenal always catch the eye in attack, the Bluebirds had failed to score in their first three fixtures back in the top flight, extending their run to 1,597 days without a Premier League goal since Peter Whittingham’s penalty on 19 April 2014 against Stoke City.

They probably feared more of the same when they spurned a golden opportunity inside 10 minutes, when midfielder Harry Arter shot over the crossbar despite being presented the ball by Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech. Arter also shot over in first-half stoppage time as Cardiff looked a little bereft of ideas in attack.

Ward was within an inch or so of turning home Bobby Dercordova-Reid’s cross, while the former Bristol City forward also acrobatically volleyed over after Ward failed to find a convincing touch following Junior Hoilett’s cross.

It seemed it was going to be yet another frustrating half for Cardiff, but Arsenal allowed more shots on target to the opposition in their first three games (24) than any other Premier League side and on the stroke of half-time, they let the hosts in.

The Gunners failed to deal with Joe Bennett’s cross and summer signing Camarasa stole in between Mustafi and Monreal, twisting away from the latter and rifling the ball past Cech into the roof of the net.

The Bluebirds barely created even a half-chance in the second period with Arsenal again seizing the advantage, but they found a goal from nothing with 20 minutes remaining when Sean Morrison flicked on a free-kick and Ward crashed home a header off the inside of the post.

It set up a grandstand finish where both sides pushed to win the match, with Reid bursting clear and firing straight at Cech, before Lacazette’s stunning finish ensured all three points would head back to north London when he escaped Sol Bamba’s slack marking and thundered the ball in at the near post.

Morrison’s late header over the bar with Cech completely stranded almost provided even further drama, but Arsenal held on.

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Watford maintained their perfect start to the Premier League season as they came from behind to shock Tottenham at Vicarage Road.

Both sides began the match with 100% records but Craig Cathcart’s second-half header edged a tight encounter.
Captain Troy Deeney had drawn his side level seven minutes earlier, cancelling out Spurs’ fortuitous opener as Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure bundled into his own net.

And Watford held on to win their opening four games of a league campaign for the first time in 30 years and join Liverpool and Chelsea on maximum points at the top of the table.

In a first half of limited chances, England midfielder Dele Alli had the earliest opportunity for either side with a looping header that only momentarily concerned the back-pedalling Ben Foster, before Deeney headed over for the Hornets from Daryl Janmaat’s inviting cross during a particularly quiet opening 20 minutes.

Harry Kane in particular cut a frustrated figure for Spurs and it took until first-half stoppage time for either side to manage a shot on target – Deeney’s weak long-range effort collected by Michel Vorm, stand-in for injured Spurs captain Hugo Lloris.
But the visitors found themselves ahead soon after the break, as Doucoure turned into his own net after Watford had failed to clear their lines.

Deeney led the charge as the Hornets looked to respond and saw his cross diverted on to the crossbar by Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld moments before levelling from the resulting corner.

And it was another set-piece that allowed the Hornets to turn the game around on 76 minutes as defender Cathcart nestled a powerful header into the top corner of Vorm’s goal to ensure Watford’s best ever start to a Premier League season continues.

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