Premier League: Liverpool survive Chelsea onslaught to extend perfect record; 10-man Arsenal fight back to beat Aston Villa

  • Trent Alexander-Arnold's thunderous strike inspired Liverpool's 2-1 win against Chelsea as the Premier League leaders moved five points clear at the top on Sunday, while Arsenal fought back from a goal down with 10 men to beat Aston Villa

  • Jurgen Klopp's side extended their perfect start to the title race as they became the first club to win their opening six games in consecutive top-flight seasons

  • Ten-man Arsenal twice came from a goal down to claim a much-needed 3-2 win over Aston Villa in dramatic fashion thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's free-kick six minutes from time at the Emirates on Sunday

Trent Alexander-Arnold's thunderous strike inspired Liverpool's 2-1 win against Chelsea as the Premier League leaders moved five points clear at the top on Sunday, while Arsenal fought back from a goal down with 10 men to beat Aston Villa.

 Premier League: Liverpool survive Chelsea onslaught to extend perfect record; 10-man Arsenal fight back to beat Aston Villa

Liverpool's two goalscorers Roberto Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrate after Liverpool's second goal. AFP

Jurgen Klopp's side extended their perfect start to the title race as they became the first club to win their opening six games in consecutive top-flight seasons. Alexander-Arnold's blistering free-kick opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge.

Roberto Firmino increased Liverpool's advantage before the interval and N'Golo Kante's fine goal was not enough to give Chelsea tangible reward for a vibrant second half.

After Manchester City thrashed Watford 8-0 on Saturday, this was the ideal response from Liverpool as they bid to win the title for the first time since 1990.

Pipped to the trophy by City on the final day of last season, Liverpool are playing with a burning desire to end their rivals' two-year reign as champions.

In contrast to the Champions League holders' scrappy midweek defeat at Napoli, this disciplined display showed the Premier League is Liverpool's top priority this term. They are on a club-record run of 15 successive league wins and have lost just once in 45 top-flight matches, going unbeaten in the last 23.

Significantly for their title prospects, Liverpool's success at the Bridge was just their second win in 13 away league games against the other established top-six teams.

Frank Lampard's raw side, 10 points behind the leaders, competed gamely to offer hope of a bright future. However, Chelsea are a work in progress — yet to keep a clean sheet in seven games and without a win in their opening four home games in all competitions.

A frenetic start could have brought a Chelsea opener when Tammy Abraham stretched in a vain attempt to turn in Mason Mount's teasing low cross. Those two Chelsea youngsters have caught the eye at the start of Lampard's reign.

But it was Liverpool who took the lead in the 14th minute thanks their own gifted prodigy. Fabinho's pass broke to Sadio Mane and the Liverpool winger was bundled over on the edge of the penalty area by Andreas Christensen's clumsy challenge.

Mohamed Salah back-heeled the free-kick into the path of Alexander-Arnold and the 20-year-old right-back smashed a sublime shot past Kepa Arrizabalaga into the top corner for his first goal since November 2018.

Abraham has already scored seven Premier League goals, but the striker fluffed his lines when he beat the Liverpool offside trap to meet Christensen's long pass. Clean through on goal, Abraham should have equalised but could only shoot straight at Liverpool keeper Adrian, who saved with his legs.

Chelsea thought they had equalised in the 27th minute when Cesar Azpilicueta prodded home from close range after Willian's cross deflected to the defender off Fabinho. But, in a huge momentum swing, the goal was disallowed after a VAR review showed Mount was offside in the build-up.

Lampard wore a rueful smile on the touchline and, moments later, the Chelsea manager's expression was misery personified as Liverpool doubled their lead in the 30th minute. Andrew Robertson curled over a free-kick from the left edge of the Chelsea area and Firmino, gifted far too much space by Christensen and Marcos Alonso, rose highest to head his third goal of the season.

But Chelsea's effort couldn't be faulted and, having harried Liverpool onto the back foot, they reduced the deficit in the 71st minute. Kante turned away from Fabinho with a graceful glide and, with Liverpool sitting deep, the France midfielder curled a superb strike into the top corner.

Michy Batshuayi was inches away from equalising in the final minutes, but Liverpool held on.

Arsenal fight back

Ten-man Arsenal twice came from a goal down to claim a much-needed 3-2 win over Aston Villa in dramatic fashion thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's free-kick six minutes from time at the Emirates on Sunday.

The Gunners' winless run in the Premier League seemed set to stretch to four games when John McGinn gave Villa the lead and Ainsley Maitland-Niles's sending-off four minutes before half-time gave Unai Emery's men a mountain to climb.

Nicolas Pepe's first Arsenal goal from the penalty spot briefly brought the Gunners level, but Wesley soon restored Villa's lead. Arsenal they showed no little spirit as Calum Chambers looped home an equaliser before Aubameyang took centre stage to rifle home a free-kick from the edge of the area.

 

Maitland-Niles's nightmare afternoon began after barely a minute when he blazed over Arsenal's best chance of the first half. The right-back then dragged down Anwar El Ghazi for an early booking that was to prove costly.

McGinn was a constant threat to the Arsenal defence as the Scottish international twice tested Bernd Leno from outside the box. However, the hosts did not heed those warning shots as McGinn was allowed to ghost in at the far post to turn home El Ghazi's cross on 20 minutes.

Maitland-Niles then naively dived into a sliding challenge with Neil Taylor and saw a second yellow. Emery sacrificed 18-year-old Buyako Saka on his first Premier League start for Chambers to fill the void at right-back.

And the hosts were handed a lifeline just before the hour mark when Matteo Guendouzi was bundled over in the box by Bjorn Engels. Aubameyang stood aside to let Pepe net his first goal since joining Arsenal for a £72 million ($87 million) club-record move from Lille.

But Arsenal's joy did not last long as their leaky defence was breached easily once more. Jack Grealish galloped freely through the midfield before squaring for Wesley to prod in at the near post.

However, Chambers was in the right place nine minutes from time to score his first Arsenal goal since 2016. In a topsy-turvy start to the season, Aubameyang has been the man Arsenal can rely on and he stepped forward again to win the game with his seventh goal of the season by drilling a free-kick he won beyond the unsighted Heaton.

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Updated Date: Sep 22, 2019 23:58:28 IST