The eighth round of the 2015-16 Premier League season was crazy, and that’s no cheap pun.
While this round didn’t match the goal-fest of the previous weekend (41), Round 8 mixed quality, drama, excitement and the element of surprise into a stew on which Premier League fans will feast for the next two weeks.
And that was just the on-field action.
Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat quit early Sunday. Liverpool fired manager Brendan Rodgers a few hours later following the Merseyside derby. Chelsea gave manager Jose Mourinho a (dreaded) vote of confidence Monday — two days after the Blues suffered yet another loss.
The Premier League now is in full swing. The skeptics only need to look at Sergio Aguero as proof. Aguero scored five goals in Manchester City’s 6-1 demolition of Newcastle. Aguero only had scored once in his first seven league games this season, but he stormed back into the Golden Boot race with a Ronaldo/Messi/Lewandowski-esque explosion.
Arsenal also made a statement of intent in its 3-0 win over Manchester United. The Gunners overran Manchester United in the opening 20 minutes. The goal-scoring heroics of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil consigned Manchester United to a rare, heavy defeat at the feet of its rival to the south.
Aguero’s goals helped Manchester City re-take the top spot in the standings. Arsenal overtook Manchester United (on goal difference) with its win in the marquee game of Round 8.
The next two weeks can’t go by fast enough.
Premier League Round 8 results and reaction (home team listed first):
Saturday, Oct. 3
Crystal Palace 2 – 0 West Brom
The Eagles’ convincing win over West Brom and their former manager, Tony Pulis, elevated them into fourth place. Manager Alan Pardew has his team dreaming of one of the European spots, and his eye now could be cast toward a job at a bigger club or even England’s national team in the future.
Aston Villa 0 – 1 Stoke City
Bournemouth 1 – 1 Watford
Manchester City 6 – 1 Newcastle
If only Newcastle had an Aguero of its own. The Magpies are floundering under first-year manager Steve McClaren.
Norwich City 1 – 2 Leicester City
Sunderland 2 – 2 West Ham
West Ham continues to rack up points from its travels. The Hammers’ draw with Sunderland left them just four points behind the league leader. Sunderland is tied on points with rival Newcastle for last place in the 20-team division.
Chelsea 1 – 3 Southampton
Mourinho has guided Chelsea into uncharted territory.
Mourinho conceivably could pay for the Blues’ historically bad start with his job. Such a stunning turn of events would be more surprising than Chelsea’s results and performances, but the Premier League never ceases to amaze.
Sunday, Oct. 4
Everton 1 – 1 Liverpool
Read about what transpired at Goodison Park in our wrap of the 225th Merseyside derby and what it meant for the Reds in our verdict. The Merseyside derby also was Rodgers’ last game in charge, as Liverpool terminated his contract shortly after the game.
Arsenal 3 – 0 Manchester United
Sanchez is back. Arsenal is in the thick of the nascent title race. Manchester United’s week-long euphoria at the top of the standing crashed to an end.
Swansea City 2 – 2 Tottenham
Christian Eriksen is the Premier League’s free kick master.
The Tottenham midfielder scored two free kicks against the Swans to help his team overturn an early deficit and claim a point. Tottenham striker Harry Kane also scored … but his was an own goal.
Thumbnail photo via Jon Super/The Associated Press