A round-up of the action in the Premier League on Saturday.
Brentford shock Manchester City
Brentford striker Ivan Toney struck twice to give his side a shock 2-1 victory over champions Manchester City on Saturday in their final Premier League game before the World Cup break.
Toney who was left out of England’s squad for Qatar, made the most of a bright start by Brentford, breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute when Ben Mee headed back across the box and Toney sent a looping header over Ederson and into the net.
City had a strong shout for a penalty for a handball turned down before they equalised on the stroke of halftime when Kevin De Bruyne’s corner was flicked on and Phil Foden drilled home a superb half-volley for his eighth league goal of the season.
There was a lengthy stoppage just after the break when Aymeric Laporte, who has been named in Spain’s World Cup squad, received treatment after an inadvertent elbow from Ethan Pinnock opened a gash on his forehead.
Foden went close to adding a second in the 71st minute, twisting and sending another half-volley fizzing goalwards, but this time it flew over the bar.
City racked up 29 goalscoring opportunities but only managed six on target as Brentford’s defence suffocated their attack and restricted striker Erling Haaland, the only City starter not headed to Qatar, to a couple of half-chances.
That set the stage for Toney’s winner as Brentford broke forward deep into second-half stoppage time, and the 26-year-old made no mistake as he fired home to secure a stunning victory.
“Obviously (being left out of the England squad was), a disappointment but I know what I’m capable of and I won’t let it put me down, I’ll just keep going and keep doing well for Brentford,” Toney told BT Sport.
“The motivation is the boys in the dressing room and the fans as you can see. When we work hard, this is what we can do,”
City stayed second in the table on 32 points, two behind leaders Arsenal who play Wolverhampton Wanderers later on Saturday. Brentford are 10th on 19 points.
“The best team won, we struggled from the beginning and we couldn’t deal with their long balls. Usually, you press the ball to win it, but this was different. They defended so deep and so well,” City coach Pep Guardiola told the BBC.
“We have done exceptionally in the Champions League and well in the Premier League. We’ll come back and prepare for the second half of the season now,” he added.
Nottingham Forest beat Crystal Palace 1-0
Morgan Gibbs-White grabbed the only goal as Nottingham Forest beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at the City Ground on Saturday to ensure that they won’t spend Christmas at the bottom of the Premier League.
Forest’s third victory of the season in their final game before the World Cup break lifted them off the bottom of the standings to 18th place on 13 points, one ahead of Southampton, who lost 3-1 to Liverpool, and three ahead of Wolverhampton Wanderers, who face leaders Arsenal later on Saturday.
Wilfried Zaha got off to a good start for Palace with some promising raids down the left, but it was Jesse Lingard who came closest to breaking the deadlock early on.
Still searching for his first Premier League goal for Forest, the 29-year-old came steaming in at the far post in the 16th minute but he couldn’t get a touch on a cross-shot from Brennan Johnson and the ball flew wide.
The lively Lingard thought he had won a penalty when he was tripped in the 29th minute by Tyrick Mitchell, but the foul took place just outside the penalty area and only resulted in a free kick and a yellow card for the Palace defender.
Instead, it was Palace who were awarded a spot-kick when Joe Worrall brought down Zaha just before halftime. Zaha took the penalty himself but fired wide.
With neither side managing to get many shots on target, Gibbs-White finally put the ball in the net in the 54th minute after pouncing on the rebound from a Johnson shot, and though the assistant referee initially ruled he was offside, the goal was allowed to stand after a lengthy VAR review.
Lingard could have killed the game off in the 75th minute after a brilliant Forest attack in which Gibbs-White picked out Brennan in the box. However, Lingard hit Brennan’s pass wide of the right-hand post with the goal at his mercy.
Palace left plenty of space for Forest to exploit as they poured forward looking for an equaliser, but the home side hung on for a much-needed win.
Tottenham come back from behind thrice to beat Leeds 4-3
Rodrigo Bentancur’s late double secured a thrilling 4-3 victory for Tottenham Hotspur over Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday, the hosts coming from behind three times.
Antonio Conte’s side appeared to be signing off before the World Cup with a third successive home league defeat as Leeds led 3-2 with less than 10 minutes left, thanks to Rodrigo’s brace.
But Bentancur’s deflected shot made it 3-3 in the 81st minute and two minutes later he was set up by Dejan Kulusevski for a simple finish to leave the visitors empty-handed.
Leeds, who had led early on through the in-form Crysencio Summerville, ended the match with 10 men after Tyler Adams was shown a second yellow card in the closing stages.
Tottenham had levelled initially through Harry Kane’s 12th goal of the season with Ben Davies making it 2-2.
Victory lifted Tottenham into third place with 29 points from 15 games with Leeds on 15 points in 14th place.
Tottenham’s habit of starting slowly returned to haunt them as Summerville’s fourth goal in as many top-flight games put Leeds ahead in the 10th minute.
The Dutch winger was played in by Brenden Aaronson and then struck a low shot past Hugo Lloris.
He almost made it 2-0 but Kane levelled for Tottenham after Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier’s weak punch out arrived at the England captain who made no mistake.
Leeds regained the lead on the stroke of halftime when Rodrigo fired past Lloris following a corner.
Davies made it 2-2 early in the second half, reacting well after Kane’s goalbound effort was blocked by Rasmus Kristensen.
Leeds continued to threaten though and took the lead for the third time when Rodrigo’s shot crept in at the far post with Tottenham appealing for a foul in the build-up.
Tottenham dredged up one final effort, though, and Bentancur proved the hero to secure a victory that consolidates their place in the top four.
Bournemouth trounce Everton 3-0
Bournemouth thumped Everton for the second time this week as goals from Marcus Tavernier, Kieffer Moore and substitute Jaidon Anthony gave them a 3-0 win at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday in their final Premier League game before the World Cup.
The hosts had snapped a run of four straight losses by knocking Everton out of the League Cup with a 4-1 home victory on Tuesday and they outclassed the Merseysiders again, condemning them to a fifth league defeat in seven matches.
Dominic Solanke won an aerial duel with James Tarkowski and lifted a shot goalwards which Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford punched away but could not clear and Tavernier was on hand to poke home from close range in the 18th minute.
Seven minutes later, Pickford parried Philip Billing’s volley and Tavernier nodded the rebound back across goal, where Moore out-muscled Everton defender Vitaliy Mykolenko to power it over the line.
Pickford led Everton’s protests as Tarkowski had gone down with an apparent head injury after a collision with Solanke in the build-up and referee Craig Pawson did not stop play, but the goal stood after a VAR check.
Everton improved after the break and went close through Idrissa Gueye but offered little going forward overall, and ultimately failed to score for the fifth time in their last six league outings.
Bournemouth had given up two-goal leads in their last two league games, losing 4-3 at Leeds United and 3-2 at Tottenham Hotspur, and were relentless in search of a third, with Solanke firing wide twice and Pickford denying Tavernier with a fine save.
They finally added their third when Anthony made an almost instant impact and headed past Pickford from Lewis Cook’s free kick in the 69th minute, two minutes after replacing Moore.
Solanke had a goal disallowed for offside and Billing fired wide in the closing stages as Bournemouth, who had been without a league win since beating Leicester City 2-1 at the start of October, earned their biggest victory of the league campaign.
The result lifted Bournemouth up to 13th on 16 points and piled the pressure on Frank Lampard, with his Everton side hovering one point above the relegation zone in 17th after an alarming slide in form.
Leicester City go to 12th with win over West Ham
Leicester City beat West Ham United 2-0 with goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes on Saturday to complete a hat-trick of away wins in the Premier League and move up to 12th in the standings going into the mid-season break.
Leicester, who lost their first five away games this season, needed just eight minutes to take the lead when a counter-attacking move finished with an unmarked Maddison firing his shot into the roof of the net at the far post.
Leicester’s joy quickly turned to England’s concern as Maddison, who made the World Cup squad two days ago, went down clutching his leg and was immediately substituted, with the 25-year-old walking straight down the tunnel for treatment.
But Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers allayed any fears that the midfielder could miss out on the tournament in Qatar that kicks off on Nov. 20, with England set to play Iran in their group opener a day later.
“He’s fine. It was just precautionary, a little soreness on the side of the knee. He hasn’t trained a lot this week. He’s okay,” Rodgers said.
West Ham’s afternoon nearly went from bad to worse after Craig Dawson’s last-ditch tackle brought down Patson Daka in the box, with the referee awarding a penalty after a VAR check, but goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski saved Youri Tielemans’s spot kick.
The home side pressed and probed for an equaliser in the second half as Declan Rice set the tempo and pulled strings from midfield while Leicester were shoddy in possession, forcing manager Brendan Rodgers to make a triple change.
The decision paid off six minutes later as substitute Ayoze Perez released Barnes with a sublime through-ball on another Leicester counter-attack and the English winger finished with a first-time effort to beat Fabianski.
The result leaves West Ham in 16th place, a point above the relegation zone, after their third straight league defeat and the home fans booed them at the final whistle.
Liverpool sink Southhampton 3-1
Liverpool’s South American strikers Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino propelled the team to a 3-1 home win over Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday in their final match before the season pauses for the World Cup.
The victory took Liverpool into sixth place in the league standings on 22 points after 14 matches although Brighton & Hove Albion can climb back above them when they play Aston Villa on Sunday. Southampton are 19th on 12 points after 15 games.
Firmino, who this week was left out of Brazil’s squad for the World Cup, put Liverpool in front in the sixth minute by glancing an Andy Robertson free-kick into the net.
Moments later Southampton replied with a similar effort, Che Adams rising to head in James Ward-Prowse’s set-piece delivery and score the club’s first goal under new manager Nathan Jones.
Uruguay international Nunez restored Liverpool’s lead in the 21st minute by volleying home a cross from 19-year-old midfielder Harvey Elliot.
The striker, who cost Liverpool a total of 95 million euros ($98.34 million) when he signed from Benfica in June, grabbed his second goal three minutes before halftime, meeting another cross from Robertson from close range.
Nunez was a handful for Southampton all afternoon, causing chaos in the air every time Liverpool sent a ball into the box and linking up well with his teammates, conjuring up an outrageous backheel to play in Firmino although the Brazilian was thwarted by Southampton’s keeper Gavin Bazunu.
The second half lacked the frenetic nature of the first although Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker had to make two good saves to preserve his side’s two-goal cushion while Mohamed Salah spurned a great chance when he robbed possession and raced free into the area only to lose control of the ball.
Liverpool had been in inconsistent form heading into the match, losing to Leeds United and Nottingham Forest but beating Tottenham Hotspur in their last league outing before scraping past Derby County on penalties in the League Cup on Wednesday.
Southampton were playing their first match under Jones, whom the club poached from second-tier Luton Town after sacking Ralph Hasenhuttl following Sunday’s 4-1 home loss to Newcastle United, their eighth league defeat of the season.
The visitors showed some fight in the second half but Jones will have plenty of work to do when the season resumes in late December if he is to steer the team away from the relegation zone.
Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp was serving a one-match touchline ban for getting sent off in the win over Manchester City last month but at full-time he came out on to the pitch to salute the home fans.
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