·23 September 2023
·23 September 2023
Rodri spoils win with crucial moment of madness Manchester City won a game everyone expected them to win, but Rodri has done Pep Guardiola no favours by receiving a straight red card after a moment of madness.
Two-up up and cruising against Nottingham Forest, Rodri decided to grab Morgan Gibbs-White by the throat, receiving a straight card for what is called violent conduct. Violent conduct results in a three-match ban. Who do City have in their next three domestic games? Newcastle United away in the Carabao Cup, then Wolves and Arsenal away in the Premier League.
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Newcastle was always going to be tricky and without Rodri, it has become a whole lot trickier. Wolves away, we will all expect them to be fine. But Arsenal at the Emirates? Oof. Talk about a boost for the Gunners.
Ten against 11, you would fancy City to beat nearly every team in the Premier League at home. Forest have started the season well but you would definitely expect them to be one of those sides. However, Saturday’s game post-red card was very interesting.
It was roles reversed, with City holding on to their lead as Forest piled on the pressure. The 10 v 11 logic apparently goes out of the window if the absent player for the champions is Rodri, who we all know runs the show every week, to be fair.
Ignoring the potential quadruple-ender at St James’ Park, Arsenal might have had the best result on Saturday without touching grass.
You cannot call an October match a title decider, but it will definitely tell us a lot about the title race. Arsenal lost both games against City last season and ended up losing the Premier League title by five points. October or April, it is still each side’s second-biggest Premier League game of the season. The first being the return fixture.
Don’t mess this up, Mikel. You have been given the golden ticket.
Luton show promising signs but if they can’t win games like these… Wolves did everything in their power to hand Luton Town their first point of the season. It should have been more, though.
A first-half red card to Jean-Ricner Bellegarde was the first thing Gary O’Neil’s players did to give Luton the upper hand. A potentially fatal moment of miscommunication between defender Craig Dawson and goalkeeper Jose Sa almost allowing a tap-in was another moment to give the Hatters some belief. Thankfully for the visitors, Max Kilman was there to clean up his teammates’ mess.
They just couldn’t get that first win of the season, though. At least they got something out of the game and will not break the unwanted record of most losses to start a Premier League season. There is always that. You know, the bare minimum.
Pedro Neto continued his impressive start to the season with a tidy goal to open the scoring. Even with Luton’s dominance, you felt like it just wasn’t their day.
And it wasn’t until Joao Gomes conceded a penalty for a debatable handball. Carlton Morris converted the spot-kick to cancel out Neto’s opener.
The Hatters would continue putting the pressure on Wolves as they pushed for their first win – and lead – of 2023/24. Chiedozie Ogbene thought he had done it with an 89th-minute strike, but he was offside.
It clearly was not to be for Rob Edwards and his players, though the Luton manager will be very happy with what he saw from his side, even if they should’ve got more than a draw, which is the problem from the outside looking in.
If you managed to see the match at Kenilworth Road, you will be scratching your head wondering how the hell Luton did not win, and you will be wondering where that first win is going to come from.
While the prospect of Luton being unable to win a match all season gets more realistic by the day, there is definitely a lot to be worried about at Molineux.
Neto has been excellent so far but there is only so much one man can do. Sa is another player who is going to be huge and if he can avoid brainfarts like the one he had trying to distribute the ball against Liverpool last week, he will get points on the board on his own.
Judging by the start of the season, we might be seeing both of these teams in the Championship this time next year.
Johnstone frustrates Fulham to highlight folly of Palace move for Henderson One of those games that makes you thankful for the black-out. Those who did watch it at Selhurst Park have already forgotten it…
Sam Johnstone, though, enjoyed an afternoon to remember while keeping his first clean sheet since the opening day of the season. The England goalkeeper was man of the match, standing out in a sparse field by making five saves to deny Fulham a win they might reasonably claim to have deserved.
This was an extension of Johnstone’s form since becoming Palace No.1. Which makes you wonder why the Eagles spent a decent chunk of their summer budget on another goalkeeper lower in the England pecking order than the one already on their books.
It felt an odd decision on Palace’s part and Dean Henderson’s too, perhaps a measure of the desperation on the player’s part to get away from Manchester United late in the window. Amid the debate over dual No.1s at Arsenal, Roy Hodgson finds himself in a similar predicament, but the Palace boss is all about the hierarchy. Henderson and Aaron Ramsdale, two keepers tipped as future England no.1s, could find themselves on serving and sitting duty long term, allowing Johnstone a run at Ramsdale’s status as first reserve for the Three Lions.
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