LONDON: Manchester City conceded the outright Premier League league leadership to Arsenal after drawing 3-3 in a magnificent ‘Sportwashing Derby’ at Newcastle.
The footballing favourites of Abu Dhabi took an lead against the Saudi-acquired Magpies through captain Ilkay Gundogan then fell 3-1 behind to strikes from Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson and a second-half Kevin Trippier free kick.
City stormed back with a close-range goal from Erland Haaland and perfectly-worked third from Bernardo Silva. Newcastle then also had a fortunate escape when a red card for Trippier, after a foul on Kevin de Bruyne, was downgraded to yellow on VAR advice.
Almiron and Allain Saint-Maximin were superb for Newcastle, Gundogan, Silva and De Bruyne outstanding for the champions who are now unbeaten in 20 away league games. Since the start of the 2020-21 season, no City player has scored more league goals than Gundogan (23).
The troubles which have upset Chelsea off the pitch appear to be wreaking their effect on it. Thomas Tuchel’s team wrapped up a chaotic weekend with an error-strewn performance which resulted in a 3-0 defeat at unbeaten Leeds.
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy committed the first serious blunder. He failed to control a back pass and Brendan Aaronsen opened the scoring after 33 minutes. Four minutes later Raheem Sterling needlessly conceded a free-kick from which poor marking gifted Rodrigo his fourth goal of term.
Jack Harrison, who provided the free kick, secured Leeds’ first league win over Chelsea in seven attempts since 2000, after Rodrigo returned the assist compliment in the 69th minute. Worse for Chelsea, they ended with 10 men after new central defender Kalidou Koulibaly was sent off six minutes from time for a second yellow card.
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch had the satisfaction of seeing his team out-perform Chelsea in every sector of the pitch, including midfield.
Defeat was nothing more nor less than destiny as far as Chelsea manager Tuchel was concerned. He said: “Everything that can go wrong, did go wrong. It started yesterday. We had no plane for all of us so the players could fly but the coaching staff had a long ride on the bus.
“Then it continued today. We lost the game in the first 20 minutes, where we were clearly better and had huge chances but did not take them. Then we stopped doing what we were doing well and gave away two presents.
“We were clearly the better team but if we give away goals like these, that are totally unnecessary and when we are totally in charge, then we cannot expect to win our matches. They made the maximum of their half-chances and we did not.”
Tuchel still has hanging over him a cloud from his touchline clash the previous week with Antonio Conte after the 2:2 home draw against Tottenham. He has been fined £35,000 by the Football Association but a one-match touchline ban has been lifted pending a possible appeal by Chelsea.
Marsch was thrilled to win his first managerial duel with Tuchel. He said: “I love it here, I love our fans, our club. This business is not easy but I felt like I belonged from day one. The team has to represent the identity of the club and the fan base. They are never out-worked and never out-run.”
West Ham took over from Manchester United at the foot of the table after losing 2-0 at home to Brighton. Both Hammers and United have a -5 goal difference but David Moyes’s team have not scored even one goal, unlike his old club.
Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister (penalty) and Leandro Trossard scored from their only two shots on target. Victory meant they equalled their longest unbeaten run in the top flight at eight games.