Category Archives: 2017-2018

Iconic Moments: Record-breaking Harry (December 2017)

2017-2018 was a record-breaking season for Harry Kane. Although he would ultimately miss out on a third consecutive Golden Boot to Liverpool FC’s Mohamed Salah, Kane reached the landmark of 30 league goals in a season for the first time.

He also became Tottenham Hotspur’s leading all-time Premier League goalscorer, surpassing Teddy Sheringham’s total in January 2018 and a month later, his stoppage-time penalty to earn a point at Anfield saw Kane enter the 100 Club for Premier League goals. He looks like the most serious challenger to Alan Shearer’s all-time leading total of 260.

His biggest achievement though was breaking one of Shearer’s long-standing records. In Tottenham’s final league match of 2017, Kane scored a hat-trick in Spurs 5-2 Boxing Day thumping of struggling Southampton. His header to open the scoring in the 22nd minute was a piece of Premier League history. It was Kane’s 37th league goal of the calendar year, surpassing Shearer’s tally of 36 which he achieved in 1995 when he was at Blackburn Rovers.

Kane also took his tally for the year to 56 for Tottenham and England, achieving a higher goal total than Lionel Messi. There was no silverware in 2017 but it was an amazing year for Kane who ended the season as Three Lions captain, guiding England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

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Shock Results: Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich Albion (November 2017)

Goalscorers: Salomon Rondon 4, Harry Kane 74

Teams:

Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Ben Davies, Kieran Trippier, Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen (Fernando Llorente 60), Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Harry Winks (Mousa Dembele 61), Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son

West Bromwich Albion: Ben Foster, Kieran Gibbs, Jonny Evans, Ahmed Hegazi, Allan Nyom, Gareth Barry (Claudio Yacob 79), Jake Livermore, Sam Field (James McClean 67), Matt Phillips, Jay Rodriguez (Hal Robson-Kanu 67), Salomon Rondon

Referee: Mike Jones, Attendance: 65,905

11 games without a win in the Premier League, West Bromwich Albion took the bold step to part ways with survival specialist Tony Pulis. Pulis departed with the club just hovering outside the relegation zone. In caretaker charge ahead of a trip to Wembley Stadium was Gary Megson, who was taking charge of his first Premier League match since being sacked as Bolton manager in December 2009.

West Brom were visiting a Tottenham side that were flying in the UEFA Champions League but had won just one of their last three league matches and had been thoroughly outplayed and beaten in the North London Derby a week earlier.

Megson didn’t tinker much from Pulis’ last team selection, only dropping Grzegorz Krychowiak and Gareth McAuley from the side that lost 4-0 to Chelsea a week earlier. Sam Field and Allan Nyom came into the starting XI. However, it was a former Tottenham player who made a big early contribution for the visitors.

Just four minutes had been played when ex-Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore won possession in the middle of the park and played through Salomon Rondon. Rondon showed greater strength than Davinson Sanchez, nudging him off a bit too easily and then, he showed great calmness to roll the ball beyond Hugo Lloris. West Brom had a shock lead after just four minutes.

Apart from a 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool FC, Tottenham’s league performances at Wembley had been scratchy. Chelsea had won there, Swansea City and Burnley leaving with draws and West Brom’s defensive effort ensured this would be another frustrating afternoon on their temporary home soil for Mauricio Pochettino. The Londoners enjoyed 73% of possession but they failed to create much in the way of clear-cut opportunities.

Kieran Trippier was causing danger down the right flank but his balls into the box were not finding Harry Kane. West Brom skipper Jonny Evans and his centre-back partner, Ahmed Hegazi were enjoying a great day, keeping Kane and Heung-Min Son relatively quiet. In the second half, Pochettino was forced to change tactic. He took off Jan Vertonghen and Harry Winks, throwing on Mousa Dembele and an extra forward too in the form of Fernando Llorente.

Despite their constant pressure throughout, it looked like Tottenham might not find a way through until the 74th minute. Dele Alli produced the best ball of the match and Kane finally managed to escape the attentions of Evans to scoop a shot underneath Ben Foster’s legs. It was his 47th goal for club and country in 2017.

Despite having just six touches in the opposition box all game, West Brom held on for an unlikely but gritty point. However, although they beat Spurs at The Hawthorns in May, they would be relegated. Tottenham finished in the top three for a third successive season.

Memorable Matches: Chelsea 4-2 Watford (October 2017)

Goalscorers: Pedro 12, Abdoulaye Doucoure 45, Roberto Pereyra 49, Michy Batshuayi 71, 90, Cesar Azpilicueta 87

Teams:

Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso (Willian 68), Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas, Eden Hazard, Pedro (Davide Zappacosta 86), Alvaro Morata (Michy Batshuayi 61)

Watford: Heurelho Gomes, Miguel Britos, Christian Kabasele, Adrian Mariappa (Andre Gray 90), Kiko Femenia, Jose Holebas, Tom Cleverley, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Roberto Pereyra (Andre Carrillo 65), Richarlison, Troy Deeney (Ben Watson 80)

Referee: Jon Moss, Attendance: 41,467

By mid-October 2017, defending champions Chelsea were already off the pace being set by league leaders Manchester City. Antonio Conte’s men were nine points adrift and went into this match against Watford below their opponents in the table. Marco Silva’s side had just beaten Arsenal a week earlier and arrived at Stamford Bridge in confident mood. They were unbeaten on their travels, with 10 points collected from four away games. If it hadn’t been for a couple of vital substitutions and wasteful finishing, they could well have added to their total in an end-to-end contest.

Having lost their last two league matches to Manchester City and Crystal Palace, the pressure was on Chelsea to revive their fortunes and they made a brilliant start. Pedro opened the scoring after just 12 minutes, bending in a magnificent strike from 25-yards out that struck the post on its way past the helpless Heurelho Gomes. However, the defensive backline which had been so strong in their title-winning season was being opened up much easier in this campaign.

Right on the stroke of half-time, Watford equalised. Abdoulaye Doucoure smashed a shot into the back of the net after David Luiz failed to get enough distance on his clearing header from a long throw-in. It kept Doucoure’s impressive record up of 100% accuracy from shots on-target. His four shots on-target had registered four goals so far in the season for the impressive midfielder.

Another of Watford’s early season stars had been the Brazilian, Richarlison. However, he was guilty of two costly misses in the early moments of the second half. First, he inexplicably missed an open goal from six-yards out after Kiko Femenia had provided the perfect delivery into the box. Richarlison did make amends just over a minute later, when he picked out an unmarked Roberto Pereyra who guided the ball past Thibaut Courtois to give the Hertfordshire-based side a richly deserved lead. However, they should have put the game beyond the home side and again, it was Richarlison who missed another golden chance. He headed wide unmarked after a fine ball from Miguel Britos.

Conte sensed the momentum was with Watford, so threw on Michy Batshuayi and it was a substitution that paid off. With 19 minutes left, Watford’s centre-backs left him completely unmarked to place a looping header into the net from Eden Hazard’s delivery on the right-hand side. Silva then elected to take off his skipper Troy Deeney with 10 minutes remaining and brought on another central midfielder in Ben Watson in an attempt to shut down Chelsea’s threat. This gamble backfired.

With three minutes left, Cesar Azpilicueta arrived unmarked at the back post to nod a header past Gomes. With almost the last kick of the game, Britos was caught in possession by Tiemoue Bakayoko. His interception found Batshuayi who held off the attentions of Christian Kabasele and scored again to close down the match. Chelsea had shown the resilience of champions but Watford did get their revenge, recording a brilliant 4-1 home victory over the Blues in February 2018.

Great Goals: Wayne Rooney – EVERTON vs. West Ham United (November 2017)

Wayne Rooney finished the 2017-2018 Premier League season as Everton’s top goalscorer. It would turn out to be his only season back with his boyhood club. Unloved by Sam Allardyce, Rooney elected to move on in the summer of 2018 after not receiving assurances over his first-team future by new boss, Marco Silva.

However, he did leave a lasting legacy on the campaign with this astonishing goal at home to West Ham United. It was the final match of David Unsworth’s difficult reign in interim charge but he finished in style, as Everton won 4-0. Rooney scored three of the goals. The strike to complete his hat-trick was a reminder of his world-class abilities at the peak of his powers.

West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart came rushing out of his goal to clear a long ball from the Everton defence. His clearance wasn’t the greatest but Rooney still had so much to do. From well inside his own half, Rooney’s first-time shot flew straight into the back of the empty net, capping a brilliant display with his first-ever hat-trick for Everton.

Hart was dropped by David Moyes after this display. Rooney would score just once more infront of his home supporters before moving to the MLS for a fresh start with DC United.

Iconic Moments: Guardiola’s greats achieve a new winning mark (December 2017)

When Raheem Sterling scored a dramatic late winner away at AFC Bournemouth in August 2017, followed by a controversial red card, few could have predicted the perfection Manchester City were about to hit. They were about to embark on a record-breaking winning run in the history of the Premier League.

The signs of total ruthlessness were shown in September when Liverpool FC, Watford, Crystal Palace and reigning champions Chelsea were all beaten by a total aggregate score of 17-0. Stoke City shipped seven goals after the October international break and the winning sequence went on and on. Burnley, West Bromwich Albion, Arsenal and Leicester City posed little threat before three successive narrow 2-1 victories in the space of seven days.

Sterling was the late hero again in two of these wins over Huddersfield Town and Southampton, whilst it was David Silva who scored the decisive goal in the narrow home triumph against West Ham United. After defeating Manchester United 2-1 in the Manchester Derby, it was Silva who ensured they broke the record away at Swansea City.

In a routine 4-0 away victory, Silva was in sensational form, scoring twice and setting up another. It was their 15th successive Premier League victory, surpassing the record achieved by Arsenal between February and August in 2002. Only Everton had stopped the Citizens from winning at this stage of the campaign.

The final mark was 18 when Crystal Palace held them to a goalless draw at Selhurst Park on New Years’ Eve. However, this is likely to be a mark that is unlikely to be beaten for many years to come.

Great Goals: Ashley Barnes – West Bromwich Albion vs. BURNLEY (March 2018)

Ashley Barnes enjoyed the season of his life in 2017-2018. His performances for Burnley were not only integral to their fabulous seventh-place finish in the table but they also saw him close in on winning an international cap for the first time from Austria.

He stunned The Hawthorns with an acrobatic effort in Burnley’s 2-1 victory in March 2018. It was his fourth goal in four matches and it came after 22 minutes. Barnes leapt highest to meet a cross into the box from Aaron Lennon. It was just behind him but he improvised marvellously, with a bicycle kick that zipped into the back of Ben Foster’s net.

Burnley’s victory spelt the end for Alan Pardew as West Bromwich Albion manager and their third consecutive victory was another stepping stone in a season that would eventually end with Sean Dyche’s side qualifying for the UEFA Europa League.

Premier League Rewind: 28th-30th October 2017

Results: Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal 2-1 Swansea City, Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham United, Liverpool FC 3-0 Huddersfield Town, Watford 0-1 Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Manchester City, AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea, Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Southampton, Leicester City 2-0 Everton, Burnley 1-0 Newcastle United

The showdown clash of the final weekend of October was the meeting between second and third in the Premier League table. Deadlocked on 20 points apiece, only goal difference was separating Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur ahead of their meeting at Old Trafford. Tottenham had recorded four straight wins, scoring 12 goals in the process, whilst Manchester United hadn’t conceded a goal on home soil yet in their first four home matches.

Something had to give and in the end, it was Spurs’ winning run that was halted by a substitute. Anthony Martial had been marginalised for the bulk of the season so far by Jose Mourinho but the Frenchman seemed to have a knack for coming off the bench to score crucial goals. He did it again with nine minutes left, sharpest to react to Romelu Lukaku’s flick-on and managed to defeat his French counterpart Hugo Lloris. Tottenham were missing the injured Harry Kane and fell to a fourth consecutive defeat in the Premier League at The Theatre of Dreams.

The win for Mourinho’s men closed the gap on Manchester City at the top of the table to two points but before the Saturday was over, that advantage had stretched again back to the five-point cushion City enjoyed at the start of the day. Goals from Leroy Sane, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling helped Pep Guardiola’s side win 3-2 at The Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. It was City’s eighth successive Premier League victory and in the process, ensured it was an eighth straight match without a victory for the Baggies.

There was a first-ever managerial meeting at Anfield between old pals Jurgen Klopp and David Wagner. Wagner had been on Klopp’s coaching staff during his title-winning days as a manager with Borussia Dortmund and they also played together in the 1990s for 1. FSV Mainz 05. On this occasion, Klopp’s Liverpool were simply too powerful for Wagner’s Huddersfield side. Despite Mohamed Salah missing a penalty in the first half, Liverpool ran away with the contest in the second half to wind up 3-0 winners. Daniel Sturridge scored his 100th career goal in this match. It was his final league goal for the Reds in the season before a loan move to West Bromwich Albion in the January transfer window.

On a weekend of goalscoring milestones, there was a 50th Arsenal goal for Aaron Ramsey in Arsenal’s comeback victory over Swansea City at The Emirates Stadium. Trailing at half-time to Sam Clucas’ goal, strikes from Sead Kolasinac and Ramsey protected the Gunners’ unbeaten home record in the 2017-2018 season. Watford dropped to eighth after a surprising 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City. Summer signing Darren Fletcher scored his first goal as a Stoke player in the 14th minute to settle the contest. The win took the Potters into 14th place and relieved some of the pressure off Mark Hughes for now at least.

There was no change to the bottom three from the start of the weekend. Crystal Palace remained at the foot of the table but did recover from 2-0 down at half-time to rescue a late draw with West Ham United. Second-bottom AFC Bournemouth lost 1-0 at home to Chelsea whilst first half goals from Jamie Vardy and Demarai Gray for Leicester City piled the misery onto Everton supporters. Leicester’s 2-0 win was an ideal start for their new manager Claude Puel and a chastening experience for the Everton interim boss, David Unsworth.

What else happened in October 2017?

  • The deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in American history takes place in Las Vegas. Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd in Las Vegas, injuring 851 people and killing 58.
  • Monarch Airlines, the UK’s fifth biggest airline collapses and is placed into administration, costing 3,500 people their jobs.
  • The England Under-17 football team beat Spain 5-2 in the final to win the FIFA Under-17 World Cup.
  • Catalonia declares independence from Spain following a controversial referendum. However, the Catalan Republic is not recognised by the Spanish government or any other sovereign nation.
  • Lewis Hamilton becomes the most successful British driver in Formula One history, as he claimed his fourth world championship with a ninth-place finish in the Mexican Grand Prix.
  • UNESCO suffers a blow as both Israel and the United States announce their decision to withdraw from the organisation.
  • Round £1 coins, first used in 1983, cease to be a legal tender in the UK. They were replaced by a 12-sided version.

Memorable Matches: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City (August 2017)

Goalscorers: Alexandre Lacazette 2, Shinji Okazaki 5, Jamie Vardy 29, 56, Danny Welbeck 45, Aaron Ramsey 83, Olivier Giroud 85

Teams:

Arsenal: Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding (Olivier Giroud 67), Nacho Monreal, Sead Kolasinac, Mohamed Elneny (Aaron Ramsey 67), Granit Xhaka, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck (Theo Walcott 75)

Leicester City: Kasper Schmeichel, Christian Fuchs, Harry Maguire, Wes Morgan, Danny Simpson, Matty James (Kelechi Iheanacho 82), Wilfred Ndidi, Marc Albrighton (Demarai Gray 88), Riyad Mahrez, Shinji Okazaki (Daniel Amartey 72), Jamie Vardy

Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 59,387

The first match of the 2017-2018 Premier League season was held on a Friday night for the first time in the competition’s history and it was a battle between two of the league’s six previous champions. Three-time winners Arsenal welcomed 2016 champions Leicester City to The Emirates Stadium and it proved to be a blockbuster start to the new campaign.

Just 94 seconds were played before Arsenal went into the lead. Leicester skipper Wes Morgan misjudged the flight of a cross by Mohamed Elneny and Alexandre Lacazette guided his header into the bottom corner of Kasper Schmeichel’s net. Lacazette was the new club-record signing and became just the seventh player to score on his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

The lead didn’t last long though. Just three minutes later, the Foxes were level. Harry Maguire won a header at the back post and with Petr Cech caught in no-man’s land, Shinji Okazaki headed into an unguarded net to bring the visitors level. Leicester were showing signs of the devastating counter-attacking displays that took them to their shock title triumph two seasons earlier and took the lead just on 29 minutes. Marc Albrighton delivered a vicious diagonal ball across the face of the Arsenal goal and Jamie Vardy arrived to dispatch the ball past Cech.

It was a pulsating first half and just before Craig Shakespeare could get his team into the dressing room to praise them for coming from behind after such an early blow, Arsenal pegged them back. Debutant Sead Kolasinac cut the ball back for Danny Welbeck to finish. The action continued into the second half. Vardy grabbed his second of the evening, showing more demand in an aerial challenge with Nacho Monreal to guide Riyad Mahrez’s corner into the net. Whilst the shooting was superb, some of the defending from both teams was dreadful. However, this made the game a classic.

With the fans starting to show their frustration, Arsene Wenger turned to his bench to revive his side’s fortunes, bringing on both Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud. The substitutions had the desired impact. With seven minutes remaining, Ramsey levelled the scores although Leicester were furious that referee Mike Dean missed a clear handball from Mesut Ozil in the build-up to the goal.

Moments later, Giroud rose highest to meet Granit Xhaka’s corner and his header crept across the goal-line. It was enough to win the match for Arsenal and as they had 27 shots on-goal and 70% possession, they just about shaded the contest. However, it was a thrilling start to the season and a tough act to follow for the other 379 matches in the 2017-2018 campaign.

Great Goals: Jamie Vardy – West Bromwich Albion vs. LEICESTER CITY (March 2018)

Jamie Vardy has a happy habit for finding the back of the net on his trips to The Hawthorns. In four Premier League visits to West Bromwich Albion’s ground, Vardy has scored on every single visit there – three of them turning out to be decisive winning goals too.

However, this one was his best against the Baggies in March 2018 and the technique used saw it voted by BBC pundits as the Match of the Day Goal of the Season for the 2017-2018 campaign. West Brom were 1-0 ahead when Vardy rekindled the telepathic understanding he and Riyad Mahrez enjoyed for several seasons.

Mahrez produced a long pass and Vardy made the run behind Craig Dawson. Knowing where the goal was, Vardy watched the dipping ball fall out of the sky and with a first-time shot on the volley, drove the ball beyond Ben Foster. Leicester would go on to win the game 4-1 and drive West Brom closer to relegation.

The pass, the vision, the skill and the shot were all first-class and that is why Vardy is one of the best English strikers of recent times in the Premier League.

Iconic Moments: Koeman axed by Everton (October 2017)

After a seventh-place finish in his first season in the hotseat at Goodison Park, expectations were high at Everton for Ronald Koeman to mount a serious challenge for a top-four finish in pre-season. By the end of October, his managerial reputation looked destroyed and his club management career was over – for the time being at least.

Everton were forced to sell star striker Romelu Lukaku in the summer of 2017 after the Belgian marksman turned down a new contract. They cashed in on Lukaku and earned £75 million from Manchester United with Wayne Rooney making an emotional return to his boyhood club as part of the deal. However, it became clear that Rooney was a signing for the fans and not really a player Koeman wanted.

There were other big arrivals for hefty sums of money, including Icelandic international Glyfi Sigurdsson, future England no.1 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and centre-back Michael Keane from Burnley. However, Lukaku wasn’t replaced and that was a costly decision. Koeman even had to swallow his pride and bring back Oumar Niasse from the doldrums. He did give the Dutchman a priceless victory with two goals off the bench against AFC Bournemouth in September but by then, Koeman was already in big trouble.

Heavy back-to-back defeats to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, coupled with a humiliating display in a UEFA Europa League group stage game in Atalanta put Koeman on the backfoot. Another European defeat at home to Lyon which saw an ugly brawl started by Ashley Williams put him on the verge of the sack when Arsenal visited Merseyside on Sunday 22nd October.

Rooney did give Everton the lead but Arsenal’s dominance in the game was so one-sided. Idrissa Gueye was sent off and only a brilliant display from Pickford stopped the scoreline creeping towards double figures. When Alexis Sanchez scored his first Premier League goal of the season to make the scoreline 5-2, the look on Everton chairman Bill Kenwright’s face said it all. Everton finished the evening in the bottom three. Koeman was sacked a day later. He has since become the manager of the Netherlands international team.

The hunt for his successor became messy and eventually, they sacrificed all principles and turned to Sam Allardyce just to steer them away from relegation danger after David Unsworth’s character-building month as interim boss. Allardyce did what was required and guided Everton to comfortable safety with an eighth-place finish but the fans never took to his style of football and he was sacked at the end of the season, replaced by the manager the Everton board always wanted as Koeman’s ultimate successor, Marco Silva.

The 2017-2018 season was a scrappy one for everyone connected with Everton Football Club.

Shock Results: Chelsea 2-3 Burnley (August 2017)

Goalscorers: Sam Vokes 24, 43, Stephen Ward 39, Alvaro Morata 69, David Luiz 88

Teams:

Chelsea: Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso, Gary Cahill (SENT OFF), David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Cesc Fabregas (SENT OFF), Jerome Boga (Andreas Christensen 18), (Charly Musonda 90), Willian, Michy Batshuayi (Alvaro Morata 59)

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Ben Mee, Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Stephen Ward, Jack Cork, Steven Defour (Jon Walters 75), Jeff Hendrick, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Robbie Brady, Sam Vokes

Referee: Craig Pawson, Attendance: 41,616

Reigning champions Chelsea were once again expected to be among the frontrunners for the Premier League title in 2017-2018. On the opening weekend of the season, Antonio Conte’s side faced Burnley, who were starting their fourth Premier League campaign. On their three previous visits to Stamford Bridge, the Clarets had conceded seven goals. So, they were considered major outsiders.

However, the champions imploded in a spectacular first 45 minutes which was to be the story of their season. The first sign of trouble for the hosts came after just 14 minutes when referee Craig Pawson dished out a straight red card to Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill. Cahill, who had taken on the role on a full-time basis following John Terry’s summer departure, made a lunging two-footed tackle on Burnley midfielder Steven Defour. It was classed as dangerous play by Pawson and Cahill could have few complaints. This meant Jerome Boga’s shock debut was over too, sacrificed to make way for defensive centre-back Andreas Christensen.

Nine minutes later, Burnley fully capitalised on the extra man advantage as Sam Vokes fired the visitors ahead with a volley beyond Thibaut Courtois. It would get worse for a stunned home faithful. Six minutes before half-time, Burnley put together a brilliant team move which led to their second goal. It was left-back Stephen Ward who finished the move off, firing an angled drive beyond Courtois’ despairing dive. Incredibly, it was 3-0 just four minutes later. A flying header from Vokes continued his red-hot streak and put Burnley fans into dreamland. The Welshman had now scored seven goals in his last six Premier League matches dating back to the end of the previous season. The scoreline was even more spectacular considering Burnley had won just one away match in the whole of the previous campaign and that had been at the end of April at Crystal Palace.

Conte looked a pale shadow of the energetic character Chelsea fans had seen on the touchline during his debut Premier League season and he urgently needed a reaction from his misfiring players in the second half. The belated arrival of Alvaro Morata in the 59th minute was the galvanising factor in their second half improvement. 10 minutes after his arrival, the Spaniard, who had joined from Real Madrid, had his first goal for his new employers, heading home from close-range.

Any hopes of Chelsea salvaging something from the contest were as good as over when Cesc Fabregas added to Conte’s headaches. Booked needlessly for dissent in the first half, the Spaniard’s clumsy challenge on Jack Cork with nine minutes left to play saw him heading for an early shower and reduced Chelsea to nine men.

David Luiz did pull another goal back just before stoppage-time but it was too little, too late. Burnley held on for a famous victory. Sean Dyche’s side were one of the success stories of the season and will be playing in UEFA Europa League qualifying later this week as a reward for their seventh-place finish. Chelsea’s fifth-place league result was very disappointing and Conte was sacked in July 2018.

Premier League Rewind: 15th-17th September 2017

Results: AFC Bournemouth 2-1 Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace 0-1 Southampton, Huddersfield Town 1-1 Leicester City, Liverpool FC 1-1 Burnley, Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City, Watford 0-6 Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion 0-0 West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City, Chelsea 0-0 Arsenal, Manchester United 4-0 Everton

The weekend of the 15th-17th September 2017 was the fifth round of fixtures in the 2017-2018 season and already, a pattern was starting to develop at the top of the table. The two Manchester clubs were dismissing their opponents with consummate ease. There was no change on this weekend.

Having thrashed 10-man Liverpool FC 5-0 on the previous Saturday, Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Citizens went one better at Vicarage Road. Watford went into the match unbeaten with two wins and two draws to their name but they simply had no answer for the visitors who were in ruthless form. Sergio Aguero scored the first hat-trick of the season as he closed in on becoming the club’s record all-time goalscorer. The 6-0 final scoreline simply didn’t flatter Manchester City. Their goalscoring glut in September already had the other challengers quaking with fear.

Manchester United were doing their best to keep up though. Like West Ham United and Swansea City in August, Everton were on the wrong end of a 4-0 beating from Jose Mourinho’s men. It was Wayne Rooney’s first return to Old Trafford since his summer departure back to Merseyside and he was given a warm reception on his reunion with his former club. However, Everton fell behind early on to September’s Goal of the Month; a screamer from distance in the fourth minute by converted full-back Antonio Valencia. There was also a goal for Romelu Lukaku against his former club in the closing moments as Everton fell to a third successive heavy defeat in all competitions in just eight days. The pressure was growing on Ronald Koeman.

The weekend actually got underway with a Friday Night Football on the south coast and a local derby between AFC Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove Albion. Bournemouth were pointless going into the match and trailed early in the second half to Solly March’s header. However, the Cherries rallied and goals from Andrew Surman and Jermain Defoe helped them defeat the Seagulls 2-1 in an enthralling contest. It was their first points and win of the season.

Bournemouth were off the mark but Crystal Palace remained on zero points and also, zero goals. Southampton left Selhurst Park with all three points in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Saints’ skipper Steven Davis scored the only goal in the opening five minutes to ensure a losing start for Roy Hodgson in his first managerial match since being in-charge on that fateful night in Nice when England were knocked out of the 2016 European Championships by Iceland.

Chelsea lost ground on the top two after being held to a goalless draw by a battling Arsenal side at Stamford Bridge, with David Luiz seeing red for the hosts. It was the first of four meetings between the sides during the season and Arsenal remained undefeated in all four encounters. This was one of three goalless draws during the weekend. Another took place at The Hawthorns, where Gareth Barry equalled Ryan Giggs’ all-time Premier League appearance record, levelling up on 632 appearances in the drab stalemate between West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United.

The third game without a goal on the weekend was at Wembley Stadium as Swansea City held Tottenham Hotspur to keep Spurs’ winless streak at their temporary home going, whilst Newcastle United climbed into the dizzying heights of fourth spot in the table after beating Stoke City 2-1 to achieve a third successive victory. For the second successive match, it was skipper Jamaal Lascelles who powered home the winner from a set-piece.

What else happened in September 2017?

  • A blast and fire at Parsons Green train station is treated as a terrorist attack. This time, there are no fatalities, but 29 injuries in-total. It is the fourth attack on the UK in 2017 alone.
  • Kensington Palace announces that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.
  • Weeks after Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma strikes The Caribbean and the United States. The Category 5 hurricane causes $64.2 billion in damage and claims the lives of 146 people.
  • In response to recent sanctions put in place by the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin expelled 755 diplomats from his country.
  • North Korea conducts its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.
  • Paris and Los Angeles are chosen as the hosts of the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
  • A new £10 polymer banknote enters circulation in the UK, with Jane Austen featured.