Comeback kings Watford handed Arsenal a first defeat in eight matches as Marco Silva’s men recovered from a one-goal deficit to snatch a dramatic 2-1 triumph at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Per Mertesacker marked his first Premier League start in 532 days with the opening goal, the defender converting Granit Xhaka’s corner in the 39th minute, to put Arsene Wenger’s side on course for a fifth successive win in all competitions.
However, Watford – who had scored late goals to pick up points away at Swansea City and West Brom in their last two outings – once again demonstrated their new-found resiliency under manager Silva.
A 71st-minute equaliser from the penalty spot by substitute Troy Deeney got the hosts on level terms and set up a thrilling finish.
After Etienne Capoue hit the post, the game appeared set to finish all-square until Tom Cleverley popped up with an injury-time winner, completing the recovery mission and sending Watford above Arsenal and up to fourth in the table.
Highlights 📹 http://v.duta.us/wB5sXQAA
Arsene Wenger hit out at a “scandalous” penalty decision after Arsenal lost their way and slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Watford.
Arsenal were leading through Per Mertesacker’s first-half goal and had chances to make the Premier League game safe.
However, the Hornets got back in it through Troy Deeney’s spot-kick, which came after referee Neil Swarbrick adjudged Hector Bellerin to have fouled Richarlison.
Tom Cleverley capped the home side’s impressive comeback with an injury-time winner, but manager Wenger was left disappointed about the penalty decision.
“I believe that we had many, many dangerous situations where we could have scored but didn’t. We had opportunities to score the second goal,” he said.
“The decision on the penalty is a bit ridiculous and then we panicked a bit for their second goal and in the end we stand with a defeat.”
Petr Cech’s woeful penalty record at Arsenal has been stretched to 12 spot-kicks without producing a save.
His vast experience has proved to be a useful asset for Arsene Wenger, with Arsenal considered to have struggled in a vital area of the field since the days of Jens Lehmann.
Cech’s ability to repel penalties makes for dismal reading, though, with the 35-year-old yet to keep one out during his time in north London.
Troy Deeney is the latest man to have beaten Cech from 12 yards, with his 71st-minute effort helping Watford to a 2-1 win on Saturday.
That is the first penalty Cech has faced this season, but he saw nine slip past him in 2016-17.
He also failed to keep two out in his debut campaign, with Jamie Vardy and Lionel Messi converting in Premier League and Champions League competition.
Diego Simeone’s winless run against Barcelona in LaLiga continued as Luis Suarez’s late equaliser held Atletico Madrid to a 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Atleti have now not won in their last 15 league meetings with Barca – a run that stretches back to February 2010, almost two years prior to Simeone’s appointment.
It appeared as though that miserable streak would finally end on Saturday, as Saul Niguez’s stylish first-half strike looked to have set up a victory for the hosts over a Barca team that had won its first seven matches this term.
But leaders Barca built momentum in the second half, with Lionel Messi striking the post and spurning further chances before the leveller deservedly arrived.
Suarez, marginalised in the first half but much improved after the break, stooped to meet Sergi Roberto’s cross from the right and headed down past Jan Oblak with eight minutes remaining.
Wilfried Zaha returned to inspire Crystal Palace as the Eagles recorded their first goals and points of the season en route to consigning Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League defeats.
Flying winger Zaha injured his right knee during the opening-day defeat to Huddersfield Town and has been powerless as Palace lost their opening seven league matches without scoring a goal.
Another defeat to nil would have set an unwanted English league record at nine, including one at the end of last season, but Selhurst Park erupted early on when an Andros Townsend cross crept past Thibaut Courtois via a combination of Yohan Cabaye and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Tiemoue Bakayoko was given the freedom of the Palace area to head home his first Premier League goal and level the scores, but the influential Zaha – who was a menace throughout – restored Palace’s lead shortly before the break with a cool finish.
An inevitable second-half barrage arrived from Chelsea and Cesc Fabregas lashed an effort against the crossbar, but Palace clung on for a priceless victory.
It marks another disappointment for Antonio Conte, whose side were beaten 1-0 at home by Manchester City last time out and the Blues now trail Pep Guardiola’s league leaders by nine points.
Manchester City moved two points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool had temporarily lifted them to the summit but City took full advantage of their rivals’ dropped points with a rampant display against a dismal Stoke side.
Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and David Silva had them 3-0 up in less than half an hour as a ragged visiting defence made life easy for Pep Guardiola’s front three.
Stoke did threaten a comeback either side of half-time, with Mame Diouf firing home before his header deflected in off Kyle Walker to make it 3-2, but hope of a shock result did not last long.
Jesus scored his second and Leroy Sane his first from two exceptional passes from Kevin De Bruyne, making his 100th appearance for the club, either side of a stunning strike from Fernandinho.
Guardiola made some changes in the closing stages – although Sergio Aguero, back from a broken rib, stayed on the bench – as City looked to save some energy for next week’s Champions League meeting with Napoli.
Jurgen Klopp has slammed Jose Mourinho’s tactics during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Saturday. United took a somewhat pessimistic approach into the game, with striker Romelu Lukaku touching the ball just 22 times during the dour stalemate. Liverpool had 19 shots during the game, and appeared dominant at times, but were unable to find a way past goalkeeper David de Gea. The Spain international made a terrific save from defender Joel Matip in the first half, somehow deflecting the ball away with his leg. And Klopp expressed his frustrations after the encounter. “For sure you could not play this way at Liverpool, but it’s OK for Manchester United,” he told Sky Sports. “Manchester United came here for a point and got it. We wanted three points and didn’t get it.”