Tough at the top – mixed fortunes for Premier League’s top three


Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola
Chelsea are three points clear at the top of the Premier League

Three teams at the top. Three different outcomes.

For the first time since September 2017, the Premier League’s top three all played at 3pm UK time on a Saturday and it resulted in a gripping, action-packed afternoon full of mixed fortunes for the English top-flight’s title-chasers.

The big winners were Chelsea, who earned a 3-0 victory at Newcastle to lead the division by three points.

Liverpool sit second after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Brighton, while 10-man Manchester City suffered a shock 2-0 home loss to Crystal Palace.

“It is a good day because of us. I believe what goes around comes around and I don’t feel happy to celebrate other performances and results,” said Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

“We should be focused on ourselves. It is never the moment to be happy about other teams dropping points.”

But while Tuchel won’t be drawn on his side’s status at the top of the pile, here is a look at where today’s results leave each of the top three.

Premier League table: Chelsea - 25 points; Liverpool - 22 points; Man City - 20 points
Chelsea lead Liverpool and Manchester City in the Premier League title race after 10 matches

‘Don’t confuse patience for falling asleep’ – Blues move clear at summit

Chelsea were the big winners as the full-time whistles rang around Premier League grounds on Saturday evening.

Reece James struck twice and Jorginho converted a penalty as the Blues scored three second-half goals to overcome Newcastle at St James’ Park.

They have won 14 Premier League away games under manager Thomas Tuchel, losing just once, while only Chelsea themselves in 2004-05 have previously conceded fewer goals after 10 league games than the three they’ve shipped so far this season.

Tuchel told BBC Match of the Day: “Don’t confuse patience for falling asleep. It was necessary to be patient and it was necessary also when you are more or less the only team who is responsible for the intensity and rhythm of the game.”

Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer said: “You see the number of players Chelsea had missing today – [Romelu] Lukaku, [Timo] Werner, [Mason] Mount, [Christian] Pulisic, [Mateo] Kovacic – [it’s] amazing”.

Analysis by BBC Sport’s Michael Emons

Chelsea had to be patient, but their class came through in the end with three goals in a 16-minute second-half spell to end Newcastle’s stubborn resistance.

Tuchel will be delighted that their goals are coming from all areas as England right wing-back James scored twice with well-struck efforts before Jorginho added a third from the penalty spot.

Only Liverpool have scored more than Chelsea’s total of 26 Premier League goals, while the Blues’ total of three goals conceded is easily the best in the division.

‘It feels like a defeat’ – Klopp’s Reds held but unbeaten run goes on

Though Liverpool remain the only unbeaten Premier League side after 10 matches, their 2-2 draw with Brighton at Anfield felt “like a defeat”, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

Goals from Jordan Henderson and Sadio Mane had put the hosts 2-0 up after 24 minutes, but Brighton fought back through Enock Mwepu and Leandro Trossard to claim a point.

It is now a joint club record 24 matches unbeaten in all competitions for Klopp’s side – a run stretching back to a 3-1 Champions League quarter-final first leg defeat by Real Madrid on 6 April – while only in the 1978-79 season (33) have the Reds scored more goals in their opening 10 top-flight games than this term (29).

Klopp told BBC Match of the Day: “It feels like a defeat. It’s not only because we were 2-0 up and didn’t win, it’s because the game I saw, we scored two of the most beautiful goals I’ve ever seen us score, which were disallowed.

“Top moments in the first half where we showed how we can hurt Brighton, played some top passes through the centre and played really good football but we were only 2-0.

“In the second half, we were not good enough. The body language I didn’t like it all. It was like ‘oh my God, it’s really tough’. Yeah, it was clear before the game.”

Analysis by BBC Sport’s Neil Johnston

Questions will be asked of Liverpool’s defending – and rightly so – as the Reds squandered a 2-0 lead against Brighton and were left hanging on for a point.

Yet they still have the third-best defensive record in the Premier League and Klopp will not be pressing the panic button despite slipping three points behind leaders Chelsea.

Thiago Alcantara is back in full training for the first time since September after his calf problem, while Fabinho is also on his way back from injury.

Klopp will hope his side’s sloppy performance in their first game back at Anfield for a month was a blip than anything more serious.

‘Many things went wrong’ – 10-man Man City slump to home defeat

Defending champions Manchester City are five points off the early pace after Pep Guardiola’s 10-men fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace in his 200th Premier League match in charge.

Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead after six minutes and, after Aymeric Laporte had been shown a straight red card in first-half injury time for a professional foul on Zaha, Conor Gallagher sealed a surprise victory with a late second.

City have lost four of their past 10 Premier League home games – as many defeats as in their previous 55 at Etihad Stadium. This was only their second defeat in their past 51 Premier League games that kicked off at 3pm UK time on a Saturday, with both coming at home to Palace.

Guardiola told BBC Match of the Day: “Many things went wrong. We conceded an early goal. After we played a really, really good first half and didn’t concede anything. The second half was difficult but the supporters were behind us because we showed we wanted [to score].”

City defender Ruben Dias told Sky Sports: “The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it. Today we lost three very important points but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward.

“Today we were not at our best but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough.”

Analysis by BBC Sport’s Simon Stone

Pep Guardiola can easily dismiss this result – a borderline red card, a borderline offside and a rare defensive mistake.

But he will know that a five-point gap and a growing goal difference deficit on Chelsea may not be easy to claw back, even at this stage of this season.

City are two points better off than at this stage last term – and they drew their next two games. But Guardiola knows if City have many more games like this, the debate over a lack of an orthodox number nine will begin again.

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