EPL Week 4 Insights

Premier League Week 4 Insights: Late strikes stir emotions while VAR decisions spark debate

Big games, late goals, new superstars, and VAR controversy. These are the words that can be used to describe the game week four of the 2023-24 Premier League season. Across the ten games this weekend, we saw a whooping 41 goals, the most in any game week this season. The current season has seen plenty of the so-called ‘mid-table’ and ‘lower-table’ teams ditch their defensive style of football for attacking flair.

These teams have also deployed this strategy against stronger teams, giving us some incredible games. After 40 games, one thing is certain: no matter how big a team is, they will have to back their talent on the pitch to win points, as now other clubs have shown that they are equipped to punish any lapse in concentration.

Only five teams in the league are unbeaten at this point, with only one boasting a 100 per cent winning rate, showcasing how cutthroat the fight for places will be this season. And with the transfer window also closing, teams only have their current squad to help them should their form flounder or injuries rise.

So, what did we learn from game week four of the Premier League?

Arsenal get the bragging rights over Manchester United at Emirates

The biggest clash of the week was undoubtedly Arsenal vs. Manchester United. The Gunners desperately needed the three points after their dismal performance against Fulham last week. Arsenal started the game on the front foot and created several chances but failed to find the finishing touch.

United’s strategy was simple: absorb the pressure and hit the team on the counterattack. And this is what got them the opening goal as Marcus Rashford bamboozled Arsenal’s defence to score from a stunning curler past Aaron Ramsdale. The goal hit a switch inside Arsenal, who only took 35 seconds to equalise.

The second half was much the same, with both sides struggling to find the winning goal. United scored, but Alejandro Garnacho was offside by the finest of margins. In the end, it was record-signing Declan Rice who scored his maiden goal from a scruffy finish to beat Andre Onana at his near post.

The goal meant that United had to go on the offensive with minutes to go. This opened spaces for the Gunners, and in one such chance, Gabriel Jesus found himself through on goal. The Brazilian produced a quick cutback that embarrassed Johnny Evans before slotting the ball past Onana to confirm his team’s victory.

Who will win?
Manchester United

Manchester City win, but VAR makes headlines

Manchester City thrashed Fulham 5-1 to win their fourth straight victory, with Erling Haaland scoring his first hattrick of the Premier League season. However, the game was marred by a controversial VAR decision that allowed a Manchester City goal to stand. Despite playing against a star-studded side, Fulham came out all guns blazing, matching City in intensity.

The Cottagers also managed to equalise within two minutes after going down. Towards the end of the first half, the hosts won a corner, which was swung in by Cole Palmer, with Nathan Ake getting on the end of it and scoring past Bernd Leno. However, City defender Manuel Akanji was just ahead of Leno, and according to Law 11 of the FA handbook, a goal will be deemed offside if an opposition player is blocking the goalkeeper’s view.

Antony Knights
Passionate football reviewer.
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Despite this, both referee Michael Oliver and the VAR allowed the goal to stand. This goal deflated Fulham’s spirits as Haaland ran riot in the second half.

Despite this, both referee Michael Oliver and the VAR allowed the goal to stand. This goal deflated Fulham’s spirits as Haaland ran riot in the second half.

Brighton and West Ham are not to be taken lightly

Before the start of the season, Brighton and West Ham lost several top players in the transfer market. However, both clubs moved swiftly and promoted new players into the role. And the transition has been so smooth that both clubs have become even better despite losing their star players.

West Ham United have won three and drew one, which includes wins over Chelsea and Brighton. David Moyes, who has been the master of defensive football, has created a perfect system that uses fast counterattacks by physical players to overwhelm the opposition. Their game against Brighton is a perfect example where the Hammers scored three goals despite having 22 per cent of possession. They continued their form this week, winning 2-1 away against newly promoted Luton Town.

Meanwhile, Brighton bounced back in style after their defeat to West Ham United as they took three points at home against Newcastle United. Led by their rising star Evan Ferguson, who scored a hattrick, the Seagulls were at their best in attack. Under Roberto de Zerbi, the club have improved by leaps and bounds in the last few seasons.

With 12 goals, Brighton are the most scoring team across the top five leagues after AS Monaco, which shows how perfect of a system they have built.

Tottenham Hotspur look as good even without Harry Kane

Ange Postecoglou had a massive job at his hands when he took charge as the boss at White Hart Lane. On top of that, he also had to see.

Antony Knights
Passionate football reviewer.
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Premier League Standings for Sep 10, 2023

1Man City440011:212
4West Ham43109:410
7Crystal Palace42115:47
9Nottingham Forest42026:66
10Aston Villa42028:96
11Man Utd42025:76
17Sheff Utd40134:71

Knights Antony/ author of the article
Habra Sports Journal