The five 3 p.m. local time kickoffs in the Premier League on Saturday were, in all honesty, pretty low on quality and drama. The three games involving top-seven sides combined to produce just two goals.
The two involving one of the Big Six were relatively drab. But not completely drab. That, in large part, is thanks to Mesut Ozil. The German genius hit a first-half volley about as well as humanly possible for the only goal at the Emirates between Arsenal and Newcastle (video above).
Arsenal and Chelsea both claimed 1-0 wins. Neither was great. Both were good enough to put pressure on Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool in a top-four race that heats up every week.
Most of Saturday’s action and excitement, however, came at Vicarage Road.
Huddersfield hits four at Watford
Watford’s strong start to the 2017-18 campaign had supporters and pundits raving about Marco Silva and fancying the Hornets for seventh place. But over the past month, Watford has hit a wall. It has taken just one point from its last five. It has lost three in a row to Burnley, Crystal Palace and now Huddersfield.
A home date with Huddersfield appeared to offer an ideal opportunity to get back on track, but poor luck and stupidity undid the Hornets. The Terriers’ first goal twice should have been precluded by an assistant referee’s flag, but somehow it stood:
Aaron Mooy bundled a second goal over the line later in the half without knowing much about it. Then Troy Deeney lost his head:
By the time Huddersfield were also reduced to 10 men by a Jonathan Hogg red card, the score was already 3-0. It finished 4-1. Watford stayed stuck in ninth place, on 22 points. Huddersfield leapt up to 11th, and to within a single point of the Hornets.
Burnley was thoroughly outplayed by Brighton, but escaped with a point thanks to Glenn Murray’s first-half penalty miss.
Stoke’s game against West Ham was delayed an hour by a power outage at the Bet365 Stadium. The issue was eventually resolved, but it might have been better for Mark Hughes if it hadn’t been. Marko Arnautovic scored against his old club, West Ham won 3-0, and Hughes might not oversee another match at Stoke.
Earlier in the day, Crystal Palace surged out of the relegation zone with a 3-0 win at Leicester.