Citizens forced to settle with 1-1 draw at Etihad
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted on introducing five substitution rule following the side’s 1-1 draw against leaders Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday.
A win at the Etihad would have taken the Reds to the summit but the battle between the two dominant powers of recent seasons ended 1-1.
That meant Leicester clung onto top spot after leapfrogging Spurs, who beat West Brom 1-0, after a 1-0 win of their own at home to Wolves.
In the late evening kick-off, Aston Villa hammered Arsenal 3-0, condemning Mikel Arteta’s men to their fourth defeat in six league games.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions made an aggressive start against City, with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota all in a fearsome-looking starting line-up.
The visitors went ahead in the 13th minute when Salah converted a penalty after Kyle Walker clipped Mane in the box but City drew level just after the half-hour mark through Gabriel Jesus.
The home side were awarded a penalty themselves just before the interval after a VAR check but De Bruyne skewed wide.
The draw left Liverpool in third place on 17 points after eight games, one point behind Leicester and five clear of City, who have a game in hand.
Klopp and City boss Pep Guardiola united to push the case for five substitutes, the number allowed at the end of last season before a switch back to a maximum of three.
“We speak about how we have to fight again and again about five substitutions,” said Guardiola when asked about the subject of his post-match conversation with Klopp. “All around the world there is five substitutions. Here we believe we are a special league with just three players, we don’t protect the players.”
Klopp, who lost Trent Alexander-Arnold to an injury, accused Premier League CEO Richard Masters of a “lack of leadership” over the matter. “It’s not an advantage, it’s a necessity,” added the Liverpool boss.
Earlier, Harry Kane headed in a late winner in a 1-0 victory against struggling West Brom to briefly lift Jose Mourinho’s side to the top of the table after their fourth win in five league games.
Only Alan Shearer and Sergio Aguero have scored 150 Premier League goals in fewer appearances than Kane, who reached the landmark in his 218th match.
Mourinho was effusive in his praise for his star striker, who also has 10 assists in all competitions this season.
“Harry Kane, you have to say has this many goals, this many assists, this number of balls recovered, this number of duels won, this number of balls that he saved his team in a defensive set-piece,” he said. “This is Harry Kane. It’s goals plus this and this and this and that.”
But Spurs’ stay at the top of the Premier League was short-lived as Jamie Vardy netted his eighth Premier League goal of the season for Leicester.
Vardy scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot in the 15th minute — following a VAR check — after Wolves’ Max Kilman handled Dennis Praet’s cross in the area.
He missed another spot kick late in the first half but Brendan Rodgers’ team held on to take all three points.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better start,” said Rodgers, whose side travel to Liverpool after the international break. “I have always said failure is learning and if anyone says us not getting into the Champions League last season was failing then, OK. For us it was about learning and developing.”
Aston Villa, who climbed to sixth place after their win against Arsenal, went ahead at the Emirates when Bukayo Saka turned into his own net.
Two goals from Ollie Watkins in the second half put the game beyond Arsenal, leaving Arteta disappointed with his team’s showing.
“We performed below our standards and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen us play and we weren’t a team,” he told the BBC. “I take full responsibility. We didn’t start well enough, we got away with VAR for an offside situation but we lost all the races, the duels and we were sloppy on the ball.”