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Rolling Stone India Pitch: West Ham United Stun Spurs, VAR Controversy at The Merseyside Derby

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s heavy challenge on Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has left the Dutchman needing knee surgery

David Britto Oct 20, 2020

West Ham United's Manuel Lanzini.

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Matchday five of the Premier League witnessed a riveting Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur bottled it at home to West Ham United, Manchester City beat Arsenal 1-0 in a cagey affair and more.

The weekend’s action kicked off at Goodison Park as Everton hosted Liverpool for the first Merseyside Derby of the season. The Toffees went into the game as league leaders after winning their opening four games. Liverpool’s Sadio Mane scored early before Everton defender Michael Keane equalized. The champions took the lead once more through Mohammed Salah, who scored his 100th goal for the club, but were pinned back once more via in form striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The reds thought they snatched the win late in the game as captain Jordan Henderson slotted home, however, an offside call by a whisker from VAR on Mane disallowed the goal.

There was more controversy earlier in the game, when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s heavy challenge on Liverpool center back Virgil van Dijk caught out the Dutchman after an offside call. The tackle has left van Dijk needing surgery which could see him on the side-lines for up to six to eight months. Everton winger Richarlison saw red in the 90th minute for a brash tackle on Thiago. On Henderson’s goal being ruled-out, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said, “I don’t know where the line is where you can do offside.” The German also spoke about the call before van Dijk’s injury, he said, “This type of offside I didn’t see in the Virgil and Pickford incident.”

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Later that day Chelsea showcased their attacking prowess against Southampton at home with Timo Werner scoring twice and setting up another for his team’s three goals. However, the Blues’ defense is not as potent as their attack with the Saints scoring three themselves and Theo Walcott on his return to Southampton after 14 years plonked in a shot late in the match which deflected off Jannik Vestergaard to earn his team a point.

Over at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City entertained Arsenal with Pep Guardiola taking on his former assistant Mikel Arteta. Both the Spaniards attempted to out tactic one another which resulted in a very cautious game and Guardiola’s men winning 1-0 via a Raheem Sterling goal. Manchester United took on Newcastle United at St James’ Park and went down early in the game through Luke Shaw’s own goal. The Red Devils equalized midway in the second half and managed to pick up all three points after they had blistering final 10 minutes to the match and scored three goals.

The talk on Sunday was all about Gareth Bale’s return to action for Tottenham Hotspur as they played West Ham United at home. Bale watched from the bench as Spurs powered through the Hammers defense and scored three goals in the first half, two for Harry Kane and one for Son Heung-min. Spurs manager Jose Mourinho decided to give the Welshman a run out with 20 minutes to spare thinking the game was done and dusted. However, the David Moyes managed team stunned Tottenham as they produced a magnificent closing eight minutes.

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West Ham found the back of the net with goals from Fabián Balbuena, a Davinson Sánchez own goal and a worldie from Manuel Lanzini to equal and finish the game at 3-3. Mourinho said, “It is easy for me to praise West Ham. They were losing 3-0 for the majority of the game. The game was controlled, they didn’t have chances and then late in the game, they score and increased their belief.”

Matchday six of the Premier League will see West Ham United host Manchester City, Chelsea visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, Liverpool play Sheffield United at Anfield, Arsenal take on Leicester City at home, Tottenham Hotspur travel to Burnley and more.

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