Premier League Table: 2016 Standings, Week 9 Fixtures After Week 8 Results

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2016

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho (L) vies with Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on October 17, 2016. / AFP / Paul ELLIS / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool couldn't go top of the Premier League after being held to a 0-0 draw by bitter rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Monday night. The stalemate has left Liverpool fourth, while United are now five points off the pace in seventh.

Manchester City are still top despite failing to win in two matches after being held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at the Etihad Stadium. City's slip wasn't the only one among the top contenders, though.

Tottenham Hotspur put the Citizens to the sword last week but couldn't win at the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion. Spurs' slip allowed in-form Arsenal to move into the thick of the title race after a fifth league win in a row.

The Gunners are playing some superb football going forward and found three goals to narrowly see off Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium. A 3-2 defeat marred Bob Bradley's debut as Swans manager and also put the 2013 League Cup winners into the bottom two, just a couple of points ahead of David Moyes' winless Sunderland.

Here are the full results from the season's eighth week:

Premier League Results: Week 8 Scores
Chelsea3-0Leicester City
Arsenal3-2Swansea City
Bournemouth6-1Hull City
Manchester City1-1Everton
Stoke City2-0Sunderland
West Bromwich Albion1-1Tottenham Hotspur
Crystal Palace0-1West Ham United
Liverpool0-0Manchester United
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Here's what those results mean for the updated standings:

Premier League Standings: Week 8
PositionClubPlayedWonDrawnLostGoal DifferencePoints
1Manchester City86111119
3Tottenham Hotspur8530918
7Manchester United8422514
9Crystal Palace8323211
12West Bromwich Albion8242110
13Leicester City8224-68
15West Ham United8215-87
16Hull City8215-127
18Stoke City8134-96
19Swansea City8116-74

The Week 9 fixtures:

Premier League Fixtures: Week 9
Saturday, October 2212:30 p.m. / 7:30 a.m.Bournemouth vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.Burnley vs. Everton
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.Hull City vs. Stoke City
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.Leicester City vs. Crystal Palace
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.Swansea City vs. Watford
Saturday, October 223 p.m. / 10 a.m.West Ham United vs. Sunderland
Saturday, October 225:30 p.m. / 12:30 p.m.Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion
Sunday, October 231:30 p.m. / 8:30 a.m.Manchester City vs. Southampton
Sunday, October 234 p.m. / 11 a.m.Chelsea vs. Manchester United


Liverpool and United Play Out Bore Draw

After all the hype, Liverpool and United engaged in an arduous battle of attrition that made for painful viewing at times. The visitors were content to slow things to a crawl and pack numbers into defensive areas.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty noted how the tight affair suited away manager Jose Mourinho perfectly:

Phil McNulty @philmcnulty

Liverpool 0 Man Utd 0 at HT - a mess but just the sort of mess Jose Mourinho might approve of at this stage. Barely a chance created.

Things were barely any more progressive after the break, although Liverpool's Brazilian maestro Philippe Coutinho did at least force Red Devils stopper David De Gea into a highlight-worthy save.

Ultimately, though, the Guardian's Jamie Jackson witheringly summed this one up best:

jamie jackson @JamieJackson___

The Anfield New Stand is the winner...

United played for the point and got it, but Liverpool will rue not finding their forward fluency to punish the negative tactics. It has to count as an opportunity missed for the one side that tried to win the match.

Anfield chief Jurgen Klopp will hope for more vibrancy against West Brom, another defensively stubborn team, next week. Meanwhile, Mourinho will focus on his return to old stomping ground Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea.

The Blues suddenly look on-form after thrashing champions Leicester City. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte finally reverted to the three-at-the-back tactics that served him well at Juventus and with Italy.

But Chelsea's attacking riches will present another test of Mourinho's miserly methods. In particular, he'll need to craft a way to keep the division's hottest striker quiet, per the official Premier League Twitter account:

Premier League @premierleague

Sharpest shooters in the #PL… https://t.co/eQWMQj7WxZ

Mourinho also won't be able to ignore the free-scoring exploits of Eden Hazard—BBC's Match of the Day detailed the Belgian's prolific form from midfield after he scored against the Foxes:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Did you know since his debut in August 2012, Eden Hazard has scored more PL goals than any other midfielder? #MOTD #CFC https://t.co/Q05jZOKvae

It's going to be another examination of United's ability to stay solid in the biggest games.


City Struggle Again

It's tough to accurately gauge what's ailing Manchester City after they've dropped five points in two matches. Yet it's probably not any one thing.

Against Everton, it didn't help that manager Pep Guardiola rested star striker Sergio Aguero, perhaps with the forthcoming UEFA Champions League reunion with Barcelona in mind. Still, even a squad as rich in talent as City's can ill afford to rest its talisman and not expect a drop-off, particularly against a side as capable as Everton.

Guardiola took too big a risk to rest Aguero against Everton.
Guardiola took too big a risk to rest Aguero against Everton.GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

The Toffees had their own marquee centre-forward to thank for an unlikely point after Romelu Lukaku beat half the City team to score a wonderful individual goal. Yet as good as the Belgian's strike was, it once again highlighted the suspect nature of City's defending.

After all, this is a team breached six times in its last three matches in all competitions. Guardiola needs to get oft-injured skipper Vincent Kompany back up to speed and find more protection for the men at the back.

He'll need to do it before next week's visit from Southampton. The Saints are loaded with quality in forward areas, especially mercurial schemer Dusan Tadic, per Squawka:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Most chances created in the Premier League this season: D. Tadic (27) J. Puncheon (26) D. Silva (24) Willian (23) K. De Bruyne (23) https://t.co/tFugVOKrYv

But most of all, Guardiola will need Aguero's movement and goals against a stingy Southampton defence that conceded a rare goal in the 3-1 win over Burnley, according to BBC Match of the Day:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

That's the first goal Southampton have conceded in 612 minutes of action (all comps) 612 minutes! https://t.co/MQE4mZrfKL #SOUBUR https://t.co/uVL3LAHmS0

City may be four games without a win by the time they face a tricky Saints team. Guardiola should expect another stern test.


Arsenal Rampant Up Front

The Gunners still have some defensive frailties, but few can criticise their weaponry up top. In particular, lightning-fast duo Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott are ripping through defences on a weekly basis.

It's the latter who is proving more prolific in front of goal after helping himself to a brace against the Swans. The goals, both excellently taken by a forward whose quality as a finisher has always been underrated, continued Walcott's inspired start to the new season:

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

That was five goals for Theo Walcott in his last five Arsenal appearances 🔥 #MOTD #AFC https://t.co/WFQdkXfu4Y

Returning to his familiar and natural right-wing berth has helped Walcott, but there's more to his prolific form than a position switch. In general, the Gunners are more dangerous going forward this season because of Sanchez's intelligent runs.

He's been a floating, almost false, centre-forward, one whose movement often drags defenders out of the middle and creates opportunities for others to get into dangerous positions.

Walcott's been the most obvious beneficiary of the Sanchez wanderlust, but he's not the only one. Premier creator Mesut Ozil is also getting into scoring areas more often and netted Arsenal's third against Swansea.

The Sanchez and Walcott partnership has inspired Arsenal's winning run.
The Sanchez and Walcott partnership has inspired Arsenal's winning run.JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

The whole forward line is more free-flowing and tough to mark. It's bad news for Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka, who has seen his team leak 11 goals in eight matches after being the stingiest unit in England's four leagues last term.

Karanka will know he has plenty to fix before making the trip to the Emirates.

The Gunners will be counting on Jack Wilshere to help loan club Bournemouth take points off Spurs. It won't be easy, even though the Cherries are in fine fettle after sticking six past Hull City. However, few teams treat Tottenham's formidable defence the same way.

Wilshere is now part of an increasingly impressive Bournemouth outfit.
Wilshere is now part of an increasingly impressive Bournemouth outfit.Michael Steele/Getty Images

Yet Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has made his footballing side a deceptively tough proposition at the Vitality Stadium. More dropped points would stunt the excellent momentum Spurs have built in the title race as the Premier League's last unbeaten team. 

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