Paul Pogba saw a penalty saved when Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday night to close out Week 2 of the 2019/20 Premier League season.
Pogba's effort from 12 yards was saved by Rui Patricio after the Frenchman had won the spot-kick by drawing a foul from Conor Coady. The score was level at the time thanks to Ruben Neves, who equalised for Wolves 10 minutes into the second half after Anthony Martial had given United an early lead.
Settling for a point means United missed the chance to go top, leaving the summit position belonging to the Red Devils' rivals Liverpool. The leaders are level on points with Arsenal but boast a superior goal difference, an advantage last season's runners up will hope to press home when they host the Gunners at Anfield this Saturday.
Liverpool won the corresponding fixture 5-1 last season and also beat Arsenal 4-0 on Merseyside in 2017. Another big win would give firm control of the early portion of the title race to the Reds, especially if Manchester City can't win away to Bournemouth.
Standings (played, won, drawn, lost, goal difference and points)
1. Liverpool: 2, 2, 0, 0, +4, 6
2. Arsenal: 2, 2, 0, 0, +2, 6
3. Manchester City: 2, 1, 1, 0, +5, 4
4. Manchester United: 2, 1, 1, 0, +4, 4
5. Brighton & Hove Albion: 2, 1, 1, 0, +3, 4
6. Tottenham Hotspur: 2, 1, 1, 0, +2, 4
7. Bournemouth: 2, 1, 1, 0, +1, 4
8. Sheffield United: 2, 1, 1, 0, +1, 4
9. Everton: 2, 1, 1, 0, +1, 4
10. Burnley: 2, 1, 0, 1, +2, 3
11. Norwich City: 2, 1, 0, 1, -1, 3
12. Leicester City: 2, 0, 2, 0, 0, 2
13. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 2, 0, 2, 0, 0, 1
14. Crystal Palace: 2, 0, 1, 1, -1, 1
15. West Ham United: 2, 0, 1, 1, -5, 1
16. Aston Villa: 2, 0, 0, 2, -3, 0
17. Newcastle United: 2, 0, 0, 2, -3, 0
18. Southampton: 2, 0, 0, 2, -4, 0
19. Chelsea: 1, 0, 0, 1, -4, 0
20. Watford: 2, 0, 0, 2, -4 0
Week 2 Results
- Arsenal 2-1 Burnley
- Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth
- Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 West Ham United
- Everton 1-0 Watford
- Norwich City 3-1 Newcastle United
- Southampton 1-2 Liverpool
- Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur
- Chelsea 1-1 Leicester City
- Sheffield United 1-0 Crystal Palace
- Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-1 Manchester United
Week 3 Fixtures
Friday, August 23
- Aston Villa vs. Everton: 8 p.m. BST/3 p.m. ET
Saturday, August 24
- Norwich City vs. Chelsea: 12:30 p.m. BST/7:30 a.m. ET
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Southampton: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
- Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace: 3 p.m BST/10 a.m. ET
- Sheffield United vs. Leicester City: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
- Watford vs. West Ham United: 3 p.m. BST/10 a.m. ET
- Liverpool vs. Arsenal: 5:30 p.m. BST/12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, August 25
- Bournemouth vs. Manchester City: 2 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United: 4:30 p.m. BST/11:30 a.m. ET
- Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Burnley: 4:30 p.m. BST/9 a.m. ET
United looked to be in cruise control once Anthony Martial fired the visitors in front in the 27th minute. The Frenchman capped a flowing move to net a landmark goal after some slick work from strike partner Marcus Rashford:
Rashford and Marital's perceptive movement and pace were dragging a usually well-disciplined Wolves defence out of shape. United couldn't pad a thoroughly deserved lead before the break, though, offering the hosts hope of engineering a second-half turnaround.
So it proved as Neves struck in spectacular fashion from distance:
Wolves naturally turned up the pressure after going level, but United were holding firm. The away side should have been in front again when Pogba tricked his way into the box and left Coady with no choice.
Patricio wasn't about to yield, though, and his fine save raised questions about Pogba's decision to take the responsibility away from regular penalty-taker Rashford, who has been automatic from the spot recently.
The decision proved enough to keep United off top spot. Liverpool are comfortable in the catbird seat after edging past Southampton on Saturday.
Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino got on the scoresheet, meaning every member of the Reds' front three has now found the net after Mohamed Salah opened his account during the 4-1 win over Norwich City in the season opener.
Liverpool's danger men up top being in prolific form is bad news for an Arsenal side still trying to show improvement defensively. The Gunners have only conceded once but appeared vulnerable several times during Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley.
Attack may be the best form of defence for Arsenal at Anfield, given the quality the north London club possesses in the final third. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored twice in as many matches, while Alexandre Lacazette opened his account against the Clarets.
Head coach Unai Emery also gave 45 minutes to club-record signing Nicolas Pepe on Saturday. The winger showed tantalising flashes of his potential to add even more flair and goals to the Arsenal attack:
If the Gunners can force Liverpool into a passive game for once, they may be able to leave Anfield with a rare positive result.
A favourable outcome is what City will be chasing at the Vitality Stadium. The champions were stung by VAR during Saturday's 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur when Gabriel Jesus' apparent winner in injury time was ruled out.
City still have the quality to overpower Bournemouth in defensive areas. Kevin De Bruyne has started the season superbly, tallying three assists, while Raheem Sterling has found the net four times.
The onus will be on the Citizens' defence holding firm against a useful Bournemouth attack led by versatile frontman Callum Wilson.