LONDON: Tottenham Hotspur defeated Aston Villa on Sunday, relieving pressure on manager Nuno Espirito Santo as Liverpool and Manchester City prepared to battle for the Premier League title.
In other matches, Leicester City squandered a 2-0 lead at Crystal Palace to draw 2-2, while Brentford upset West Ham United 2-1 in stoppage time.
Tottenham started the season as a surprise pacesetter, but three straight defeats with an aggregate score of 9-1 left them falling down the standings.
Nuno, the former Wolves manager, was not the first option to succeed Jose Mourinho this summer, and there are already rumors that Tottenham’s players are bored with his training tactics.
However, Sunday’s 2-1 home win over Villa, who are in fine form, will give the Portuguese manager some breathing room as the players prepare for the international break.
When Ollie Watkins equalized Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s first-half opener, Spurs looked wobbly again, but a Matt Targett own goal in the 71st minute proved crucial.
Spurs are now in eighth place in the Premier League rankings, two points below the top four.
Nuno told Sky Sports, “Good, good, good.” “We needed a win, but it had to be a well-earned win. We played well against difficult opponents. It’s crucial for us, the players, and the fans. We had a good reaction after conceding, and we were positive in a lot of ways.”
Leicester have not won in the Premier League since August, despite being accustomed to being towards the top of the table in prior seasons.
Early on, Crystal Palace controlled, but the visitors took the lead through Kelechi Iheanacho just after the half-hour mark, and Jamie Vardy doubled the lead six minutes later.
On the hour, Palace equalized, with replacement Michael Olise blasting past Kasper Schmeichel at the second attempt, and fellow substitute Jeffrey Schlupp heading the home side level.
Across London, Bryan Mbeumo gave Brentford the lead against West Ham, only for Jarrod Bowen to equalize 10 minutes from time.
However, substitute Yoane Wissa scored the game-winning goal in the 94th minute after the hosts failed to clear a Mathias Jensen free-kick.
Liverpool will face City at Anfield in the Premier League’s second round, one point ahead of the defending champions.
In recent years, the two teams have dominated the English Premier League, with City winning the title three of the last four seasons and Liverpool finishing first in 2020.
Watford announced the sacking of head coach Xisco Munoz earlier on Sunday, following a disappointing start to the Premier League season.
Gunners Without Rudder
Brighton & Hove Albion produced numerous chances but were unable to convert any of them as they were held to a 0-0 draw by a hapless Arsenal on Saturday.
On a drizzly, windy evening, defender Lewis Dunk missed a fantastic opportunity to put the home side ahead in the 21st minute, firing the ball far over the bar after Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale mishandled it.
Despite the fact that Brighton dominated the first 45 minutes, Arsenal came closest to scoring when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed against the post from a tight angle during a rare first-half attack.
Brighton failed to get shots on target despite having so much control, and they were almost punished when Emile Smith Rowe came free in the 75th minute, but Robert Sanchez was able to deflect his shot aside for a corner.
The Seagulls turned the screw as the final whistle approached, creating a flurry of late chances, but the Arsenal defense held firm despite conceding 21 goal-scoring attempts to earn a merited point.
Brighton now sits fifth in the rankings with 14 points after seven games, two points behind leaders Chelsea. Arsenal is in ninth place with ten points.