The revolving door at the summit of the Premier League continued spinning on Sunday as first Tottenham Hotspur and then Leicester City reached it before Liverpool stumbled in their bid to reclaim it with a draw at Manchester City.
Southampton had begun the day as unlikely leaders but Harry Kane’s late goal, his 150th in the Premier League, earned Tottenham a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.
That put Jose Mourinho’s men into first place with 17 points from eight games but a couple of hours later Leicester’s 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, sealed with a Jamie Vardy penalty, hoisted them up to 18 points.
Champions Liverpool were on course to move top when Mohamed Salah fired them ahead from the penalty spot after Sadio Mane had teased Kyle Walker into a foul.
But Gabriel Jesus equalised after a smart turn and City could have been in front before halftime had Kevin de Bruyne converted a penalty awarded via a VAR check after his cross was adjudged to have struck the arm of Joe Gomez.
De Bruyne sent his kick wide.
The second half petered out as Liverpool ended the day in third spot behind Tottenham on goal difference while City, yet to really get going, remain in 10th.
Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said the poor quality of the second half was a result of a punishing schedule and said clubs should be allowed to use five substitutes as they were after Project Restart at the end of last season.
“This year, the October is like a December, the November is like the December and December is still like a December,” Klopp said. “If we continue like this, and hopefully we can play the Euros next summer, let’s see which players can take part.”
Aston Villa returned to winning ways with a dazzling 3-0 win at Arsenal in which Ollie Watkins was twice on target.
They moved up to sixth place with 15 points, having played a game less than the teams above them.
Tottenham fielded Kane, Gareth Bale and Son Heung-min from the start for the first time in the Premier League but the formidable trio were kept quiet by a gritty West Brom side who are yet to win a league game this season.
But Kane popped up late on to head in Matt Doherty’s long pass to secure a third consecutive win for Tottenham.
Leicester, who out-lasted Tottenham in the 2015-16 title race, appear to be mounting another challenge.
Vardy’s 15th-minute penalty proved enough against Wolves although he also had another spot-kick saved.
“It’s been an incredible start, I’m so happy for the players,” manager Brendan Rodgers, whose side face Liverpool after the international break, said.
“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.”
Reuters | LONDON