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Matchweek 11 Review – Spurs’ first stumble, VAR frustrates

Matchweek 11 of the 2023/24 EPL season saw Spurs suffers their first loss, VAR continue to frustrate clubs, and a Manchester City summer signing dazzle.

Spurs lose in wild clash

Many things have been dialled up since Ange Postecoglou took charge at Tottenham in the summer. The team’s aggressive attitude, willingness to press and overall chances created have all been on an upward trajectory, not to mention in the stands where the fans’s vibes are similarly sky high. But on Tuesday morning (Australian time), things went up yet another level. Spurs went in $2.10 against Chelsea ($3.15) to maintain their unbeaten run remain atop the EPL table. And when they went 1-0 up through Dejan Kulusevski ($11 first goalscorer with Palmerbet), they looked on course to do exactly that.

But what followed had to be seen to be believed. The short version? Spurs went down to nine men and lost their first match of the season 4-1 (Chelsea $21 pre-match at -2.0). But that only touches the surfaces of what truly went on. Not only did more VAR controversy and key injuries take place, but Postecoglou continued to employ a high-line — even with nine men — and it almost paid off, with Son Heung-Min and Eric Dier ever so close to scoring equalisers. It’s a mark of the Aussie’s reign that Spurs were clapped off having been beaten by that margin. Just to top off the frankly mental evening, and what became an almost footnote; Chelsea’s Nicholas Jackson scored a hat-trick — $55 pre-game with Palmerbet.

Arteta fumes as Arsenal lose to Newcastle

The VAR controversy at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was just a dessert to the main course of (yet another) weekend of video assistant referee debate, namely at St James’ Park. The Gunners travelled up north as marginal $2.45 favourites against Newcastle ($2.70) but it was the home side’s Anthony Gordon whose goal ($8.75 first goalscorer) proved the difference. Not before, however, a whole heap of dispute and discontent. Gordon’s goal underwent, incredibly, THREE checks through VAR. Each of which the 30+ cameras at the ground couldn’t give a definitive answer either way, and the goal stood. Gunners manager Mikel Arteta was fuming post-match, and labelled the decisions and refereeing ‘embarrassing’ and a ‘disgrace’. Perhaps more strangely, this was backed up in a club statement. The fallout has continued for days, as further calls for a VAR overhaul have come.

Looking ahead, though, the result could have huge ramifications. Like North London rivals Tottenham, it was Arsenal’s first loss of the 2023/24 EPL campaign. And it’s hugely benefited one club.

City hit Cherries for six, sitting pretty

As the controversy happened around them, Manchester City could sit back and watch on with a smile. It’s hard to think of a better weekend for Pep Guardiola’s side. Not only did Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool drop points, but they put six past Bournemouth. City went in as short-price $1.08 favourites, but were $5.30 pre-match to win at -4.0 before prevailing 6-1. It was summer signing Jeremy Doku who starred, not only scoring the first ($6.75 with Palmerbet) but finishing with an incredible FOUR assists. Doku’s dazzling display is yet another example of Guardiola revitalising and regenerating his side with new talent.

The victory, and subsequent losses from those around them, saw City’s title price with Palmerbet shorten from $1.67 into $1.45.

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