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Monday, September 19 2022
Jack Grealish and Son Heung-min, two of the English Premier League's most high-profile players, have been facing growing criticism for their failure to score this season.
They silenced the doubters today.
With a strike after 55 seconds, Grealish — the England international with the 100 million pound (NZ$190 million) price tag — set Manchester City on their way to a 3-0 win at Wolverhampton and first place in the standings, at least for 24 hours.
With a hat-trick after coming off the bench, Son — the joint-top scorer in the league last season — rounded off Tottenham's 6-2 victory over last-placed Leicester, whose manager Brendan Rodgers will head into the international break with his job under serious threat after six straight league defeats.
The wins left City and Tottenham tied on points in first and second place, and their managers thrilled to see their forwards scoring again.
"Rightly so, people have been asking questions — I should be scoring more and getting more assists," said Grealish, who hadn't even set up a goal this season.
"I am always going to have people talking about me with the money that was spent on me, but all my career I haven't scored enough goals. I do want to add that to my game."
Naturally, Erling Haaland was one of City's other scorers at Molineux — that's 14 in nine games in all competitions since joining from Borussia Dortmund — along with Phil Foden, with Wolves playing with only 10 men from the 33rd minute after Nathan Collins' red card for a chest-high lunge on Grealish.
City have 23 goals in their seven games so far.
Son was rotated — or was he dropped? — by Tottenham manager Antonio Conte for the Leicester game and the South Korea forward looked emotional after each of his goals, having gone on as a 59th-minute substitute. Two of them were curling shots into the top corner and his hat trick goal squirmed under beleaguered Leicester goalkeeper Danny Ward, before needing the say-so of a VAR review.
"The way I play, I can do much better than I have been," Son said. "I have been disappointed, the team has been doing really good, but I was disappointed with my performances."
Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Rodrigo Bentancur also scored for Tottenham, while Youri Tielemans — with a twice-taken penalty — and James Maddison scored for Leicester.
"I understand the game," he said. "The scoreline didn't reflect the game but the bottom line is it's a heavy defeat. They [the owners] have given me brilliant support. Whatever happens to me at Leicester, whether I stay and fight on, I'll always respect them."
Also struggling are Newcastle, with no wins in six games, and manager Eddie Howe will understand the pressure that comes with coaching the football team with the world's richest owners. How patient will the club's Saudi leadership be?
After a disappointing 1-1 draw with Bournemouth at St James' Park, Newcastle remained without a win in the league since beating Nottingham Forest at home on the opening weekend. Five of Newcastle's six results have been draws.
There were some jeers from Newcastle supporters at the fulltime whistle after Bournemouth held out for a point in a disciplined defensive performance, which saw the visitors take the lead against the run of play through Philip Billing in the 62nd.
Newcastle, who hit the post through Kieran Trippier and Joelinton by that point, equalised five minutes later when Alexander Isak converted a penalty awarded for a handball against Jefferson Lerma.
All Whites striker Chris Wood came off the bench for Newcastle in the 89th minute.
Bournemouth continued their upturn in results since firing Scott Parker after a 9-0 loss at Liverpool at the end of August. In three games since under caretaker manager Gary O'Neil, the south-coast team have two draws and a win at Nottingham Forest.