Virgil Van Dijk Injury, Manchester United, Harry Kane, Son Heung-Min Lead Premier League Gameweek 5 Storylines

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Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk tore his ACL in the 5th minute of its Merseyside Derby draw ... [+] against Everton. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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Beginning this week, we’re coupling our successful weekly fantasy Premier League sleepers article with a general Sunday PL PINC storylines piece that quickly recaps the biggest stories each gameweek after the Sunday games are complete. And that starts of course with some really unfortunate news...

Virgil Van Dijk’s Torn ACL

A 5th minute challenge on Liverpool’s all-world defender by rival Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford ended in disaster on Saturday, with a torn ACL that will keep VVD out several months, if not the rest of the PL season the week the Champions League group stage begins on Wednesday with a trip to Amsterdam to face Ajax, ironically his home country. Van Dijk was replaced in Jurgen Klopp’s 4-3-3 by Joe Gomez, who should be a regular in the starting XI now alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Joel Matip.

The Merseyside Derby ended in a wild 2-2 draw with a late Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal to even the score and a 90th minute Richarlison red card. The result keeps Everton at the top of the table ahead of Liverpool with the advantage of no European football to wear the Toffees down. Of course not having Richarlison for away matches at Southampton and Newcastle isn’t ideal, but seemingly manageable. Certainly far more manageable than losing arguably the best defensive player on earth for the rest of the season, though van Dijk would surely like to be back before then.

Manchester United

Marcus Rashford and teammates congratulate Bruno Fernandes on scoring the first of three late ... [+] Manchester United goals. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

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Manchester United Gets Back On Track

For most of the match, it looked like Manchester United was on their way to another disappointing result against lesser competition.

After conceding six goals at home against Spurs right before the international break, a Luke Shaw own goal in the 3rd minute marked a disastrous start to Saturday’s match at Newcastle. After captain Harry Maguire equalized in the 23rd minute, the score remained even for the next hour.

But United turned it on when it needed goals most, and did so quickly and in abundance. In the 86th minute, Juan Mata began buildup play with a pass to Marcus Rashford, who sliced through the Newcastle defense and delivered a tremendous pass to Bruno Fernandes for what proved to be the winning goal. Aaron Wan-Bissaka scored four minutes later on another Rashford assist and a Fernandes assist to Rashford deep into extra time sealed an important 4-1 win.

It was an important confidence boost just three days before Man United’s toughest game in the Champions League group stage, a Tuesday trip to face 2020 UCL finalists Paris Saint Germain.

Kane-Son Connection Rolls On, But Spurs Blow Huge Lead

It looked like a perfect Sunday for Tottenham Hotspur against a London rival. Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min continued their devastating combination at home against West Ham in the very first minute. Kane’s long ball from inside his own half took two bounces and landed perfectly onto Son’s left foot, who moved inside on defender Fabian Balbuena and buried a shot into the right corner 45 seconds into the match.

Son returned the favor with an assist to Kane in the 8th minute and then Kane made it a brace on an assist from newcomer Sergio Reguilon in the 16th to go up 3-0. Spurs even marked the long-awaited return of Gareth Bale, who came on in the 72nd minute. But this match did not end happily for the home side.

West Ham evened the score in the last 15 minutes on an 82nd minute Balbuena goal, an own goal by Davinson Sanchez and one of the best goals you’ll see all season by any Premier League player.

In the 4th minute of stoppage time, an Aaron Cresswell free kick for West Ham was easily dealt with by the Spurs backline, only for Harry Winks’ toe poke roll to the right foot of late-game substitution Manuel Lanzini, who took no touches and launched a perfectly twisted rocket into the right corner to equalize. If you watched the goal, you’ll know the yellow card Lanzini got for celebrating was well worth it. Oui!

Incroyable for Lanzini and West Ham, but a huge letdown for Tottenham, which wasted an incredible effort once again from its two best players. A win would’ve vaulted Spurs into the top four.

Extra Time

-Aston Villa remains perfect after Ross Barkley’s run and goal in stoppage time gave them a 1-0 win over a Leicester City side that was without the injured Jamie Vardy. After its 7-2 triumph over Liverpool last week, Villa proved it can win a tighter contest on the road against quality competition. What an unbelievable start for a team playing with so much confidence right now.

-Though Arsenal has gotten the better of Manchester City in the FA Cup, City’s 1-0 win on Saturday means the Gunners still haven’t beaten Man City in the Premier League since Dec. 21, 2015, spanning 10 matches.

-Chelsea remains incredibly inconsistent defensively, conceding three at home to Southampton two matches after conceding three at West Brom.

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