Premier League review – Matchday 22
Friday 10th January, 2020
Sheffield United 1 West Ham 0
Sheffield United rewarded manager Chris Wilder with a renewed contract on matchday, extending his term of office till 30th June 2024. His team squeezed another good result and climbed into fifth place overnight. West Ham lost goalkeeper Fabianski inside a quarter of an hour in only his fourth game since last returning from injury. Fabianski was replaced by 33-year-old Premier League rookie David Martin, whose presence proved to be decisive in the worst fashion.
There were no shots on target in a poor first half between two sides who remember the 2007 Tevez saga for different reasons. Some “Hammers”’ fans wore Tevez masks and had fun at the expense of the “Blades”’ fans, but the home fans would be laughing by the end of the game.
Martin’s moment of disaster came eight minutes into the second half when he hit a goal kick straight to Fleck who ran forward and passed to McBurnie who scored. West Ham’s Snodgrass (and his fans) thought he had scored an added time equaliser, but the dreaded VAR intervened and decided that Declan Rice had unlawfully handled the ball in the build-up. Sheffield United and schadenfreude won the day.
Saturday 11th January, 2020
Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 1
Aubameyang gave Arsenal a 12th minute lead with his 14th Premier League goal of the season, but he will be missing Arsenal’s next three games after a second half sending-off. His goal followed passes through the middle by David Luz, Ozil and Lacazette.
Kouyate had wanted a handball in the Arsenal area when his ball hit David Luiz at close range, and the Palace midfielder had their first shot on goal after 40 minutes. Leno saved that effort comfortably.
Palace equalised after 54 minutes and Kouyate was involved in the build-up, but Ayew’s shot took a wicked deflection (off David Luiz) to beat the Arsenal goalie. Aubameyang’s red card came after his 65th minute challenge up Meyer at the half-way line near the touch line. Referee Paul Tierney initially showed a yellow, but VAR upgraded the card to red. The only other time Aubameyang had seen red was for a second yellow offence in November 2017 when playing for Borussia Dortmund. The ten men even had a late chance to win when Pepe’s shot rebounded off the post and as Lacazette swooped to try and take advantage Guaita bravely saved at his feet.
Chelsea 3 Burnley 0
Chelsea are safely in fourth place while Burnley’s downturn continues with a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat. They’ve only managed one goal in those games too. Burnley did have a couple of attacks of note before Chelsea scored. Hendrick had hit a shot wide, then thought he had scored following a free kick from which Ben Mee headed across the Chelsea goal, but the Burnley man had been offside.
Chelsea were awarded a penalty by referee Kevin Friend after Lowton’s challenge on Willian. The ball was running out of play, but the offence was complete and Jorginho slotted home from the spot. (27 mins) Arrizabalaga saved a McNeil free kick and then pushed over the ensuring corner. There was a goalmouth scramble from a second Burnley corner, but Chelsea’s defence was not breached. Ross Barkley, making his first Premier League start since October, had cleared Burnley’s first effort off the line.
Tammy Abraham gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead in the 38th minute when he headed down Reece James’ cross from the right. Pope really should have saved but failed. Pope made a better job of saving from James’ shot before the break. It was 3-0 four minutes into the second half when Azpilicueta crossed from the left. Abraham challenged, and the ball ran to Hudson-Odoi who stretched to score his first Premier League goal. The goal stood because Abraham had not touched the ball, and Hudson-Odoi had not been offside when his captain had crossed the ball.
Pope made a reaction save from Abraham’s effort, and also saved well from Mason Mount, so the score finished 3-0.
Everton 1 Brighton 0
Everton’s progress up the table continues under Carlo Ancelotti, and they have nothing other than their 16 remaining Premier League games to worry about after embarrassing FA Cup defeat to Liverpool’s youngsters last week at Anfield. There had even been a small delegation of fans protesting at Everton’s Finch farm training ground earlier this week.
Those partisan fans thought they had a penalty inside four minutes when Lewis Dunk seemed to tug Walcott as he advanced upon goal, but referee David Coote was not interested, and he was supported by VAR. They wanted another penalty when Bernard’s shot hit a Brighton defender at close range. The game was decided in the 38th minute by a fine goal by Richarlison who demonstrated skill inside the area after receiving from Digne. Richarlison’s shot was hit with his right foot inside Ryan’s left post.
Trossard hit the bar with Pickford beaten by his powerful right foot shot in the second half, and at the other end Ryan made a good reaction save from Calvert-Lewin after good work by Bernard on the left. Calvert-Lewin was through after 68 minutes and tested Ryan with a longer shot this time, but the Brighton keeper saved well to his right. There was a scramble in the Brighton goalmouth after an Everton corner, with one effort hitting the bar. Calvert-Lewin did get the ball into the net, but with his arm, and he was booked.
Brighton brought on 36-year-old Glenn Murray as they desperately sought a goal. A Murray header did bring Pickford’s first save of the game. Murray went very close with another late effort, but the score remained 1-0.
Leicester 1 Southampton 2
Who would have believed that less than three months after an embarrassing 9-0 defeat at home to Brendan Rodgers’ “Foxes” Southampton would beat Leicester 2-1 at the King Power Stadium? Who would have believed that Danny Ings would add no less than 10 Premier League goals to his season tally (now 14) and that he would be equal second place in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot? Who would have believed that the “Saints” would win 4 out of their last 5 Premier League games, climbing to 12th place in the table? That is what has happened and Southampton (Spurs are their possible FA Cup Fourth Round opponents) are in top six form. Football is of course full of uncertainties which is why free bets and betting offers are of interest.
Ings was nearly on the scoresheet inside seven minutes when Harvey Barnes gave the ball away and Schmeichel was required to make two saves at Ings’ feet. Leicester took a 14th minute lead though. The goal came from a move where Vardy raced away with the ball down the left flank, crossing to the advancing Praet who made no mistake. Armstrong equalised five minutes later with a shot that took a wicked deflection to beat Schmeichel.
Ings hit the crossbar just before the break, meeting Armstrong’s cross with a shot that bounced up onto the bar after hitting the ground first. After the corner, Ings hit the bar again, this time with a well-hit right footed shot.
Jack Stephens had a second half effort cleared off the line after a Southampton free kick had reached him beyond Schmeichel, who had been impeded by one of his own players. McCarthy made a good reaction save from a Johnny Evans header following a Leicester corner. Leicester lost the ball in midfield from their own throw and Armstrong put Shane Long through. Long was shoved in the back and referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot. However, Leicester were saved by one of those marginal VAR offside decisions ad there was no penalty. Iheanacho bundled a ball over the line at the other end, but he was definitely offside.
Danny Ings gave 2Saints” the lead in the 81st minute. Substitute Adams had out Ings through and Schmeichel got a heavy touch to the shot, but the ball still hit the net. Schmeichel did make an excellent save from Ings shortly after that, after Redmond had seemingly set Ings up for a second goal. McCarthy saved from Iheanacho at the other end. Leicester thought they had an added time equaliser when Evans headed home a free kick, but they were denied by VAR.
Manchester United 4 Norwich 0
United got their first win of 2020 in emphatic style at the fourth attempt. The first goal came in the 27th minute and was scored by Rashford at the back post as he stabbed home Mata’s floated ball. Cantwell had a shot well saved by De Gea after Buendia had passed to the midfielder on his left.
United increased their lead with a 52nd minute penalty scored by Rashford after Krul had pulled down left back Williams in the area. Goal number three came only two minutes later following a corner on the right and another cross by Mata with Martial heading home. Williams somehow managed to scoop the ball well over the target from close range having been set up by Pereira.
The scoring was completed by substitute Greenwood soon after he came inside the 76th minute. It was a left foot shot inside Krul’s left post. It all looked pretty routine for United who hold fifth place after this win. Norwich are adrift from safety at the bottom.
Wolves 1 Newcastle 1
Wolves are one of two Premier League draw specialists (the other team is Arsenal) having drawn no less than 10 of their games. Almiron gave the visitors a seventh minute lead with his second goal in as many games (he scored last week against Rochdale). The Paraguayan International, who had such a long opening barren spell after his arrival, had scored his first Premier League goal in December. This one followed a cross by Willems and nice touch by Dwight Gayle into the path of the scorer who hit his shot into the roof of the net.
Wolves equalised seven minutes later when Dendoncker’s shot hit the net following a corner on the right. Wolves had been asking about a penalty in the run-up to that corner, but the referee and VAR had denied them. Traore crossed for Jimenez and Dubravka made a great close-range save. Wolves were denied in the second half with Matty Longstaff clearing Doherty’s shot off the line, following another cross by Traore. Neto was another Wolves player denied by a close-range Dubravka save.
Spurs 0 Liverpool 1
Until this game Toby Alderweireld had never worn the captain’s armband for Spurs in a Premier League game, but when Eric Dier was subbed in Munich last month Toby did take the role of captain.
I didn’t comment in my match report, because I cannot see such detail from my lofty position at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but of course there has been some discussion about whether or not Andy Robertson should have been shown a red card for his studs up follow through on Japhet Tanganga in the second half. In another incident Robertson also had a petulant go at Alderweireld, but he was not shown any card, which must explain Martin Atkinson’s low mark. Former referee Keith Hackett had this to say on the subject.
On his Premier League debut, Japhet Tanganga was your Spurs Odyssey man of the match.
Sunday 12th January, 2020
Bournemouth 0 Watford 3
Since Nigel Pearson was appointed Watford have won 4 of their last five Premier league games and drawn the other. Pearson has dragged them off the very bottom of the table, when they were seemingly doomed, and with this emphatic win he has lifted them out of the bottom three.
As for Bournemouth another injury problem – this time for goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale – meant that 20-year-old Mark Travers got the gig. Travers made his Premier League debut when Bournemouth beat 9-man Spurs last May, but this was his first league game of this season.
Bournemouth were poor for much of the game but Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson did test Foster with a free kick after Lerma had been fouled 25 yards out. Bournemouth nearly came a cropper when they failed to play the ball out from the back, and travers had to make a save from Deulofeu. The “Cherries” were caught out trying the same thing just before the break, and this time Sarr passed inside to Doucoure who made no mistake. Travers had hit the ball straight to Sarr.
Watford captain Troy Deeney made it 2-0 in the 65th minute after good work by Sarr on the right. Doucoure was unable to convert Sarr’s cross from the right, but the ball ran to Deeney who hammered it home.
Two Watford substitutes rounded off the scoring. Gray and Pereyra advanced with Gray in a central position and Pereyra to his right. Gray had a shot cleared off the line but Pereyra did not fail.
This could be a pivotal game, with Bournemouth now in the bottom three, and in very poor form having lost 9 of their last 11 league games. Watford’s next game is at home to Spurs next Saturday lunchtime.
Aston Villa 1 Manchester City 6
Goal wizard Sergio Aguero scored his twelfth Premier League hat-trick and now has 177 Premier League goals making him the highest ever scoring overseas player in the Premier League. Only Shearer, Rooney and Andy Cole are above him in the all-time list of Premier League scorers. As I often remind you, there was football before the Premier League and a master goalscorer called Jimmy Greaves!
City simply annihilated Villa, who had dropped into the bottom three after Watford’s win at Bournemouth. Chelsea’s Danny Drinkwater, bought from Leicester in 2017 and with hardly any game time for anyone since then, spent the first half of this season on loan at Burnley, for whom he played in two games, and has now changed loan clubs to Villa. Two of the three games Drinkwater has appeared in were against City, who have scored a total of 10 goals in those two games. Drinkwater had a mare and was clearly to blame for one of City’s goals today.
With Tom Heaton out injured, Villa played Norwegian International Orjan Nyland in goal. Former Liverpool man Pepe Reina now aged 37 and with AC Milan was in the stand and is rumoured to be joining Villa. They are going to need him. City’s front three was Mahrez, Aguero and Jesus!
Goal number one was scored by Mahrez in the 18th minute. He advanced upon the right side of the Villa area and scored in front of the Holte End hitting a left foot shot inside Nyland at his left post. Mahrez had a second goal only six minutes later. Aguero had reached the bye-line on the left but there were a couple of other touches as Villa failed to clear and Mahrez scored from less than 10 yards. Drinkwater had been culpable in failing to clear.
Aguero made it 3-0 in the 28th minute. De Bruyne left Drinkwater behind before slipping the ball to Aguero who fired home a rasping shot from the edge of the area. Some Villa fans started to head for the bars, if not the exits. It was 4-0 before the interval as the magical De Bruyne advanced down the right side before sending an exquisite cross into the danger zone where Jesus converted.
Goal number 4 was Aguero’s second in the 57th minute. De Bruyne passed inside to David Silva who passed forward for the little striker who took a couple of touches before placing the ball past Nyland. The Villa goalkeeper actually made a double save from David Silva and Jesus, and also saved a difficult deflected shot by Cancelo. Jesus again forced the busy keeper to save at his near post.
The hapless Drinkwater was mercifully released from duty before City scored their sixth goal. That came after left back Hause presented the ball to Mahrez, who passed inside to Aguero, who scored his hat-trick goal with his right foot. (81 mins)
Hardy Villa fans did see a consolation goal in the last minute after Trezeguet was hampered by Gundogan and El Ghazi scored from the spot. It was literally the last piece of action.
Fixtures & Results 10-12.01.20
Sheff Utd 1-0 West Ham
C. Palace 1-1 Arsenal
Chelsea 3-0 Burnley
Everton 1-0 Brighton
Leicester 1-2 S'hampton
Man Utd 4-0 Norwich
Wolves 1-1 Newcastle
Spurs 0-1 Liverpool
B'mouth 0-3 Watford
A. Villa 1-6 Man City
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 21 20 1 0 50-14 36 61
2. Man City 22 15 2 5 62-25 37 47
3. Leicester 22 14 3 5 47-21 26 45
4. Chelsea 22 12 3 7 39-29 10 39
5. Man Utd 22 9 7 6 36-25 11 34
6. Sheff Utd 22 8 8 6 24-21 3 32
7. Wolves 22 7 10 5 31-28 3 31
8. Spurs 22 8 6 8 36-31 5 30
9. C. Palace 22 7 8 7 20-24 -4 29
10. Arsenal 22 6 10 6 29-31 -2 28
11. Everton 22 8 4 10 25-32 -7 28
12. S'hampton 22 8 4 10 27-39 -12 28
13. Newcastle 22 7 5 10 21-34 -13 26
14. Brighton 22 6 6 10 25-30 -5 24
15. Burnley 22 7 3 12 24-37 -13 24
16. West Ham 21 6 4 11 25-33 -8 22
17. Watford 22 5 7 10 20-34 -14 22
18. A. Villa 22 6 3 13 28-43 -15 21
19. B'mouth 22 5 5 12 20-35 -15 20
20. Norwich 22 3 5 14 22-45 -23 14