Premier League Review – Matchday 28
Friday 28th February, 2020
Norwich City 1 Leicester 0
Norwich sprung the first big surprise of the weekend with this win which gives them hope of survival with ten games to play. Leicester missed Vardy, who had an ankle problem. This was the 15th anniversary of Delia Smith’s famous “Let’s be having you!” quote, and Delia celebrated the win as much as anybody in the crowd.
Leicester midfielder Praet hit the outside of the post midway through the first half after Ricardo’s cross, and Iheanacho fired over from the middle of goal after Perez’s short ball. (38 mins) VAR might have disallowed a goal here for handball. Iheanacho thought he had given his side the lead after 49 minutes with a left foot shot to the right of Krul, but VAR did spot his handball and the goal did not stand.
Duda had a shot pushed over the bar by Schmeichel after he received the ball from Cantwell. Schmeichel had to punch away another shot by Duda. Norwich had not scored a goal from open play since New Year’s Day, but they brought that run to an end when Aarons’ cross from the right reached Jamal lewis on the other side of the area. Lewis scored with a great shot across Schmeichel’s left hand. (70 mins)
Saturday 29th February, 2020
Brighton 0 Crystal Palace 1
This is a “Derby” match whose history goes back to a time when two former Spurs men Mullery and Venables were the managers of the clubs involved. The presence and antics of Wilfried Zaha did not help to ease any of the rancour between the two sides! The result moved Palace towards safety but leaves Brighton at risk. There is little difference in the status of the Soth coast side compared to this time last year when Chris Hughton was in charge.
Kouyate failed to take an early chance for Palace and Maupay had a shot well saved by Guaita at the other end. Guaita was then alert to clear at close range after the corner and to hold March’s follow-up shot. Zaha was involved in a spat with Brighton substitute Schelotto who was warming up. Zaha got angry when Schelotto kicked the ball at his chest, and he was seen spitting towards, but not at the player. Schelotto was booked even before he got onto the field of play. March missed a good chance for the home side when he should at least have hit the target. Cahill headed a corner (won by Zaha) down so hard that it simply bounced over the goal.
Ayew scored the decisive goal after 70 minutes when he was put in by Benteke (who had missed one or two chances himself!). Ryan got a touch to Ayew’s shot but the ball hit the net to the left of the keeper. Towards the end of the game Palace should have made it 2-0 breaking from their own half. Zaha was put clear by Cosun but hit the outside of the post with his shot.
Bournemouth 2 Chelsea 2
Bournemouth got a vital point against Chelsea, but at the end of the day found themselves back in the bottom three. Chelsea were without top scorer Tammy Abraham who has an ankle injury. Billing had an early chance after Stacey crossed from the right, but Caballero stopped the shot. Billing then hit a shot into the side netting. Chelsea took the lead after 33 minutes when James crossed and Giroud got a touch which rebounded off the bar. Alonso was following up towards the left of the area and hammered a shot into the net. Ramsdale made a couple of decent saves from Mount and James.
Giroud should have made it 2-0 early in the second half but pushed his shot wide after a ball by Alonso. Bournemouth had a couple of corners and from the second, taken by Fraser, Lerma headed home although Caballero did get a hand to the ball. That was in the 54th minute and three minutes later Josh King gave the home side the lead, scoring close in after Stacey’s short cross from his right. VAR took its time, but the goal was good. It could have been three for Bournemouth, but Caballero saved from Callum Wilson at close range. Chelsea grabbed an equaliser five minutes from time, and Alonso was the scorer again. This one was a header following up Ramsdale’s fine save from a Pedro shot. Those teams chasing Chelsea’s Champions League spot were encouraged.
Newcastle 0 Burnley 0
Burnley will go above Tottenham if they win Saturday’s game, but Newcastle are not out of the relegation woods yet. There was little to excite in this game. Steve Bruce made 5 changes to his team including a recall for Dwight Gayle. The closest either side came to scoring in the first half was a Ritchie shot after a corner, which was deflected into the side netting at The Gallowgate End. Almiron was playing a number 10 role and in the second half when he crossed from the right, Gayle tried a nice overhead kick, but it passed wide. Ritchie hit a powerful shot from a good 25 yards which worried Pope but curled away from the target.
Newcastle did most of the attacking, but Burnley defended well. Spurs will have a job to get through the “Clarets”’ defence on Saturday tea-time at Turf Moor.
West Ham 3 Southampton 1
The battle to avoid relegation could be the fight of most interest at the conclusion of this season, and West Ham managed a vital win today, dragging themselves out of the bottom three. Jarrod Bowen made his full debut after his January signing from Hull. For Southampton Danny Ings was only fit enough for the bench. Bowen had his first goal for his new club after 15 minutes too. He had already come close after Antonio led the charge from a Southampton corner, but Ward-Prowse blocked from Bowen’s feet. This time Fornals put him through and Bowen scored with his left foot. Southampton equalised in the 31st minute in a move from their own half with Armstrong and Ward-Prowse making the final passes before Obafemi lifted a right-foot shot into the net. Haller made it 2-1 in the 40th minute after poor goalkeeping by McCarthy who failed to hold Antonio’s lofted cross giving Haller the opportunity to snap up the gifted close-range goal.
Antonio secured the win with a 54th minute goal after being put through by Fornals. Antonio had another chance after Haller’s pass, but McCarthy was equal to this one. With one win in four games the “Saints” are still in need of a few points.
Watford 3 Liverpool 0
This was, of course, a magnificent and crucial win for Watford which brought to an end Liverpool’s unbeaten record this season; their 18-match winning run and a 44-match unbeaten run. Significantly Lovren played for Liverpool and Watford captain Troy Deeney targeted him, rather than Van Dijk, although Van Dijk made a mistake or two in this match.
Deulofeu had a shot after 11 minutes which passed just over Alisson’s bar, and Salah hit a shot high into the side netting after a 19th minute corner. Deulofeu was badly injured 20 minutes into the game and was stretchered off. In first-half added time Troy Deeney had two shots saved at close quarters by the Liverpool keeper. Liverpool had offered little threat in the half.
Two minutes into the second half Deulofeu’s replacement Pereyra gave Sarr a chance, and the shot was pushed over by Alisson. Foster saved from Robertson at the other end. Watford took the lead in the 54h minute after a throw on the left. Deeney’s strength kept Lovren occupied allowing Doucoure to cross low from the bye-line and Sarr to score from close range. 6 minutes later man of the match Sarr had another goal. It followed two passes from the right touchline which just stayed in play, and a beautiful finish over the advancing keeper. Any striker would be proud of this second goal.
Liverpool substitute Lallana hit the outside of Foster’s left post with a 20-yard shot, but the game was secured in the 72nd minute after an uncharacteristic mistake by Alexander-Arnold whose pass went to the feet of Sarr. Sarr passed back to Deeney who coolly hit his 20 yard shot across the keeper into the net. All three goals had been scored in front of the rapturous Rookery Stand, who had witnessed an historic result. Saar had a hat-trick chance but pushed his shot just wide of the post. Jurgen Klopp graciously congratulated the Watford players at the end of the game.
Sunday 1st March 2020
Everton 1 Manchester United 1
VAR made the headlines again as Everton were denied a late winner. Andre Gomes made his first start since that serious injury sustained in Everton’s home game against Spurs back in November. Scott McTominay started for United in place of the injured James. Matic was at the base of a midfield diamond with Bruno Fernandes at the top. Everton took the lead in only the third minute and it was a mistake by De Gea whose attempted clearance was blocked by Calvert-Lewin with the ball hitting the net! De Gea did better when he dived to his left to save a subsequent shot by the Everton scorer. Matic hit the top of the crossbar with a long range shot after 6 minutes. The same player brought a save by Pickford with a low shot hit from just outside the area.
Fernandes beat Pickford on his short right side with an excellent low drive from 22 yards after 31 minutes. Gareth Southgate was watching Burnley’s Nick Pope (among others) at Newcastle on Saturday, and I am sure Pickford is going to be facing a challenge for his place in the England side. The England manager was at this game too. Richarlison glanced a header wide at the end of the first half.
Calvert-Lewin was fouled by Lindelof just outside the area ten minutes into the second half and Sigurdsson hit the post with his free kick. Calvert-Lewin was given a run by Tom Davies and forced another save by De Gea, after a poor ball in the middle by Greenwood. Pickford did make a brilliant double save on 90 minutes. The first was a parry of Fernandes’ shot from 8 yards and when substitute Ighalo followed up, Pickford had made his ground to the left and saved with his outstretched foot. The saves were rightfully celebrated like a winning moment. Southgate was smiling.
The VAR moment came two minutes into added time. Bernard crossed and Richarlison passed sideways to Sigurdsson, who stumbled as he shot. De Gea saved and Calvert-Lewin’s follow-up was deflected into the net by Maguire with Sigurdsson on the floor in an offside position. Sigurdsson was in De Gea’s eyeline of the original shot when it was hit, and VAR decreed the goal should not be awarded. Most of Goodison Park was outraged!
Spurs 2 Wolves 3
Comments offered in the post-match survey included the following:-
"This loss had nothing to do with the team having no strikers. It was because we continue to give away the ball and allow the other team to get on the front foot. 7 times in the first half we were in control, then a stupid pass..."
"Spurs have not been "clicking" for a good while.The tinkering continues, in comes Dier! Ndombele seems to be sulking but clearly has ability! Dele was dropped in a game when Moura was not connecting to crosses!
Today Tanganga made a poor effort to clear - Wolves Pounced! Aurier scored a superb goal, but another sloppy defence saw Wolves score again but the final Wolves winner should have been cut out because we were exposed on pace! If you're going to bring on Parrott give him 10mins not 1min! (Message board members might identify this contributor!)
In what was generally a poor showing, Giovani Lo Celso once again won the Spurs Odyssey man of the match vote.
The following matches will have to be re-arranged due to the Carabao Cup Final between Manchester City and Aston Villa. The game was won by City, who therefore won this trophy for a third consecutive time.
Aston Villa v Sheffield United
Manchester City v Arsenal
This match will now be played on Wednesday 11th March.
Fixtures & Results 28.02-01.03.20
Norwich 1-0 Leicester
Brighton 0-1 C. Palace
B'mouth 2-2 Chelsea
Newcastle 0-0 Burnley
West Ham 3-1 S'hampton
Watford 3-0 Liverpool
Everton 1-1 Man Utd
Spurs 2-3 Wolves
A. Villa v Sheff Utd
Man City v Arsenal
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 28 26 1 1 64-20 44 79
2. Man City 27 18 3 6 68-29 39 57
3. Leicester 28 15 5 8 54-28 26 50
4. Chelsea 28 13 6 9 47-39 8 45
5. Man Utd 28 11 9 8 42-30 12 42
6. Wolves 28 10 12 6 41-34 7 42
7. Spurs 28 11 7 10 46-39 7 40
8. Sheff Utd 27 10 10 7 29-25 4 40
9. Burnley 28 11 5 12 33-39 -6 38
10. Arsenal 27 8 13 6 39-36 3 37
11. Everton 28 10 7 11 37-42 -5 37
12. C. Palace 28 9 9 10 25-32 -7 36
13. S'hampton 28 10 4 14 35-51 -16 34
14. Newcastle 28 8 8 12 24-41 -17 32
15. Brighton 28 6 10 12 32-40 -8 28
16. West Ham 28 7 6 15 35-49 -14 27
17. Watford 28 6 9 13 27-43 -16 27
18. B'mouth 28 7 6 15 28-45 -17 27
19. A. Villa 27 7 4 16 34-52 -18 25
20. Norwich 28 5 6 17 25-51 -26 21