Premier League Review - Matchday 20
Brighton 1 Everton 0
Everton were brought down to earth on the south coast after their big win in the north-west at Burnley. Matty Ryan has left for International duty, and former Spurs (and Brentford, and Fulham) man David Button made his Brighton debut in goal. Button actually lost the ball in his area and Duffy had to clear from Richarlison, but the Everton player was offside anyway. Button had a better moment soon after when he saved from the Brazilian.
Brighton's goal came in the 59th minute, following a corner and was scored at close range by Locadia. It took a consultation between the referee and his assistant to award the goal though. Locadia had been in an offside position, but Everton's Gomes had put the ball into his path. Button then pushed a Richarlison shot onto his right post. Zouma had a header go off the top of the bar following a free kick.
Fulham 1 Huddersfield 0
Fulham kept a second clean sheet in three games and their fifth point, but they had to wait till added time for the winner which put them four points above Huddersfield and one point behind Southampton. They were awarded a penalty after Lowe's handball fifteen minutes before the end, but Kamara hit a poor spot kick saved by Lossl. There had been some discussion among the Fulham players regarding who should take the kick. Fulham made a break in added time and Sessegnon fed Mitrovic who scored with a well placed first-time shot.
Leicester 0 Cardiff 1
One day you beat last season's runaway champions. On another day you lose to a promoted team battling against a quick return. It was one of those days for "The Foxes" and a great day for "The Bluebirds".
Etheridge was busy in goal, but Murphy had a couple of second half chances for the away side. Maddison was fouled and the referee awarded Leicester a penalty after 74 minutes, but Etheridge saved Maddison's shot, with Bamba tackling to prevent the follow-up. Cardiff snatched their first away win of the season with a right footed shot from 25 yards by Camarasa which beat Schmeichel in his top left corner.
Spurs 1 Wolves 3
Perhaps surprisingly, in only our fifth home Premier League game against Wolves, this was our second defeat. In December 2009 Mick McCarthy's team beat us 1-0. On the plus side we did finish the season in fourth place, winning our place in the Champions League. On the spooky side, the referee was the same as we had for this game - Stuart Attwell!
It was one of those games when Spurs Odyssey voters chose a least worst Spurs player, and that was Harry Kane, deservedly recognised for a goal that should have been part of a successful game. The spursometer can be viewed in full here.
Watford 1 Newcastle 1
Watford were strong favourites to win this game, but Newcastle earned a precious point. They took the lead after 29 minutes when Rondon headed home Matt Ritchie's cross from the left. Rondon had the ball in the net again, this time with an outstretched left foot, but this time he was offside.
It took Watford until the 82nd minute to equalise. Deulofeu crossed from the right and Doucoure headed it back across goal into the net in front of the Rookery Stand.
Liverpool 5 Arsenal 1
Liverpool certainly made an emphatic statement about their title credentials with this thrashing of Arsenal. They go into 2019 with a 7 point lead over Manchester City, and next Thursday's game at The Etihad promises to be a humdinger!
Arsenal wore a sky blue strip, but bore no resemblance to Manchester City. Arsenal actually took the lead after 11 minutes when Maitland-Niles, playing on the right side of a front three, converted Iwobi's cross from the left. Arsenal's joy was short-lived as Firmino made a run through the middle, passed to Salah and ran on to receive Salah's ball from the edge of the area to score the first of three personal goals.
Firmino's second goal came within further two minutes (16) as he made a delightful run directly into the box through the middle, before planting the ball past Leno. Salah fed Mane inside the box for a 3-1 lead after 32 minutes. The move followed a cheap corner conceded by Arsenal and a Liverpool move from inside the Arsenal half. Arsenal's defending had been rank to say the least.
Salah was fouled by Sokratis and took the penalty himself to make it 4-1 at half-time. In the second half, Aubameyang somehow managed to scoop Ramsey's ball over the bar from very close range, but the offside flag had been raised anyway. Liverpool won another penalty for a push on Lovren and Firmino took this one for his hat-trick (65 minutes).
Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea maintained a five point lead over Arsenal, and are two points behind Spurs after this narrow win. Willian hit the post with a free kick following a foul on Hazard, and then had a low shot saved by Guaita. Barkley's effort from the following corner also hit the outside of the Palace post. This time the referee gave the correct decision of a goal kick, to ironic cheers from the Palace fans.
The decisive goal was scored by Kante running onto David Luiz's lifted pass after 51 minutes. Kante seems to be thriving in his more advanced midfield role given him by Maurizio Sarri. Palace didn't manage a shot on target in the whole game.
Burnley 2 West Ham 0
Sean Dyche made a big decision before this game and that was to drop Joe Hart, replacing him with another England goalkeeper Tom Heaton, who hadn't started a Premier League game for 15 months. Heaton can claim a part in Burnley's first goal which followed a play from the edge of the Burnley area and ended with Barnes heading down for Wood to finish in the fifteenth minute.
19 year old Dwight McNeil, making his first Premier League start, made it 2-0 after 34 minutes scoring with a shot at the back post from Westwood's deep cross from the right.
Late in the game Heaton did make a great save from Carroll, arching back to push a header away. This was only Burnley's fourth Premier League win. They remain in the bottom three but they are now level on points with Southampton, who are fourth from bottom. A lack-lustre West Ham lost their second game in three matches.
Southampton 1 Manchester City 3
City returned to their more devastating form with a front three of Mahrez, Aguero and Sterling, whilst Fernandinho returned to his post in front of the defence, marshalling the deep midfield. They also returned to second place with this emphatic win over a Southampton side fighting hard to claw themselves away from the relegation battle.
Sterling and Silva were attacking McCarthy's goal within minutes, whilst Charlie Austin had half a chance at the other end, but could not quite make the right contact on the long ball he had chased. City had the lead after 10 minutes in easy fashion as Bernardo Silva advanced to the right-hand bye-line and crossed for David Silva to deliver the scoring shot.
McCarthy saved well from Aguero after Sterling had crossed after 25 minutes. Austin's flicked header was saved one-handed by Ederson, diving to his left and Southampton were putting up a fight. This was rewarded when Hojbjerg stole the ball off Zinchenko and rattled the goal with his shot to equalise. Ward-Prowse wanted but was denied a penalty when he went down easily under Zinchenko's challenge.
City had the lead before half-time when Ward-Prowse inadvertently deflected Sterling's cross past McCarthy's right hand into his own net. Aguero made it 3-1 at the interval when he headed in Zinchenko's cross.
In the second half Sterling forced a save from McCarthy and Aguero hit the top of the bar with a shot. Sterling was denied a penalty. City were in total control, and McCarthy had to save from Mahrez too. Hojbjerg was sent off in the late stages for a studs-up challenge on Fernandinho.
Manchester United 4 Bournemouth 1
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has removed the Mourinho shackles from United and won his first three games, scoring 12 goals in the process. Okay, it has been against Cardiff, Huddersfield and Bournemouth, but United are looking a better side playing with more freedom and flair. Solskjaer has also shown total faith in Paul Pogba who rewarded the caretaker manager with a clear man of the match performance here.
Pogba opened the scoring after only 5 minutes. Young sent the ball down the line to Rashford, who beat two players as he cut in and crossed low for Pogba to slide in and hook the ball home with his left foot. It was 2-0 after 33 minutes when Pogba met Herrera's cross with a near post header. Rashford made it 3-0 at half-time with a finish similar to that of Pogba's first goal, this time from a cross by Martial. Ake got one back before the break, heading home Brooks' cross after a corner. United have conceded a goal in each of those Solskjaer wins.
Lukaku replaced Rashford and soon made it 4-1, scoring from Pogba's chipped pass. Pogba had a shot pushed onto the post by the goalkeeper, but there was an offside flag for another United player.
United had got away with a few tough challenges, including a high boot by Bailly, but he did not escape a red card for his tackle upon Fraser.
Brighton 1-0 Everton
Fulham 1-0 Hds'field
Leicester 0-1 Cardiff
Spurs 1-3 Wolves
Watford 1-1 Newcastle
Liverpool 5-1 Arsenal
C. Palace 0-1 Chelsea
Burnley 2-0 West Ham
S'hampton 1-3 Man City
Man Utd 4-1 B'mouth
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 20 17 3 0 48-8 40 54
2. Man City 20 15 2 3 54-16 38 47
3. Spurs 20 15 0 5 43-21 22 45
4. Chelsea 20 13 4 3 38-16 22 43
5. Arsenal 20 11 5 4 42-30 12 38
6. Man Utd 20 10 5 5 41-32 9 35
7. Wolves 20 8 5 7 23-23 0 29
8. Leicester 20 8 4 8 24-23 1 28
9. Watford 20 8 4 8 27-28 -1 28
10. Everton 20 7 6 7 31-30 1 27
11. West Ham 20 8 3 9 27-30 -3 27
12. B'mouth 20 8 2 10 28-37 -9 26
13. Brighton 20 7 4 9 22-27 -5 25
14. C. Palace 20 5 4 11 17-26 -9 19
15. Newcastle 20 4 6 10 15-27 -12 18
16. Cardiff 20 5 3 12 19-38 -19 18
17. S'hampton 20 3 6 11 21-38 -17 15
18. Burnley 20 4 3 13 19-41 -22 15
19. Fulham 20 3 5 12 18-43 -25 14
20. H'dsfield 20 2 4 14 12-35 -23 10