Premier League Review - Matchday 22
West Ham 1 Arsenal 0
Samir Nasri made his first Premier League appearance for West Ham against his old club, having been given a return to football by the "Hammers" following a ban imposed over a doping offence. Nasri last played in Turkey in November 2017. The gap between Arsenal and the top four widened after this narrow defeat at The London Stadium. Arnautovic started for the home side, despite rumours of a desire to leave for China, much to the distress of West Ham fans. This was West Ham's 50th Premier League game at their new (rented) stadium.
19 year old Declan Rice, who had yet to score his first goal for West Ham went close with a header from a corner towards the end of the first half. That first goal did come in the 48th minute, following a corner, and Anderson's ball from the bye line and half a clearance by the Arsenal defence.
The game was played in front of a new record London Stadium crowd (for football) of 59,946, but it seemed to lack the intensity and the atmosphere of a London Derby. Nonetheless, an Arsenal defeat is always welcome to Spurs fans!
Brighton 0 Liverpool 1
After two consecutive defeats (one an intense top of the table clash against Manchester City; the other an FA Cup loss at Molineux), Liverpool fielded a strong team featuring their usual front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane and returned to winning ways - just.
Shaqiri went close with a glanced header across the goal following Alexander-Arnold's cross, and early in the second half, goalkeeper David Button held Salah's low shot from just inside the Brighton area. That was Liverpool's first shot on target.
Salah turned Gross inside out inside the penalty area and won a penalty, scoring the decisive goal from the spot after 50 minutes, with a powerful left footed drive to Button's left. Salah moved level with league top scorers Kane and Aubameyang with his goal, but missed an easy chance towards the end of this game to make it 2-0 and 15 league goals.
Burnley 2 Fulham 1
Burnley won this game thanks to two own goals. They didn't even muster one shot on target for themselves!
It was Fulham who took an early lead, and it was a spectacular goal by Andre Shurrle who latched onto a long clearance just inside the Burnley area, hitting a cracking right foot half-volley.
Burnley's first goal came after 20 minutes when Bryan could not help but poke Hendrick's cross/shot into his own net. The second followed in similar fashion from the other side of goal just three minutes later. This time Hendrick was definitely trying to cross the ball, but Odoi's impetus meant that he simply hit the ball into his own goal.
Burnley's Tarkowski made a remarkable clearance just in front of goal from Vietto's second half shot, and the ball looped over the bar. Heaton saved another shot by Vietto towards the end of the second half, and that's as close as Fulham came to adding to their score.
The result leaves Fulham second from bottom and puts Burnley 3 points clear of the bottom three.
Cardiff 0 Huddersfield 0
This was probably the most predictable of scorelines, although your webmaster thought Cardiff would win!
Neil Warnock thought that Hoilett should have had a first half penalty when impeded as he tried to latch onto to Mendez-Laing's pass, and referee Lee Mason initially gave Huddersfield a second-half penalty when he thought Bennett had fouled Hadergjonaj, but he was persuaded by his assistant that there was no foul.
At least Huddersfield ended their run of 9 consecutive defeats, one of which was in the FA Cup, but they are still at the foot of the table.
On Monday (14th January) Huddersfield announced that the club and manager David Wagner were parting company by mutual agreement.
Crystal Palace 1 Watford 2
In an exciting start at Selhurst Park, both Deulofeu and Pereyra hit the post for Watford. It was Palace who took a first half lead following two corners; and a scramble for the second where Cathcart involuntarily put the ball over the line of his own goal.
It looked as if Palace would increase their lead but Zaha was wide on two occasions and Milivojevic's long range shot was saved. Craig Cathcart got sweet revenge for his own goal by equalising with a header from a 68th minute corner. Zaha hit a ball which crossed the goal and was somehow missed at the back post by the advancing McArthur.
Watford substitute Tom Cleverley scored the decisive goal after 74 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area following an interchange with Troy Deeney, and a weak defensive headed clearance. Palace were made to rue their profligacy in front of goal.
Leicester 1 Southampton 2
Last week Leicester were knocked out of the FA Cup by giant-killers Newport. This week they lost at home to a Southampton side who are clawing away from the relegation zone. The warning signs were there for Leicester after 9 minutes when Redmond raced away and Armstrong hit the side netting with a deflected shot.
Southampton were without Danny Ings and Charlie Austin so Shane Long led the line. He won a penalty when the ball came back from a poor Schmeichel clearance and Mendy committed a foul just inside the box. Ward-Prowse put away the spot kick, although Schmeichel did get both hands to the ball.
Valery claimed a penalty when challenged by Chilwell, but Leicester wanted a yellow card for a dive. That didn't come, but the 19 year old did see two yellows before half-time. The first was for a touch line clash, again with Chilwell, who was also booked. From the free kick Bednarek cleared off the line. Valery got his second yellow card for a foul on Albrighton, having had two nibbles at the Leicester midfielder within seconds.
Southampton nonetheless increased their lead in first half added time, when Long got into the area with the ball following McCarthy's long kick, beating Schmeichel (who again got a touch) from an angle on the right.
Leicester got a goal back through Ndidi, when the ball more or less rebounded off the midfielder in the 58th minute when Ricardo Pereira cut the ball back from the bye line on the right. Leicester huffed and puffed but they couldn't blow Southampton's ten-man house down.
Claude Puel is under the spotlight again and Leicester look like being stuck in no-man's land this season.
Chelsea 2 Newcastle 1
Pedro soon put Chelsea into the lead when he converted David Luiz's long ball with a lofted shot over Dubravka. Chelsea were dominating the early possession but failed to increase their lead. Both Rondon and Perez went close for Newcastle as they fought back. Chelsea were punished when Ciaran Clark headed in Ritchie's corner in the 40th minute.
Normality was restored when Willian scored a delightful shot curled from the left of the area across the goal and into the net on the far side of the goal. Newcastle found no way back and fell into the bottom three. Chelsea drew within one point of Spurs and are six points ahead of fifth placed Arsenal. One or both of our London rivals will lose points next week as Arsenal host Chelsea next Saturday tea-time.
Everton 2 Bournemouth 0
Perhaps a little spice was added to this mid-table clash by the presence of Liverpool loanee Nathan Clyne playing at right back for Bournemouth. Seamus Coleman returned for Everton, making his 250th appearance.
Clyne put in an early deep cross returned by Fraser, and nearly bundled in by King, but Pickford held the ball. Brooks had an early shout for a penalty denied by referee Anthony Taylor. Brooks had a shot that beat Pickford, but rebounded off the keeper's right post.
It took the home side a long time to assert themselves and just before the break Keane brushed the bar with a header from a corner.
Ake cleared a Richarlison shot off the line after a second half corner for Everton, but the home side did take a 61st minute lead following another corner at the Gwladys Street End. Sigurdsson took the corner on the right, which was returned into the box for Zouma to head home his first Everton goal. The 24 year old central defender is on loan from Chelsea.
Everton escaped a late penalty decision againsgt them when Gomes fouled Lerma unseen by the officials, and actually increased their lead in the fifth minute of added time when Lookman teed up Calvert-Lewin for a shot that hit the net just inside the keeper's right post. Those home fans that were left in Goodison Park were relieved. Bournemouth justifiably feel hard done-by.
Spurs 0 Manchester United 1
The only two teams Spurs have failed to score against in 33 matches so far this season have been Manchester City and Manchester United. Both games were 1-0 home defeats.
Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that Harry Kane has damaged ankle ligaments, and will not return to training before 4th March.
Spurs Odyssey voters made Toby Alderweireld the Spurs man of the match, but of course De Gea was the star of the show for United. Spurs got their worst mark of the season for their score ratio. Have a look at the spursometer in full.
It's over two years now since Mike Dean got a decent mark from Spurs Odyssey voters. The biggest cricism of him is over his booking of Pogba for the high and dangerous challenge on Dele Alli. As Pogba was booked and the referee did see the incident, the matter cannot be pursued any further. Former referee Keith Hckett has described the challenge as shocking and agrees that Dean's decision was wrong.
Manchester City 3 Wolves 0
After a quiet start to the game, City operated the "on" button and scored in the tenth minute. Laporte sent Sane clear down the left with an excellent pass, and Sane crossed low for Gabriel Jesus to finish easily. Rui Patricio had to be alert to tip over a deflected David Silva shot. Wolves' Willy Boly was sent off for a 19th minute dangerous challenge upon Bernardo Silva. Wolves had already only been managing 22% of the possession. They faced a momentous task.
An inevitable second goal came for City in the 39th minute after Bennett fouled Sterling in the penalty area. Jesus scored the penalty with a stuttering run for his second goal.
It took a long time, but City's third goal came courtesy of substitute Kevin De Bruyne, who crossed from outside the left corner of the area. Wolves' skipper Coady diverted the ball and was credited with an own goal, or should that read debited? Aguero was another City sub. The game was over as a competition with that first goal, and was never a spectacle. City have scored 19 goals without reply in their last three matches.
West Ham 1-0 Arsenal
Brighton 0-1 Liverpool
Burnley 2-1 Fulham
Cardiff 0-0 Hds'field
C. Palace 1-2 Watford
Leicester 1-2 S'hampton
Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle
Everton 2-0 B'mouth
Spurs 0-1 Man Utd
Man City 3-0 Wolves
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 22 18 3 1 50-10 40 57
2. Man City 22 17 2 3 59-17 42 53
3. Spurs 22 16 0 6 46-22 24 48
4. Chelsea 22 14 5 3 40-17 23 47
5. Arsenal 22 12 5 5 46-32 14 41
6. Man Utd 22 12 5 5 44-32 12 41
7. Watford 22 9 5 8 32-32 0 32
8. Leicester 22 9 4 9 26-25 1 31
9. West Ham 22 9 4 9 30-32 -2 31
10. Everton 22 8 6 8 33-31 2 30
11. Wolves 22 8 5 9 23-28 -5 29
12. B'mouth 22 8 3 11 31-42 -11 27
13. Brighton 22 7 5 10 24-30 -6 26
14. C. Palace 22 6 4 12 20-28 -8 22
15. Burnley 22 6 3 13 23-43 -20 21
16. S'hampton 22 4 7 11 23-39 -16 19
17. Cardiff 22 5 4 13 19-41 -22 19
18. Newcastle 22 4 6 12 16-31 -15 18
19. Fulham 22 3 5 14 20-49 -29 14
20. H'dsfield 22 2 5 15 13-37 -24 11