Premier League Review – Matchday 24
Tuesday 21st January, 2020
Aston Villa 2 Watford 1
Watford’s unbeaten run of 7 games came to an end but they did take a first half lead at Villa Park, where a late goal by Tyrone Mings gave the home side a crucial win. Pepe Reina made his home debut for Villa since his loan signing from A.C. Milan. Birmingham City fanatic Troy Deeney gave Watford a 38th minute lead with a header from Deulofeu’s cross. The goal was scored in front of the Holte End. Deulofeu had a chance himself before the break but hit the side netting.
Reina was required to make a double save in the second half, firstly from Deulofeu’s shot, then from Deeney’s follow-up. Villa had not had much of a look-in at their own ground, but finally gained more possession and got into the Watford half more before they levelled the scores in the 68th minute. The ball had been worked from right to left across the edge of the area, with Grealish passing finally to Targett on the left. Targett’s shot was saved, but Douglas Luiz made no mistake when the ball fell to his feet.
The winning goal came in the dying moments of five minutes of added time. Reina had floated in a long free kick and Mings had passed to Konsa who thought he had scored the goal with his shot. However, the final touch had come off the falling Mings. Watford had felt aggrieved that Mings had not earlier been shown a second yellow card for a handball offence.
Bournemouth 3 Brighton 1
Bournemouth’s first league win in 7 games drags Brighton down into the relegation mix. Callum Wilson scored his first Premier League goal since late September. Brighton’s Aaron Mooy, whose loan signing from Huddersfield has now been made a permanent deal, gave Maupay a good chance after 27 minutes, but this chance was well saved by Ramsdale and cleared by the Bournemouth defence. Harry Wilson put the home side in front after 36 minutes. Billing had sent a long ball to the area and Solanke had set it up for the Liverpool loanee. It was 2-0 before the break after Pascal Gross turned in a corner from the right into his own net. Callum Wilson had put the Brighton man under pressure deep inside the 6-yard area.
Matt Ryan saved a Billing header in the second half with an outstretched right hand, and in the other goal Ramsdale bravely blocked a close range shot by Dunk following a Brighton corner. Ramsdale (who missed a game recently) made another excellent save diving to his left to push away Maupay’s powerful shot from the edge of the area. Ramsdale then flew to push over a similar shot by Mooy. It was 3-0 in the 74th minute as Solanke’s pass fell somewhat fortunately off a defender’s foot into the path of Callum Wilson who scored the much-awaited goal.
Mooy finally scored for the visitors after 81 minutes with a shot that flew into the net off the inside of the post. Trossard had a late shot go wide.
Crystal Palace 0 Southampton 2
As recently as December 14th, after losing at home to West Ham, Southampton were in the bottom three. Look at them now! After winning five of their last seven Premier League games the “Saints” have climbed to ninth place. Ralf Hasenhuttl even rested top scorer Danny Ings until the last 20 minutes, thinking about the cup game against Spurs.
Tosun had failed with the goal beckoning for him in the first half, hitting a shot close to row Z than the net. Redmond gave the “Saints” a 22nd minute lead with a terrific right foot shot from just inside the area. Guaita had to claw away a shot by Armstrong. There was some upset between Zaha and several Southampton players as the half-time whistle was blown and Zaha could consider himself lucky not to see red over a hand to the face of Ward-Prowse.
It didn’t take long for Southampton to extend their lead and it came from a sensational 25 yarder by Armstrong that left the Palace keeper beaten as the shot curled away from him. Redmond gets the assist for that goal too. Shane Long hit a good chance straight into the keeper’s hands when it looked easier to score.
Everton 2 Newcastle 2
Having scored a last gasp winner in their game at home to Chelsea, Newcastle staged a miraculous escape from being two goals down in added time through Florian Lejeune, who scored his first and second goals for the club. Lejeune had come off the bench with twenty minutes of the game remaining. Everton had 65% of the possession in the first half hour, but had only forged two chances, one of which had fallen to Moise Kean, who had yet to score for the Merseysiders. Keane put that right with a low shot past Dubravka after Bernard’s low pass into the box at the Gwladys Street End. Calvert-Lewin made it 2-0 in the 54th minute with a low shot from inside the area after Digne’s pass.
Newcastle continued to be under the cosh, but there was no addition to the score by Everton with Dubravka making saves from Bernard, Calvert-Lewin and Holgate. Quite a few people will have missed the late drama. Lejeune’s first goal was an overhead kick in the fourth minute of added time after a Matt Ritchie corner. Within 102 seconds it was 2-2. Newcastle had a free kick at the half-way line. It was hit long, of course, and there were efforts by Fernandez (post), and Hayden before Lejeune managed to score from close range in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
Newcastle have signed ex-Spurs midfielder Nabil Bentaleb on loan from Schalke.
Sheffield United 0 Manchester City 1
Nobody has had it easy against Sheffield United, and this game was no exception. City included defender Laporte who was injured in August and has been missed. Henderson made a good right-handed save from Sterling, after Mahrez had set up the England International. Henderson, who is on loan from Manchester United, made another excellent save from an acrobatic effort by Otamendi. Mahrez was fouled by Basham inside the area, but Henderson was the hero again as he dived to the right to save Jesus’s penalty kick. Somehow though, VAR did not intervene regarding the fact the keeper had stepped way in front of his goal-line.
Sheffield United had their chances, notably when Mousset failed with a fancy back-heeled effort, and when McBurnie failed to make good enough contact with a cross into the danger zone. The decisive goal came after 73 minutes when De Bruyne teed up substitute Aguero who made no mistake from close range.
Chelsea 2 Arsenal 2
Arguably this was the best result for Spurs and other teams chasing the top four or any kind of European place as both teams dropped two points. Abraham hit a header straight at Leno after 15 minutes. The Arsenal keeper was stretched to the full to push over a shot by Hudson-Odoi. David Luiz was sent off after 26 minutes when he prevented a goal-scoring chance for Abraham inside the box. Mustafi had made the mistake that allowed Abraham through leaving his fellow centre-back exposed. Jorginho scored from the spot.
Martinelli equalised in the 63rd minute, making a great run from midway inside his own half following a Chelsea corner. The 18-year-old was helped by the fact that the usually reliable Kante fell over and allowed him an easy path to goal, but it was a composed finish too. Tammy Abraham was badly injured when running into advertising hoardings when he won a corner, but he will be out now. The England striker injuries (Kane, Rashford and now Abraham) are piling up. Abraham hobbled on, and as he limped back Azpilicueta scored from close range following the corner.
Right back Bellerin, making his first appearance since early December, scored an equalising goal in the 87th minute when he hit a shot from the edge of the area which beat Arrizabalaga at his right-hand post after passing through a sea of legs.
David Luiz was sighted watching on TV anxiously from the behind the scenes, but his team held out for the draw, despite a late close-range miss by Batshuayi.
Wednesday 22nd January, 2020
Leicester 4 West Ham 1
Two of West Ham’s next four league games are against Liverpool. They also have to face Manchester City in a couple of weeks, by which time they might be in the bottom three. As it is, they are only ahead of Bournemouth and Watford on goal difference.
Harvey Barnes gave the home side the lead in the 24th minute. He passed the ball to Ricardo towards the right of the area, continuing his run to receive the return pass and score from close range. Jamie Vardy pulled up with injury and had to be replaced by Iheanacho before the break. Vardy leads the Premier League goalscorers’ list with 17 goals, and it looked as if he would be out for a while, although he was on the bench and played over half an hour of Leicester's Carabao Cup semi-final second leg defeat against Villa.
Leicester carried on regardless and had a second goal before half-time. It was all too easy really, as Barnes crossed from the left and Ricardo was allowed to advance unhindered before beating Randolph with a powerfully driven shot. West Ham got a goal back from a Noble penalty in the 50th minute after Ndidi had needlessly challenged Haller on the edge of the Leicester box. The “Hammers” have been missing Antonio again recently, and he came on for the second half, nearly beating Schmeichel with a back-heel following a West Ham corner.
Randolph had already made a decent save from Perez, before he made a great flying save to push Maddison’s shot over his bar. Leicester had to wait till the 81st minute for their third goal and this came from a penalty conceded by Ogbonna who was shown yellow for shoving Iheanacho. Perez scored from the spot and he added a second personal goal to make it 4-1 in the 88th minute after a good build up to the left and right of the West Ham area. It was a low right foot shot that beat Randolph.
Spurs 2 Norwich 1
Spurs Odyssey readers voted Giovani Lo Celso their man of the match, and he also won that vote in the Southampton cup game. Such good performances must have influenced Spurs to take up their option of paying the agreed January fee to sign the midfielder perkanently from Real Betis.
Manchester United 0 Burnley 2
United made the headlines, for all the wrong reasons as Burnley won at Old Trafford for the first time since 1962. A second consecutive win against a top five side did Sean Dyche’s side the world of good, whilst United have suffered the opposite results and downturn in morale at the club. The inclusion of Phil Jones for the injured Lindelof probably didn’t help.
James had a first half header on target after a cross by Wan-Bissaka, but Pope was always going to save the attempt. Charlie Taylor got enough on the ball to divert Martial’s chance from close range. After a foul by Jones in the middle of the field, Westwood floated in a free kick which was headed on by Mee and gleefully turned into the net by Chris Wood in the 39th minute.
Jay Rodriguez gave Burnley a two-goal lead in the 56th minute, taking a short pass from Wood as he entered the area and hit a smashing left foot shot past De Gea at the Stretford End. James had a decent shot at goal, but it passed just outside Pope’s left post. Pope pushed a Martial shot around his right post. Luke Shaw did get an added time header into the net, but the “goal” was disallowed for his push on Hendrick. Most of the home fans had left by this time. There had been a fair number of empty seats at Old Trafford from the start of the game, although the crowd figure of 73,198 suggests more were present.
These are unprecedented times for United fans, for whom things just seem to get worse. Despite a 6-0 away cup win against Tranmere, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has become a target for a vicious group of “fans” who have attacked his home. There have also been death chants aimed at the United official.
Thursday 23rd January, 2020
Wolves 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool continued their amazing run winning the 22nd of their 23 games, but this one was not without a great fight from Wolves, whose second half performance tested the “Reds” to the full. Jordan Henderson headed Liverpool into an 8th minute lead from a corner. Wolves’ biggest first half chance was a free header by Doherty following a Neves cross, but the chance was headed wide across the Liverpool goal. Liverpool lost Mane with a muscle injury in the first half and he was replaced by Minamino who was recently signed from Salzburg.
Wolves lifted the tempo in the second half and Traore and Jimenez were to the fore, although Salah had a good early chance well saved by Rui Patricio, after Traore had given the Liverpool man too much time and space. Jimenez equalised with a header in the 51st minute, after he had sent Traore away down the right. When the cross came in, it was met perfectly. Traore himself had a low shot well saved by Alisson after Jimenez had passed outside to the Wolves’ wingman. Alisson also had to save from Jimenez at his near post when Traore sent a through ball to the striker.
Firmino had already had one shot well saved by the Wolves’ keeper before he scored the winning goal six minutes from time. Salah was on the edge of the box before he passed back to Henderson whose short forward pass was latched onto by Firmino who beat Rui Patricio with a rasping shot. The result did keep Wolves below Spurs on goal difference
Wednesday 29th January, 2020
West Ham 0 Liverpool 2
This game had to be re-arranged as a result of Liverpool’s (successful) involvement in the World Club Cup Finals before Christmas. The two teams will meet again at Anfield next month.
Liverpool won their fifteenth successive Premier League game (their last such run was one of 17 wins before their draw at Old Trafford in October) and they now have a run of 41 Premier League games in which they have been unbeaten. It is a phenomenal record, of course. West Ham’s record is different. They’ve managed three wins in 18 league games, only one of which has been at home. It’s amazing that over 59,000 souls keep turning up to see them.
The goals came from a 35th minute Salah penalty after Origi had been fouled twice, firstly by debutant right back Jeremy Ngakia and secondly by Diop. The second goal came in the 52nd minute when Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up a ball from Salah and scored with a good low finish, after advancing into the penalty area. It didn’t look as if Liverpool had to over-stretch themselves. West Ham managed to stay out of the bottom three on goal difference. With away games against Man City and Liverpool to follow, it is vital that West Ham beat Brighton at The London Stadium on Saturday. I’m not sure they can do that.
Fixtures & Results 21-29.01.20
A. Villa 2-1 Watford
B'mouth 3-1 Brighton
C. Palace 0-2 S'hampton
Everton 2-2 Newcastle
Sheff Utd 0-1 Man City
Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal
Leicester 4-1 West Ham
Spurs 2-1 Norwich
Man Utd 2-0 Burnley
Wolves 1-2 Liverpool
West Ham 0-2 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 24 23 1 0 56-15 41 70
2. Man City 24 16 3 5 65-27 38 51
3. Leicester 24 15 3 6 52-24 28 48
4. Chelsea 24 12 4 8 41-32 9 40
5. Man Utd 24 9 7 8 36-29 7 34
6. Spurs 24 9 7 8 38-32 6 34
7. Wolves 24 8 10 6 35-32 3 34
8. Sheff Utd 24 8 9 7 25-23 2 33
9. S'hampton 24 9 4 11 31-42 -11 31
10. Arsenal 24 6 12 6 32-34 -2 30
11. C. Palace 24 7 9 8 22-28 -6 30
12. Everton 24 8 6 10 28-35 -7 30
13. Burnley 24 9 3 12 28-38 -10 30
14. Newcastle 24 8 6 10 24-36 -12 30
15. Brighton 24 6 7 11 27-34 -7 25
16. A. Villa 24 7 4 13 31-45 -14 25
17. West Ham 24 6 5 13 27-40 -13 23
18. B'mouth 24 6 5 13 23-37 -14 23
19. Watford 24 5 8 11 21-36 -15 23
20. Norwich 24 4 5 15 24-47 -23 17