Premier League review – Matchday 32
Saturday 27th June, 2020
Aston Villa 0 Wolves 1
More temperate conditions existed today, and the game was preceded by rain. Taking the knee by all players and officials is still the pre kick-off protocol.
Villa left back Matt Targett suffered a hamstring problem and after trying to carry on following treatment, he had to go off after 10 minutes and was replaced by Neil Taylor.
The first half-decent attempt on goal came from Wolves when Jimenez met a free kick in front of the near post and at least made Nyland make a save. Doherty hit the side netting with a shot and Jimenez hit a cross from the right which passed just in front of Jota. Villa were offering little threat so far.
Grealish did finally test Rui Patricio with a good right footed shot from the edge of the area after 36 minutes. Nyland threw the ball straight at Jota after 41 minutes and breathed a sigh of relief when the Wolves man fired over the bar.
Villa tried to take advantage of a Boly error at the back but failed. After an hour it was time for Nuno to unleash Adama Traore, who had been held on the bench till now. Dendoncker, who had replaced Traore in the starting line-up gave Wolves the lead soon after the substitution. Jimenez crossed from the left, and after a touch by Jonny, Dendoncker carried the ball to the left before beating Nyland to his left with a left-footed shot.
That first half Jack Grealish shot was Villa's one effort on target. They missed a chance to climb out of the bottom three. Wolves' pursuit of Champions League football continues.
Sunday 28th June, 2020
Watford 1 Southampton 3
It was reported that Gray, Chalobah and Quina were omitted from the Watford squad "to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials". Gray had allegedly hosted a party at his home in breach of lockdown rules. Southampton made five changes, purely for tactical reasons. Kyle Walker-Peters was among their starters, and had a good game.
Shane Long was another starter for Southampton. In the corresponding game last season, Long had scored the record fastest Premier League goal. Long had the first shot of note after 14 minutes today, and it was held by Ben Foster. Within two minutes Danny Ings did score with nice footwork and a well-placed shot inside Foster's left post. 20-year-old Will Smallbone made the assist.
James Ward-Prowse had a good chance to make it 2-0 making a good run onto a lofted ball into the left side of the area. However, the Southampton skipper fired over from short range under pressure from Foster.
Watford started the second half brightly with Sarr having a shot blocked, and Deeney firing over the target. Hughes had a powerful shot blocked after 9 minutes following a corner from the left. Watford were showing some nice touches around the area and won another corner with Hughes having another shot blocked.
Ings made it 2-0 after 69 minutes, collecting a poor throw by Foster before advancing upon goal and scoring with his right foot from inside the right of the box.
Armstrong, Ings and Redmond combined with a slick move from the right of the area before Redmond's shot was held. In heavy rain in the 79th minute Jan Bednarek turned in a Watford cross at the near post to give the "Hornets" a fighting chance. Three minutes later Southampton had a free kick from the edge of the "D" and Ward-Prowse hit a superb right-foot shot over the wall, well beyond Foster.
Substitute Che Adams shook off Dawson, but Foster managed to save the shot. After the corner Redmond hit the post with a right footed shot from 20 yards.
The "Saints" have reached the magic 40-point mark, whereas Watford remain at great risk regarding relegation.
Monday 29th June, 2020
Crystal Palace 0 Burnley 1
There was good news for Palace who were able to start Zaha, who had limped off in their previous game. Sean Dyche could name only 7 substitutes, and most had very few minutes of Premier League experience among them. Dyche had to leave out Jay Rodriguez, who had a tight hamstring.
Burnley had the more confident start, but the home side offered a little more threat going forward. After 12 minutes McArthur was fouled just outside the area. This was Milivojevic territory, but he put this free kick over the target.
A Westwood corner after 18 minutes caused a little panic in the Palace area, but they kept their goal intact. McNeil raced forward through the middle a minute later and tested the Palace keeper with his shot.
Jordan Ayew had a 25-yard shot after 31 minutes, but the save was comfortable by Nick Pope, moving to his right.
Early in the second half VAR Graham Scott took a considerable time reviewing Ayew's outstretched arm coming into contact with Brownhill's face, before giving Ayew the all-clear to stay on the pitch.
Palace had a free kick swung in by Van Aanholt from the left, which was touched by Ayew to Gary Cahill, whose shot was held by Pope. At the other end Guaita comfortably held a McNeil shot hit from the right of the area.
Ayew was fouled just outside the box by Tarkowski, who was booked. Milivojevic's shot was on target but was blocked. Burnley took the lead in the 62nd minute. Westwood hit a free kick with power from deep on the right. Burnley skipper Ben Mee dived and directed a powerful header from a good 15 yards. Guaita got a strong hand to the ball, but it went into the net via the inside of the post.
Andros Townsend hit a left foot shot just over the bar after 76 minutes and was then replaced by Meyer. Palace put Burnley under some pressure leading to several saves by Nick Pope as the game entered added time. However, Burnley held on and moved level on points with Tottenham.
Tuesday 30th June, 2020
Brighton 0 Manchester United 3
Brighton manager Graham Potter made several changes, playing four at the back, and moving Lamptey up to the right side of midfield. Maupay started on the bench for this game.
Bruno Fernandes hit the post with a low 20-yard shot after 11 minutes, after Pogba had slipped the ball to his left. Greenwood was released in the 16th minute and moved into the right side of the area beating Ryan inside his right post with an astute finish.
Pogba was fouled just outside the box by Bissouma, but Bruno's free kick went safely over the bar. It was 2-0 inside 29 minutes and again Pogba laid up the ball for Bruno, who scored from 20 yards with a right foot shot, placed inside Ryan's left post.
Worse was to come for Brighton five minutes into the second half. Matic hit a ball down the left flank from deep. Greenwood crossed from the left and Bruno smacked the ball home from close range at the far post.
Trossard did have a good shot just wide across the goal, after a cleverly worked free kick was pushed to him on the left of the United area. Solskjaer was able to make three substitutions, with Fernandes, Pogba and Luke Shaw leaving, Shaw's replacement was Brandon Williams and his goal-bound header from a Wan-Bissaka cross was blocked and put out for a corner.
De Gea was required to make a good save from Connolly after the drinks break. Maupay had come off the bench at the start of the half and he hit a good shot which De Gea also had to save.
McTominay hit a powerfully driven shot from outside the Brighton area which took a nasty deflection causing Ryan to react sharply to save.
The game was well and truly over as a contest after that third goal by United, and Brighton have to keep looking over their shoulder for a while yet.
Wednesday 1st July, 2020
Arsenal 4 Norwich 0
There was never really any chance of Norwich getting a result here to prevent Arsenal from climbing above their arch-rivals for the first time in a long time this season. Sadly, our subsequent defeat at Bramall Lane means they stay above us.
Respects were paid to Theo Foley who died last week. Foley had a long playing and managerial/coaching career and was George Graham’s assistant with Arsenal between 1986 and 1990, and also during Graham's spell in charge at Tottenham. Foley had been a victim of Covid-19.
Krul saved from Aubameyang after 10 minutes, and ten minutes later Godfrey hit a long range shot which hit the outside of the keeper’s right post. Krul made a shocking error and simply presented the ball to Aubameyang who was not going to let that gift go. Aubameyang became the fastest Arsenal player to reach 50 Premier League goals in his 79th game. Thierry Henry took 83 games. It was 2-0 four minutes later with Norwich failing to challenge for the ball anywhere allowing a long ball forward by David Luiz, a short ball from the left by Tierney and Aubameyang’s set-up for Xhaka to crash the ball home.
Goalkeeper Martinez had to dive to his left to push round Kenny McLean’s free kick, and early in the second half he saved well from Norwich substitute Idah. Norwich had a throw on the left and Ben Godfrey was taken by surprise at a ball hit quite powerfully across him which Aubameyang snapped up for his second goal. (67 mins) Full back Cedric Soares, initially loaned from Southampton and now to be a permanent signing, came off the bench to make his first Arsenal appearance and scored with a left-footed shot from 20 yards following a corner which Norwich had not needed to concede.
Bournemouth 1 Newcastle 4
Bournemouth have drawn one and lost six of their last seven games. Their goal in this game was a last-minute consolation after they had been thoroughly beaten by Newcastle. Newcastle’s first goal came in the fifth minute from Dwight Gayle, fed by Saint-Maximin after Lerma had failed in midfield. Saint-Maximin was provider again on the half-hour. He was confronted by three defenders but avoided them before advancing to the bye-line and cutting back for Sean Longstaff to fire into the roof of the net for his first Premier League goal of the season.
In the second half the “Cherries” thought they had scored when Solanke’s deflected shot looped and rebounded off the post for Josh King to finish. The flag was up, and VAR confirmed he was offside. Almiron got in on the act in the 57th minute, and Saint-Maximin assisted again, feeding the ball to his right before Almiron ran on and scored past Ramsdale’s right hand with his shot.
David Brooks hit the top of the crossbar with a shot, but Shelvey pushed the ball to substitute Lazaro who scored easily with his left foot strike. That was the Austrian’s first Premier League goal. Lazaro was denied another goal by the wood work after a rasping shot. That added time goal followed a free kick headed back across the area by Ake and finished by Gosling from close range.
Everton 2 Leicester 1
Leicester’s lack-lustre post national lockdown form continues. Leicester are able to continue meeting their fixture commitments despite a local lockdown imposed upon the City of Leicester for a further two weeks. Vardy hasn’t scored this side of the lockdown and is still searching for his 100th Premier League goal. Pickford prevented him early on after Tielemans had set up the former England striker.
Anthony Gordon had been given a second Premier League start by Carlo Ancelotti and his cross from the left was met by Richarlison’s left-footed strike for the first goal after 10 minutes. Digne floated in a free kick after 12 minutes and Keane rose to challenge with Ndidi who was adjudged to have handled the ball which led to a penalty award by VAR. It was Everton’s first penalty of the season and Sigurdsson put it away in the 6th minute.
A long shot by Digne after 49 minutes took a deflection and worried Schmeichel diving to his right post at the Gwladys Street End. The ball might have been going out for a corner anyway, but the goalkeeper also took a touch. Leicester scored in the 51st minute. Tielemans crossed from the left. Vardy took a touch, but the goal was scored by substitute Iheanacho when the ball rebounded into his body from Holgate’s attempted clearance. Michel Keane just managed to prevent his own goal by clearing off the line after Albrighton’s cross and a mix-up between Keane and his goalkeeper.
Maddison had also come off the Leicester bench and he hit a shot over the bar from just outside the box. Perez put an added time chance wide after Vardy’s cross.
West Ham 3 Chelsea 2
Mark Noble missed this game, so Declan Rice captained the "Hammers" for the second time. West Ham were desperate for points to drag themselves away from the bottom three, but Chelsea had the chance to go into third place above Leicester.
Chelsea made a patient start and dominated the possession. Willian gave Fabianski his first save of note with a right footed shot from inside the area after 10 minutes. Two minutes later Antonio got between two defenders and had the goal in sight but pulled his shot wide across the goal.
Fabianski had to get down to his right to hold Barkley's shot after 18 minutes. Pulisic fired over soon after from 14 yards.
West Ham had a corner in the 34th minute which had been delayed due too much physicality. The ball had been headed across the area and Soucek put the ball in from close range. Antonio was on the floor marginally in an offside position and after three and a half minutes VAR Jon Moss decreed it was "no goal".
West Ham's pain was acerbated at the other end when Diop brought down Pulisic. Willian made no mistake from the spot (42 mins). Soucek did get an equaliser in the third minute of added time from another corner. This one was headed home.
Antonio was proving a powerful thorn in Chelsea's side. He thought he had a penalty five minutes into the second half but got up in time to fire home Bowen's cross.
Chelsea put West Ham under a little pressure before the drinks break but could not get back on terms. Olivier Giroud had replaced the ineffective Tammy Abraham.
After the drinks break, Declan Rice was booked for a foul on Pulisic just like upside the area. Willian stepped up and scored from the free kick with the ball rebounding into the net off the inside of Fabianski's left post. (72 mins) Pulisic went close with a pulled shot shortly afterwards.
Having been under pressure, the "Hammers" forged a chance with Fredericks passing inside to substitute Wilshere, who pushed the ball forward for Antonio to run onto. Antonio wanted a penalty (not for the first time) and was denied as the ball ran clear. (80 mins)
West Ham scored a third goal in the 89th minute after a break from their own half. Antonio hooked the ball out to substitute Yarmolenko who timed his run well before he cut in from the right and beat Arrizabalaga with a left foot shot.
This was only the third league win of this calendar year for "The Hammers" and clearly very precious giving them a little breathing space at the bottom.
Thursday 2nd July, 2020
Sheffield United 3 Spurs 1
The spursometer has yet to be finalised, but this is one of those gmes where voters have chosen their least worst players of the match. At the moment only skipper Hugo Lloris, scorer Harry Kane and substitute Erik Lamela have scored marginally above average grades. Comments (publishable) that have been offered include the following:-
1. "The VAR decision was embarrassing, something needs to be done. Leaving that out of the equation, two words - gutless and inept."
2. "Lilywhites? More like lily-livered".
3. "Kane has to be given better service or who would blame him for wanting to leave?".
4. "Dreadful performance from most of the "creative" players. Ponderous build up play, no-one takes responsibility for doing anything incisive. They believe their own hype. Undone so easily by old fashioned grit and determination. Defensively hopeless schoolboy errors from international players."
5. "I'd rather look at a list of the best non uk casinos".
6. "They just don't want to win badly enough. Living in dreamland, passing the ball sideways in front of 11 defenders for most of the match gets us nowhere, whereas Sheffield have 3 incisive attacks, cut us to shreds and score every time."
Thanks for all the comments received.
Manchester City 4 Liverpool 0
Manchester City gave Premier League Champions Liverpool a guard of honour, before giving them a complete thrashing. Having won the League Cup in March, City are still involved in two competitions – the FA Cup and the Champions League. Guardiola included 19-year-old Eric Garcia at the back, and 20-year-old Phil Foden in midfield. Liverpool were at full strength, but perhaps they had been partying too much over the last week. Fireworks could be heard outside the ground near the start of the game, presumably being set off by travelling Liverpool fans.
Ederson did have to save from Salah and then Firmino after only 4 minutes. Salah had another shot rebound off the post after 19 minutes and there was no hint really of what was to come. City’s first goal came from the penalty spot after Sterling was hauled down by Gomez. De Bruyne converted the spot-kick after 25 minutes. Sterling made it 2-0 ten minutes later, receiving a pass inside the area from Foden. It was 3-0 before half-time, and Foden was the scorer this time taking a one-two with De Bruyne before whacking home his right footed shot. Gary Neville accused Andy Robertson of having been “on the lash for a week” in Sky’s commentary.
Sterling raced away through the middle in the second half, and his shot took a big deflection passing the post for a corner. De Bruyne teed up Foden and Van Dijk rescued his goalkeeper with a clearance here. It looked as if referee Anthony Taylor had given a penalty against Kyle Walker for a shove on Mane, who had earlier missed a good scoring chance well inside the box, but VAR decided it was a free kick outside the area. Alexander-Arnold’s kick came off one of his own players lurking near the wall and went out for a goal kick.
The rout was completed after 66 minutes when De Bruyne fed the ball to Sterling towards the right of the box. Sterling cut inside and seemed to be picking his spot, but the goal was credited as an Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal as the substitute turned the shot into his net. Mahrez had an added time “goal” chalked off by VAR as the ball rolled over Foden’s hand before substitute Mahrez took it on.
Fixtures & Results 27.06 - 02.07.20
Saturday 27th June, 2020
A. Villa 0-1 Wolves
Sunday 28th June, 2020
Watford 1-3 S'hampton
Monday 29th June, 2020
C. Palace 0-1 Burnley
Tuesday 30th June, 2020
Brighton 0-3 Man Utd
Wednesday 1st July, 2020
Arsenal 4-0 Norwich
B'mouth 1-4 Newcastle
Everton 2-1 Leicester
West Ham 3-2 Chelsea
Thursday 2nd July, 2020
Sheff Utd 3-1 Spurs
Man City 4-0 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 32 28 2 2 70-25 45 86 C
2. Man City 32 21 3 8 81-33 48 66
3. Leicester 32 16 7 9 60-31 29 55
4. Chelsea 32 16 6 10 57-44 13 54
5. Man Utd 32 14 10 8 51-31 20 52
6. Wolves 32 13 13 6 45-34 11 52
7. Sheff Utd 32 12 11 9 33-32 1 47
8. Arsenal 32 11 13 8 47-41 6 46
9. Spurs 32 12 9 11 51-44 7 45
10. Burnley 32 13 6 13 36-45 -9 45
11. Everton 32 12 8 12 40-47 -7 44
12. C. Palace 32 11 9 12 28-37 -9 42
13. Newcastle 32 11 9 12 33-43 -10 42
14. S'hampton 32 12 4 16 41-55 -14 40
15. Brighton 32 7 12 13 34-44 -10 33
16. West Ham 32 8 6 18 38-56 -18 30
17. Watford 32 6 10 16 29-49 -20 28
18. A. Villa 32 7 6 19 36-60 -24 27
19. B'mouth 32 7 6 19 30-54 -24 27
20. Norwich 32 5 6 21 25-60 -35 21