Tuesday 7th July, 2020
Crystal Palace 2 Chelsea 3
Chelsea overtook Leicester with this win, but Palace didn’t make it easy for them. Kante was injured and 19-year-old Billy Gilmour got the nod ahead of Jorginho who is yet to start this side of the lockdown. There was controversy about the first goal after 6 minutes. Gary Cahill went down injured as Willian chased James’ ball. Willian set up Giroud who scored at the near post. Some have argued that Willian should have pulled up after Cahill went down, but Willian was ahead of the former Chelsea man, and personally I don’t think the situation called for such a charitable gesture. Cahill was helped off and had to be replaced by Sakho.
Zouma headed wide from a Chelsea corner and still only 10 minutes had passed. After 27 minutes Willian advanced through the middle; took a return pass from Giroud, and then passed to Pulisic to his left. The American beat Guaita with a rising shot inside the keeper’s right post. Willian had a shot well saved by Guaita’s right hand. Zaha grabbed a great goal from 25 yards hit with power and a slight curve which took the ball beyond Arrizabalaga’s dive, beneath the bar. (34 mins)
Giroud headed over a James cross after 53 minutes when he should have scored. Substitute Tammy Abraham did make it 3-1 in the 71st minute when fellow sub Loftus-Cheek pushed the ball forward and Abraham’s shot beat Guaita’s right hand and rebounded into the net off the far post. Palace responded immediately and Van Aanholt crossed low from deep inside the area allowing Benteke to score from close range.
Guaita got his fingertips to a Mount shot just inside his right post, but Chelsea had to sweat through added time when Zaha’s cross was headed back across the goal by Scott Dann who saw the ball bounce out off the post. Zaha fed a good ball to Benteke and Zouma made a great saving tackle.
Watford 2 Norwich 1
Norwich’s fate was all but sealed with this defeat as they now need to win all four remaining games to stand any chance of avoiding relegation. For Watford, the win was a great lifeline. Danny Welbeck started only his fifth game of the season. It was Norwich who opened the scoring after 4 minutes at the Rookery End. Hernandez passed to Buendia who was on the right of the area before he stepped to his left and beat Foster with a great curling shot inside his right post.
It didn’t take long for Watford to draw level. They had a free kick out on the right, swung in by Capoue and Craig Dawson met the ball at the back post and headed home despite the attentions of Tettey and goalkeeper Krul. Welbeck had a glanced header from a corner saved by Krul.
In the second half Foster saved a shot by Aarons before Buendia fired over. Saar raced away down the right and his cross took a deflection which lifted the ball nicely for Welbeck to score with a skilful overhead scissor kick in the 55th minute. Idah somehow managed to miss at close range near the end of the game.
Arsenal 1 Leicester 1
It looked as if Arsenal were going to hold onto their first half lead and leap too far ahead of Spurs for us to pip them this weekend, but they went down to 10 men for the last quarter of an hour after Nketiah was sent off before succumbing to a Jamie Vardy goal. Martinez saved well with his feet from Iheanacho’s low shot after a corner from the left. Schmeichel saved confidently at the other end when Tierney hit a powerful shot from 30 yards after Ceballos’s corner had been cleared to his feet. Within a minute though Arsenal had the led as Saka crossed from right of the box and Aubameyang fired home. (21 mins)
Schmeichel saved well from Lacazette, reacting sharply to save low with his right hand. The Leicester keeper and captain then had to tip over a Bellerin shot. In the second half Martinez saved well from Iheanacho’s shot after Vardy’s ball from the right. Nketiah only came off the bench after 71 minutes. Four minutes later he was shown a straight red, although it took a while to be finalised with referee Chris Kavanagh having a look at the action on the pitch-side monitor. Nketiah struck James Justin with a high challenge and had initially been shown a yellow card, which was upgraded. Vardy scored the equaliser in the 84th minute, slotting home from Gray’s ball from the right.
Thus, the goals in this game were scored by the top two Premier League scorers.
Wednesday 8th July, 2020
Manchester City 5 Newcastle 0
There was another goal-fest at the Etihad, and whilst they are 23 points behind Liverpool City do have a better goal difference. Mahrez gave Dubravka a warning shot after three minutes, which the keeper held. Jesus poked the ball into the net in the 10th minute after David Silva cut the ball back from the left. Goal number two came in the 21st minute in similar fashion but this time Mahrez was the scorer from further out after De Bruyne had made the final pass.
John Stones was making a first appearance since March and he fouled Matt Ritchie to the right of City’s area. Ritchie took the kick and Fernandez’s header was held by Ederson. (31 mins) Five minutes before the break Foden put an excellent chance wide from the centre of the area. Foden missed again four minutes into the second half when he received the ball from De Bruyne but put his shot wide across the goalmouth.
It was 3-0 after 58 minutes. Jesus ran into the area after a one-two with Foden. Ritchie tried to clear but the ball went into the net off the unlucky Fernandez. Ritchie was probably only starting due to the injury to Saint-Maximin who has been shining for Newcastle recently. City were given a free kick for a foul on substitute Raheem Sterling and David Silva beat Dubravka to his right with a superb free kick. Dubravka did save well from David Silva’s left footed rising strike after De Bruyne had cut the ball back from his left. David Silva gave Sterling an easy finish in the 91st minute.
Sheffield United 1 Wolves 0
This was a game between two evenly matched sides, who have the same target – European football. It rarely set the pulses racing and was decided by an added time goal. McBurnie had a header saved by Rui Patricio after O’Connell had crossed from the left. O’Connell was booked for cynically ending Jota’s run to the edge of the United area. Neves hit the free kick off the top of the bar.
After 53 minutes, Billy Sharp received the ball with his back to goal; turned and fired home, but he was offside. The “Blades” had the better of the chances in the second half but had to wait till added time for their goal. They had two corners and Egan rose to head home in the 93rd minute after Norwood’s kick from the right. The win put United just one point behind Wolves.
West Ham 0 Burnley 1
West Ham are not safe yet, whilst Burnley, despite being strapped for fit and available players, climbed above Spurs overnight and have given themselves a shout for Europe. Burnley had two good early chances. One was a shot put over by Pieters. The other was a header by Vydra after McNeil’s free kick. Fabianski saved comfortably. At the other end Pope made a great close range save from Soucek’s shot after a ball by Ryan Fredericks. Pope saved again from a low shot by Antonio.
Jay Rodriguez scored the only goal of the game after 38 minutes. McNeil fed the ball out to left back Taylor, whose cross was met by a very good header by Rodriguez which went into the goal off the underside of the bar. Antonio pushed a shot wide off the outside of the post at the other end.
Tarkowski was shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver in the second half for a foul on Bowen which led to a complaint by David Moyes, who thought a red card had been warranted. Haller replaced Yarmolenko after an hour and quickly had a shot deflected wide by in-form Pope. Burnley did have the ball in the net when Chris Wood met Bardsley’s ball, but the striker was offside. Fabianski needed to get down low to his left to save a subsequent shot by Wood.
Three of the “Hammers” last four games are against teams below them, so they will be looking for at least two wins to preserve their status. It’s a nail-biting time for their fans at home.
Brighton 1 Liverpool 3
Winning the title early leads to more guards of honour and the accolade was duly given to Liverpool by the Brighton team at the AMEX. Jurgen Klopp gave 19-year-old Neco Williams a first Premier League start in place of Andy Robertson, but it was an otherwise strong line-up for the champions.
Despite the July date, the weather in the UK was Autumnal this week. Brighton gifted Liverpool the lead after only 6 minutes. Propper gave the ball to Keita who teed up Salah for his 18th Premier League goal of the season. Henderson scored a second goal two minutes later after Brighton’s Adam Webster tried to carry the ball forward but gave it away just inside his own half. Fora team not yet mathematically safe from the drop the “Seagulls” were throwing the game away.
Maupay tried to set up a shot for Trossard, but the Liverpool defence was too sharp. Trossard made a great run down the left and hit a cross to the near post for Maupay, who shot was saved by Alisson and put out for a corner by Keita. Trossard scored a great goal on 45 minutes meeting Lamptey’s powerful cross with a similarly powerful right-footed strike.
Robertson came on for Williams at half-time. After 53 minutes, Salah beat the offside trap and took the ball into the right side of the area, but Ryan saved the shot. On the hour mark Brighton had a corner on the right after which a cross reached defender Burn at the back post. He scuffed his shot across the goal, and Wijnaldum cleared. Two more Liverpool big guns – Mane and Fabinho came on for Firmino and Keita. A Henderson shot took a deflection and went out for a corner, from which Salah headed home at the near post for Premier League goal number 19. Salah is three behind Vardy in the Golden Boot states. In added time goalkeeper Ryan failed to hold Robertson’s cross but he did tip over Salah’s effort as the ball ran loose. Salah headed over another chance for a hat-trick when Robertson floated in a cross.
Thursday 9th July, 2020
There was VAR controversy in each of today’s three games. Incorrect penalty decisions were made by the video assistant referee in all three of Thursday's games, the Premier League has told BBC Match of the Day.
Bruno Fernandes won a spot-kick which he scored in Manchester United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
James Ward-Prowse hit the bar after a disputed penalty as Southampton drew 1-1 with Everton.
And Tottenham should have had a penalty for a Joshua King shove on Harry Kane in a 0-0 draw with Bournemouth.
The Premier League confirmed United and Southampton should not have been given penalties, but Tottenham should have been awarded one.
Bournemouth 0 Spurs 0
The spursometer has yet to be finalised, but clearly skipper Hugo Lloris was our best player, with that late save from Harry Wilson at least preserving a point for his side.
Everton 1 Southampton 1
Carlo Ancelotti was appointed in December, but you cannot truly say Everton have hit any stride yet under his command. Sigurdsson was dropped for this game with Anthony Gordon getting a third start.
Southampton had a “goal” chalked off for offside after 8 minutes when Armstrong turned in Adams’ ball. McCarthy saved an Iwobi shot, and “Saints” conceded a corner after 22 minutes. Ings was fouled outside the box after 25 minutes and Jordan Pickford pushed Ward-Prowse’s free kick over the bar. Ings flicked the corner towards goal in front of the near post, but the frame of the goal, plus Pickford kept the ball out of the net.
Armstrong went down in the area in a collision with Gomes not unlike the later one which led to Bruno Fernandes getting a penalty. Referee Lee Mason was backed up by VAR in awarding a penalty. Ward-Prowse’s powerfully hit spot kick went out off the top of the crossbar. Ings had the ball in the net after 31 minutes from Armstrong’s pass. There was no flag because Ings was not offside. Southampton were deservedly ahead. Sigurdsson came on for Gomes before the break, and Richarlison scored from a long Digne cross after 43 minutes.
Early in the second half Adams hit a good shot which Pickford pushed way into safety. On the hour Richarlison made a long run and got a foul just outside the area with Bednarek shown a yellow card. Digne and Sigurdsson hit the wall after the free kick before Sidibe’s shot was saved at the keeper’s left post.
Aston Villa 0 Manchester Utd 3
Manchester United are unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions now and have won five of their six games since lockdown. They are definitely one of the teams worth watching at present. Villa have only managed one win against United in their last 42 meetings, so the signs were not good. Solskjaer named an unchanged team for the fourth consecutive game.
Grealish had a chance after 18 minutes when he met a cross by Konsa, but the shot was fired well over the target from the left side of the goal area. Trezeguet robbed Pogba of the ball but his shot brushed the outside of De Gea’s left post. The penalty incident came after 26 minutes when United worked the ball across the edge of Villa’s area from right to left after a good run by Greenwood. Fernandes seemed to fall backwards onto Konsa, but referee Jon Moss and VAR decreed it was a penalty. Fernandes converted from the spot in the 27th minute. The influential midfielder headed over from Shaw’s cross just before half-time, but Greenwood did make it 2-0 before the break with a powerfully driven right-footed shot inside the left post, after taking a return post from Martial. That’s four goals in three games for the 18-year-old.
In the second half Wan-Bissaka headed wide from a Rashford cross. Paul Pogba completed the scoring after 58 minutes when Fernandes hit a low corner to his feet, before Pogba beat Reina with a powerful and well placed 22-yard drive. Martial hit the woodwork with a powerful shot, and Hourihane had a shot deflected wide at the other end. Rashford had an added time shot saved by Reina’s boot.
Manchester United are the first side in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by a margin of 3+ goals, with the last team to do so in the English top-flight being Liverpool in October 1987.
Villa have gained just one point in five post-lockdown games and remain four points and a poor goal difference way from safety.
Fixtures & Results 07-09.07.20
Tuesday 7th July, 2020
C. Palace 2-3 Chelsea
Watford 2-1 Norwich
Arsenal 1-1 Leicester
Wednesday 8th July, 2020
Man City 5-0 Newcastle
Sheff Utd 1-0 Wolves
West Ham 0-1 Burnley
Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Thursday 9th July, 2020
B'mouth 0-0 Spurs
Everton 1-1 S'hampton
A. Villa 0-3 Man Utd
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 34 30 2 2 75-26 49 92 C
2. Man City 34 22 3 9 86-34 52 69
3. Chelsea 34 18 6 10 63-46 17 60
4. Leicester 34 17 8 9 64-32 32 59
5. Man Utd 34 16 10 8 59-33 26 58
6. Wolves 34 13 13 8 45-37 8 52
7. Sheff Utd 34 13 12 9 35-33 2 51
8. Arsenal 34 12 14 8 50-42 8 50
9. Spurs 34 13 10 11 52-44 8 49
10. Burnley 34 14 7 13 38-46 -8 49
11. Everton 34 12 9 13 41-49 -8 45
12. S'hampton 34 13 5 16 43-56 -13 44
13. Newcastle 34 11 10 13 35-50 -15 43
14. C. Palace 34 11 9 14 30-43 -13 42
15. Brighton 34 8 12 14 36-47 -11 36
16. West Ham 34 8 7 19 40-59 -19 31
17. Watford 34 7 10 17 31-53 -22 31
18. B'mouth 34 7 7 20 32-59 -27 28
19. A. Villa 34 7 6 21 36-65 -29 27
20. Norwich 34 5 6 23 26-63 -37 21