Premier League Review – Matchday 35
Saturday 11th July, 2020
Norwich 0 West Ham 4
Norwich were staring down the relegation barrel, needing a win to keep their very slight hopes of survival alive.
West Ham made early threats with Bowen asking for a penalty inside the second minute and Soucek having half a chance at the near post after Antonio's run into the box and his final ball a minute later. Soucek also pushed a shot wide of the post after Antonio moved into the box on the left again before cutting the ball back.
Norwich had some good possession in and around the box after 9 minutes but Vrancic's shot was wide. Krul saved well at his right post when Cresswell crossed and Antonio hit a low shot. Antonio did give the "Hammers" the lead after 11 minutes when Diop flicked on a corner and Antonio hooked the ball into the net.
Buendia nearly put Pukki in after 17 minutes, but the ball just ran too far ahead of the striker, whose last goal was in January at Tottenham. Pukki had another chance, this one a header, when he met Lewis's cross from the left but put the ball over.
Lewis crossed again, this time from inside the box, but Hernandez could not hit his shot at the right angle. After 32 minutes Bowen hit a good left-footed shot past Krul's left post after taking a short ball from Antonio.
After a mistake by Fredericks, Pukki had a run through the middle and went down after being fouled just outside the area. Nothing was given and Bowen nearly scored at the other end, hitting a right-footed shot wide across the goalmouth.
Soucek hit a good shot from Noble's pass after 41 minutes, but Tim Krul made a very good save and pushed the ball over the bar. The "Hammers" went two up as the game went into added time when Antonio headed in at the back post from Noble's free kick on the left. Norwich were looking doomed whilst West Ham are almost assured of another season of Premier League football. Buendia had a good shot punched clear by Fabianski before the break.
Antonio scored his first-ever hat-trick goal in the 54th minute. Noble clipped a ball from his own half and Antonio ran through the middle. Krul saved his shot, but Antonio was able to head in the rebound.
Hernandez took a ball from Stiepermann, but his shot was quite comfortably held by Fabianski. Just before the drinks break Fornals hit a right-footed shot wide of Krul's left post. In the 74th minute West Ham sliced through the "Canaries" defence with a ball forward by Noble to Fredericks, whose cross was turned in by Antonio for goal number four.
There was no way back for Norwich, whose relegation was confirmed with this defeat.
Watford 2 Newcastle 1
Watford’s win was as precious as that of West Ham, but not so convincing. Saint-Maximin returned to the Newcastle side after injury and Dwight Gayle started up front. Newcastle started brightly with a Saint-Maximin cross causing danger and Almiron bringing a save from Foster after Jonjo Shelvey’s corner after 10 minutes. Danny Welbeck hit the post with a shot and Lascelles just managed to hook the ball clear off the line. It was no goal by the slightest of margins.
Newcastle took the lead in the 23rd minute from a corner taken on the right. Fernandez headed this down; Almiron ducked and Gayle finished from close range at the back post. Foster saved well with his leg from Saint-Maximin who had advanced from the right-hand-side.
Five minutes into the second half Sarr sent Femenia away with a good ball. Femenia was impeded by Ritchie inside the box and a penalty was awarded. Deeney hammered the ball home from the spot in the 52nd minute. 6 minutes later Hughes pressed, and the ball went to Deeney who hit a shot from the edge of the area. Dubravka saved. Sarr and Deeney combined before Welbeck hit a shot which was deflected and looped up onto the top- of the net.
Danny Rose was fouled in his own half and a quick free kick was sent to Saint-Maximin who was flagged offside. Dawson pout Saint-maximin’s ball into his own net and must have been grateful that the offside decision was confirmed. 10 minutes from the end Watford had aa second penalty after Femenia took a throw on the right and Sarr was hauled down by Manquillo as he entered the area. Deeney scored again with the same shot, with Dubravka getting close to the ball and Watford had secured all three points. The “Hornets”’ next game is at the London Stadium on Friday night. Deeney has scored eight goals this season, four of which have been penalty kicks.
Liverpool 1 Burnley 1
Liverpool will miss skipper Jordan Henderson for the remainder of the season due to a knee ligament injury. Jurgen Klopp says Henderson will be ready for the forthcoming season. Neco Williams (right back) and Curtis Jones were given starts by Klopp.
Burnley were defending well and the best chances in the first quarter of an hour were a Firmino shot which was blocked and went over the goal, and a Jones shot comfortably held by Pope. Pope made a great save after 17 minutes from a right-footed shot by Salah. Jones hit a shot after 20 minutes after the ball had been played to him from the right, but it hit a defender before going for a corner. Liverpool were getting closer.
Burnley failed to defend properly inside their box when Mane tried to reach Salah, and Salah's shot was saved. Having taken the corner on the right, Robertson was still over that side when Fabinho lifted a ball to the right side of the Burnley area and the Liverpool left back beat Pope with a powered header in the 34th minute.
Liverpool had a little defending to do, especially after a McNeil shot was deflected for a corner which Alisson punched away. After that Robertson advanced down the left of the area and hit a shot across Pope's goal. Pope made another great save from a Mane left-footed shot after Salah had set up his team-mate.
Early in the second half Salah picked up a loose ball centrally about 30 yards out. He put a low pass into the area and Firmino saw his shot rebound off the post. The Brazilian is still looking for a league goal at Anfield this season. Liverpool were on top and keen to get a second goal. Salah fed the ball to Jones who hit a powerful left-footed shot wide.
Fabinho had a shot which took an evil deflection leaving Pope rooted to his spot, but the ball passed wide. Burnley were getting men behind the ball and defending well. However, after the drinks break, Burnley had a free kick from halfway which was headed across the area by Tarkowski, allowing Rodriguez to beat Alisson's right hand with a low shot.
Pope punched clear a powerful shot by Liverpool sub Alexander-Arnold and the ball ran to Mane who was offside. Pope then had an easier shot to save from Mane.
There were only five minutes left and another sub Oxlade-Chamberlain passed inside to Salah, but this shot was easy for Pope. Burnley had a corner from the right and after Alisson punched away, one shot was cleared across the area and returned by Westwood. Alisson could only punch the ball down again and this time Burnley sub Gudmundsson hit the top of the bar with his shot.
Burnley had another corner and Alisson could only flap that away, this time into a safe area. In added time Salah had a shot following another cross by Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Pope saved again.
Burnley earned a point and went above Spurs overnight, and perhaps for longer. These were the first points dropped at home by Liverpool all season, and in fact for 18 months.
Sheffield United 3 Chelsea 0
Jorginho was making his first start since February. Chelsea were on the back foot for the first five minutes of the game but then had a very good chance when Willian crossed and Pulisic dived in beyond the back post but headed wide.
Sheffield United have that touch of physicality and desire, coupled with skill, that gets results and after a few passes in and around the area McBurnie hit a shot that took a nasty deflection. Arrizabalaga saved this well but couldn't hold the ball and McGoldrick followed up to score after 18 minutes. It was McGoldrick's first Premier League goal.
It was 2-0 to the "Blades" in the 33rd minute when Stevens crossed from the left wing, and McBurnie headed in at the near post. Chelsea were in shock.
Reece James hit a 25-yard shot after 42 minutes and Henderson could only parry the ball, but United cleared the danger.
Chelsea had dominated possession but had nothing to show for that. It was a while before any significant action in the second half. Frank Lampard matched Chris Wilding's formation but he could not match the degree of effort and application by the home side. Azpilicueta had a shot deflected wide after Barkley's ball reached him, and then Abraham failed from close range.
Sheffield United scored a third goal in the 77th minute and it was a second goal for McGoldrick. He won the ball just inside the Chelsea half and pushed it out to substitute Mousset whose cross was not dealt with by Rudiger allowing McGoldrick to seize the chance to score a second goal and put the game beyond Chelsea.
The "Blades" could have had more too. Mousset had a great opportunity which he spurned after McGoldrick set him up on the left of the area. Baldock spurned the chance to shoot and passed to Osborn, who also could have had a shot. He passed to his left to Stevens who hit the shot over from the left of the box.
The "Blades" have beaten close rivals Spurs, Wolves and now Chelsea in their last three home games and sat in sixth place overnight. They could be overtaken by Spurs or Arsenal this weekend and thoroughly deserve their tilt at a place in Europe.
As for Chelsea, even their place in the top four is at risk after this result.
Brighton 0 Manchester City 5
City won a second consecutive game 5-0. They beat Liverpool 4-0 on July 2nd, and also beat Burnley 5-0 on 22nd June. Other high-scoring wins earlier in the season were 8-0 against Watford and a 6-1 win at Villa Park. There are other examples too. Pep’s men are clearly going to be formidable opposition for any team next season.
It took 21 minutes for the first goal to be scored and hat-trick man Raheem Sterling was the scorer. Mahrez teed him up and Sterling scored from just outside the box with a well-placed right-footed shot inside Ryan’s left post. Jesus hit the bar after 35 minutes thanks to Dunk getting a touch. It was 2-0 in the 44th minute when City had a corner on the right. Rodri headed down and Jesus finished at very close range. He had stayed onside before running onto the header.
De Bruyne was fouled by Bissouma five minutes into the second half and took the free kick himself, hitting Ryan’s right-hand post. From the ensuing play Bernardo Silva had a touch before Sterling, but the ball fell into Ryan’s hands. Sterling headed in a second personal goal in the 53rd minute after Mahrez crossed from the right. Brighton weren’t helping themselves by giving the ball away in their own half and after they had put themselves under more pressure, Bernardo Silva hit a shot which Ryan failed to hold. Mahrez tried to finish but the ball ran to Bernardo Silva who scored. (56 mins)
Mahrez hit the side netting with a shot before Sterling completed his third hat-trick of the season with a solo effort in the 81st minute. Sterling advanced into the left side of the box, chipped the ball up before Webster headed the ball up. Sterling seemed to be falling as the ball fell and went into the net off his head. Sterling has scored 27 goals for City in all competition s this season plus 4 for England.
The best news of the weekend for City come on Monday when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned the two-year ban that had been imposed upon them by UEFA for "disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions". That is bad news for those hoping for fifth place to be good enough for Champions league qualification and eighth place being good enough for Europa League football.
Sunday 12th July, 2020
Wolves 3 Everton 0
On this form Everton will struggle to finish in the top half, whilst Wolves still carry hopes of Champions league football. Wolves made three changes with Podence making a first league start and Traore held on the bench. Ancelotti sought to match the famous Wolves 3-5-2 formation. Podence, who played against Spurs for Olympiakos earlier this season, brought a save from Pickford after entering the left of the area and shooting low to the right of Pickford’s goal. Jimenez showed skilled control before hitting an overhead kick on target, which Pickford held. Wolves had a penalty after Podence was caught by Digne just inside the Everton box. Jimenez scored confidently from the spot. (45+2 mins)
It was 2-0 almost straight for the kick-off in the second half. Neto took a free kick from deep on the right and Dendoncker met the ball with a well-placed header across the Everton goal. Pickford had an escape when Podence got inside the right of the box and squeezed a shot beneath the keeper, who just managed to stop the ball going over his line. It was the slightest of margins. Dendoncker hit a good long pass for Jota after 65 minutes, but he was closed down and, in an attempt to follow up, Jimenez’s shot was wide. Jota did score in the 74th minute when he picked up a smashing pass by Neves from the right and smacked a left footed shot home.
Everton finally forced a save of note from Rui Patricio when Calvert-Lewin headed down Digne’s cross, but the “Toffees” had next to no impact on this game. Jota was sent away by Rui Patricio’s long throw. Jota teed up sub Traore, but his shot hit the top of the bar
Aston Villa 2 Crystal Palace 0
There were two headlines with regard to this game. One was the lifeline win achieved by Villa. The other related to the horrific racist tweet sent to Palace’s Wilfried Zaha prior to the game. West Midlands Police subsequently arrested a 12-year-old boy regarding the offensive material.
Place had a free kick out near the right-hand corner flag, which Grealish disputed. Sakho appeared to head in from the free kick, but VAR decreed that it had been handball, when the ball went in off the very top of the player’s arm/shoulder. That was a lucky escape for the “Villans”.
Zaha and Mings had a set-to after 25 minutes. Sakho got involved in the melee behind the Villa goal and all three were booked by referee Martin Atkinson. Elmohamaday had been drafted into the Villa side at the last minute and after 38 minutes he crossed from the right and Grealish’s shot forced a save by Guaita. Reina made two saves from former Villa man Benteke after 41 minutes. In added time, Grealish was fouled out on the left of the Palace area. The free kick was floated in, and Trezeguet scored from the back of the goal area with a shot to the right of the keeper.
Two minutes into the second half Grealish went down just inside the Villa area when he was seemingly caught by Van Aanholt. Referee Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty but was overruled by VAR. Villa had a free kick just outside the area after 57 minutes, but Guaita saved Hourihane’s shot. From the corner Konsa’s shot was saved by Guaita at very close range. Trezeguet had a second goal two minutes later when Hourihane headed a cleared ball back into the area and Trezeguet seized his chance well.
Guaita saved to his left from Hourihane and Reina saved at the other end from Van Aanholt. Villa are still alive, but their last three games are Everton (a), Arsenal (h) and perhaps crucially West Ham (a) on the last day. Palace will miss Benteke for the remainder of the season as he was shown a red card after the final whistle following an incident with Villa’s Ezri Konsa.
Spurs 2 Arsenal 1
Spurs Odyssey voters have deemed this the best team performance since we beat Manchester City 2-0 in February. Significantly, this was the first time since that game that four players have been awarded marks of 7 or more out of 10. Ace defender and scorer of our winning goal - Toby Alderweireld - was voted man of the match.
There was distressing news for Serge Aurier on Monday morning when it was confirmed that his brother had been shot dead in Toulouse in the early hours.
Bournemouth 4 Leicester 1
Bournemouth trumped Villa with their biggest league win of the season, and a first win in 10 games. Their previous win had been against Villa. Leicester were missing Chilwell, Ricardo and Maddison, and were looking to go third.
Leicester had the early chances and Vardy scored an easy goal after 23 minutes when Iheanacho’s shot beat Ramsdale and Kelly’s attempt at a back-heeled clearance in front of the line simply fell to the Leicester striker. Vardy had another chance after an errant backward ball, but he put this one over, due to Ake’s sliding intervention. Ake hobbled off and was replaced by Steve Cook. There was no hint of the events to come. Schmeichel made his first save of the game from Brooks just before the half-time interval.
Ramsdale held a Perez shot after 52 minutes, before Bournemouth were gifted an equaliser over 10 minutes later. Schmeichel hit a goal kick into the back of Ndidi and it rebounded into the area where Calum Wilson went down under Ndidi’s challenge. Ndidi was booked and Stanislas scored from the spot (66 mins). A minute later it was 2-1 to the “Cherries” after Schmeichel let Solanke’s shot go into the net under his body. This was Solanke’s first Premier League for the club he joined 18 months ago. There was drama in the back of the net as Calum Wilson sought to retrieve the ball and Soyuncu kicked him. Referee Stuart Atwell showed Soyuncu a red card and he will miss Leicester’s last three games, including Sunday’s game at Tottenham.
Clearly Bournemouth were not just keen for the win, but they were also seeking to improve their goal deficit. They would get their wish against Leicester’s 10 men. Stanislas hit a shot from the right of the area which was turned in by Jonny Evans in the 83rd minute, and four minutes later Leicester gifted a fourth goal to Bournemouth and Solanke’s second goal. It was Leicester’s throw, but they passed inside to their area and Solanke seized the ball and scored through Schmeichel’s legs. It could have been five in added time, but 21-year-old sub Sam Surridge fired wide when one on one against Schmeichel.
Bournemouth have to play Manchester City away in midweek and Villa are at Everton. Watford play West Ham on Friday. Whoever loses that game might yet be twitching! Leicester could drop out of the top four and will be twitching for different reasons.
Monday 13th July, 2020
Manchester United 2 Southampton 2
United were looking for a win to lift them to third place and into pole position for one of the Champions League positions, one of which will now be taken by their City rivals following their successful appeal against a two-year ban. Southampton on the other hand could afford to play relaxed football.
United were unchanged for a fifth consecutive league game. That hasn't happened since 1993. Luke Shaw was playing against his old team. Kyle Walker-Peters played again for "The Saints".
Martial had the first chance after Ward-Prowse gifted him the ball after 9 minutes. Goalkeeper McCarthy advanced to the edge of his area to save the shot with his left hand. Armstrong forced a save from De Gea at the other end.
"Saints" took the lead in the 12th minute. Both teams a liked to play out from the back and after De Gea passed short to Pogba the Frenchman had the ball stolen off his feet (by Ings) and passed to Redmond who teed up Armstrong to score at the right-hand post.
Shaw picked out Rashford who put the ball in the net, but he was offside. It was 1-1 inside 20 minutes and this time Rashford had a legitimate goal from the left side of the area. Pogba had crossed and Martial had pushed the ball to Rashford. Martial made it 2-1 in the 23rd minute cutting inside Walker-Peters before a powerful right-footed goal.
After the drinks break McCarthy pushed clear a Pogba shot after Bruno's pass. United seemed to be targeting Walker-Peters' right flank. Romeu was fortunate to get away with a shin-high challenge on Greenwood after 41 minutes, despite a VAR review.
Redmond pulled a shot wide three minutes into the second half. Martial hit a right footed shot just wide of McCarthy's right post after 55 minutes. Martial cut the ball back for Rashford after 67 minutes but Rashford somehow missed the target from close range. There might have been a defensive intervention here, with Rashford getting the last touch as the ball went out of play.
After an initial mistake by Stephens, Rashford went on a fine solo run, but put his shot wide. Stephens was one of the chasing pack of defenders. Redmond had a great right-footed shot after 85 minutes which needed a very good save by De Gea.
There was an accidental but nasty clash of heads between United sub Brandon Williams and Kyle Walker-Peters which led to added delay as we reached the end of the 90 minutes. Williams walked off with a nasty gash. Kyle Walker-Peters was able to carry on. United were down to 10 men.
Southampton had a corner on the left five minutes into added time, taken by Ward-Prowse and flicked on by Bednarek. Southampton sub Obafemi was able to turn the ball in at the back post.
United had failed to seize the third place, but Southampton had some good possession and moments, and truth be told, were worth their point.
Fixtures & Results 11-13.07.20
Saturday 11th July, 2020
Norwich 0-4 West Ham
Watford 2-1 Newcastle
Liverpool 1-1 Burnley
Sheff Utd 3-0 Chelsea
Brighton 0-5 Man City
Sunday 12th July, 2020
Wolves 3-0 Everton
A. Villa 2-0 C. Palace
Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
B'mouth 4-1 Leicester
Monday 13th July, 2020
Man Utd 2-2 S'hampton
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 35 30 3 2 76-27 49 93 C
2. Man City 35 23 3 9 91-34 57 72
3. Chelsea 35 18 6 11 63-49 14 60
4. Leicester 35 17 8 10 65-36 29 59
5. Man Utd 35 16 11 8 61-35 26 59
6. Wolves 35 14 13 8 48-37 11 55
7. Sheff Utd 35 14 12 9 38-33 5 54
8. Spurs 35 14 10 11 54-45 9 52
9. Arsenal 35 12 14 9 51-44 7 50
10. Burnley 35 14 8 13 39-47 -8 50
11. Everton 35 12 9 14 41-52 -11 45
12. S'hampton 35 13 6 16 45-58 -13 45
13. Newcastle 35 11 10 14 36-52 -16 43
14. C. Palace 35 11 9 15 30-45 -15 42
15. Brighton 35 8 12 15 36-52 -16 36
16. West Ham 35 9 7 19 44-59 -15 34
17. Watford 35 8 10 17 33-54 -21 34
18. B'mouth 35 8 7 20 36-60 -24 31
19. A. Villa 35 8 6 21 38-65 -27 30
20. Norwich 35 5 6 24 26-67 -41 21 R