Premier League Review – Matchday 36
Tuesday 14th July, 2020
Chelsea 1 Norwich 0
It was not an entertaining game, but Chelsea remain in pole position of the Champions League chasers with this win. Krul saved well from Pulisic’s left footed shot after 36 minutes. Chelsea’s goal came in first half added time when Pulisic hit a right footed cross from the left and Giroud headed home. Pulisic received a lofted ball into the area fifteen minutes from time, but Krul was alert to his shot and saved. Willian had a late free kick saved by Krul at his right-hand post. Relegated Norwich did not muster one shot on target. Chelsea had six on target out of 22 attempts.
Wednesday 15th July, 2020
Burnley 1 Wolves 1
Burnley scored a 96th minute penalty to spoil Wolves' hopes of Champions League football. Burnley moved above Arsenal (before their game against Liverpool), and with games against Norwich and Brighton to come, Sean Dyche will harbour hopes of beating the 54 points his side achieved two years ago.
Wolves made changes to their starting line-up and had six Portuguese players in the team. Podence sent in a good ball towards Jot on the left of the rea five minutes before the break, but Jota’s shot was wide. Jimenez gave the visitors a 76th minute lead with a cracking right footed shot from 16 yds after Doherty’s cross had been diverted to his feet.
Chris Wood had missed a sitter three minutes into added time after Vydra had headed back a long ball from the right. He was able to redeem himself though after referee Mike Dean gave a penalty after Wood’s attempted overhead kick was blocked by Doherty’s upper arm. It seemed harsh, but VAR Kevin Friend backed up Mr. Dean. Wood hammered his kick into Rui Patricio’s top left corner and Burnley had a point.
Wolves may well rue Mr Dean’s decision at the end of the season.
Manchester City 2 Bournemouth 1
This was a respectable enough scoreline for Bournemouth, but realistically the “Cherries” now need to win their last two games (at home to Southampton and away to Everton) to have any chance of staying up. Eddie Howe’s team gave themselves a chance with their 4-1 win against Leicester, but the manager knows their Premier League game is up now.
Pep Guardiola did rest some big names with the FA Cup semi-final coming up this weekend. Bournemouth will now miss Nathan Ake for the remainder of the season, after he was injured against Leicester and Steve Cook again took his place. Lerma was lucky not to add an early card to add to his considerable collection when he ploughed into the legs of David Silva. The victim stood up and beat Ramsdale with a great free kick inside 6 minutes. It was left foot into Ramsdale’s top left side of the net. Fernandinho hit a low shot wide of Ramsdale’s right post from 28 yard and Bournemouth mustered an effort midway through the half with Josh King hitting a shot wide. 10 minutes later Bournemouth had a free kick 25 yards out. It was taken by Stanislas and went out for a corner after Ederson saved, pushing the ball onto the post before it rebounded out off his head and leg as he dived.
Bournemouth had another chance with King, Gosling and Solanke in the box but Otamendi managed to clear. The more clinical City made it 2-0 in the 39th minute when David Silva passed forward to Jesus inside the left of the box. Jesus moved to his right before beating Ramsdale low to his left with the shot.
In the second half Stanislas showed good skill inside the area on the right hitting a shot towards the far corner which had Ederson beaten. Josh King finished at close range, but he was offside. Stanislas hit a cross from the right which Ederson could not hold, but Gosling’s follow-up was blocked. Jesus went down under Steve Cook’s challenge and referee Lee Mason awarded a penalty. VAR overruled him, suggesting that Cook had got the ball first.
Bournemouth carried on fighting. Brooks crossed low from the right and Calum Wilson pulled his shot wide. Ramsdale saved from Foden at his right post and David Brooks got what turned out to be nothing more than a consolation goal in the 88th minute. He and Wilson had broken clear and Wilson picked up a long ball down the left side before teeing up his team-mate. Calum Wilson put another chance wide from outside the area. Ederson saved bravely from Surridge deep into added time. Bournemouth had fought hard, but they know their fate is almost sealed.
Newcastle 1 Spurs 3
Two-goal Harry Kane was your clear man of the match, and whilst individual performances over the course of the season have been moderate (to say the least), I can tell you that Harry and Hugo are chasing Giovani Lo Celso for our player of the season vote with two games to go. Harry has passed the twenty goal landmark for the sixth consecutive season (in all competitions). Not bad for a player who has missed 18 of our 50 games played so far!
Arsenal 2 Liverpool 1
Spurs had moved five points ahead of Arsenal with their win at Newcastle and knew that whatever happened in this game the “Gooners” would still be behind them. Nobody expected Champions Liverpool to be so charitable when they literally presented Arsenal with their two goals and a win which keeps them in the race for Europa League football. With this defeat Liverpool have failed in their bid to reach 100 point and also to beat City’s record tally of two years ago. I don’t suppose they’ll be too worried. As happened when Liverpool played at the Etihad fireworks could be heard outside the ground early in the game, no doubt set off by travelling or more likely London-based fans.
Arteta made five changes to his team leaving Aubameyang on the bench. Arsenal have an FA Cup semi-final to think about too. Jurgen Klopp fielded his strongest available side with Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield against his old club. Liverpool took the lead in the 20th minute with a typical goal. Firmino pushed the ball into the area for Robertson to cross low from the left and Mane met the ball for a straightforward finish in the middle.
It looked like becoming a routine Liverpool win, but gift number one fell to Lacazette after 32 minutes when Fabinho and Van Dijk (that £75 million centre-half) were caught out passing to and from across the edge of their area. Nelson pressured the great man who presented the ball to Lacazette who could not miss. Van Dijk looked in vain for a foul to be given. Gift number two came a minute before half-time. Robertson took a throw on the left and sent it back to Alisson, who kicked the ball straight to Lacazette’s feet. Lacazette crossed to his left and Nelson fire a shot into the net to the right of the hapless keeper. With no European football on the agenda until next season it seems the Liverpool players are on the virtual beach already. Whilst on their holidays some people might be interested in casinos and betting sites. TBC list the best ones for those interested.
Arsenal defended well when Liverpool had players in the box four minutes into the second half and Martinez saved well later in the half from Salah’s rising shot. Mane had a chance four minutes from time running onto Robertson’s long ball, before putting his low shot just wide. Arsenal defended with five at the back in the second half. Arsenal’s last two league games are away to Villa next Tuesday and at home to Watford on the last day. Let’s hope those teams still have something to play for – at least for one of the games!
Thursday 16th July, 2020
Everton 1 A. Villa 1
Villa were desperate for something more from this game. The point means they have as much chance as Bournemouth of staying up, so that’s not very good. Carlo Ancelotti made five changes to his side. Everton are truly in no-mans-land now and The Goodison project remains one that will be long term.
It was a game of few highlights. Bernard had a cross bounce off the top of the bar early on, and Grealish had a decent shot a yard over the target ten minutes before half-time. Two minutes after the break Grealish hooked a shot wide of Pickford’s right post. Villa took the led in the 72nd minute. Hourihane and Grealish stood over a free kick on the right-hand side. It was Hourihane who whipped the ball in and with Pickford moving towards his right, Konsa diverted the ball low to the left of the goalkeeper. It was Konsa’s first Premier League goal. Hiss only other goal had been in his first game of the season for Villa in the League Cup.
Grealish subsequently put in a very good cross going to the back post where El Ghazi somehow scooped the ball high. Four minutes before time Everton had their best chance when Gomes passed from the left of the box, but Calvert-Lewin put his shot the wrong side off the post. The equaliser came a minute later. Gomes crossed again, this time from a position wide on the left. Substitute Walcott headed back across goal, and Konsa could not keep the ball out. The goal was an easy decision for the technology. Villa’s slim chances of survival probably disappeared in that moment.
Leicester 2 Sheffield United 0
Leicester held their top four place with this win in what could be a pivotal result for both sides. The “Foxes” were missing the suspended Soyuncu, and the injured Ricardo, Chilwell and Maddison. 36-year-old Wes Morgan made only his second league start of the season and this was his first 90 minutes since January. Ryan Bennett also made his second Premier League start and played next to Morgan and Evans in a back three. Leicester’s wing backs were James Justin and 19-year-old Luke Thomas making his first team debut. The “Blades” played the same team that beat Chelsea 3-0.
Vardy had a shot saved well by Henderson, wearing a cap in the face of evening sunshine. The keeper also saved at close range from Perez midway through the first half when Leicester had a concerted and sustained attack. Perez scored in the 29tth minute, after receiving a short pass from Thomas to his left, Perez hit a low shot inside Henderson’s right post from just inside the area. Vardy hit the outside of the post with a shot after 51 minutes. Vardy fed the ball to Barnes inside the box and Henderson saved again. Norwood lost the ball in midfield and Ndidi passed forward to Vardy who this time was on the right of Barnes. Vardy passed to his left and Henderson saved again, with his legs – not for the first time in this manner either.
Sheffield United had only their second corner after 62 minutes. Egan headed down and Schmeichel had to be down quickly to save O’Connell’s reactive touch. Egan blocked a shot by Tielemans after Vardy’s pass. Leicester scored their second goal in the 79th minute. Evans sent a long pass down the left channel for Vardy to chase. Vardy crossed and substitute Demarai Gray scored from 12 yards.
Chris Wilder was not happy with his team. It seems that Brendan Rodgers had out-foxed him with his improvised team and different formation. Leicester have two tough games to end their season. They are at Tottenham on Sunday and host Manchester United on the last day. The “Blades” are now the chasing side for a place in Europe, and they play Everton at home and Southampton away.
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 2
United maintained their challenge for a Champions League place. They are only behind Leicester on goal difference and their last day game against Leicester is a mouth-watering prospect and bound to be a high-profile TV game. Palace consider themselves the victims of two VAR decisions, and also suffered the loss of Patrick van Aanholt late in the game. Palace will miss Benteke for the remainder of the season as he was shown a red card in the Villa game after the final whistle following an incident with Villa’s Ezri Konsa.
De Gea had to punch clear an early shot by Zaha. The first chance of note for United came after 38 minutes when Harry Maguire headed wide from a Bruno Fernandes corner. Less than two minutes later Van Aanholt fed Jordan Ayew from the left and De Gea saved well. Zaha made a run into the area just before the break and collided with Lindelof. Referee Graham Scott gave nothing, and he was supported by VAR. There was still time for Rashford to give United a half-time lead as he showed good feet inside the area before placing his shot past Guaita. Still in added time, Zaha was fouled just outside the box. Milivojevic took the kick and De Gea flew to his right-hand post to save.
Palace were upset ten minutes into the second half when Zaha crossed from the left and Ayew scored at the back post, but the goal was disallowed for offside by the finest of margins. De Gea saved comfortably from James McCarthy’s right footed shot, and at the other end Martial shot was jut as straightforward for Guaita. Fernandes hit the post after 75 minutes with a right-footed shot, but three minutes it was 2-0 to United after they broke out of their own half. Rashford brought the ball forward, exchanging passes with Bruno before he set up the advancing Martial who scored across Guaita’s left hand. Van Aanholt fell badly in his attempt to prevent Martial from scoring and had to be stretchered off after lengthy treatment. Zaha had a late shot saved by De Gea’s leg inside his left post. There were 11 minutes of added time during which Guaita pushed over a Rashford shot, but there was no other significant action.
Southampton 1 Brighton 1
This south coast derby match had more significance for Brighton for whom the point gained effectively now guarantees their Premier League status. Brighton’s Glenn Murray will be 37 in September and made his first start since February. Hojbjerg – possibly destined for Tottenham – tested Ryan with an early shot from the right of the area. It was a Murray header that teed up Maupay for a 17th minute goal following a throw taken from the right. It was a left footed shot with McCarthy already moving the wrong way. Southampton thought they had equalised when Ings shot and a defender’s momentum could not prevent the ball going into the net, but Ings was offside.
Ings hit the post with a right-footed shot ten minutes into the second half and Adams’ attempted follow-up was blocked and cleared. Adams nearly got on the end of a low Ings cross hit from the left-hand-side. Hojbjerg received a lofted ball from Kyle Walker-Peters but put the shot wide. The word is that there might be an exchange plus cash deal for Spurs to sign Hojbjerg. Southampton’s pressure upon the Brighton goal eventually told when Ings was onto Redmond’s ball and did hit the net with a left foot shot. Ings now has 20 Premier League goals to his name for the first time. Vestergaard hit the woodwork left of Ryan with a 30-yard shot. Ryan had got a touch to push the ball to his left and prevent a goal.
Friday 17th July, 2020
West Ham 3 Watford 1
This was a crucial game. The winners would be effectively assured of Premier League football next season. The losers would have to worry about Bournemouth and Villa being within reach.
Mark Noble skippered "The Hammers" and this was his 500th game for the club. Ryan Fredericks was out, and David Moyes gave rookie Ben Johnson the nod for only his second first team appearance.
Antonio gave West Ham a sixth minute lead after the ball was worked right to left across the area to him. He beat Foster with a left footed shot. It was 2-0 only three minutes later. Bowen crossed from the left and Soucek rose and headed home at the back post.
Sarr had a shot which was saved but not held by Fabianski, but West Ham cleared. West Ham had a corner on the left after 35 minutes which came back out. Noble passed short to Rice who was outside the left corner of the area. He hit a superb right footed shot which left Foster standing.
After a free kick in first half added time followed by a cross from the right Watford's Craig Dawson headed over the bar.
Watford started the second half with some desire and after a corner from the right Kabasele rose and headed wide across the goal. In the next attack Watford advanced down the left flank from their own half. Doucoure got into the box and beat Fabianski with his shot only to see the ball bounce out. Troy Deeney was on hand to finish off.
After a pass by Antonio, Rice had another shot from distance, which was deflected and won a corner. This was one of few West Ham attacks so far in this half. Haller came off the bench after the drinks break and nearly beat Foster with his first touch hitting a shot from over 20 yards which the keeper managed to touch out of play.
After 81 minutes Sarr sent in a dangerous cross from the right, but Welbeck was unable to react quick enough to get the right contact in the middle.
Ultimately West Ham managed the second half well, despite losing an early goal. They can look forward to games against Leeds next season - whose promotion was confirmed earlier. Watford have to worry about Aston Villa and Bournemouth, and Nigel Pearson's side face difficult games at home to Man City and away to Arsenal.
Fixtures & Results 14-17.07.20
Tuesday 14th July, 2020
Chelsea 1-0 Norwich
Wednesday 15th July, 2020
Burnley 1-1 Wolves
Man City 2-1 B'mouth
Newcastle 1-3 Spurs
Arsenal 2-1 Liverpool
Thursday 16th July, 2020
Everton 1-1 A. Villa
Leicester 2-0 Sheff Utd
C. Palace 0-2 Man Utd
S'hampton 1-1 Brighton
Friday 17th July, 2020
West Ham 3-1 Watford
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 36 30 3 3 77-29 48 93 C
2. Man City 36 24 3 9 93-35 58 75
3. Chelsea 36 19 6 11 64-49 15 63
4. Leicester 36 18 8 10 67-36 31 62
5. Man Utd 36 17 11 8 63-35 28 62
6. Wolves 36 14 14 8 49-38 11 56
7. Spurs 36 15 10 11 57-46 11 55
8. Sheff Utd 36 14 12 10 38-35 3 54
9. Arsenal 36 13 14 9 53-45 8 53
10. Burnley 36 14 9 13 40-48 -8 51
11. Everton 36 12 10 14 42-53 -11 46
12. S'hampton 36 13 7 16 46-59 -13 46
13. Newcastle 36 11 10 15 37-55 -18 43
14. C. Palace 36 11 9 16 30-47 -17 42
15. West Ham 36 10 7 19 47-60 -13 37
16. Brighton 36 8 13 15 37-53 -16 37
17. Watford 36 8 10 18 34-57 -23 34
18. B'mouth 36 8 7 21 37-62 -25 31
19. A. Villa 36 8 7 21 39-66 -27 31
20. Norwich 36 5 6 25 26-68 -42 21 R