Premier League Review – Matchday 37
Saturday 18th July, 2020
Norwich 0 Burnley 2
Burnley's Charlie Taylor was injured so Pieters reverted to left back. In midfield Gudmundsson made his first start since October. Sean Dyche had six players on the bench without a Premier League start between them.
Norwich made the brighter start and had a corner after 18 minutes and nearly had a goal when Godfrey's header was saved on his line by Pope who stuck out his right hand. Tettey's follow-up took a deflection and led to another corner.
Norwich's Buendia was shown a red card in the 35th minute for bringing his elbow down upon Westwood after the two had been involved in a challenge. The decision took a while to make as VAR recommended referee Kevin Friend view the pitch side monitor, after which he brought out the red card.
Rodriguez had a good right footed shot well saved by Krul after 38 minutes. Cantwell committed a needless foul just outside the area three minutes later. McNeil took the kick which took a deflection off the wall and was saved by Krul.
Drmic was shown a straight red in the third minute of first half added time for a dangerous challenge on Pieters. VAR reviewed but stood by the decision, and Norwich were down to 9 men. Norwich were then punished after the free kick when Gudmundsson returned the ball to the middle and Chris Wood scored with a well-placed overhead kick inside Krul's right post.
A second half goal deluge was on the cards and Krul pushed over a Pieters shot within three minutes of the restart. Norwich had not conceded a second goal when their former player Robbie Brady replaced Gudmundsson. Brady was making only his second post-lockdown appearance. The closest Burnley came to adding to their lead before the drinks break was after a corner and Bardsley's long shot was deflected. Krul then made a good save from Rodriguez after the next corner.
Brownhill tried a shot from 25 yards after 78 minutes but that passed wide. The second goal when it did come (80 minutes) was an embarrassing own goal by Godfrey, at the back post trying to control a Pieters cross from the left but putting into his own net past Krul.
Norwich mustered an attack and nearly a goal as Hernandez got onto a long ball, hitting a right foot shot which stretched Pope. Krul saved well at his near post as Vydra shot from the right of the area. Krul saved well again in added time, diving to his right to forcefully save Bardsley's shot. In fairness, Norwich's nine men did themselves proud in the second half.
Sunday 19th July, 2020
Bournemouth 0 Southampton 2
Bournemouth’s fate is almost sealed. They thought they had given themselves hope with a late equaliser, but that was extinguished by VAR before Southampton scored an even later second goal. The “Cherries” certainly gave it everything and Kyle Walker-Peters made a goal-saving clearance when Josh King raced away down the right wing and put in a dangerous low cross which otherwise would have been converted by Calum Wilson. The Spurs loanee started an attack which ultimately led to Danny Ings scoring with a right-footed shot into Ramsdale’s left corner after 41 minutes. That’s 21 goals for Ings now, two behind Jamie Vardy.
Ramsdale pushed a Ward-Prowse shot around the corner in the second half with Ings ready to pounce. Southampton were awarded a penalty when Harry Wilson’s arms were raised when challenging Romeu at a corner. The ball came off Romeu’s shoulder and brushed Wilson’s arm, and the decision (by VAR) seemed harsh. Perhaps justice was done when Ings shuffled before shooting and Ramsdale anticipated well, saving to his left. Ramsdale saved his team again 8 minutes from time, rushing out to spread his body and save from Redmond.
Vestergaard made a great intervention to prevent Solanke from scoring after 85 minutes. As added time loomed McCarthy made a fingertip save to his right from Harry Wilson’s shot. In the fourth minute of added time Kelly took a longish throw from the left. Surridge met the ball at the near post with McCarthy saving and Surridge snapping up the rebound to put the ball in the net. However, Calum Wilson had been offside in front of the keeper and Bournemouth’s celebrations were cancelled. In the cruellest of circumstances Southampton scored a second goal when Obafemi cut the ball back from the left and Che Adams fired into the net. It was the last kick of the game and surely the last nail in Bournemouth’s Premier League coffin.
Spurs 3 Leicester City 0
THFC would not allow me the fly the Spurs Odyssey flag in the stadium for these behind closed doors games but it will feature in my match report!
Harry Kane was your very clear man of the match(Quote:- “Kane was a monster all over the field”) and with two excellent goal-scoring performances against Newcastle and Leicester Harry has pipped Giovani Lo Celso by a very slim margin to lead our player of the season vote. Skipper Hugo Lloris is high in the reckoning as well, so there is all to play for with regards to the team and players on Sunday.
Monday 20th July, 2020
Brighton 0 Newcastle United 0
With this point Brighton formally secured another season in the Premier League. Brighton certainly had the noteworthy first half chances with Maupay hitting the post (but offside) and Lewis Dunk having a header saved by Dubravka. Maupay nearly went down inside the area and Trossard fired wide.
In the second half Almiron flicked Ritchie’s cross towards Ryan’s left post, but the keeper saved. Dubravka was required to make a very good save from Webster’s 25-yard shot. Substitute Andy Carroll missed a late chance to head home a corner at the back post.
Sheffield United 0 Everton 1
Sheffield United’s hopes of European football disappeared with this defeat. Everton will finish in the bottom half, but with a home game against Bournemouth to end their season, they will at least be hopeful of finishing eleventh. The game offered little excitement and was won by Richarlison’s header in the 46th minute when he met Sigurdsson’s free kick taken from the right. The header was directed into the net using the power of the ball well. McGoldrick had a shot blocked and at the other end Henderson did well to keep out Calvert-Lewin’s deflected shot.
Wolves 2 Crystal Palace 0
Palace were missing the injured Van Aanholt and their captain Milivojevic. Roy Hodgson gave 20-year-old Tyrick Mitchell his first start. Jeffrey Schlupp stepped up for his first start since December, and only his second appearance of this calendar year. Mitchell had to face Traore, with Schlupp ahead of him, and no doubt there to assist.
Palace were trying to avoid a seventh consecutive Premier League defeat. Such an occurrence would be a first for Roy Hodgson. The first shot on goal came from Jimenez after 12 minutes. The Mexican battled for and won the ball on the right of the area before hitting a shot which Guaita picked up at his near post.
Palace centre back Mamadou Sakho pulled up after 19 minutes, needing treatment, and had to be replaced after the drinks break by Kouyate. After 26 minutes, Zaha carried the ball from right to centre and passed to Schlupp to his left. Schlupp hit his shot wide of the keeper's left post.
Townsend sent Ward away down the right and goalkeeper Rui Patricio plucked his cross out of the air. Palace had a free kick after 37 minutes, taken left-footed by Andros Townsend and comfortably held by the goalkeeper.
Palace failed to clear their lines after a Wolves attack after 40 minutes. Moutinho found Doherty on the right. The wing-back crossed and Podence had an easy finish in front of goal. It was Podence's first goal for Wolves.
Podence was involved in the first action of note after the break. He passed to Traore on the right of the area whose shot was parried by Guaita. Jimenez could not get the right contact on the rebound with the defence clearing. (58 mins)
Skill by Traore on the right entering the area led to a second goal for Wolves. Traore ran through two defenders and cut the ball back to Jimenez, who passed to his left where Jonny fired home to the left of Guaita. (68 mins) Traore was appearing left, right and centre and had a shot on target himself after 74 minutes which was held by the Palace keeper.
At last Palace managed another shot on goal. This came from Zaha from 15 yards but went straight to Rui Patricio. Zaha had another shot from 20 yards in added time but this too went straight to the keeper.
Wolves have regained sixth place one point above Tottenham. They play at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, while we face Palace. We must hope that Wolves lose points against Chelsea while we win at Selhurst Park because we need to finish sixth to guarantee Europa League football, due to the risk of Arsenal winning the FA Cup Final.
Tuesday 21st July, 2020
Watford 0 Manchester City 4
Nigel Pearson was surprisingly sacked at the weekend with two games remaining. After City, Watford face a last day trip to Arsenal. Apparently, Pearson had a disagreement with owner Gino Pozzo and thus became the third coach sacked by Pozzo this season. U-23 coach Hayden Mullins has taken temporary charge.
The barrage of Ben Foster’s goal started after 11 minutes when he had to dive to his left to save Rodri’s deflected shot from over 20 yards. Twenty minutes later City scored their first after Walker crossed from the right and Sterling smashed a right-footed shot home from the right of the area. Sterling won a penalty just inside the area. Having taken a pass from Foden, he was just getting ready to fire with his left foot when Hughes brought him down after 40 minutes. Sterling took the kick, which was well saved by Foster, before the City and England star smacked home the rebound. That’s 19 Premier League goals for Sterling, and he is City’s highest scorer.
Foster saved a 22-yard shot by Sterling in the second half which otherwise would have been a hat-trick goal. Despite the eventual scoreline 37-year-old Foster was a hero for Watford and he made another flying save to keep a De Bruyne 20-yarder out of the net. De Bruyne picked out Sterling in the 63rd minute towards the right of the box. Sterling’s shot was saved, but Phil Foden was on hand to pick up the scraps and make it 3-0. Doucoure didn’t help his side as he committed a foul trying to clear a few yards outside his own area. De Bruyne took the free kick swung to the far post from the right where Laporte headed into the net back across Foster.
Jesus had a headed goal” chalked off in added time for offside but City have beaten Watford 12-0 on aggregate this season. Their previous meeting had been last year’s Cup Final which City won 6-0. Defeat, and most significantly the goal difference put Watford back in the bottom three (from where Nigel Pearson had lifted the club) after Villa’s subsequent result. Watford are away to Arsenal on the last day.
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 0
Villa responded to the Watford result and took the opportunity on offer to climb out of the bottom three, albeit only on the slightest of goal difference advantages. The decisive goal came after Villa’s first corner in the 27th minute. The corner was taken from the left and Tyrone Mings got a touch with the ball falling perfectly for Trezeguet to beat Martinez inside his left post with a powerful finish. Villa defended their lead stoutly with Konsa making a good block as Aubameyang turned and tried to pull the trigger.
Keanan Davies should have increased the lead taking a good pass from Grealish before hitting his shot wide of Martinez, but also wide of the far post. That might have proved costly within a minute as Arsenal had a corner taken by Pepe and headed goalward by Nketiah. The ball rebounded off the inside of the post into Reina’s hands. Reina kissed the ball with thanks, no doubt forgetful of Covid-19. Grealish gave McGinn a chance, but Martinez saved his left foot shot. Villa held on, but I did wonder how Arsenal had beaten Man City in the FA Cup semi-final on this form. Villa play West Ham away on Sunday.
Wednesday 22nd July, 2020
Manchester United 1 West Ham 1
West Ham were effectively safe, so could afford to play relaxed football. Manchester United wanted as much as possible out of this game before their crunch head to head at Leicester on Sunday. David Moyes was missing his first choice full backs though with Fosu-Mensah at right back and Brandon Williams on the left.
Martial tested Fabianski with a right footed shot within two minutes, with the keeper pushing the ball clear to his right. Fabianski had to save again inside the third minute, diving to his right this time to hold Greenwood's left foot shot. The early indications were that West Ham were mainly seeking to get men behind the ball, but they did take their opportunities to get forward. They won a corner after half an hour but Ogbonna headed it wide across the goal.
Fabianski could only parry a shot by Rashford after 36 minutes, but the ball ran well clear of danger. Williams got to the bye-line on the left and cut the ball back. It reached Greenwood; whose shot was well blocked. 20-year-old Ben Johnson was at right back again for West Ham and he crossed dangerously two minutes before the break and with Antonio challenging Lindelof headed back to De Gea, the ball taking a touch off Antonio.
With added time looming, Paul Pogba threw his arms up and then suggested a powerful shot by Rice had hit his face. VAR awarded a penalty which was converted by Antonio.
Fosu-Mensah had been booked in the first half and was replaced after the break by Wan-Bissaka. United were back on terms in the 51st minute when Greenwood scored from the edge of the area after a sequence of short passes between Greenwood, Pogba and Martial.
De Gea was required to make a good save from Jarrod Bowen, whose shot took a slight deflection off Williams' intervention. Rice went close with another 25-yard shot. Ighalo replaced Rashford after 84 minutes and had an immediate chance when Greenwood cut a ball back from the right. Ighalo could not hit the target.
In truth, West Ham were good for their point which conclusively gives them safety. United moved into third place before Chelsea played at Anfield, and with a one-point lead over Leicester, a draw will see them in next season's Champions League.
Liverpool 5 Chelsea 3
After the Manchester United drawn game and because Leicester play United on Sunday, Chelsea knew they only needed one point in this match to secure Champions League football.
There was nothing between the two sides until Keita scored a terrific goal in the 23rd minute. He stole the ball off Willian and had a quick one-two with Wijnaldum before unleashing a shot that beat Arrizabalaga in his top left corner.
Mason Mount had the ball in the net running onto a pass made from his half, but VAR confirmed that he was offside. Liverpool were awarded a free kick when Kovacic was deemed to have fouled Mane outside the area. Kovacic was booked too. Frank Lampard was not happy, and even less happy when Trent Alexander-Arnold scored direct from the free kick. (38 mins)
Liverpool had a third goal in the 43rd minute. Robertson took a corner from the left. Salah was challenging and there was a handball by Chelsea before the ball ran to Wijnaldum, who nonchalantly fired home.
Chelsea had a goal back before the break when Alisson saved from Willian, but Giroud scored from the rebound off the keeper.
It took until the 54th minute in their last home game, but finally Roberto Firmino scored his first home league goal of the season when he headed home a fine cross by Alexander-Gordon. Chelsea made it 4-2 on the hour when Pulisic made a run into the area from the left and laid the ball on for fellow substitute Tammy Abraham.
The unofficial Liverpool fireworks display started soon after this second Chelsea goal, from outside the ground, of course. Chelsea made it 4-3 in the 73rd minute with the Liverpool defence in disarray in the middle of their half. Chelsea broke forward through Hudson-Odoi, and when he crossed from the right Pulisic took a couple of touches before hitting the roof of the net.
Liverpool made it 5-3 in the 83rd minute. Chelsea had a free kick on the left and had been threatening to get the point they needed, but Andy Robertson broke forward and crossed to the right where Oxlade-Chamberlain made no mistake. Liverpool had a free kick in added time, taken by Robertson, but scooped over at the back post by Van Dijk.
The official Premier League trophy presentation followed the game. The fact that Chelsea need at least a point off Wolves on Sunday helps Spurs, who do need to do their bit and win at Selhurst Park.
Fixtures & Results 18-22.07.20
Saturday 18th July, 2020
Norwich 0-2 Burnley
Sunday 19th July, 2020
B'mouth 0-2 S'hampton
Spurs 3-0 Leicester
Monday 20th July, 2020
Brighton 0-0 Newcastle
Sheff Utd 0-1 Everton
Wolves 2-0 C. Palace
Tuesday 21st July, 2020
Watford 0-4 Man City
A. Villa 1-0 Arsenal
Wednesday 22nd July, 2020
Man Utd 1-1 West Ham
Liverpool 5-3 Chelsea
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 37 31 3 3 82-32 50 96 C
2. Man City 37 25 3 9 97-35 62 78
3. Man Utd 37 17 12 8 64-36 28 63
4. Chelsea 37 19 6 12 67-54 13 63
5. Leicester 37 18 8 11 67-39 28 62
6. Wolves 37 15 14 8 51-38 13 59
7. Spurs 37 16 10 11 60-46 14 58
8. Sheff Utd 37 14 12 11 38-36 2 54
9. Burnley 37 15 9 13 42-48 -6 54
10. Arsenal 37 13 14 10 53-46 7 53
11. Everton 37 13 10 14 43-53 -10 49
12. S'hampton 37 14 7 16 48-59 -11 49
13. Newcastle 37 11 11 15 37-55 -18 44
14. C. Palace 37 11 9 17 30-49 -19 42
15. West Ham 37 10 8 19 48-61 -13 38
16. Brighton 37 8 14 15 37-53 -16 38
17. A. Villa 37 9 7 21 40-66 -26 34
18. Watford 37 8 10 19 34-61 -27 34
19. B'mouth 37 8 7 22 37-64 -27 31
20. Norwich 37 5 6 26 26-70 -44 21 R