Premier League Review – Matchday 11
Friday 4th December, 2020
Aston Villa v Newcastle (Match postponed)
This match was called off earlier on the week because Newcastle’s squad was severely affected by Covid-19 issues and had been unable to visit their training centre.
Saturday 5th December, 2020
Burnley 1 Everton 1
Here were two out of form sides meeting, desperate for a win for different reasons. Burnley needed to climb out of the bottom three. Everton, who had such a good start, had lost four of their preceding five games.
Burnley welcomed Nick Pope back in goal. Brownhill and Rodriguez returned to the starting line-up. Burnley had the perfect start, scoring in the third minute from 25 yards with a shot by Robbie Brady just inside Pickford's right post. Everton had tried to play out from the back and Allan had misplaced a pass.
Everton centre-back Godfrey cleared an excellent cross by Lawton before Everton's first chance came after 12 minutes when Calvert-Lewin got a touch on Iwobi's cross, but Pope saved with his feet. Richarlison picked up an excellent crossfield pass before getting into the area and forcing a save by Pope from his shot.
Pickford was upset with those in front of him when Brownhill hit another long-range shot only just wide of the post. Fabian Delph was Everton's left wing-back and he pulled up with a hamstring problem after 26 minutes. He was replaced by Gomes, which meant Everton reverted to a back four. Godfrey switched to left back.
After 40 minutes Everton failed to defend a long kick by Pope and Chris Wood had a shot saved by Pickford. Everton equalised in added time when Richarlison crossed low from inside the area on the left and Calvert-Lewin got the final touch.
Five minutes into the second half Pope made an excellent save, flying to his right to push round a shot by Rodriguez.
Chris Wood fell badly in his own half when challenged by Gomes but was able to continue. After a Burnley free kick was floated in from the left, Brownhill had a shot from inside the area on the left deflected wide. Pickford made a good save, diving low to his right to deny Chris Wood a goal from his close-range header following a corner from the right.
As the game entered added time, Rodriguez fed substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson who sorted his feet out and got a shot on target, but Pickford saved well with his feet. McNeil put a chance wide at the other end.
Both sides had to settle for a point, leaving Everton outside the top four they led early in the season, and leaving Burnley in the bottom three.
Manchester City 2 Fulham 0
Fulham did have a decent attack before City's first chance of the game after two minutes. Mahrez teed up Sterling, who really should have scored but hit his shot at the goalkeeper. It was 1-0 two minutes later after a super pass to Sterling, who this time was towards the right of goal. He scored with a right footed shot across the keeper. Areola saved a De Bruyne shot at his left post after 12 minutes. Mahrez had made the pass for this effort.
As you'd expect it was pretty much one-way traffic. Fulham did well to get to 24 minutes only one down, but they conceded a penalty when Sterling was fouled by Andersen. De Bruyne converted the spot kick. Areola saved well from a Sterling volley after 32 minutes, conceding a corner.
Fulham were always valiant but the closest they came to scoring was from an errant back pass by John Stones. Early in the second half De Bruyne advanced and took a return pass from Jesus before hitting the top of the Fulham bar. Fulham had a corner after 56 minutes but took it short. City defended it and broke forward with Mahrez sending a good ball to the advancing De Bruyne. De Bruyne's shot was well saved by Areola.
Fulham had a couple of shots on goal in the final quarter of the game. City were dominating possession but were unable to add to their first half goals.
West Ham United 1 Manchester United 3
Once again West Ham had to go without Antonio, who still has a hamstring problem. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made changes, no doubt with one eye on the crunch Champions League game to come against Leipzig. Cavani started. Fernandes was held back on the bench with Van de Beek in his position. Paul Pogba was given a first start since 1st November.
This was the first Premier League game of the weekend to have paying fans in the stadium. I know Spurs screened the Burnley away game earlier in the season with Premium ticket holders present, and there may have been other such experiments, but otherwise the last such occasion was in March.
There had been a considerable amount of booing the knee by Millwall fans today, but "Hammers" fans behaved themselves.
Henderson was in the United goal and he did well in the second minute, standing strong against Fornals' effort after Bowen's short cross from the right. Bowen had the ball in the net after 8 minutes, but he was one of two players who had been well offside.
It was a game of few chances and the next threat came from West Ham after 31 minutes when Bowen crossed deep from the right and Fornals headed wide beyond the back post. Manchester United were struggling to string a few passes together with Pogba a prime offender in this regard. Bowen passed from the right with Haller getting a slight touch before Fornals placed a shot which had Henderson beaten, but not the foot of his right post.
West Ham had the lead in the 38th minute after a corner from the left. Declan Rice had a free header at the near post and Soucek crept in to poke the ball home at the back post. It was a deserved lead. A minute later Haller was sent clear by Fornals. Haller had a clear run to the area and had rounded Henderson. He had the goal at his mercy but lost his footing.
West Ham must been upset to have only been one up at half-time, such had been their domination and their number of chances.
At half time Solskjaer brought on Rashford and Fernandes for Cavani and Van de Beek. West Ham had another great chance after 51 minutes. Haller pushed the ball out to Coufal who was in space on the right. The right wing-back fired across goal where Bowen hit the ball wide. McTominay hit the side netting after a pass from Rashford.
Solskjaer made his final substitution after 61 minutes, replacing Martial with Mata. United were level after 64 minutes. Henderson hit a long clearance down the right flank which was collected by Fernandes and delivered to Pogba who scored with a terrific shot from 25 yards inside Fabianski’s left post. VAR tried to examine whether Henderson’s ball had drifted out of play, but the goal stood.
After a throw-in from the left and a pass by Telles, Mason Greenwood scored with a powerful left foot shot to give United a 68th minute lead. Three minutes later Fernandes put Rashford through the middle and the striker hit the outside of the post with his right foot shot across the goalmouth.
It was 3-1 in the 78th minute. Rashford timed his run well for Mata's pass and took the ball to the area, dinking it over the advancing Fabianski.
After a West Ham corner from the right, substitute Benrahma hit a curling shot just over the United goal. Cresswell hit a free kick from 28 yards and Henderson dived to his left to push the ball around the corner. Rice hit a shot from nearly 30 yards out which took a slight deflection but went into Henderson’s hands.
They did not look like achieving it at half time, but this was a ninth consecutive away win for Manchester United in the Premier League.
Chelsea 3 Leeds United 1
Inevitably, in the run-up to this game there were references to the infamous Chelsea v Leeds 1970 FA Cup Final which went to a replay at Old Trafford and was won in extra time by a David “Spider” Webb goal. That game was a battle. Now we live in different times. Leeds are no longer “Dirty Leeds”, but a team tuned to play attractive attacking football by their iconic Argentine coach.
Chelsea were another side able to welcome a limited number of fans to their ground. They came from behind to win this game and seize first place, at least for the night. Having scored four Champions League goals this week against Sevilla in Spain, Olivier Giroud could hardly be left out of the starting line-up for this game, and so it proved.
Meslier saved an early Ziyech shot with his legs and from the corner, Giroud headed wide at the near post. Leeds broke from their own half after four minutes and from the left flank Calvin Philips sent Patrick Bamford away. Bamford rounded Mendy who had advanced to the edge of his area, before planting the ball in the net against his former team. Bamford had never played a first team game but spent several years out on loan to various clubs, before firstly Middlesbrough, then Leeds signed him on full terms. Bamford has scored 8 league goals, seven of which have been away from home this season.
Chelsea should have been level three minutes later. Giroud rose for a Mount corner but it might have been a Leeds touch which took the ball to the back post where Werner contrived to make not one but two misses from a foot in front of the line. His second attempt rebounded off the bar. Giroud also missed after 22 minutes when Meslier gifted him the ball as Leeds attempted to play out from the back. Giroud did level the scores in the 27th minute when he met James’ cross from the right and stabbed the ball home inside the near post.
In the second half Havertz headed over a James free kick, before at the other end Raphinha had his first shot blocked following a corner and hit his second effort over the bar. After 60 minutes Werner had two shots in quick succession saved by Meslier before Alioski blocked Mount’s follow-up, conceding a corner. Zouma rose to head home from Mount’s corner.
Chelsea had other chances, such as Pulisic’s involuntary touch to put the ball wide and Meslier saving again from Werner. Giroud headed over from another corner. Abraham pulled a shot wide after Werner’s pass, but Chelsea had to wait till the third minute of added time for a third goal. Werner was sent away down the right flank and when he crossed, Pulisic slid in to score.
Sunday 6th December, 2020
West Bromwich Albion 1 Crystal Palace 5
This game turned after West Brom’s Costa Pereira was sent off after 34 minutes for raising his feet towards Van Aanholt. At that point, the score was 1-1, but Palace, with talisman Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke to the fore, went on the rampage, scoring five goals away from home for the first time in any top flight game. It was Benteke’s first start of the season and the first time he’s scored two goals for Palace since April 2017 against his former club Liverpool.
Zaha fired a warning shot over Johnstone’s goal after three minutes. Four minutes later Palace had the lead after Milivojevic slipped a free kick to Zaha who was on the right of the area. Zaha’s cross was turned into his own net by Furlong. Furlong headed against the Palace bar after 18 minutes after a Phillips cross from the left. Furlong was involved in the equaliser when he took a good pass from Ajayi and cut the ball back to Gallagher who scored with a low shot inside Guaita’s left post in the 30th minute. Then came the incident which ultimately saw referee Paul Tierney show a yellow before upgrading the card to red after reviewing the incident on the monitor. West Brom will sorely miss last season’s player of the year, who must now sit out three games.
It took Palace until the second half to take the lead. West Brom’s Sawyers was upset he didn’t get a penalty before Palace’s Eze and Zaha advanced and won a corner, after which both Cahill and Benteke had efforts blocked. West Brom did not clear though as Palace attacked from the right with Schlupp bringing the ball across the edge of the area and having a shot blocked which rebounded to McArthur. He fed the ball to Zaha who crashed home a right foot shot in the 55th minute. The floodgates began to open when Eze and Schlupp advanced down the left before Van Aanholt lifted a short cross from the bye-line. Benteke stooped to head into the West Brom net in the 59th minute. Benteke had scored 3 gols on his last 52 matches for Palace.
Goal number four was scored by Zaha, stabbing home from close range after a Benteke-Eze combination. Benteke made it 5-1 with his second goal on the 82nd minute, beating the goalkeeper with a good left-footed shot from just inside the area after Clyne’s pass from the right. Palace will be in a good frame of mind for next week’s game at home to Spurs.
Sheffield United 1 Leicester City 2
Jamie Vardy, a Sheffield "Wednesdayite", rattled Ramsdale's left post with a shot after 9 minutes. Ayoze Perez made that pass to Vardy and had been restored to the Leicester side after an absence of 5 Premier League games. He gave his team a 24th minute lead after an Albrighton shot was half blocked and fell to Perez, who scored from close range.
Ollie McBurnie levelled the scores two minutes later heading in from a Lundstram corner from the left. Maddison was teed up by Perez for a shot in first half added time and hit the same post as did Vardy earlier.
Chris Wilder put on Osborn for Lowe at half-time. Lowe had been booked once and was lucky to escape a second yellow just before the break. McBurnie had a couple of headers. One was half blocked at the near post for a corner, from which he headed over. Ramsdale dropped a free kick that had been floated in, but he did get a hand to Tielemans' effort to score.
In the last minute of normal time Vardy scored in typical fashion when Fleck lost the ball and Maddison sent Vardy away to run at goal and to score. For good measure he broke the corner flag in his "celebration" for which he was booked.
This was a sixth consecutive defeat for Wilder’s team who are stuck on one point at the foot of the table. They have yet to win any game tis season as they lost their one Carabao Cup game to Burnley on penalties in September. In all games they have now failed to win in fifteen games, going back to late last season.
Spurs 2 Arsenal 0
Spurs fans have been basking in the glory of this second consecutive win over our nemesis and social media has been a joy for the white end of the Seven Sisters Road. Even watching the various post mortems on Arsenal's performance has been a joy.
Most joyful, of course, is the fact we are still top of the league. The post-match survey disclosed a man of the match performance by iron man Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg with goalscorers Son and Kane very close to him.
Let's hope that more of us can watch our beloved Spurs in the stadium we cherish as soon as possible!
Liverpool 4 Wolves 0
Liverpool needed a hatful of goals to overtake Spurs at the top of the table. Perhaps surprisingly against a usually resistant Wolves side, they did get half a hatful, despite leaving ex-Wolves man Diogo Jota out of the starting line-up. Hopefully, the Liverpool v Spurs game a week on Wednesday will remain a top of the table decider after next week’s games.
Liverpool has been placed in Tier 2 after the City’s success in reducing Covid infection rates, so there were fans in The Kop. Klopp selected Caoimhin Kelleher in goal last week after Alisson’s injury, and the 22-year-old Irishman has retained the trust of his manager with Adrian in the wings. Wolves were of course missing striker Raul Jimenez after last week’s clash of heads with David Luiz, but Nuno has said Jimenez will be back.
Wolves made the first openings and Kelleher saved well from Podence at his right post to concede a corner in front of the Kop. Liverpool took the lead in the 24th minute when their former player Conor Coady failed to clear Jordan Henderson’s lofted ball allowing Salah the chance to score, which he did not turn down. Just before half-time referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot when Coady went down as Mane went for the ball with his raised foot. It turned out that Mane hadn’t touched the Wolves captain and after a view on the monitor the decision was reversed. Coady didn’t get a card for simulation though.
Wolves did get in the Liverpool box quite a few times and in the second half Coady had the ball taken off his feet by Fabinho. Wijnaldum scored a second goal in the 58th minute after Liverpool broke from their own half and Henderson again delivered the telling pass. Wijnaldum’s right foot shot came from 20 yards, and his shot hit the net in the top left corner.
After a Liverpool corner, taken short by Henderson to Salah who crossed, Matip powered home a header to make it 3-0 in the 67th minute. The scoring was completed in the 78th minute when both Salah and Mane advanced upon a cross by Alexander-Arnold, but it was Semedo’s touch as he slid in that carried the ball into the net.
Monday 7th December, 2020
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Southampton 2
Brighton welcomed fans back to their Tier 2 stadium. They were looking for a win in this South coast derby, which would take them above Arsenal. Tariq Lamptey returned after suspension. Southampton were unchanged, but Danny Ings was available on the bench.
Southampton had the early possession, but Brighton had the first shot on target when March crossed from the left and Welbeck hit a shot just to the left of McCarthy, who saved.
After a Brighton throw from the left the bouncing ball caught James Ward-Prowse's errant arm and referee David Coote pointed to the spot. VAR supported the referee and Pascal Gross sent McCarthy the wrong way and scored in the 26th minute.
Southampton hadn’t been testing the Brighton defence enough, but they got an equaliser from a corner in the 45th minute when 6ft 6 inch Vestergaard rose to head home from Ward-Prowse's corner.
Danny Ings replaced Djenepo at half-time. Djenepo was at risk having been booked early in the game for a foul on Lamptey.
Again, chances were few and far between. Walcott hit a shot wide from 20 yards after receiving Armstrong’s ball from the right. Southampton had a corner from the left which Ryan could not hold. When the ball was returned from the right Ings tried to head across the keeper, but this time Ryan held cleanly.
Redmond replaced Walcott and after 73 minutes he and Danny Ings combined inside the Brighton area. After Ings's skill with his back to goal, (a little keepy-uppy and an over his shoulder pass), Redmond's shot was just over.
March was penalised for a foul on Walker-Peters on the very edge of the area. VAR took a long look to decide whether or not it should be a penalty, and eventually the decision was for a penalty. Danny Ings stepped up and made no mistake from the spot. (81 mins) The Brighton 2,000 were not happy. Pascal Gross was booked for dissent after the decision too.
Maupay hit a left foot shot on the turn which passed just wide. In added time March crossed from the left and Trossard's glanced header went to McCarthy's hands. Southampton held onto their win and sit in 5th place. They play bottom club Sheffield United at St. Mary's on Sunday lunchtime.
Arsenal held on to 15th place.
Friday 4th December, 2020
A. Villa P Newcastle
Saturday 5th December, 2020
Burnley 1-1 Everton
Man City 2-0 Fulham
West Ham 1-3 Man Utd
Chelsea 3-1 Leeds
Sunday 6th December, 2020
West Brom 1-5 C. Palace
Sheff Utd 1-2 Leicester
Spurs 2-0 Arsenal
Liverpool 4-0 Wolves
Monday 7th December, 2020
Brighton 1-2 Southampton
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Spurs 11 7 3 1 23-9 14 24
2. Liverpool 11 7 3 1 26-17 9 24
3. Chelsea 11 6 4 1 25-11 14 22
4. Leicester 11 7 0 4 21-15 6 21
5. S'hampton 11 6 2 3 21-17 4 20
6. Man Utd 10 6 1 3 19-17 2 19
7. Man City 10 5 3 2 17-11 6 18
8. West Ham 11 5 2 4 18-14 4 17
9. Everton 11 5 2 4 20-18 2 17
10. Wolves 11 5 2 4 11-15 -4 17
11. C. Palace 11 5 1 5 17-16 1 16
12. A. Villa 9 5 0 4 20-13 7 15
13. Newcastle 10 4 2 4 12-15 -3 14
14. Leeds 11 4 2 5 16-20 -4 14
15. Arsenal 11 4 1 6 10-14 -4 13
16. Brighton 11 2 4 5 15-18 -3 10
17. Fulham 11 2 1 8 11-21 -10 7
18. Burnley 10 1 3 6 5-18 -13 6
19. West Brom 11 1 3 7 8-23 -15 6
20. Sheff Utd 11 0 1 10 5-18 -13 1