Premier League Review – Matchday 19
No less than 15 played matches and two postponements feature in this lengthy review of the nineteenth Premier League Review of this season. There is still all to play for, but the table is taking shape, with the bottom six clubs still worrying about relegation and almost all of the top half thinking they might be in the running in what has been the most open race for the league title in living memory. Perhaps that race is starting to be reduced to those in the top four. We will see. With plenty of cup football still to come this weekend and 4 rounds of league matches in the next two weeks you might be interested in checking https://your-promotional-code.co.uk/. European matches return next month too!
Saturday 16th January, 2021
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 West Bromwich Albion 3
Nuno set out to play 4-3-3 with Boly returning at the back next to Coady. Robert Snodgrass, signed this week from West Ham, made his "Baggies" debut. "Big Sam" also maintained his faith in former Spur David Button, who had played in last week’s Cup defeat at Blackpool. Number One keeper Sam Johnstone was not available, having tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. Allardyce had Andy Lonergan on the bench having signed him from Stoke. Lonergan played against Spurs in the pre-Christmas League Cup quarter-final.
Button had an early tester after a Wolves corner when Boly tried a shot from outside the area. Button saved low to his left. Michael Oliver stunned Wolves when he pointed to the spot after 6 minutes when Boly challenged Robinson on the very edge of the area. VAR upheld the decision and Pereira scored to the right of Rui Patricio, who went the wrong way. Celebrations were muted, following Covid advice. (8 mins) West Brom had a nervous moment in front of their goal when Button failed to hold Neto's cross from the left, the ball hit Gibbs's hand. Gibbs was safe and Button may have been impeded by Fabio Silva anyway.
Dendoncker hit a shot on target from 25 yards after 17 minutes, but straight to Button. Rui Patricio had a comfortable save at the other end diving to his left to stop Pereira's effort. Wolves had three corners in succession, all defended, but after the third, Boly nearly scored a striker's goal at the near post when Neto crossed from the right. After half an hour Robinson had a chance near Rui Patricio's right post following a West Brom free kick and a diving header by Grosicki. Wolves were looking to the assistant, but Robinson had not been offside. It’s a good job the keeper saved!
Wolves' celebrations when they equalised in the 38th minute were not so muted. Wolves had a free kick on the left which West Brom had not cleared. The ball was returned to the danger zone from the right and after a clever flicked pass by Boly, Fabio Silva scored with a clever touch and a neat shot to the left of Button. It was only Silva's second league goal, and his first from open play. It was 2-1 four minutes later after a corner from the right fell to Boly's feet. Boly scored, redeeming his penalty conceded early in the game.
West Brom were under early pressure in the second half with Fabio Silva winning a corner and having a shot blocked from that. The "Baggies" equalised from a long throw-in after 52 minutes. Both the centre backs were involved with Bartley heading on and Ajayi scoring with a looping header inside Rui Patricio's right post. Two minutes later West Brom were given a second penalty when Coady caught Robinson. Pereira scored from the spot again, this time to the left of the keeper.
The Wolves defence was nowhere when Pereira crossed from the left and Robinson placed a shot wide of the keeper's right post. Conor Coady, usually a 90-minute man was replaced by Ait-Nouri, with Saiss taking on the central role. This was the first time Coady had been subbed at Wolves.
Sam Allardyce added another defender (Furlong) to the mix as his team resisted Wolves' efforts. Fabio Silva was correctly shown a yellow card for diving inside the box in the closing minutes. West Brom held out for a precious win. Nuno looked pensive. The natives would have been very restless, had they been present.
Leeds United 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Leeds were without regular goalkeeper Meslier, so Kiki Casilla, who had played against Crawley, got the nod. Maupay, Gross and Solly March were recalled by Graham Potter. Leeds were also without the suspended Kalvin Phillips, usually protecting his back four. Struijk stepped in. The Elland Road pitch was heavy, and the turf was lush, presumably having been covered with the heavy snow in these parts this week.
Rodrigo was close for Leeds after 6 minutes, just failing to get a scoring touch to Alioski's cross which came from the left. Brighton took the lead after 16 minutes. The goal followed a good short passing move into the right of the area featuring Mac Allister and Trossard, with Maupay scoring from close range on the left of the goalmouth. Brighton came close again after 23 minutes and again Mac Allister and Trossard were involved. This time the Argentinian passed inside and Trossard hit a shot which took a strong deflection before rebounding across goal off the Leeds bar.
Leeds had a good chance after 50 minutes. Raphinha and Bamford combined in the middle of the area and the ball reached Jack Harrison towards the right. He hit a powerful left-footed shot wide, back across the goalmouth. Bamford had only 4 touches in the first half. To be honest, I thought he was not playing.
Alioski lost the ball to Maupay on Brighton's right flank after 61 minutes. Maupay teed up Trossard, but he put a good opportunity over the target. Leeds substitute Tyler Roberts hit a shot on target after Bamford's short pass inside the right of the area, but the shot was straight at Sanchez at his near post. Casilla nearly spilt a shot by Webster, which was not hit with power, but the keeper recovered. Casilla was much-maligned by Leeds fans after his showing last week at Crawley, and for a moment I couldn’t help thinking of Gary "Careless Hands" Sprake (R.I.P).
Brighton's Graham Potter had a game plan which utilised a back 3/5, with those in front given licence to attack early on, which was rewarded with the goal. Leeds didn’t create enough, and although they dominated most of the second half, the "Seagulls" defended valiantly. This was Brighton’s first win since November 21st and was much-needed.
West Ham United 1 Burnley 0
Michail Antonio who has been hampered by injury was the difference in this game scoring his first goal since October in the ninth minute. Burnley have only managed 9 goals all season and slipped to fourth from bottom. Antonio’s goal followed a West ham advance down the left flank and a cross by Fornals to the back post where Antonio stabbed the ball into the net. Burnley had a “goal” struck off by a delayed offside flag when Cresswell turned in Wood’s cross after 33 minutes (Wood had been offside) and two minutes later Ogbonna hit the post with a back-post header from a corner.
In the second half Mee comfortably cleared an Antonio header clear in front of his goal. After Antonio was fouled by Tarkowski right on the edge of the area, Declan Rice hit a free kick just over the bar from the angle on the left. Rice later picked out Bowen with a long pass and the former Hull man hit the side netting with his shot. A long cross from the left by Dwight McNeil troubled Fabianski who got a slight touch with the ball rebounding off is bar. Robbie Brady’s follow-up shot passed wide.
Fulham 0 Chelsea 1
Ruben Loftus-Cheek cannot play against his parent club so Fulham's one change from the team which faced Spurs for was Ademola Lookman to start.
Olivier Giroud started this game, and he had a sight of goal after 8 minutes hitting a shot which curved away from Areola's right post. Werner, Abraham and Havertz were among the Chelsea subs. Robinson got forward on the left after 16 minutes and after his cross, two Fulham shots were blocked, one from Lookman and the other from the left wing-back. Ziyech hit a shot from 20 yards in a central position. Areola saved competently.
After 24 minutes Chilwell's cross from the left was not dealt with well by Robinson and Mason Mount's shot rebounded to safety off the bar. Areola soon had to push round Rudiger's header from following a corner. Fulham had few attacks but after 40 minutes Robinson raced forward again down the left flank. His cross reached Tete on the far side, but when he returned a good ball inside to Decordova-Reid the Fulham forward fired over with a goal looking the more likely result.
Referee Peter Bankes showed Robinson a straight red card after 44 minutes for his high challenge upon Azpilicueta. The decision was upheld by VAR. Fulham would miss one of their best attacking foils for the second half and the next three games.
Fulham started the second half in a back five formation with Bobby Decordova-Reid playing at left wing-back. He subsequently switched to the right where he has played previously. The pressure was on for the Fulham defence. Areola saved a Ziyech shot at his right post, before on the other side Giroud just failed to convert a Mason Mount low ball. Giroud put a shot wide after 62 minutes but he was offside anyway. He was grateful for the flag to cover his embarrassment. Abraham came off the bench to partner Giroud (replacing Jorginho), and he soon had a header on target, held by Areola.
Fulham did get forward occasionally and were presented with a chance when Azpilicueta over-hit a back pass, but Thiago came to Chelsea's rescue. Giroud was replaced by Werner and Ziyech by Hudson-Odoi with 15 minutes remaining. The deadlock was broken in the 78th minute. Hudson-Odoi hit a ball across the area after some trickery on the right. Chilwell lifted a cross towards goal and Areola flapped the ball away but only to the feet of Mount, who made no mistake.
There were five minutes of added time and in the fourth Fulham had a free kick which was cleared and led to a break by Werner. Ultimately, he had the goal at his mercy, but failed and put his shot wide. Fulham had fought hard but having to play the second half with 10 men proved too much.
Leicester City 2 Southampton 0
Leicester were unchanged, whilst Southampton had to manage without Danny Ings who has only just come out of (Covid) isolation. McCarthy had to save from Barnes after Leicester pounced when Southampton unsuccessfully tried to play out from the back. Adams had a shot at the other end but Schmeichel saved comfortably at his near post. Leicester took the lead in the 37th minute. Albrighton had led three successive attacks and he passed inside to Tielemans who found Maddison on the edge of the area with a good pass. Maddison advanced and scored with a powerful shot into the roof of McCarthy’s net.
Bertrand was put through by James Ward-Prowse and Schmeichel managed to save his shot, but not with confidence. In the second half Armstrong passed to Smallbone towards the left of the Leicester area and Schmeichel saved again. Armstrong hit the bar with a rasping shot from over 20 yards after 73 minutes. Two minutes later McCarthy was beaten when Barnes tried to score across him, but Bednarek cleared in front of the goal-line. Vardy had a chance after 84 minutes when Justin passed across and the former England striker got round Jack Stephens before hitting a shot which McCarthy managed to push away for a corner.
Southampton pressed had for an equaliser in added time but were caught out in the fifth additional minute when Tielemans found Barnes in the clear and the Leicester number 15 made no mistake.
Sunday 17th January, 2021
Aston Villa v Everton (Postponed)
This match was postponed as Villa were still suffering the effects of the Coronavirus. Villa’s midweek game against Spurs, which was replaced by our home game against Fulham, was also postponed.
Sheffield United 1 Spurs 3
Spurs got their first Premier League win at Bramall Lane (at the fifth attempt) and Tanguy Ndombele was your man of the match. That makes three times in his last five games and five times in all so far this season. He’ll be in the running for goal of the month and goal of the season now too!
Harry Kane has now scored 207 club goals and will equal Bobby Smith with one more goal. If he plays against Wycombe (if we play against Wycombe, who have had Covid issues) Harry will fancy his chances of going second only to Jimmy Greaves. What a player!
Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0
As usual Sky ( and the whole football world) hyped this game up, and as has so often been the case, the game failed to live up to Sky's expectations. The result suited United who stayed at the top of the table, three points above the Champions. The game was preceded by applause for Gerry Marsden, who recently died. Gerry (of Pacemakers' fame) recently died, and his rendition of "You'll never walk alone" is played before every game. Incidentally, the song does not "belong" to Liverpool as it was originally in a fifties musical, "Carousel".
Liverpool’s makeshift centre-back pairing was Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. Shaqiri made his first league start of the season on the right of Liverpool’s midfield three. Shaqiri was involved in an early move, passing to Wijnaldum to his left who then fed Robertson who tried to place a shot but hit the side netting. Firmino went close after another move started by Shaqiri, with the ball coming via Mane. Shaqiri was booked for a foul on Shaw outside the Liverpool area, but Bruno Fernandes' free kick was just off target, to the right of Alisson's post.
Highlights were hard to find. Alisson saved a close-range shot by Fernandes with his outstretched foot after 75 minutes and De Gea had to fling himself to the right to save a 20-yarder by Thiago. Alisson saved well from Pogba's right foot shot hit from less than 10 yards, seven minutes from the end. That was as close as anybody came to scoring.
Liverpool have failed to score in their last three league games. These two clubs meet again today (24th January) in the FA Cup Fourth Round tie of the round (of course it is!)
Manchester City 4 Crystal Palace 0
City's form is looking ominous. They climbed up to second place with this win with a game in hand on their rivals. This was City's fifth consecutive league win, and an eighth such win in all games. They haven't been beaten in 16 games, since losing 2-0 to Spurs on 21st November.
Palace were weakened by the absence of Zaha (injury) and Kouyate (family issues) and played a five-man midfield with the clear intent to "stonewall" City. In this they succeeded for quite a while. City won a corner after 23 minutes and three players had shots blocked inside the Palace area. Stones scored following another corner in the 26th minute. The centre-half headed home De Bruyne's cross and in his fifth season he had his first Premier League goal for City.
It was 2-0 in the 56th minute following another corner. This was cleared to the feet of Gundogan who scored with a delightful right foot shot from 20 yards just inside Guaita's left-hand post. De Bruyne hit a right foot shot just wide from further out, but he intercepted the ball when Palace failed with their attempt to play out from the back. Sterling won a corner and Stones scored again, this time with his left foot after Dias's header had only been partly cleared (68 minutes).
It was 4-0 in the 88th minute when Raheem Sterling scored directly from a free kick on the left edge of the area. Palace had again been the architects of their downfall with Guaita giving the ball away with a poor clearance and substitute Torres being fouled on the edge of the box.
Monday 18th January, 2021
Arsenal 3 Newcastle United 0
Arsenal have won four of their last five league games and drawn the other. Newcastle have now gone seven league games without a win and lost five of those. This was their second defeat at The Emirates in three games, having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal. It’s a good job for Steve Bruce and the Newcastle hierarchy that fans are not allowed to go to games, because I am sure they would be getting a thorough earbashing. Arsenal’s Thomas Partey started for the first time since his team lost at Tottenham. Steve Bruce made 9 changes from the team which lost to Sheffield United and included both Andy Carroll and Callum Wilson up front.
Aubameyang hit the post after 14 minutes following a move where Smith-Rowe advanced and passed to Saka who crossed from the right, but the Arsenal captain fired back across the goal hitting the far post. Almiron made a good run down the right flak and got to a good position, taking a return pass from Carroll before firing over Leon’s goal. Aubameyang fired over after being teed up by Smith-Rowe. Arsenal were dominating but not making Darlow make any meaningful saves.
Darlow saved well from Lacazette within a minute of the re-start, pushing away a low shot with his right hand. Aubameyang did score in the 50th minute. Newcastle had ventured forward and were caught out when Partey hit a long pass to Aubameyang who left Krafth on the floor as he hit the net from the left side of the box. It was 2-0 ten minutes later as Smith-Rowe beat Lascelles with ease and set up Saka for a powerful finish in the middle of the area.
The game was truly settled in the 77th minute and all too easy for Arsenal as Saka and Cedric attacked down the right. Cedric cut the ball back from the bye-line and Aubameyang scored his second goal.
Tuesday 19th January, 2021
West Ham United 2 West Bromwich Albion 1
West Ham are in a good run of form. They are unbeaten in five league games, and now they are three points above Chelsea who were the last team to beat them in December. The “Hammers” have got Antonio back too, and he scored for the second consecutive game. As for West Brom their plight is well known and their win against Wolves was their one victory in their last 9 games. It has also been reported that the Premier League will investigate the “spoken” agreement between the two clubs that Robert Snodgrass, recently transferred to “The Baggies”, would play no part in this game, and so it proved. Johnstone was back in goal for West Brom.
There had been routine saves at either end for the goalkeepers. West Ham had a free kick after 34 minutes when Antonio was fouled outside the area by Ajayi. Lanzini (making only his second league start of the season) took the kick which skimmed the top of the net behind the goal. There was just one minute of added time and West Ham took the lead at the very last moment. The goal followed a cross by Benrahma from the left which reached Coufal towards the right of the area. Coufal crossed quickly and Bowen scored with a reactive strike off his chest.
Pereira scored in the 51st minute with a strong left-footed strike from the edge of the area. VAR considered the situation regarding Gallagher who had been in an offside position but was deemed not to have interfered with Fabianski’s view. Rice went close with shot from very near the bye-line which passed across West Brom’s goal, no more than a foot in front of the goal-line. Antonio’s winning goal was scored in the 66th minute. Cresswell crossed from the left. Substitute Yarmolenko headed the ball back to the middle of the area with the ball going just behind Antonio, but the big man scored with his right foot.
Leicester City 2 Chelsea 0
Chelsea made the very early showing, but Leicester took the lead in the sixth minute after a well-worked corner routine from the right. Albrighton took the corner short to Maddison then made the short run to receive the ball back before cutting it back to Ndidi (via a touch by Barnes). Ndidi smacked the ball home from the edge of the area with a left foot shot off the inside of Mendy's right post.
Maddison took a short pass from Castagne after 15 minutes before hitting a left foot shot from the edge of the Chelsea area which went out of play off the top of the bar with Mendy beaten. At the other end James made a run into the box, hitting a shot which Schmeichel saved at his left post. Chelsea had a corner from the left and the Leicester keeper had to save Thiago Silva's header.
Mendy pushed over a 25-yard shot by Albrighton after 25 minutes. There was space for Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi after 32 minutes but Hudson-Odoi fired outside Schmeichel’s left post with his shot after Pulisic's pass. Vardy had a clear chance at the other end, but Mendy saved, and Vardy might have been offside.
Referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot when Johnny Evans caught Pulisic as he entered the area. VAR decreed the foul was just outside the box, so it was a free kick only. Mount took the kick which passed well over the wall and the bar. Albrighton hit a long ball towards the Chelsea area after 40 minutes. Vardy went down under a challenge and the ball reached Maddison who made no mistake and made it 2-0 with his right foot shot.
It should have been 3-0 after 49 minutes when Albrighton lifted a ball to the back post where Justin had a free header but hit the ball wide. Schmeichel held Abraham's header from a corner at the other end. Another Chelsea corner put in by Mount hit, James and went to Schmeichel’s hands.
Tielemans made a run for Jamie Vardy, receiving his pass towards the left of goal before hitting a shot when Mendy saved with his leg.
Frank Lampard made a double change after 66 minutes putting on Ziyech and Werner for Hudson-Odoi and Havertz. The match was now being played in pouring rain. Brendan Rodgers put on fresh blood with 15 minutes remaining with Perez replacing Maddison and Ricardo on for Albrighton. Ricardo played one half of a Europa League game in December but otherwise this was his first game since March last year.
Chelsea had a free kick after 85 minutes after a foul by Fofana. Werner turned the ball into the net, but an offside flag was correctly raised.
Leicester were worth their win and went to the top of the table overnight. Frank Lampard has a lot of players to choose from and hasn't found the right blend. One or two big-money signings such as Havertz and Werner have yet to establish their place in the Premier League. Even West Ham are above Chelsea after this result!
Wednesday 20th January, 2021
Leeds United v Southampton (Postponed)
This game was postponed to enable Southampton to play their previously postponed FA Cup game against Shrewsbury.
Manchester City 2 Aston Villa 0
Villa only returned to training three days ago, following their Covid-19 problems, but the only change to their team was the return of Ross Barkley for El Ghazi. This was their first game for 18 days. They certainly didn’t look like a team that had been ill. The game was played in heavy rain throughout. There were chances at either end, but no goals till late in the game, the first of which was wrapped in controversy.
Martinez made a great save at his left post at very close range from Bernardo Silva, following a fourth minute corner. Villa had early attacks too with Barkley, Traore and of course Grealish involved.
City had shots by Foden, Rodri and Cancelo blocked. Kyle Walker fell badly when challenged by Grealish, and never really recovered, eventually being replaced by Zinchenko. As the half progressed, Villa were being forced back more and more.
In the second half Traore showed great touch and skill when receiving a long ball on the right flank, getting round De Bruyne before worrying Ederson with his shot. Pep had been playing without a striker but put on Jesus for De Bruyne after 58 minutes.
Traore had a shot charged down before Ederson saved well from Douglas Luiz. McGinn had a chance in space in the middle of the area but missed his kick in the soggy conditions. City took the lead in the 79th minute. It was surrounded by controversy as Rodri was coming back from an offside decision but Mings played the ball, and not a team-mate therefore, according to the rules, Rodri was played on. Rodri passed to Bernardo Silva who scored across Martinez's right hand with a well-placed shot from 20 yards. VAR supported referee Jon Moss who then firstly showed Villa boss Dean Smith a yellow, presumably for something he said, then a red when Smith obviously followed up with a further inappropriate comment.
Martinez saved from Cancelo but then City had a penalty when Matty Cash's hand got in the way of Gabriel Jesus header. Gundogan converted the penalty in the 90th minute and City went to the top of the league, at least until the next game.
Fulham 1 Manchester United 2
The weather was a little more clement in London and Fulham took a surprise lead in the fifth minute when Anguissa hit a long ball down the right channel and Lookman was both onside and also on the score sheet as he beat De Gea with a right-footed shot.
Areola had been having a quiet night until 20 minutes into the game. Firstly, Shaw crossed from the left and Fred passed forward to Fernandes who hit Areola's left post with his shot. The ball rebounded into play following which Fernandes hit a powerful low cross from the left which the keeper could not hold and Cavani snapped up the close-range chance. Only a minute later Fernandes was testing Areola's right side with another shot, but the keeper saved.
Loftus-Cheek had a couple of good early second-half moments, and with the second one he passed to Lookman, whose shot was saved by De Gea to his right.
United had a couple of chances in the first 18 minutes of the second half but were offside both times. Once again, Fulham were acquitting themselves well through Andersen's defending, Tete's determination and Loftus-Cheek's skill. However, Paul Pogba scored a sensational goal out of nothing after 64 minutes. He received the ball outside the area toward the United right channel, before advancing then scoring with a rocket of a left-foot shot across Areola.
Fulham substitute Kamara gave Loftus-Cheek a good chance towards the right of the United area after 74 minutes, but the Chelsea loanee's shot had insufficient strength to beat De Gea, who saved. Loftus-Cheek brought the ball out of Fulham's half with a powerful run, but when at the end of the move he was presented with a shot at goal, he skied it in front of the Putney Stand.
Wan-Bissaka made a vital interception of Lookman's shot to concede a corner and a Mitrovic header went just wide off Bailly for an added time corner but United held onto the win which took them back to the top of the table.
Thursday 21st January, 2021
Liverpool 0 Burnley 1
Perhaps with an eye to the upcoming FA Cup tie against Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp rang a few changes. Jordan Henderson was absent with a "minor problem". Matip returned to play next to Fabinho. Salah and Firmino were left on the bench so the front three included Shaqiri and Origi who was making his first Premier League start of the season. Oxlade-Chamberlain won a place in midfield.
As expected, most of the action was in the Burnley half, but Burnley broke a couple of times in the first 12 minutes. Chris Wood was subject to one delayed offside flag, but there was no flag on another occasion when he and Barnes were threatening. Alisson had been put under pressure when he came out to the edge of his area to try and clear from Wood.
Shaqiri hit a left foot shot from the edge of the box after 20 minutes, just wide of Pope's left post. Oxlade-Chamberlain was next up, hitting his right foot shot on target, but Pope held comfortably. Origi received a pass from the left after 28 minutes and made room for a low right-footed shot from 25 yards which tested Pope inside his left post. Three minutes late Mane passed to Origi inside the area. Origi moved to his right and hit a shot, and again Pope was equal to the attempt.
Robertson stung Pope's hands at the keeper’s right post with a decent shot after Liverpool had advanced through the middle. Alexander-Arnold had a shot blocked from the other side after Liverpool might have over-played around the Burnley area. Mee presented the ball to Origi who ran to the edge of the area and beat Pope, but saw his shot rebound off the woodwork near the left frame of the goal. (42 mins)
Referee Mike Dean awarded a free kick when Mane went down just outside the area under Tarkowski's challenge, but Alexander-Arnold skied the free kick. There were scenes on and off the pitch as Mike Dean blew the half-time whistle. Fabinho shoved Barnes and was ultimately shown a yellow (reviewed by VAR) and Jurgen Klopp wasn't happy with Sean Dyche as the Burnley manager marched down the tunnel.
After 50 minutes Alexander-Arnold's low cross was blocked and returned to the feet of the right back who surprised Pope a little with a low left-footed shot, which the keeper saved at the second attempt. Salah and Firmino replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain and Origi after 56 minutes. Klopp must have been worrying about the fact his side had failed to win their last four league games and hadn’t scored in the last three. It wasn’t long before Wijnaldum carried the ball in a long run from his own half, passing to Salah inside the area to his right. Salah hit a shot which was well saved by Pope conceding a corner.
Barnes brought down a cross from the right and Alisson saved well after 66 minutes, but once again the flag was raised at the completion of the move. Four minutes later McNeil just kept the ball in at the left bye-line and substitute Gudmundsson met the ball at the near post but fired well over the target.
Burnley's barrage of yellow-shirted defenders kept the persistent Liverpool attack at bay and then Barnes delivered a shock at the Anfield Road End. Barnes had chased a ball lifted into the box after a free kick and Alisson caught the striker's foot as he hit his shot. Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Barnes scored convincingly inside Alisson's left post. (83 mins)
With just over a minute of normal time remaining Alexander-Arnold hit a low cross to Firmino, whose shot was somehow blocked in front of Pope's goal. Barnes fed McNeil at the other end, but McNeil fired wide.
Burnley held on throughout the four minutes of added time and won at Anfield for the first time in 46 years. The three points will be very special to them. Liverpool have failed to score in four league games; failed to win in five and have lost at home in the league for the first time since April 2017. That's the end of a 68 game unbeaten home run undefeated in the league.
Spurs are next for Klopp's team next Thursday in the Premier League. We would go above them with a win. Here's hoping!
Saturday 23rd January, 2021
Aston Villa 2 Newcastle United 0
This game was re-arranged and played on FA Cup Fourth Round weekend, as both teams were knocked out in the Third Round.
Villa made one enforced change with Marvellous Nakamba replacing the suspended McGinn. Dean Smith was also serving a touch line ban following his comments about Jon Moss over Manchester City's controversial first goal in midweek. Steve Bruce made four team changes, but even though Saint-Maximin was available, he started on the bench. Almiron was in midfield, playing behind Andy Carroll and Callum Wilson.
Villa's Olly Watkins had been suffering a goal drought since November. He came close to converting Matt Targett's cross after 10 minutes, but he did score three minutes later when Schar tried to intercept another cross by the left back, but the ball looped up offering Watkins a perfect opportunity to head across Darlow into the net. Villa soon had a free kick taken from the left by Traore but headed wide by Barkley.
Lascelles had an on-target header well cleared (with his head) by Mings. Watkins had the ball in the net again after 33 minutes, but he had been offside when receiving down the left channel. Following a Villa corner taken on the left, Darlow could only punch the ball as far as a Villa player outside the area. The ball was returned via Traore to Grealish again. The much-admired midfielder laid the ball up for Traore who had advanced into the area and he scored with a right foot shot into the roof of the net. (42 mins)
Watkins had a great chance two minutes into the second half, receiving Barkley's pass across the area, the shot was hit straight at Darlow, who saved. Douglas Luiz was taken by surprise when the ball rebounded to him and he pulled his effort wide.
Newcastle had shown next to nothing as far as any goal threat was concerned, and with 20 minutes to go Bruce took off Carroll and Manquillo for Ryan Fraser and Allan Saint-Maximin. Those changes, plus the addition of Dwight Gayle bore no fruit as Villa dominated in terms of possession, shots on and off target, and of course goals scored.
Newcastle have failed to win in any of their last 10 games, and have to be considered as relegation prospects, even though they are currently still seven points ahead of Fulham.
Saturday 16th January, 2021
Wolves 2-3 West Brom
Leeds 0-1 Brighton
West Ham 1-0 Burnley
Fulham 0-1 Chelsea
Leicester 2-0 S'hampton
Sunday 17th January, 2021
A. Villa P Everton
Sheff Utd 1-3 Spurs
Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Man City 4-0 Crystal Palace
Monday 18th January, 2021
Arsenal 3-0 Newcastle
Tuesday 19th January, 2021
West Ham 2-1 West Brom
Leicester 2-0 Chelsea
Wednesday 20th January, 2021
Leeds P S'hampton
Man City 2-0 A. Villa
Fulham 1-2 Man Utd
Thursday 21st January, 2021
Liverpool 0-1 Burnley
Saturday 23rd January, 2021
A. Villa 2-0 Newcastle
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man Utd 19 12 4 3 36-25 11 40
2. Man City 18 11 5 2 31-13 18 38
3. Leicester 19 12 2 5 35-21 14 38
4. Liverpool 19 9 7 3 37-22 15 34
5. Spurs 18 9 6 3 33-17 16 33
6. Everton 17 10 2 5 28-21 7 32
7. West Ham 19 9 5 5 27-22 5 32
8. A. Villa 17 9 2 6 31-18 13 29
9. Chelsea 19 8 5 6 33-23 10 29
10. S'hampton 18 8 5 5 26-21 5 29
11. Arsenal 19 8 3 8 23-19 4 27
12. Leeds 18 7 2 9 30-34 -4 23
13. C. Palace 19 6 5 8 22-33 -11 23
14. Wolves 19 6 4 9 21-29 -8 22
15. Burnley 18 5 4 9 10-22 -12 19
16. Newcastle 19 5 4 10 18-32 -14 19
17. Brighton 19 3 8 8 22-29 -7 17
18. Fulham 18 2 6 10 15-27 -12 12
19. West Brom 19 2 5 12 15-43 -28 11
20. Sheff Utd 19 1 2 16 10-32 -22 5