Premier League Review – Matchday 20
Tuesday 26th January, 2021
Crystal Palace 2 West Ham 3
West Ham have won their first 6 games of a calendar year for the first time in their history. Four of those games have been in the league and they found themselves in the top four overnight. Their fans were able to crow about being London’s top team, hopefully only for a short time. Their next opponents will be Liverpool at home on Sunday. Palace have won just one of their last nine league games and find themselves stuck in the bottom half of the table.
Palace welcomed back Wilfried Zaha after he had missed two games, and he opened the scoring inside three minutes after a short one-two pass with Benteke, hitting his shot from the edge of the box just inside Fabianski’s right post. The “Hammers” levelled in the 9th minute, following a good move down the left flank involving Cresswell then Fornals who crossed into the left of the area. Antonio cleverly hooked the ball back from the bye-line and Soucek headed in from short range. Soucek scored again after 26 minutes. Antonio had been fouled by former “Hammer” Kouyate and Cresswell floated in a free kick. Antonio couldn’t quite make contact but Soucek scored from the back post, chesting the ball before kicking it into the net. Antonio nearly had another goal for West Ham as Palace gave the ball away after the kick-off. Antonio hit the inside of Guaita’s right post, but the ball bounced away to safety.
Antonio hit the post again later in the first half, intercepting an intended shot from Cresswell before instantly hitting shot across goal, only to see it bounce off the bottom of the post again. In the second half Guaita made a great reaction save from Mitchell’s unintended back-pass after a cross by Benrahma from the right. West Ham scored a third goal from a 65th minute corner, headed in by Craig Dawson.
Antonio was deeply frustrated when he tried to turn in Coufal’s low pass, but his shot passed just the wrong side of the post. James McArthur hit a shot just over the bar five minutes before time for Palace, and he was involved in the move which led to what was a consolation goal in the seventh minute of added time when substitute Batshuayi turned in the final pass by Jordan Ayew.
Newcastle United 1 Leeds 2
The pressure is on Steve Bruce after his men lost a fifth consecutive league game. That run is 6 games including their FA Cup exit and it is now 10 league games since a win. Newcastle found themselves fifth from bottom after this result. Almiron’s 57th minute goal ended a run of 454 minutes without a goal in all competitions.
Leeds took the lead in the 18th minute. Bamford had made a good run in a central position and passed to Rodrigo to his right. He cut the ball back into the path of Raphinha who scored inside Darlow’s right post from 16 yards out. Almiron’s equaliser followed a pass by Shelvey to Callum Wilson who touched the ball into the path of Almiron who scored despite Meslier getting a touch on the ball. It wasn’t long though before Leeds regained the lead. Raphinha hit a good ball from right of centre to Jack Harrison who was inside the area on the left. Harrison scored with a shot across Darlow and inside his left post. (61 mins) Darlow made a good save low to his right as Roberts got a touch on Raphinha’s cross. The Newcastle keeper had to stretch his right hand behind his body as the ball would otherwise have passed.
Saint-Maximin came off the bench and he teed up Jamal Lewis to his left, whose shot skimmed the top of the bar. Lascelles also hit the top of the Leeds bar as he tried to head in a corner. Meslier saved well from a powerful Shelvey header from another corner, taken by Ryan Fraser. Schar made a run from his own half hitting a shot which Meslier pushed away to his left.
Despite the defeat, Steve Bruce was pleased with his team’s efforts in the latter part of the game.
Southampton 1 Arsenal 3
Arsenal extracted full revenge for their FA Cup defeat at St. Mary’s only three days earlier and rather ominously they are undefeated in 6 league games, winning five of those games. They are back in the top half.
Lacazette started again and after only a minute he had a chance after Southampton gave the ball away. McCarthy came to the rescue of his team. It was Southampton who took the lead two minutes later from a corner won by Danny Ings. When the ball came across it was Armstrong who smacked it into the net from 15 yards. Pepe levelled the scored five minutes later with a good goal. Partey had passed to Xhaka to his left and when Xhaka threaded a pass into the left side of the box, Pepe took control with a clever touch before firing home. It was 1-1 after only 8 minutes into the game.
Cedric nearly scored against his former club after 14 minutes. Saka had crossed from the right before Cedric hit a shot just wide of McCarthy’s left post. Leno saved well at the other end from Adams’ header. Southampton were giving their all with right back Valery and Armstrong hitting shots wide. Arsenal had the first half lead though in the 39th minute. Lacazette fed the ball to Saka to his right and McCarthy raced outside his area to try and stop the attack. Saka was round the keeper and scored from just outside the box.
Walcott fired a powerful shot straight at Leno in the second half. Danny Ings came close when he made a good jinking run inside the area before being thwarted by Leno, and then Lacazette made it 3-1 in the 72nd minute scoring from close range after Saka crossed from the right. Cedric had started that move with a long pass from deep on the left wing. Leno flew to his right to save a James Ward-Prowse free kick, but there would be no way back for the home side.
West Bromwich Albion 0 Manchester City 5
Manchester City were rampant against lowly West Brom, despite the absence of Kevin de Bruyne, who will be out for a month with a thigh injury. West Brom conceded five goals for the fourth time this season. They have let in 48 league goals and have the worst goal difference in the division. They’ve won just one of their last 10 league games and are six (effectively seven) points off safety. Their next two games against Fulham and Sheffield United will be crucial.
West Brom had an early attack and Ederson had to make a close-range save from Karlan Grant’s shot following a throw-in on the right. City soon broke forward with Bernardo Silva’s run. He passed to Foden on the left who hit the outside of Johnstone’s post with his placed shot. Gundogan opened the scoring after 6 minutes, receiving Cancelo’s long cross in the middle before planting a right-footed shot right of the “Baggies” keeper. There was confusion regarding City’s second goal scored by Cancelo, who had carried on after assistant Sian Massey-Ellis had initially not flagged for offside against Bernardo Silva, then did raise her flag late. Players did hesitate having seen the flag, but City completed their move with Bernardo passing back to Cancelo who scored with his left foot from the edge of the area. VAR reviewed and confirmed the goal.
It was 3-0 after half an hour when West Brom failed to clear inside their area after Cancelo’s ball. It was Gundogan who scored again, accepting a gifted ball. More weak defending gave City the chance to add a fourth goal in first half added time with Mahrez accepting Sterling’s ball across the area before coming inside to fire home. The “Baggies” were like lambs to the slaughter.
Rodri’s 25 yard shot clipped the crossbar six minutes into the second half, before Sterling scored city’s fifth goal in the 57th minute. Rodri had started this move with a pass to Mahrez to the right of the area. Mahrez crossed and Sterling scored from close range.
Wednesday 27th January, 2021
Burnley 3 Aston Villa 2
Burnley had only scored 10 goals in their previous 18 league games and scored three in a league game for the first time since February last year. They did score three against Fulham in the FA Cup last weekend. The “Battle of the Clarets” proved to be very entertaining and rewarding for Sean Dyche’s side.
Watkins hit a shot straight at Pope after 13 minutes. The provider had inevitably been Jack Grealish. A minute later, Watkins did score. Grealish passed to Targett on his left and Watkins cleverly turned the cross past Pope inside his left-hand post. Watkins got on the end of good pass by McGinn, who had been under pressure in his own half. Pope saved but could not hold Watkins’ effort and Ross Barkley’s follow-up shot rebounded off the bar. After a resulting corner Barkley and Grealish combined inside the area on the left before Traore and Mings both had shots saved or blocked on the other side. Pope had saved from Mings and before the break he had to save again, this time from Targett after Grealish had put in the left back.
McGinn had a low 25-yarder saved by Pope early in the second half. The balance of the game had yet to turn. However, Wood won a battle with Mings and a corner on the left after 52 minutes. Ben Mee rose and headed into the net with power. After another Burnley attack and quick action by goalkeeper Martinez, the ball soon reached Grealish who made a great run from the left flank, hitting his shot from inside the area which Pope saved. After 66 minutes McNeill passed inside for left back Pieters, who had made a good run into the box. Pieters passed back to Wood who hit a powerful shot which was saved well by Martinez. McNeill came back and tested Martinez with another shot, but this was just over the bar.
Villa regained the lead in the 68th minute. Grealish had passed to David Luiz on the right and then moved forward to receive the return pass and score low past Pope. You would think that Grealish, whose performance had been as prominent as ever, would finish on the winning side, but McNeill levelled the scores again with a fortuitous 76th minute goal. He hit what was intended as a cross with Erik Pieters having made another run getting nearest to the ball for Villa, but the ball eluded everyone and went inside the far post to make it 2-2. Three minutes later, Burnley had the lead. McNeill lifted a cross from the left and Wood’s header lacked power but possessed accuracy with Martinez nowhere near saving inside his left post. Villa could not believe they had lost this game.
Chelsea 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
New coach Thomas Tuchel’s first Chelsea game did not go according to plan, despite dominating in terms of possession (79%), shots (14-4) and shots on target (5-0). I understand some Chelsea fans were not impressed with his team selection which included Jorginho and Kovacic in front of the defence. Werner didn’t get off the bench.
Hudson-Odoi hit a good low cross from the right after 5 minutes, but it was beyond the reach of Olivier Giroud. There was little action of note but five minutes before the break Chelsea had a free kick on the left and Rudiger headed down with Rui Patricio making the save. Dendoncker headed over at the other end after a cross from his left.
Chilwell fired over from inside the Wolves area after 61 minutes, and 10 minutes later Neto lifted a shot onto the top of the bar after a strong run. Kovacic hit a shot from 25 yards which just skimmed the outside of the post, and Rui Patricio dived to his left to deny Hudson-Odoi, now operating on the left side. The shot had taken a big deflection too. That was as close as anyone came to scoring, although Chelsea were putting Wolves under pressure towards the end of the game.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Fulham 0
This was a crunch game with Brighton five points ahead of Fulham at the bottom of the table, but the points were shared, leaving both sides dissatisfied.
Aina had a shot just off target from 25 yards, but Brighton came closer after a quarter of an hour. Veltman sent a ball down the right channel, collected by Maupay who cut back for Trossard. His shot was saved by Areola’s out-stretched foot. Brighton had a free kick three minutes later and the Fulham keeper made a clean save from Lewis Dunk’s header.
Fulham had been under more pressure but when Webster lost the ball in his own half Cavaleiro was away and he hit a shot just outside Sanchez’s left post. Maupay was fouled 22 yards out, but Gross hit the free kick wide.
Decordova-Reid had a good chance early in the second half when Veltman presented him with the ball with a poor header. The Fulham man hit his shot over the bar from 15 yards. Brighton took a free kick very quickly and Mac Allister slipped a ball to Maupay who felt his shot had been deflected over the target, but a goal kick was awarded. Brighton came very close when Andersen nearly scored an own goal off Ben White’s cross, but the ball was saved and a subsequent shot by March was blocked and cleared. In added time Lewis Dunk cleared Loftus-Cheek’s shot off the line.
Everton 1 Leicester City 1
Carlo Ancelotti rang changes in midfield behind Calvert-Lewis and Richarlison. Tom Davies and Andre Gomes were given starts. Lucas Digne captained the Everton side and played on the left of midfield in front of Godfrey. Leicester have Jamie Vardy missing with injury, so Ayoze Perez was chosen to play up front, as he did in the FA Cup at Brentford.
Barnes made a couple of early runs and when the second was halted unfairly by Mina just outside the box, Maddison took the free kick but hit the wall. The midfielder went closer with a 20 yard shot after 13 minutes when Barnes had cut the ball back from the left. Kaspar Schmeichel punched away a Rodriguez shot after an Everton corner from the right.
Rodriguez broke the deadlock in the 30th minute when an intended pass into the area was hit back to his feet by the error of Fofana. Rodriguez scored with his right foot, seeing his shot rebound into the net off the inside of the far post.
Ndidi received lengthy treatment on the field after 39 minutes and had to be replaced by Mendy. That led to three added minutes at the end of the first half, during which Pickford comfortably saved a shot by Albrighton from distance.
Barnes had a shot saved by Pickford at his left post early in the second half and when Justin tried a follow up shot from 20 yards the ball passed wide of the same post.
Everton were defending strongly. Perez was fouled just outside the area and Maddison hit another free kick into the wall. There was a degree of panic about Pickford’s goalkeeping in the lead-up to a 67th minute equaliser by Tielemans. Firstly, the goalkeeper gave a touch to a Barnes cross which was going out of play anyway, conceding a corner. Then when the corner crossed his goalmouth, he was left flailing and finally he failed to save Tielemans' shot from the edge of the area with the ball going into the net despite his attempt to save to his right. Gareth Southgate was watching in the Goodson Park Stand.
Pickford saved a deflected shot by Maddison after 75 minutes. Everton got forward a little more in the closing stages, trying to regain the lead. It looked as though Richarlison might get away from Castagne inside the Leicester area but the full back recovered to clear from the feet of the Brazilian. Calvert-Lewin had a rare chance when Digne crossed from the left, but he headed wide after 88 minutes. Maddison had an on-target shot blocked by Keane at the other end.
Manchester United 1 Sheffield United 2
On the Richter scale of shocks this one had a very high value as Chris Wilder’s team won only their second Premier League game of the season. United are playing in-form Arsenal on Saturday, so perhaps Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had more than half an eye on that game, as he gave Axel Tuanzebe his first Premier League start of the season at centre-back and played Alex Telles at left back. Chris Wilding started with 34-year-old Billy Sharp up front and 38-year-old Phil Jagielka at the back. Wilding’s wing-backs were George Baldock and Kean Bryan. Bryan once played at Manchester City’s academy.
The home side had been dominating the early possession and Rashford hit a shot just outside Ramsdale’s right post after Wan-Bissaka crossed from the right. (11 mins) Five minutes later Fleck sent a great ball to Billy Sharp who got ahead of the defence and forced a save from De Gea. After that came the offside flag! The “Blades” won a corner on the right after 22 minutes. This was taken by John Fleck and headed in by Bryan for his first Premier League goal. The Stretford End would have been in deep shock. Martial had the ball in the net following a corner in the 29th minute but referee Peter Bankes ruled that Harry Maguire had impeded Ramsdale before Martial took his shot.
In the second half Mason Greenwood took a pass from Fernandes but fired wide across the goal from the right side of the box. McGoldrick had a nice effort after 56 minutes, taking a pass from Baldock before hitting a shot towards De Gea’s right post, only to see the shot pass the wrong side. McGoldrick was through on goal a minute later, but after he fired over, the offside flag was shown.
Manchester United had a free kick after 63 minutes when Fernandes fell dramatically outside the area when Basham challenged. Fernandes took the kick which went out for a corner off the wall. Telles took the corner and Maguire met it in the middle to head home to the left of Ramsdale. With Cavani coming on for Greenwood, the odds were on “The Red Devils” taking all three points, but it didn’t work out that way. Ollie Burke had replaced Sharp and after the “Blades” attacked down the right flank, Lundstram passed inside and Burke’s shot was deflected past De Gea by Tuanzebe. It was Burke’s goal. (74 mins)
Telles had a shot at the other end which took a heavy deflection, causing the ball to loop over Ramsdale and hit the net just above the bar. Sheffield United held on. They had been the worst team in Premier League history over the first half of the season but will take hope into the second half. They are in Manchester again on Saturday!
Thursday 28th January, 2021
Spurs 1 Liverpool 3
Spurs Odyssey voters deemed this the worst performance of the season by the team and the manager. The previous worst result was achieved in our first match of the season, also a home defeat, and also to a Liverpool club - from the other side of Stanley Park. Incidentally, that game was also refereed by Martin Atkinson, but there was a different VAR official. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the clear man of the match on the Spurs side, with the only other decent performance coming from Tanguy Ndombele. With one game remaining, those two are battling it out for our Player of the month vote. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's strike was his first goal for Tottenham in all competitions, in what was his 30th appearance.
Liverpool became the second Premier League club (after Chelsea) to score 100 goals against Spurs. Their win means that we now average less than a point per game (0.98) against a third Premier League team. Chelsea and Manchester United are the other two teams.
Liverpool have won six consecutive league matches, and three consecutive away league matches, against Spurs for the first time in their history.
Liverpool have now beaten Tottenham in the top-flight on all seven days of the week, becoming just the third side to have done so after Everton and West Ham
Tuesday 26th January, 2021
C. Palace 2-3 West Ham
Newcastle 1-2 Leeds
S'hampton 1-3 Arsenal
West Brom 0-5 Man City
Wednesday 27th January, 2021
Burnley 3-2 A. Villa
Chelsea 0-0 Wolves
Brighton 0-0 Fulham
Everton 1-1 Leicester
Man Utd 1-2 Sheff Utd
Thursday 28th January, 2021
Spurs 1-3 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 19 12 5 2 36-13 23 41
2. Man Utd 20 12 4 4 37-27 10 40
3. Leicester 20 12 3 5 36-22 14 39
4. Liverpool 20 10 7 3 40-23 17 37
5. West Ham 20 10 5 5 30-24 6 35
6. Spurs 19 9 6 4 34-20 14 33
7. Everton 18 10 3 5 29-22 7 33
8. Chelsea 20 8 6 6 33-23 10 30
9. Arsenal 20 9 3 8 26-20 6 30
10. A. Villa 18 9 2 7 33-21 12 29
11. S'hampton 19 8 5 6 27-24 3 29
12. Leeds 19 8 2 9 32-35 -3 26
13. Wolves 20 6 5 9 21-29 -8 23
14. C. Palace 20 6 5 9 24-36 -12 23
15. Burnley 19 6 4 9 13-24 -11 22
16. Newcastle 20 5 4 11 19-34 -15 19
17. Brighton 20 3 9 8 22-29 -7 18
18. Fulham 19 2 7 10 15-27 -12 13
19. West Brom 20 2 5 13 15-48 -33 11
20. Sheff Utd 20 2 2 16 12-33 -21 8