Premier League Review – Matchday 27
The first seven games reported here were brought forward. Most are from Matchday 29 which coincides with the FA Cup quarter-final weekend. The Fulham v Spurs game was originally scheduled for the weekend when we will be playing in the Carabao Cup Final.
Tuesday 2nd March, 2021
Manchester City 4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Pep Guardiola made no less than 6 changes to his all-star team after the weekend win against West Ham. There was, of course, plenty of talent on the bench including Gundogan, Aguero and Foden. For Wolves there was just one change. Traore was chosen as the front man, whilst Willian Jose dropped out in favour of Hoever.
City were looking for a 21st consecutive win. Wolves, I suspect, were hoping for a point. Predictably, City were camped in the Wolves half most of the time. Sterling had a shot well saved by Rui Patricio inside two minutes, following a pass from Cancelo. De Bruyne had a shot well blocked. City took the lead in the 15th minute when Mahrez got deep inside the area on the right and when he crossed hard and low Dendoncker could not help putting the ball into his own net, knowing he had Sterling right behind ready to score.
City had a "goal" disallowed for a marginal offside after a corner won because Semedo diverted a shot by De Bruyne. Laporte put the ball in the net but he had been offside by a whisker when Bernardo Silva flicked forward.
Rui Patricio made a good save after 51 minutes when De Bruyne hit a low shot from the left. The goalkeeper got enough on the ball to push it round the corner. The goalkeeper had strong hands to save a powerful effort by Mahrez three minutes later.
Wolves were level in the 61st minute with their first touch inside the City area. Moutinho sent in a free kick from the right and skipper Conor Coady ran forward with determination and a dive to head inside Ederson’s left post. It was also Coady's first Premier League goal.
Wolves were enlivened and managed to threaten goal a couple of times before Rui Patricio saved well at the other end from another De Bruyne shot. Sterling went very close after 73 minutes when he got a touch on Mahrez's cross, but the ball went inches wide of the far post. Soon after that Sterling had a right foot shot hit the outside of the keeper’s left post.
City were determined to keep that winning run going and they regained the lead in the 80th minute. Rodri pushed the ball forward down the right and Walker crossed with Gabriel Jesus turning the ball into the net, after the ball rebounded to him off Wolves defenders' feet. Gundogan replaced Bernardo Silva.
Wolves had put up a good fight but that was over in the 90th minute when substitute Otasowie lost the ball on the left of his area. Gundogan crossed; Sterling had a touch, and it was left to Mahrez to deliver the coup de grace. Wolves' pain was not over as in the third minute of added time Rui Patricio couldn’t hold Gundogan's shot and Gabriel Jesus snapped up the rebound. The assistant lifted his flag, but VAR exonerated the scorer of a personal second and his team's fourth goal.
Wednesday 3rd March, 2021
Burnley 1 Leicester City 1
This was the first of three results which did no harm to Spurs’ chances of challenging for Europe if only they can put a winning run together. Leicester were suffering the loss of Harvey Barnes and James Maddison and relied upon Iheanacho and goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to give them a share of the points. Chris Wood was back in the Burnley starting line-up.
Burnley took a fourth minute lead when Vydra pounced upon Choudhury’s poor ball, almost bursting the net with his left foot drive from inside the area. It was Vydra’s first Premier League goal since February last year. Choudhury missed a good chance to equalise in front of goal when he lifted Castagne’s cross over the bar. Schmeichel saved from Wood, whose shot came from a tight angle, after 24 minutes.
Iheanacho’s goal came when he met Ndidi’s lofted pass just inside the Burnley area, scoring with a first-time left foot shot in the 34th minute as the ball came over his shoulder. It was an excellent take and goal. Schmeichel made an excellent save at close range from a Tarkowski header, diving and reaching the ball low to his left with very quick reactions. Pope saved a rising Tielemans shot at the other end.
Early in the second half Schmeichel made an athletic left-handed save from a Chris Wood header when the striker felt certain he had scored. The Leicester keeper fingertipped a deflected Wood shot out for a corner three minutes later. Westwood hit Schmeichel’s right post with a 25-yard shot after 63 minutes. The keeper wasn’t going to reach that one. Tielemans hit Pope’s right post late in the game with a 20-yard deflected effort.
Sheffield United 1 Aston Villa 0
Villa no doubt missed Jack Grealish as they fell to this disappointing defeat which gave Chris Wilder only his fourth win of the season. The “Blades” had to do it with ten men for the last half-hour as well when VAR intervened regarding an initial yellow card shown to veteran defender Phil Jagielka.
McGinn pulled a shot wide across the goalmouth after good work by Traore after 11 minutes. Ramsdale saved from Watkins 8 minutes later, as the striker hit a shot from an angle on the left. United took the lead in the 31st minute. McGoldrick had passed long to Baldock on the right and then made a good run reaching Baldock’s return ball, scoring from close range at the back post. Traore had a mazy run inside the area but hit his shot just wide of Ramsdale’s right post.
Villa went close after 54 minutes with Targett sending a ball from the left and Watkins header hitting the far post. The Jagielka incident was a challenge upon El-Ghazi which after review was deemed to be a red card offence for denying a goal-scoring opportunity (57 mins). Villa tried but failed to break the “Blades”’ barricade. El-Ghazi’s free kick was easily saved. McGinn’s shot was deflected behind by Ampadu, and Traore failed to get hold of a close range effort after Watkins’ header. In added time Villa had a corner from which Konsa’s shot was saved by Ramsdale and cleared by Norwood.
Crystal Palace 0 Manchester United 0
It was a misty night at Selhurst Park and a disappointing result for United, who whilst unbeaten in seven Premier League games since 27th January (and three other games), they’ve drawn five of those games. In fact, their last three games (including one in Europe) have been goal-less. Solskjaer must have been concerned, especially with Sunday’s derby match coming against a City side currently 14 points clear at the top.
Guaita did well to save Matic’s deflected shot from outside the area after 13 minutes, pushing the ball around the corner with his right hand, having to stretch high because of the deflection. From the corner, Maguire’s header was blocked by Rashford and lifted over the bar by Cavani at close quarters. Rashford subsequently pulled a shot wide after Shaw’s cross from the left.
Henderson was in goal for United with De Gea absent for personal reasons. The United keeper saved from Ayew who hit Palace’s first shot on target after 51 minutes. Andros Townsend had a shot go wide after a Palace free kick when it looked as if Henderson would not have reached the ball, had it been on target. Even Bruno Fernandes was looking pretty toothless for United. Greenwood went close with a left-footed shot, but Palace should have snatched the win when Van Aanholt ran onto Milivojevic’s pass but had his shot smothered by Henderson at close range.
Thursday 4th March, 2021
Fulham 0 Spurs 1
Spurs Odyssey voters made Hugo Lloris their man of the match, with Dele Alli an honourable second. Dele was making only his second league start of the season. The first had been in our opening game against Everton. Hugo achieved his 101st Premier League clean sheet in this game against the team we played when he got his second in 2012. Hugo is the 16th goalkeeper in the history of the Premier League to achieve this feat, with significantly less appearances than those before him.
Here is one of the comments received after this game:-
"I enjoyed the first half. We seemed to be both passing and pressing with purpose. But not the second. On the back foot, making Fulham look good, unable to string passes together and rarely in the attacking third. In the 86th minute Lloris took a goal kick that didn't even get beyond our defensive third. But he otherwise had a good game although he did need the assistance of Var to stop two more points being dropped."
West Bromwich Albion 0 Everton 1
Sam Allardyce was meeting one of his former clubs, facing them for the first time since he was sacked by them three years ago. West Brom were unchanged, whilst Ancelotti gently mixed his line-up, including Bernard and Iwobi. Whilst Sigurdsson was one of those to make way.
Jordan Pickford managed to get enough on Diagne’s effort after Gallagher crossed from the right, to push the ball away from his right post. Richarlison had a shot from the left of the area after 38 minutes which hit the top of the net behind the bar. Three minutes later Calvert-Lewin had a chance in front of goal after Bernard’s intended pass was deflected into his path. The Everton striker could not beat Johnstone.
Diagne had another good chance in the second half after a long throw from the right by Furlong was headed over the defence, but he put the ball over. Furlong crossed low to Gallagher after 53 minutes and the Chelsea loanee hit a ball that passed only just in front of the far post. Everton had a corner after 64 minutes at which point Sigurdsson replaced Doucoure. Sigurdsson took the corner which came back to his feet when he crossed again, this time to the middle of goal where Richarlison headed in from close range. That was enough to secure Everton the points, although Diagne did have the ball in the net in the third minute of added time, only to be denied by an offside flag confirmed by VAR.
Liverpool 0 Chelsea 1
Incredibly, the reigning Premier league Champions lost a fifth consecutive home league game for the first time in their history. They also became the first English top-flight reigning champions to lose five consecutive home league games. The first two of those defeats were to lowly Burnley and Brighton. The next three have been to Manchester City, Everton, and Chelsea, all of whom are now above the Anfield side. Local rivals Everton went three points ahead of them tonight. Chelsea remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel’s leadership.
Liverpool were able to welcome back Fabinho to the defensive line-up, but of course he is an improvised centre-back, although he had been doing a good job before his recent injury. Alisson was also back in goal, following his compassionate leave. The match was preceded by applause for Ian St. John, whose passed away this week. Liverpool also remembered Phil Chisnall, who has died at the age of 78. Chisnall remains the last player to transfer directly between Liverpool and Manchester United.
Werner collected a long ball after 10 minutes and had a good effort which passed just over the bar in front of the empty Kop Stand. Five minutes later, Werner was on target as he attempted to lift Azpilicueta’s pass over Alisson. The goalkeeper collected the ball comfortably. Jorginho sent a long ball forward after 23 minutes and Werner got ahead of the defence and also beat Alisson. However, VAR found him just offside.
Liverpool finally created a clear chance when Salah crossed deep from the right, but Mane failed to make good contact from a scoring position inside the Chelsea area. Three minutes before the break Chelsea did take a legitimate lead. Kante hit a long pass to Mount who was down the left side. Mount came in side and had the space to hit a right-footed shot inside Alisson’s left post.
Kante survived a penalty shout for handball early in the second half when Firmino lifted a ball from short range before Chilwell had a shot saved but not held by Alisson. Ziyech’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Robertson.
Mo Salah was taken off after 62 minutes and was not too happy. Diogo Jota and Oxlade-Chamberlain joined the action at his point. There was some pressure, but no clear-cut chance for Liverpool. Firmino glanced one effort wide across goal from a Robertson cross, and created some danger himself with a low cross from the left near the bye-line, but Chilwell blocked that ball.
Next up at Anfield are Fulham on Sunday.
Saturday 6th March, 2021
Burnley 1 Arsenal 1
Burnley welcomed Johann Gudmundsson back to the side. He replaced the injured Jack Cork in midfield. Aubameyang started for Arsenal, along with Odegaard, Saka, and Partey. Calum Chambers was making his first appearance since December 2019, after a knee injury, and played at right back.
Arsenal took an early lead through Aubameyang after a move from the back which ended with Willian passing to Aubameyang to his left. The striker was allowed to advance into the area passing Lowton before beating Pope on his narrow side inside the right post. Pope got a touch, but it was not strong enough. (6 mins)
Partey neatly picked out Aubameyang after 18 minutes with a lofted ball from just outside the area. This time the shot was put wide with Lowton putting the striker under pressure. Saka put a shot wide across the goal three minutes later after a one-two with Aubameyang.
Partey side-footed a shot a yard over the bar after Odegaard had got to the bye-line and passed back. Burnley weren’t making much impression at all. They were gifted an equaliser in the 39th minute in bizarre circumstances when Arsenal were trying to play out from the back. Leno passed to Xhaka who hit a ball across his area which basically rebounded into the net off Chris Wood.
Pope had to save low to his left after 51 minutes when Odegaard hit a shot from outside the area. Burnley were getting more possession without creating clear cut chances. Saka was booked for a foul on Charlie Taylor and then put himself at risk with further touch challenges. Lacazette came on for Odegaard and Pepe replaced Willian. Gudmundsson was replaced by Brady. Pieters replaced Taylor.
Pieters got away with a hand on Pepe's attempted cross when he was firstly struck at close quarters, but then did seem to have his arm out when Pepe lifted the ball against his arm. At the other end Pieters gave Leno a nasty shock with a shot from over 25 yards which the keeper had to push over his bar after 77 minutes. Leno then made a good save from Leno when he received Vydra's low cross and struck the ball hard and low.
After 83 minutes Xhaka crossed from the left and Pepe's shot was blocked by Pieters with his shoulder. Referee Andre Marriner showed a red card, but that was rescinded by VAR. Pepe had previously miscued an attempt to shoot from another cross.
Rodriguez had replaced Vydra and he had a shot well blocked by David Luiz in the closing minutes. Ben Mee blocked Aubameyang and in a last minute goalmouth scramble with Arsenal shots on goal, one of which hit the post (Ceballos).
Burnley were grateful for their point.
Sheffield United 0 Southampton 2
Chris Wilder made one change due to the one-match suspension of Phil Jagielka. The back three were Baldock, Ampadu and Bryan, whilst Bogle came in and played at right wing-back with Stevens on the left. Kyle Walker-Peters and Minamino were among Hasenhuttl's changes, with Diallo and Tella also starting for "The Saints".
Southampton had a couple of early free kicks which came to nought. Danny Ings suffered an ankle injury and had to go off after 12 minutes and was replaced by Che Adams.
There hadn’t been any significant action until referee Paul Tierney awarded Southampton a penalty when Tella was tackled from behind by Ampadu, who was shown a yellow card. James Ward-Prowse sent Ramsdale the wrong way (32 minutes)
Forster made a good save from McGoldrick but there was an offside anyway. McGoldrick had a legitimate chance in first half added time, receiving a through ball by Brewster. The "Blades" captain tried to chip Forster, who collected the ball with ease.
Chris Wilder took off Norwood in favour of Ollie McBurnie at the start of the second half.
Che Adams scored a quite spectacular goal against his former club in the 49th minute. He had already had a cross/shot saved and blocked from a narrow angle before he next received the ball over 20 yards out and beat Ramsdale with a superb right-footed strike.
After a Sheffield United throw, the ball was given away and Tella hit a good 20-yard shot which was pushed around the post by Ramsdale. Minamino was in space inside the area when he received Bertrand's low cross, but the Liverpool loanee put his shot wide.
Ramsdale saved from Adams after 73 minutes after Adams had advanced into the right side of the box before shooting. Ramsdale saved with his leg. Redmond had not been on the pitch long before he received from Armstrong and advanced on goal on a similar trajectory to that of Adams minutes before him. Ramsdale saved again.
Armstrong tried a shot himself after 79 minutes, but he pulled this wide from the edge of the box. McBurnie had a header on target from a corner, but again this was fodder for Forster.
At last Southampton had their first league win in 10 games, 8 of which had been lost.
Aston Villa 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Dean Smith made three changes, with the injured El Ghazi, Nakamba and Ramsey making way for Trezeguet, Douglas Luiz and French Midfielder Morgan Sanson, who was making his first Premier League start. Nuno re-instated Willian Jose in favour of midfielder Hoever. Traore and Neto were set to play either side of the big forward.
There was a Traore on either side - Bertrand for Villa - Adama for Wolves. Jack Grealish was in the stadium but is still injured.
Villa started well and Ollie Watkins rattled the crossbar with a right-footed strike from 25 yards after only three minutes. Watkins was inside the area with a golden chance to score after 9 minutes, but he tried and failed to set up Bertrand Traore. The woodwork saved Wolves again after 14 minutes when Traore’s cross from deep on the left reached Konsa who saw his close-range shot rebound off the bar. This move followed a Villa free kick on the left wing, taken quickly.
Villa had a corner after 48 minutes. This was cleared to the feet of Pedro Neto who just about managed to stay half a pace ahead of Targett, reaching the Wolves area and hitting a rising shot which Martinez saved well, giving Wolves a corner. This was cleared.
Wolves took a short corner after 56 minutes. Neto delivered the cross to the back post where Coady's header hit the post, then reached Saiss near the other post, who somehow managed to lift the ball over the bar.
Ross Barkley came off the bench to replace Sanson after 60 minutes.
Villa had lost their rhythm in the second half and Wolves had another excellent chance after 76 minutes following a free kick from the left. Villa failed to clear, and the ball was returned to the 6-yard box where Conor Coady took one touch and turned before shooting from close range. He must have thought he would score, but Martinez managed to push the ball around his left post.
Wolves had a free kick after 86 minutes when substitute Fabio Silva was fouled outside the area on the right. Neto took the kick but hit it straight at the goalkeeper.
Villa had a corner in added time which was delayed because Tyrone Mings needed treatment. When the corner was taken, Watkins' shot was saved and the ball fell to Konsa who missed a good opportunity, putting his shot wide.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Leicester City 2
Brighton’s one change was Adam Lallana (who played for Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool) for the injured Aaron Connolly. Leicester were missing several key players including Maddison and Barnes. Fofana was back though, whilst 19-year-old Portuguese Sidnei Tavares made a first Premier League start in midfield. Rodgers had to resort to one or two youngsters on the bench.
Lallana gave his side a dream start in the 10th minute. Leicester struggled to clear and Maupay held off a couple of defenders before threading a short ball to Lallana inside the area in a central position. Lallana didn't fail and celebrated with some passion. It was his first goal for Brighton and also his first since October 2019, for Liverpool against Manchester United.
Tavares nearly had a dream start too after 35 minutes. Iheanacho had lifted a deep cross from the left and Vardy headed back to the youngster who hit a peach of a shot from 20 yards which Sanchez could only save at full stretch, pushing the ball around his left post.
Lallana met a free kick taken from the right after 39 minutes and nearly had a second goal, heading across the goal only to see the ball rebound off the post to safety. Lallana cushioned a nice pass to Maupay who "scored" but had been offside.
Iheanacho had a chance from the left of the area after 52 minutes but hit the side netting. Iheanacho scored with his left foot in the 62nd minute receiving a great pinpoint pass from Tielemans at the end of a prolonged Leicester passing move.
Lallana had the chance to win the game after 79 minutes at the end of a good Brighton move, receiving the ball from his right and making good contact from the edge of the area, forcing Schmeichel into a good save.
VAR had a look at a possible penalty when Vardy went down under Dunk's challenge, but the decision was a Leicester corner. Referee Michael Oliver had not awarded a spot kick. However, after a second corner, Sanchez failed to claim the ball and Amartey headed in. (88 mins)
Brighton’s woes continue.
Sunday 7th March, 2021
West Bromwich Albion 0 Newcastle United 0
Scans confirmed Almiron had suffered knee ligament damage and Saint-Maximin a groin tear after both picked up injuries in the 1-1 draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend. Both players will be big losses for Steve Bruce. Such is the concern for Newcastle’s status next season that takeover plans have apparently been put on hold.
West Brom were unchanged from the team which had lost to Everton. Steve Bruce made three changes, two of which were enforced by injuries. Ryan Fraser and Jeff Hendrick came in for Almiron and Saint-Maximin, whilst Dummett replaced Lewis at left back. According to reports, Matt Ritchie had a fall-out with Steve Bruce during the week. He has apologised regarding his behaviour and was on the bench.
Newcastle had early attacks and right back Krafth hit a decent shot from over 20 yards which took a deflection but was held by Sam Johnstone, diving to his left. Pereira had a shot on target from Townsend’s cross, but it was no challenge to goalkeeper Dubravka, again preferred to Darlow. Newcastle had a corner after 25 minutes which Fraser seemed to scuff in Shelvey’s direction. Shelvey hit a decent shot which took Johnstone a little by surprise. There was a deflection, but the keeper did save with his right hand. Dubravka comfortably saved a Diagne header in front of his left post.
West Brom won a corner after 52 minutes, following which Townsend put in a short cross from the left, but Phillips put his shot well over the bar from the centre of the area. Willock received a pass from substitute Gaye and hit a shot towards Johnstone’s left post, but the keeper pushed the ball out of play. Willock offered Joelinton a chance after 70 minutes, but it was a weak shot.
There was little to excite the senses and the point was not enough for either team really, as Newcastle have been dragged to within a point of the bottom three and West Brom are 8 points from safety.
Liverpool 0 Fulham 1
Jurgen Klopp made no less than seven changes to the team which had lost to Chelsea. Mane was dropped to the bench and Firmino was not in the 20. Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago and Curtis Jones also dropped to the bench. Jota and Shaqiri joined Salah in the front three. The Liverpool team read:- Alisson; N. Williams, R. Williams, Phillips, Robertson; Milner (Capt.), Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Shaqiri, Jota. Kabak had also been left out. Fulham’s changes were less radical with Tete replacing Robinson and Decordova-Reid starting in favour of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Fulham played towards the Kop End in the first half. After only two minutes Maja had half a chance when he struck Tete's cross first-time but hooked the shot beyond the far post. Fulham had another chance after 10 minutes when Lookman received one of Andersen's long passes before entering the Liverpool area but pulling his shot wide.
Shaqiri fed a ball to Mo Salah who was close to goal on the right, but between them, Aina and Areola managed to block any shot. Salah received a long ball on the right edge of the box after 18 minutes and tried a shot but pulled that wide.
Maja had two bites at a Tete cross after 28 minutes. One was with his head and as Alisson came out Maja got half a shot at goal which was saved by the keeper. Fulham were getting the better opportunities and after 34 minutes Decordova-Reid sent a great ball forward for Lookman chase. He reached Liverpool's area but hit his shot over under pressure.
Tete was booked for unfairly halting Jota's advance towards the area and Liverpool had as free kick from more than 25 yards which was taken by Shaqiri and passed just over the bar to the left of the keeper. (38 mins)
Fulham scored a brilliant goal in the last minute of the first half. They had a free kick from the right which was half-cleared then lost on the edge of the area by Salah. Lemina seized possession and scored a great goal with his right foot across the goal, hitting the net just inside Alisson's right post. This was a deserved lead.
Two minutes into the second half Liverpool right back Neco Williams put in a very good cross from the right near the bye-line. Jota hit a powerful left foot strike towards the right of goal and Areola made a brilliant right-handed save. The save deserved a clearance to follow, and that came.
Fulham were coming under a little bit of pressure from Liverpool and Neco Williams hit a right-footed shot just over the keeper’s left corner after 57 minutes. The shot was hit from the right corner of the box.
Cavaleiro had a run down the left channel and reached the Liverpool area where he needed to get the ball onto his right foot for a shot. He did this but fired wide. It was time for Mane to come on for Wijnaldum.
Scott Parker put on Loftus-Cheek for Maja with a quarter of the game remaining. Keita sent in a cross from the right after 69 minutes and Mane's looped header hit the goalkeeper's left post. Shaqiri was really close with a left foot shot after receiving Neco Williams' cut-back pass.
Fulham were understandably getting men behind the ball but struggled to find an "out" ball.
Alexander-Arnold replaced Neco Williams and Fabinho came on for James Milner. With 8 minutes remaining another defender - Robinson - came on for Lookman. Scott Parker's final sub was Mitrovic for Cavaleiro.
Mitrovic had a good right foot shot on target with two minutes to go, but Alisson held that. Fulham needed to hold out for four added minutes. Andersen made a crucial clearance from a Robertson ball into the 6-yard area. Keita was shown yellow as Lemina had the ball and tried to run into the Liverpool half.
Referee Kevin Friend found two extra minutes of added time, but Fulham held on for a heroic performance and great victory that gives them a real chance of survival. As for Liverpool, that makes six consecutive defeats at home in the Premier League.
Manchester City 0 Manchester United 2
Manchester City’s incredible run of 21 successive wins came to an end (15 in the Premier League) and United’s record of being unbeaten away in the league since January last year was maintained with this excellent result for the Old Trafford side. City are still 11 points clear at the top.
United kicked off and were awarded a penalty after only 45 seconds. Martial was bundled over by Gabriel Jesus who was trying to redeem himself having lost the ball. The United player was running left to right just inside the area. Fernandes scored from the spot in the second minute. Ederson got a hand to the ball, diving to his right, but could not prevent it hitting the net. That’s 23 goals this season for Fernandes, 10 of which have been penalties. United maintained pressure on their rivals and Luke Shaw forced a save from Ederson. They were defending well too, with Henderson’s first save coming from Gundogan’s shot after 9 minutes.
Ederson had to save low to his right from Rashford’s 20-yard shot after De Bruyne had lost the ball in the City half. Zinchenko blasted a shot from outside the area at the other end but Henderson cleared that with strong hands. Henderson is getting an extended run as De Gea has gone home to Spain to be with his expectant partner. In first half added time De Bruyne fed a ball to Mahrez to his right and the former Leicester man was wide with his effort across goal. Jesus made a desperate effort to make contact, but only wrapped himself around the post.
Early in the second half Rodri hit the top of Henderson’s left corner with a powerful shot after Jesus had laid the ball up for him. Luke Shaw made it 2-0 to the visitors in sensational style in the 50th minute. Shaw had made a great run from the left channel all the way to the area, taking a return pass from Rashford before firing low into goal to the left of the City keeper, who was nowhere near the ball. Martial should have added a third goal after 68 minutes when a McTominay challenge on Dias led to the ball falling to his feet. With only the keeper to beat, Martial shot straight at Ederson.
City basically lacked the potency we have become so used to. Foden had a good chance after 75 minutes but fired wide across the goal. Kyle Walker had replaced Cancelo and he crossed a powerful ball from the right, but Sterling failed to get good enough contact near the far post. At the end of added time, Henderson beat away a Mahrez shot from 20 yards.
Spurs 4 Crystal Palace 1
Harry Kane won you man of the match vote against Palace with Gareth Bale not far behind. Here is what one reader said:-
"That was more like it, World class finishing. Great link up play. Let’s hope we can keep it going for the rest of the season."
I second that!
Monday 8th March, 2021
Chelsea 2 Everton 0
A draw or a win would keep Chelsea in the top four, but Everton were hoping to overtake the home side by winning. Both sides made changes among which were Alonso for Chilwell in the Chelsea side, and Zouma coming in for Rudiger. Havertz was in for Mason Mount. Gylfi Sigurdsson started and captained the Everton side.
Chelsea dominated early possession but there was no threat on goal at either end until James won, and took a corner after 15 minutes, which led to a low shot by Jorginho which passed wide outside Pickford’s right post. Jorginho had the next shot too, following a clearance from a free kick, but he put this one well off target.
Richarlison was fouled by Jorginho just outside the Chelsea area after 28 minutes. Digne took the kick, which was strongly blocked by the wall at the expense of a corner. Chelsea took a 31st minute lead through an own goal by Godfrey. Hudson-Odoi had passed inside to Alonso who crossed hard and low from the left of the area. Havertz got a touch, but it was Godfrey's unwanted own goal. Pickford got a vital touch on a deflected shot by Alonso after 40 minutes.
Andre Gomes had a left foot shot from outside the area saved comfortably by Mendy in first half added time after a Digne cross had caused a little concern in the Chelsea area.
Digne was booked for a foul on James outside the area after 50 minutes. Alonso went for goal and Pickford tipped the ball at his top left corner when the ball might have been going out. Havertz received a ball from Hudson-Odoi and put a left foot shot across Pickford into the net. Referee David Coote whistled immediately for handball which was confirmed by VAR.
Hudson-Odoi hit a right-footed shot from the left of the area which was pushed over by Pickford for a corner after 59 minutes. Chelsea were awarded a penalty when Havertz raced forward after a long ball in to the area, and Pickford caught his ankles. The referee pointed straight to the spot, and Jorginho stepped forward to score with a skip which sent the goalkeeper the wrong way. (65 mins)
Werner got behind Godfrey and had a shot on goal after 79 minutes, from which Pickford conceded a corner. When that was taken, substitute Mason Mount's header was held. Pickford made a double save after 85 minutes. The first was from Werner inside the area. The second was from Kante's follow-up struck low from 20 yards. A corner resulted.
In added time Kante had an effort go wide and Mount had a shot well saved again by Pickford, diving to his right. Chelsea, still unbeaten under Tuchel and yet to concede a home goal in his charge, asserted their claim to fourth place. Everton had not really made an impression upon the Chelsea defence all night.
West Ham United 2 Leeds United 0
West Ham fielded a strong first team with the injured Ogbonna the only notable absentee. They were short of personnel on the bench though, which numbered eight and included two goalkeepers. Leeds had Kalvin Phillips back in front of the defence, but the rest of the team was unchanged with a strong bench including Jack Harrison.
Glenn Roeder, who died last week and formerly managed West Ham, was remembered before the game.
Leeds had the ball in the net twice in the early stages, but both were ruled out. The first occasion was after five minutes and followed a pass by Dallas to Helder Costa who cut the ball back for the advancing Roberts to put the ball in the net. The offside flag was then raised, and VAR found that Helder Costa had been marginally offside. The second was easier to confirm as no goal as Raphinha had pulled the ball back to Bamford after the ball had crossed the bye-line. Bamford had "scored", but it was definitely no goal.
West Ham had a penalty after 18 minutes when Lingard advanced into the area on the left and was caught by Ayling. Mike Dean pointed to the spot and was supported by VAR. Lingard took the kick and Meslier saved but the ball rolled forward and Lingard snapped up the rebound. (21 mins)
Antonio was fouled by Cooper and Cresswell's kick was deflected with the keeper having gone the wrong way, but the ball went out for a corner. This was taken by Cresswell from the left and headed in by Dawson in the 28th minute.
Meslier felt the need to save a Benrahma shot which looked as if it would have gone wide. The "Hammers" had another corner, but the Leeds keeper punched this one clear. In first half added time after a corner from the left, Dawson had another header, but the ball rebounded clear off the post.
At half time Bielsa took off Helder Costa and Klich, replacing them with Alioski and Harrison. After two minutes Llorente found Bamford with a pass to the right of the area, but Bamford pushed his shot wide.
The closest Leeds went to scoring was from an excellent overhead kick by Raphinha which took a deflection and required an excellent save by Fabianski. After a West Ham corner, Fornals hit a tremendous dipping right-footed shot from 25 yards which hit the top of the bar. Fornals had another shot go close to Meslier's top left corner after 55 minutes.
Leeds had plenty of chances, but few with any accuracy. They came close when Dallas put the ball into the box after 85 minutes, and after several touches, one by a West Ham player, Dawson cleared off his line.
Spurs fans would have loved West Ham to have been beaten here but will have to hope that they struggle in their next two games away to Manchester United and at home to Arsenal. Spurs also have tricky games coming up, of course!
Tuesday 2nd March, 2021
Man City 4-1 Wolves
Wednesday 3rd March, 2021
Burnley 1-1 Leicester
Sheff Utd 1-0 A. Villa
C. Palace 0-0 Man Utd
Thursday 4th March, 2021
Fulham 0-1 Spurs
West Brom 0-1 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Chelsea
Saturday 6th March, 2021
Burnley 1-1 Arsenal
Sheff Utd 0-2 S'hampton
A. Villa 0-0 Wolves
Brighton 1-2 Leicester
Sunday 7th March, 2021
West Brom 0-0 Newcastle
Liverpool 0-1 Fulham
Man City 0-2 Man Utd
Spurs 4-1 C. Palace
Monday 8th March, 2021
Chelsea 2-0 Everton
West Ham 2-0 Leeds
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 28 20 5 3 56-19 37 65
2. Man Utd 28 15 9 4 55-32 23 54
3. Leicester 28 16 5 7 48-32 16 53
4. Chelsea 28 14 8 6 44-25 19 50
5. West Ham 27 14 6 7 42-31 11 48
6. Everton 27 14 4 9 39-35 4 46
7. Spurs 27 13 6 8 46-28 18 45
8. Liverpool 28 12 7 9 47-36 11 43
9. A. Villa 26 12 4 10 38-27 11 40
10. Arsenal 27 11 5 11 35-28 7 38
11. Leeds 27 11 2 14 43-46 -3 35
12. Wolves 28 9 8 11 28-37 -9 35
13. C. Palace 28 9 7 12 30-47 -17 34
14. S'hampton 27 9 6 12 33-44 -11 33
15. Burnley 28 7 9 12 20-36 -16 30
16. Newcastle 27 7 6 14 27-44 -17 27
17. Brighton 27 5 11 11 27-35 -8 26
18. Fulham 28 5 11 12 22-33 -11 26
19. West Brom 28 3 9 16 20-56 -36 18
20. Sheff Utd 28 4 2 22 16-45 -29 14