Premier League Review - Matchday 30
Saturday 3rd April, 2021
Chelsea 2 West Bromwich Albion 5
Thomas Tuchel’s 14-match unbeaten start to his Chelsea career was brought to an end in dramatic style by struggling West Brom, who increased their Premier League goals tally by 25% in one game. 8 of their 25 goals have been scored against Chelsea! Tuchel paid the penalty for ringing too many changes paying heed to players who had a heavy International workload and to the forthcoming Champions League game.
Chelsea’s woes began after four minutes when Jorginho’s mistake let in Pereira for a run towards Chelsea’s area and Thiago Silva incurred a yellow card for bringing him to a halt unfairly. Pereira’s free kick hit the wall. Chelsea took the lead in the 27th minute after Pulisic was brought down by Bartley. Alonso’s free kick from over 25 yards rebounded off the post and Pulisic seized upon the rebound. There was no sign of the dramas to follow. Two minutes later Thiago Silva was shown a second yellow card by referee David Coote for his challenge upon Yokuslu, who had received a ball from Pereira just outside the Chelsea box. Silva had been out for 10 games and will now miss another. Tuchel replaced Ziyech with Christensen to make up for his defensive shortfall.
West Brom had earlier had to replace O’Shea for the veteran ex-Chelsea man Ivanovic, but he too fell to injury and was replaced by Callum Robinson. The scores were level two minutes into first half added time when Pereira latched onto a long clearance by Sam Johnstone and beat Mendy with an excellent shot inside the keeper’s left post. A minute later Phillips cut inside on the right and curled a left foot shot around Alonso, which hit the crossbar. The scoring was not over as the “Baggies” took a 2-1 lead in the fourth minute of added time. Jorginho made two errors in the build-up to the goal with the Chelsea defence at sixes and sevens, before Pereira beat Mendy with a low left-footed shot, again inside his left post.
Alonso hit the post again for Chelsea after Johnstone had failed to properly deal with a lofted Reece James cross. Ajayi actually got the final touch on the shot before it hit the woodwork. Mendy saved from Pereira after 61 minutes, but two minutes later West Brom scored again following a nice move down the right flank before Furlong’s cross was met by the firm right foot of Robinson. After 68 minutes the visitors took a sensational 4-1 lead after a great move when they broke forward from a Chelsea corner. Pereira, Robinson, and Conor Townsend were all involved in the move before Diagne delivered the coup de grace with a right-footed shot.
Chelsea got one back three minutes later when Werner met Alonso’s cross and teed up substitute Mason Mount, but in added time West Brom restored the three goal difference with a nonchalant goal scored by Robinson after Pereira’s neat pass into the right side of the Chelsea box. Robinson is the first player in Premier League history to score at least twice in home and away games against Chelsea within a single season, and Sam Allardyce is the first manager to win away at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League with three different clubs (Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace, West Brom). Robinson’s five Premier League goals have all been scored against Chelsea!
Leeds United 2 Sheffield United 1
Another Leeds legend - Peter Lorimer - sadly passed away since Leeds’ last game and he was remembered before kick-off. Eddie Gray, a former team-mate, and a Leeds Ambassador was at Elland Road to pay his personal tribute.
Ramsdale made a couple of early saves from Phillips and Dallas before Leeds took a 12th minute lead after Raphinha reached the bye-line on the right of goal and passed across the goalmouth for Jack Harrison to score with an easy finish. The goal followed a good move down the Leeds’ right flank. Harrison nearly scored again after 31 minutes after a good ball by Roberts, but Ramsdale got an important touch on the ball.
Leeds were opened up in first half added time by a move where Fleck passed to McGoldrick who fed McBurnie to his right. McBurnie aimed for the left post but, after a deflection off a defender, the ball was met by Osborn whose shot was cleared from behind the line.
It was 2-1 to Leeds four minutes into the second half when Jagielka put Harrison’s cross onto the net for the seventh own goal of his career. Dallas had a shot which skimmed the top left corner of Ramsdale’s goal, and Ramsdale blocked a Bamford shot from close range. Dallas had another shot which passed just wide, as did Burke at the other end for “The Blades” towards the end of the game, but Jagielka’s own goal proved to be the Leeds’ winner.
Leicester City 0 Manchester City 2
Manchester City roll on towards another Premier League title. Their team had five changes and included Sergio Aguero whose end of season departure from the club was announced this week. Former Leicester player Frank Worthington (he played for quite a few clubs!) was remembered before kick-off.
Fernandinho hit a 30-yard shot into the net to the right of Schmeichel after only five minutes, but Aguero had been offside in the goalkeeper’s eye-line. City were awarded a free kick by referee Anthony Taylor after 20 minutes and De Bruyne hit the cross bar with his shot.
Leicester didn’t have a shot on target in the first half, and in added time Vardy did put the ball in the net but had been clearly offside. The “Foxes” first legitimate shot on target came from Tielemans three minutes into the second half but was comfortably saved by Ederson. Ruben Dias then made an important block from Tielemans after Iheanacho had raced clear and delivered a pass to the Belgian midfielder. Manchester City took the lead in the 58th minute following an attack during which Mahrez had a powerful shot punched away by Schmeichel. However, Rodri returned the ball from the right and Benjamin Mendy beat the goalkeeper to his left with only his second Premier League goal, both of which have been scored this season.
Jesus scored City’s second goal in the 74th minute following an immaculate De Bruyne pass when Jesus had tried to tee up substitute Sterling but got the ball back for an easy finish. Mahrez was given an excellent opportunity by De Bruyne but pushed his shot wide.
Arsenal 0 Liverpool 3
Mikel Arteta’s 50th league game in charge of Arsenal was not a happy one. Unless his club wins the Europa League, Arsenal can say goodbye again to the prospect of a Champions League season, and even qualification for Europe is looking remote at this time. Liverpool dominated the game but didn’t score until after Diogo Jota had come off the bench in the second half. Trent Alexander-Arnold was clearly out to prove a point to England manager Gareth Southgate who had omitted him from England’s recent squad and had a good game.
Both Firmino and Milner had powerful shots wide in the first half. Cedric drew a save from Liverpool keeper Alisson (bearing a David Seaman like moustache) after 61 minutes, but three minutes later Alexander-Arnold delivered a lovely cross and Jota powerfully headed home. Salah made it 2-0 four minutes later after receiving a long pass down the right channel before entering the area and scoring with a shot through Leno’s legs. Leno made a good save from Salah after 73 minutes when he received the ball inside the left side of the area. Jota had a second personal goal and a third for his team with 8 minutes of the game remaining. Arsenal had tried and failed to play out from the back with Gabriel’s poor ball letting in Alexander-Arnold who crossed for Mane, but Jota took the shot off his colleague’s boot.
Sunday 4th April, 2021
Southampton 3 Burnley 2
Southampton came back from a two-goal deficit to win this entertaining game which leaves Burnley with work still to do to ensure their Premier League status for another season. Theo Walcott was in the Southampton side for the first time since late January.
Forster had an early save to make from Chris Wood after he and Vydra had raced forward following a mistake in the middle by Kyle Walker-Peters. After 8 minutes, Southampton lost another midfield battle and left back Erik Pieters got inside the area where he went down under Walker-Peters’ challenge. Referee Andre Marriner was drawn to the pitch-side monitor by VAR Jon Moss and a penalty was the result. Chris Wood hammered home the spot-kick. It was 2-0 after 28 minutes when Wood flicked on Ben Mee’s long ball into the path of Vydra, who scored with a low shot to the right of the keeper.
Southampton quickly got one goal back through Stuart Armstrong’s right foot shot from the edge of the area after Ings had cleverly turned on Ward-Prowse’s ball into the middle. Ings levelled the scores four minutes before the break, taking advantage of Ben Mee’s error before slotting home from the right side of goal. James Ward-Prowse hit a terrific shot from 22 yards on the hour, but the ball bounced clear after hitting the underside of the bar and dropping on the goal-line and not behind. Two minutes later, Pope made a very good right-handed save from Armstrong’s low shot from 20 yards. The ball had taken a tricky deflection on its way towards goal.
It was 3-2 to the home side in the 66th minute. Walcott had been behind a move that ended with Ings shot being well-saved, but the ball now ran to Walcott to the right of goal. The ex-Arsenal and Everton man then lifted a cross towards the left of the goal where Redmond did fire home.
Forster made a good left-handed save late in the game from Wood’s attempted curler, and then a close-range diving header. Substitute Adams was one-on-one against Pope in added time but hit a poor shot off target.
Newcastle United 2 Spurs 2
The only good news to emerge from this game from a Spurs point of view was the facts and figures regarding the continuing goal-scoring prowess of Harry Kane. His two goals took him to 162 in the Premier League, which makes him the 8th equal highest scorer alongside Jermain Defoe. Two more goals will put him clear seventh, above Robbie Fowler. Harry now has 217 club goals, and he has reached at least 30 goals for club and country for the sixth time in seven seasons. Even in the other campaign he scored 27 times. Harry was, of course, your man of the match.
Comments received include the following:-
“Not quite sure Why Toby was not in. If Sanchez is receiving racist social media, this unacceptable. What I do not understand is why the two Brazilians played if they could not be bothered. Mourinho should castigate his players behind scenes. This was better than v Arsenal, or v Zagreb, however , huge opportunity to take 3pts and 4th place. Newcastle though probably played their best game of current season.”
“I lost count of the poor passes forward, straight to the opposition or for a throw-in, goal-kick etc. I think I heard that Spurs have now given dropped points from a winning position in 15 games this season and this time they are top of the League for a different reason...Pathetic doesn't cut it. A glorious chance to grab 3 points, even after conceding first then going ahead but no, they then concede a ridiculous goal!”
Aston Villa 3 Fulham 1
Fulham had a chance to climb out of the bottom three but ultimately failed at Villa Park, despite the continuing absence of Grealish. Mitrovic was back in Fulham’s starting line-up after an impressive International break, during which he became Serbia’s all-time top goalscorer. (41 goals from 64 appearances). Mitrovic had a failed penalty claim and a shot saved in the early stages. In first half added time referee Andy Madley was not interested when McGinn went down but he did blow for a penalty when Lemina appeared to have fouled Watkins. VAR intervened and after a review at pitch-side, Mr. Madley reversed his decision.
Mitrovic took advantage of a bad mistake by Mings in the 61st minute and put Fulham into the lead with only his third Premier League goal of the season. The other two were scored last September against Leeds. It took Villa until the 78th minute to score, and Tyrone Mings redeemed himself with the assist, passing inside from the left to substitute Trezeguet who fired low into Areola’s right corner. Trezeguet nearly scored again within two minutes. Having been fouled on the left, he had a shot after the free kick from the right of the area, which passed just over the top-left corner of Areola’s goal. Trezeguet did have a second goal in the 81st minute. Tosin lost out badly to another Villa substitute Keinan Davis who crossed from the right for Trezeguet to score from the left of the goal area.
It became all too easy for Villa as Bertrand Traore crossed from the right onto the boot of Watkins, who scored with ease.
Manchester United 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
United are comfortably second and almost assured of Champions League football next season, but it wasn’t plain sailing against a Brighton side who took an early lead, which they held until the 62nd minute. Greenwood hit the post for United after they had a free kick out on the left, following which Fernandes’ ball reached the United attacker whose low shot rebounded to safety. United lost the ball in midfield and Trossard passed to Maupay who got forward on the right before crossing. Former United man Danny Welbeck had a header saved by Henderson but snapped up the loose ball with another header in the 13th minute.
An error by Veltman presented the ball to Fernandes deep in the middle in the Brighton half and he passed to Rashford to the left of goal, who pushed his right-footed shot past Sanchez’s left hand. United’s winner came in the 83rd minute following a ball across the area from the left by Fernandes. Pogba miscued his intended cross back into the area, but Greenwood stooped and hit the net with a header which Ben White tried but failed to clear. Brighton must battle on for total security.
Monday 5th April, 2021
Everton 1 Crystal Palace 1
Everton had Robin Olsen in goal, but his opposite number Vicente Guaita was the busier man, making a number of good saves to keep his side in the game and to enable them to score a late spoiler of an equaliser for Palace. James Rodriguez also returned for the “Toffees”. Palace were unchanged from their last game, played three weeks ago.
Eze had a low shot held by Olsen near his right post before Everton broke forward and Guaita was out to the edge of his area to save at the feet of Calvert-Lewin. Richarlison, who had earlier spurned a chance to shoot in favour of trying (and failing) to tee up Calvert-Lewin, headed over from a Coleman cross. Gomes sent Richarlison away midway through the first half but Guaita was out to deny him not once, but twice. Everton had other opportunities, but most were off target.
Everton took the lead in the 56th minute following an advance into the area down the left. Guaita had saved from substitute Sigurdsson’s prodded shot, but the ball ended up with Coleman towards the right of goal and he passed back to Rodriguez who scored with a low shot just inside Guaita’s left post. Guaita saved again from Calvert-Lewin’s snatched shot, and Olsen saved again from Eze.
Richarlison had another chance after 80 minutes, shooting into the ground. Guaita reacted well and just got a touch to the ball as it bounced up, and a corner followed. Palace’s equaliser came in the 86th minute, courtesy of a threaded pass by Milivojevic to one substitute – Schlupp – who passed to another sub Batshuayi, who scored across Olsen’s left hand into the far corner. There was still work for Guaita as he saved at the stretch from Richarlison’s ground shot to his right.
Palace have taken a few useful points against decent teams over the course of the season.This one put a dent, but nothing terminal into Everton’s hopes of qualifying for Europe.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 West Ham United 3
When West Ham lost their first two games of the season (one of which was at home to Newcastle) nobody gave them a hope of finishing in the top four. The “Hammers”’ third league game was against Wolves, who they beat 4-0. With this win, their first league “double” over Wolves since the 1922-23 season, David Moyes’ side climbed into fourth place with every chance of securing a Champions League place for the first time in their history. This win was achieved without Declan Rice, who suffered a knee injury on England duty and will be absent for several weeks to come. Mark Noble replaced Rice in midfield.
Antonio brushed Dendoncker aside before advancing on goal and hitting Rui Patricio's right post after only three minutes. The goalkeeper had got a touch on the ball too. Lingard scored a great solo goal in the sixth minute, making a run from inside his own half before reaching the Wolves area where he scored with a left foot shot across the keeper. Ait-Nouri went close at the other end with a shot across goal.
Lingard had another shot on target after bamboozling a couple of defenders, but this was comfortably held by Rui Patricio. The Manchester United loanee was involved in West Ham's second goal, scored in the 14th minute, with a clever touch out near the left corner flag to keep the ball in play. Masuaku was then able to pass inside for Fornals, who placed his shot to the left of the Wolves keeper.
Antonio hit the side netting after showing great strength on the right of the area to beat defenders and get a shot in, but he injured himself and had to come off, being replaced by Bowen. Traore had a shot held by Fabianski before Bowen gave the "Hammers" a 3-0 lead in the 38th minute. The goal followed another Wolves attack and Lingard was involved again, collecting a clearance in his own half before advancing through defenders on the left channel before feeding a nice ball to Bowen, who scored with a left foot shot.
Willian Jose still has to get off the mark for Wolves and should have scored after 40 minutes when the ball was crossed from the right, but the loanee fired straight at Fabianksi. Pedro Neto could not score from the goalkeeper's parried save either. Wolves did get a goal back though, in the 44th minute. Adama Traore made a great run from his own half and took the ball deep down the left-hand side before lifting a cross which was converted by the head of Dendoncker.
Fabio Silva replaced Podence at half-time. West Ham claimed a fourth goal after 58 minutes when Bowen's shot was parried by Rui Patricio and Soucek snapped up the rebound, but referee Michael Oliver spotted a handball by the "scorer", which was confirmed by VAR.
Wolves had been enjoying more possession and they drew closer to West Ham with a 68th minute goal scored by Fabio Silva. Pedro Neto sent forward a lovely ball from just inside the "Hammers" half and Fabio Silva scored from the right of the area with a well-taken shot with his right foot across the keeper.
There were no more significant goal-scoring opportunities as the "Hammers" managed to defend their one-goal lead. West Ham's next game is at home to Leicester on Sunday. Wolves have a Friday night trip to Craven Cottage and still need a point or two for Premier League security.
Saturday 3rd April, 2021
Chelsea 2-5 West Brom
Leeds 2-1 Sheff Utd
Leicester 0-2 Man City
Arsenal 0-3 Liverpool
Sunday 4th April, 2021
S'hampton 3-2 Burnley
Newcastle 2-2 Spurs
A. Villa 3-1 Fulham
Man Utd 2-1 Brighton
Monday 5th April, 2021
Everton 1-1 C. Palace
Wolves 2-3 West Ham
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 31 23 5 3 66-21 45 74
2. Man Utd 30 17 9 4 58-33 25 60
3. Leicester 30 17 5 8 53-34 19 56
4. West Ham 30 15 7 8 48-37 11 52
5. Chelsea 30 14 9 7 46-30 16 51
6. Spurs 30 14 7 9 51-32 19 49
7. Liverpool 30 14 7 9 51-36 15 49
8. Everton 29 14 5 10 41-38 3 47
9. A. Villa 29 13 5 11 42-31 11 44
10. Arsenal 30 12 6 12 40-35 5 42
11. Leeds 30 13 3 14 47-48 -1 42
12. C. Palace 30 10 8 12 32-48 -16 38
13. S'hampton 30 10 6 14 39-53 -14 36
14. Wolves 30 9 8 13 30-41 -11 35
15. Burnley 30 8 9 13 24-40 -16 33
16. Brighton 30 7 11 12 33-38 -5 32
17. Newcastle 30 7 8 15 30-50 -20 29
18. Fulham 31 5 11 15 24-41 -17 26
19. West Brom 30 4 9 17 25-59 -34 21
20. Sheff Utd 30 4 2 24 17-52 -35 14