Premier League Review – Matchday 32
Friday 16th April, 2021
Everton 2 Spurs 2
Harry Kane was your Spurs man of the match by a big margin. We didn’t know until Monday, but this was Jose Mourinho’s last game in charge. A couple of comments received anticipated such an event:-
“Negative team selection says it all. Time to go.”
“It's time Levy bit the bullet and got rid of our manager, not only is the players body language all wrong but Jose looked sick and worried from the get-go.”
Harry Kane scored his 21st Premier League and 31st club goal of the season in this game.
Only Alan Shearer (7) and Sergio Aguero (6) have scored 20+ goals in more different Premier League seasons than Spurs' Harry Kane (5 - level with Thierry Henry).
Harry Kane has been directly involved in 62 goals in 62 appearances in all competitions for Spurs under Jose Mourinho (45 goals, 17 assists) - no Premier League player has more goal involvements in this period (since 23 November 2019).
Saturday 17th April, 2021
Newcastle United 3 West Ham United 2
Newcastle's game-changer in their win at Burnley (Saint-Maximin) started in place of Dwight Gayle with Callum Wilson held on the bench. David Moyes started with Ben Johnson in place of Cresswell. Ogbonna started his first game since 9th February in a back three. Masuaku also dropped out.
West Ham controlled the first five minute, but Newcastle had the first chance of the game after 5 minutes when Almiron passed across the outside of the area to Sean Longstaff, whose shot took a deflection to win a corner. Jacob Murphy, who hit a great scoring shot at Turf Moor last week, tested Fabianski with a low 25-yarder after 13 minutes. Saint-Maximin, who had teed up Murphy's goal against Burnley, was involved in the build-up to this effort too. After a foul by Shelvey (for which he was booked), Noble swung in a free kick and Dubravka held Dawson’s header.
Both Ritchie (deflected) and Saint-Maximin had further shots held by the West Ham keeper. Minor disaster struck West Ham in the 36th minute when Dawson fouled Joelinton around halfway. Referee Kevin Friend allowed the advantage as the ball ran to Saint-Maximin who raced away and finally hit a right-footed shot from inside the area which Fabianski fumbled and Diop failed to clear, helping the ball into the net. Dawson had already been booked and was sent off for a second yellow.
Fabianski gifted Newcastle a second goal in the 41st minute, fumbling and dropping a corner allowing Joelinton to hook the ball into the net from very close range. Fabianski made an important save from Joelinton who had received a diagonal pass from Saint-Maximin before the defender failed and he hit an angled right-footed shot which the goalkeeper saved stretching to his right.
There were early shots on goal by Almiron and Bowen in the second half, they were routine for the keepers. 10-man West Ham showed more urgency, but no potency. Saint-Maximin, who seemed to be carrying a slight injury, was replaced by Wilson after 64 minutes. Johnson lifted a good cross from the left to the back post where Coufal headed down powerfully, but Dubravka was well-positioned to hold the ball.
West Ham got a goal back in the 73rd minute when Bowen crossed from the right following a corner and Diop redeemed himself by heading into the Newcastle net to the left of Dubravka. David Moyes put on Benrahma for Noble in an effort to get something out of the game. Kevin Friend was advised to check the monitor regarding a raised arm by Ciaran Clark in a challenge against Soucek, and a penalty was awarded. The ten men went level when Lingard scored from the spot in the 80th minute.
Newcastle nearly regained the lead when Wilson tried to tee up Almiron, who could not get a shot on goal. Johnson cleared Murphy's shot off the line before substitute Willock headed in a Ritchie cross after 82 minutes. Willock had scored a late equaliser against Spurs two weeks ago.
Lingard suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Lanzini. There were 8 minutes of added time which Newcastle managed to negotiate to hold onto a precious win which took them nine points clear of the bottom three and dented West Ham's Champions League hopes. The "Hammers" face Chelsea next weekend. Read this article to follow betting promotions if you are interested in Premier league markets, such as Champions League odds.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Sheffield United 0
After Newcastle’s win earlier “The Blades” needed something from this game to avoid certain relegation. Their defeat heralded the long-awaited confirmation, and they equalled an unwanted record of the earliest relegation from the Premier League with six games remaining. Wolves’ Willian Jose scored his first Premier League goal after 776 minutes of playing time.
Wolves had a couple of early corners and a Boly effort was cleared off his line by Norwood. Ramsdale held comfortably when Ait-Nouri shot from 20 yards after a pass by Traore. Ampadu’s error had let Podence take the ball forward for Wolves.
Brewster still hasn’t scored for Sheffield United since his high-value purchase last summer from Liverpool. Stevens nearly did score when he met a cross by Brewster in the second half, but his shot on target was cleared by the Wolves defence. Wolves broke forward from that clearance and Traore’s cross was turned in by Willian Jose in the 59th minute. Stevens had another chance ten minutes later, getting away from Dendoncker and hitting a right foot shot which needed a good save by Rui Patricio to tip the ball over the bar.
Ramsdale blocked a shot by Saiss after Moutinho’s free kick and a touch by Fabio Silva, but the game (which did not set the pulses racing) was decided by that one goal.
Sunday 18th April, 2021
Arsenal 1 Fulham 1
Fulham had an unlikely-looking victory snatched away in the seventh minute of added time when substitute Eddie Nketiah scored and put a dagger in their hopes of Premier League survival. The loss of two points leaves Scott Parker’s team 6 points adrift of Burnley who have a game in hand.
There were five changes to the Arsenal side, whose priority now must be progress in the Europa League. Matt Ryan was one of those changes playing in goal. Scott Parker also made five changes. Martinelli put a good chance wide for Arsenal after only 70 seconds. He had a better effort saved by Areola after Smith-Rowe got to the bye-line on the right and cut the ball into the centre of the area. Ceballos had a headed “goal” disallowed for offside in the 40th minute, because Saka’s toe had been offside in the build-up.
Saka hit the woodwork to the left of goal in the second half after 54 minutes with a shot from the right before Lemina was caught by Gabriel and Fulham had a penalty scored in the 59th minute by Maja. He hit the ball high into the net to the right of Ryan, who had gone the wrong way.
Bellerin headed wide from a Martinelli cross, and substitute Pepe thought he was going score with a close-range header from another Martinelli cross, but Areola pulled off a very good save. Saka hit a long shot wide of the far post three minutes before time when 7 minutes of added time were indicated. This turned into a potential 9 minutes. In the seventh of these Arsenal won a corner taken on the left. Bellerin drove a shot towards the keeper’s right post. Holding was stood in an offside position in the middle of goal but adjudged by VAR not to have been interfering and Nketiah snapped up the chance presented to him in front of that back post. That was heart-breaking for Fulham, whose hopes for survival might have been dashed in that moment.
Manchester United 3 Burnley 1
Burnley again had to make do without Nick Pope who has a shoulder injury, so Bailey Peacock-Farrell stepped in. Other changes meant the inclusion of Charlie Taylor at left back and Jack Cork in midfield. Burnley had a “goal” ruled out after only 14 seconds when Chris Wood headed in a long ball, but he was adjudged to be offside by VAR. Peacock-Farrell got a touch on a looping header by Paul Pogba after 9 minutes pushing the ball out of play off his right-hand post. Wan-Bissaka had provided the cross. Henderson was down at the other end to hold a Wood shot after a Burnley counter-attack. Peacock-Farrell saved again, getting a strong hand on Rashford’s shot to push the ball over the bar.
The best chance so far for United came after 38 minutes when Rashford attacked down the right and crossed, but the ball reached Fernandes out on the left. Fernandes passed back across the defence to Rashford whose low cross was not converted by Greenwood. Cavani replaced Fred at half-time as United adopted a more attacking approach. They were rewarded only three minutes into the second half as Rashford raced down the left and crossed with Fernandes cleverly dummying and allowing the ball to run to the unmarked Greenwood who did not fail to score this time. Burnley had a corner four minutes after the goal, from which Tarkowski headed into the net.
United had to wait till late in the game for the goals that would seal their win. Peacock-Farrell saved well from a Fernandes header after good work by Shaw, but in the 84th minute, following a half-cleared corner and a pass across the area by Pogba, Greenwood scored with a low deflected shot inside the keeper’s left post. United had another corner five minutes later, taken short from the right, after which Fernandes had a shot blocked. He wanted a penalty but had to settle for another corner. A Burnley attack broke down two minutes into added time and United broke out in numbers with Cavani scoring from close range after substitute Van de Beek’s cross from inside the area on the left.
United drew within 8 points of their City rivals and are living on the hope of catching them in a race for the Premier League title. Burnley are the team closest to the relegation zone on 33 points.
Monday 19th April, 2021
Leeds United 1 Liverpool 1
This game was played in the shadow of the devastating news of a proposed European Super League. Jurgen Klopp was already on record of being against the idea and maintained this stance in his pre-match interview. Leeds players wore a UEFA T-Shirt in the pre-match warm-up which stated, "Football is for the fans" and "Earn it!" Some fans had assembled outside the ground. In protest against the Super League plan.
Liam Cooper was suspended after his recent sending-off, so Struijk stepped into his place. Fabinho took the injured Nat Phillips' place in Liverpool’s back four. Mo Salah was given a break and Diogo Jota started. James Milner was playing his first club game at Elland Road since leaving Leeds 17 years ago.
Thiago Alcantara had a 25-yard shot pushed over by Meslier after 4 minutes. The Leeds defence was pressurised on other occasions in the early phase of the game. Firmino hit a right foot shot on target from the edge of the area after 17 minutes which was held by Meslier.
After a mistake in his own half by Fabinho after 23 minutes, Kalvin Phillips slipped a ball to Bamford who headed for goal. However, Liverpool managed to concede a corner rather than a goal.
Liverpool took the lead in the 31st minute. Jota picked out Alexander-Arnold's run and the right back teed up Mane for his first league goal since January (against Tottenham).
After a good long ball had been sent to Jack Harrison, Leeds' Manchester City loanee cut a ball back to Tyler Roberts, who fired straight at Alisson.
Meslier was called upon early in the second half, parrying a left foot shot by Firmino. Meslier was down bravely at the feet of Mane at his left post after Milner's cross from an Alexander-Arnold throw taken on the right.
Leeds put the Liverpool defence under a little pressure, winning several corners around the hour mark without an end result. Alisson stuck out his left leg to deny Harrison after 68 minutes when he tried to score across the goal. Roberts had been Harrison’s provider inside the Liverpool area.
Salah replaced Mane with 20 minutes of the game remaining. Bamford hit the bar after controlling a good ball by Ayling before hitting a left foot shot after 74 minutes. Leeds substitute Poveda found Roberts with a ball from the right but Alisson saved the shot which was hit straight at the busy Liverpool keeper.
Salah pushed a shot just wide of Meslier's left post after 84 minutes. Leeds got an equaliser in the 87th minute when Llorente headed in Harrison's corner for his first Leeds goal. Liverpool sub Oxlade-Chamberlain had a good chance in added time, receiving from Firmino, but could not quite get the power in his shot with the ball under his feet.
Leeds deserved their point, but the result leaves Liverpool outside the Champions League places. Of course, if the Super League were to be established that would not matter.
Tuesday 20th April, 2021
Chelsea 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
The game was over-shadowed by the presence before and during play of a crowd of over 1,000 Chelsea fans outside the stadium on the Fulham Road. Petr Cech tried to calm the assembly before the game behind a Police line, but before the game Chelsea (who had been the last of the so-called “Big Six” to sign up for the ESL) announced they were preparing documents for withdrawal. Manchester City were the next to announce withdrawal, and by the end of the night all six clubs had formally withdrawn from the short-lived project. Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will step down from his role at the end of 2021.
Ironically for the second successive night a “Big Six” side was held by an “ordinary” Premier League side. The point did take Chelsea back into the top four above West Ham on goal difference but was more precious to Brighton who are closer to confirming their top flight status for another year. Kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes as the team buses had struggled to get past the crowd of protesting fans. Fans of each of the six sides had been united in their condemnation of the ESL proposals.
As for the game, there was little action of note. Brighton goalkeeper Sanchez made a good reaction save from Havertz after 20 minutes, and Zouma tested him from distance. Bissouma hit a deflected shot over the corner of goal three minutes before the break after a good passing move by Brighton.
Bissouma had another shot on goal after 71 minutes. This was from over 25 yards and off target. Lallana pushed a shot wide of Arrizabalaga’s right post after 77 minutes. Two minutes later Danny Welbeck hit the other post with a 20-yard shot, and when he picked up the rebound towards the left of the area that shot was blocked. Lallana forced another save by the goalkeeper. Clearly it was Brighton who came closest to scoring and they thoroughly deserved their point. They will miss Ben White in their next game as he was shown a second yellow card in added time.
Wednesday 21st April, 2021
Spurs 2 Southampton 1
Heung-min Son scored his 20th club goal of the season in this game. Gareth Bale scored his 11th club goal this season. This was a good start for 29-year-old Ryan Mason who has been appoimted as interim coach, making him the youngest ever Premier League manager.
Unlike the official site, where Gareth Bale was voted man of the match (He won the SKY and BBC poll too), Spurs Odyssey voters chose Hugo Lloris. Perhaps this comment explains the thinking behind that:-
"Without the double save in the early minutes by Lloris , Spurs were not going to win. Bale to his credit did do better, the goal was deserved but Southampton are not city. Surprisingly poor from Ndombele. Winks came on and did better. what stood out in first half was our poor defending. That improved in 2nd half!"
Aston Villa 1 Manchester City 2
Villa are still without Jack Grealish and tonight they missed the injured Trezeguet, who was replaced by Jacob Ramsey. As for City, Kevin De Bruyne was out, and the team included just three starters from the weekend’s unsuccessful semi-final.
City had to recover from the shock of an opening goal by Villa after just 20 seconds. City had kicked off, but conceded an early free kick taken rapidly by Villa with a long ball down the left, picked up by Watkins, who slipped the ball into the middle where McGinn scored his first Premier League goal since October. That had been scored in the 7-2 win over Liverpool. John Stones had slipped up in allowing that ball to reach Watkins in the first place.
City won a corner after 19 minutes, following which Sanchez got down to Mahrez’s shot from inside the area on the right. Three minutes later Foden equalised with a low right-footed shot after a great passing move which started with Ederson’s long kick to Zinchenko and further passes by Mahrez and Bernardo Silva. Foden was demonstrating silky skills in and around the box and he took a corner after 40 minutes which was returned into the area by Bernardo Silva, before Rodri rose to head the ball into the net for a 2-1 lead.
City and their manager were incandescent after an initial yellow card shown to John Stones for a high challenge upon Ramsey was upgraded to red after referee Peter Bankes viewed the pitch-side monitor. Guardiola sacrificed Jesus for Laporte in the second half to cover for Stones’ absence.
Ederson made a comfortable save from Douglas Luiz five minutes into the second half. Matty Cash was shown a yellow card for pulling down Foden as City attacked down the left flank. It wasn’t long before Cash was shown a second yellow for another foul on Foden, this time in the City half. It was a ten against ten game now. City kept control, and their lead and restored their 11 point advantage over Manchester United.
Thursday 22nd April, 2021
Leicester City 3 West Bromwich Albion 0
Brendan Rodgers made a couple of changes to the side of the FA Cup Finalists. Maddison returned at the expense of Perez and Luke Thomas was in for Ricardo Pereira. Both ousted players were on the bench. Sam Allardyce was seeking a third consecutive win and his side was unchanged from that which beat Southampton.
Iheanacho had a great chance after only two minutes when Conor Townsend failed to deal with a ball over the top. The Leicester striker ran to the area where Johnstone did just enough to put him off his shot and West Brom not only managed to clear it but threatened on the counter through Diagne. Iheanacho got away again after 19 minutes reaching the bye-line on the left before Johnstone was able to defend his attempted cross. Leicester took the lead in the 23rd minute. Castagne raced onto a ball by Tielemans from the Leicester half before passing to Vardy who wasn’t going to miss as he was in space towards the left of the area.
It was 2-0 inside 26 minutes after a Tielemans corner from the right was helped on by West Brom's Matty Phillips. Jonny Evans happily scored at the back post with a powered header against one of his former teams. It was not looking good for West Brom as Castagne was sent away by Maddison hitting the post with a low shot. The "Foxes" were in total control and Maddison had a shot from 20 yards held by Johnstone after 32 minutes.
West Brom had a corner after 35 minutes, taken by Pereira. Schmeichel was clearly confident, and the ball hit the top of his bar as it went out of play. Leicester broke forward after the goal kick down the left side and went three up in the 36th minute. Soyuncu had sent the ball forward and Vardy exchanged passes with Thomas before moving to the West Brom area and teeing up Iheanacho for a left foot finish. West Brom's already slim chances of survival were surely shot now.
Iheanacho had a chance of a second goal after 41 minutes after Maddison floated the ball to the far post and after Castagne returned it to the danger zone, Iheanacho somehow managed to lift his shot well over the target. Phillips forced a save from Schmeichel in the second minute of added time, but Sam Allardyce must have been glad of the half-time whistle to give him a chance of firing up his team for a second half fight back.
West Brom were not making any inroads early in the second half and Maddison threatened with Iheanacho in tandem. The striker’s shot was blocked and won a corner after 52 minutes. Maddison has not played much football in the last two months and was impactive for the home side.
Leicester didn’t have to over-extend themselves in the second half. Perez came on for Maddison and was fouled by Bartley just outside the area. Bartley was shown a yellow card. Iheanacho took the free kick which went around the wall but was pushed away by Johnstone. After that, it was just a case of Leicester seeing out the game and securing a four point lead over Chelsea and West Ham in the race for Champions League football.
Friday 16th April, 2021
Everton 2-2 Spurs
Saturday 17th April, 2021
Newcastle 3-2 West Ham
Wolves 1-0 Sheff Utd
Sunday 18th April, 2021
Arsenal 1-1 Fulham
Man Utd 3-1 Burnley
Monday 19th April, 2021
Leeds 1-1 Liverpool
Tuesday 20th April, 2021
Chelsea 0-0 Brighton
Wednesday 21st April, 2021
Spurs 2-1 S'hampton
A. Villa 1-2 Man City
Thursday 22nd April, 2021
Leicester 3-0 West Brom
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 33 24 5 4 69-24 45 77
2. Man Utd 32 19 9 4 64-35 29 66
3. Leicester 32 18 5 9 58-37 21 59
4. Chelsea 32 15 10 7 50-31 19 55
5. West Ham 32 16 7 9 53-42 11 55
6. Spurs 33 15 8 10 56-38 18 53
7. Liverpool 32 15 8 9 54-38 16 53
8. Everton 31 14 7 10 43-40 3 49
9. Arsenal 32 13 7 12 44-36 8 46
10. Leeds 32 14 4 14 50-50 0 46
11. A. Villa 31 13 5 13 44-35 9 44
12. Wolves 32 11 8 13 32-41 -9 41
13. C. Palace 31 10 8 13 33-52 -19 38
14. S'hampton 32 10 6 16 40-58 -18 36
15. Newcastle 32 9 8 15 35-53 -18 35
16. Brighton 32 7 13 12 33-38 -5 34
17. Burnley 32 8 9 15 26-45 -19 33
18. Fulham 33 5 12 16 25-43 -18 27
19. West Brom 32 5 9 18 28-62 -34 24
20. Sheff Utd 32 4 2 26 17-56 -39 14 R