Premier League Review – Matchday 6
Friday 23rd October, 2020
Aston Villa 0 Leeds 3
Villa’s 100% start to the season was brought to an end emphatically by Leeds for whom Patrick Bamford scored his first hat-trick which was the first in the Premier League for Leeds since Mark Viduka in 2003.
Bamford had a headed chance after 4 minutes receiving a cross from the left by Alioski. Struijk, who was playing in the Leeds midfield got an early booking for a foul on Grealish and was living dangerously with another challenge on Douglas Luiz, so was replaced by Bielsa after only 21 minutes by 21-year-old Jamie Shackleton. Grealish had a shot cleared off the line by Ayling midway through the first half. Grealish was denied a penalty when he went down under Helder Costa’s challenge three minutes from the interval. Bamford had another chance before the break sliding in to meet Harrison’s cross, but putting the ball wide.
In the second half Grealish went on a long run from just inside the Leeds half on the left-hand-side before cutting across the area and hitting a right-foot shot which Meslier saved with his feet. The Leeds keeper then pushed over Konsa’s header from the corner.
Bamford’s first goal came after 55 minutes when Martinez could not hold Rodrigo’s shot and Bamford followed-up from close range. Goal number two was a cracking left foot drive from the edge of the area after receiving Klich’s pass. The hat-trick was complete after 74 minutes following a good move started by Rodrigo when he spread the play to Helder Costa on the right. The ball was worked into the right side of Villa’s area and Bamford cleverly avoided the attentions of three defenders before placing his shot inside Martinez’s right post.
Bamford has scored 6 goals in Leeds’ opening 6 games. The only other Leeds player to perform the feat in the Premier League was a certain Mr. Cantona in 1992. Cantona was also the scorer of the first of 179 Premier League hat-tricks to date in the same year. That was scored against Spurs.
Saturday 24th October, 2020
West Ham 1 Manchester City 1
West Ham approached this game with confidence after their last three Premier League results and fielded an unchanged team from that which started at Tottenham. Pep Guardiola also fielded an unchanged team from that which played in the Champions League in midweek. That is a first since October 2017. However, the City manager did have Kevin De Bruyne on the bench.
This was the first time since 2009 that the "Hammers" had started a game above City. They struggled to get a foothold in the opening minutes, but it wasn't long before Bowen was making ground down the right flank against Cancelo.
West Ham took the lead in the 18th minute with a special goal. It followed an attack down that right flank and a cross into the box by Coufal. Antonio held off Diaz and with his back to goal, scored with an excellent overhead/scissor kick.
The Hammers defended well, and Fabianski didn’t have a significant save to make. The home side spent the last few minutes of the half putting the City defence under a little pressure.
City complained a lot - to no avail - regarding a possible handball by Soucek in the build-up to West Ham's goal. Guardiola replaced Aguero with Foden at half-time. Sterling took up leading striker duties. It was Foden though who equalised in the 56th minute receiving Cancelo's cross before swivelling to fire home inside Fabianski's right post.
Another blow to the home side was a requirement for Antonio to be replaced by Yarmolenko, due to injury. City were on top now, and on the hour Kyle Walker drove a 20-yard shot straight into the body of Fabianski.
Yarmolenko hit a left foot shot over the bar before De Bruyne replaced Bernardo Silva and Haller took over from Bowen for West Ham. Cancelo was involved in a lot of City's attacking plays, trying to find a ball on the left side. He came close to reaching Sterling with a cross that Balbuena just managed to intercept. Zinchenko came on for Walker and took over at left back with Cancelo moving right. De Bruyne hit a dipping free kick which Fabianski held comfortably.
Fornals may or may not have been offside when receiving a ball near the half-way line, but he didn’t make the best of his opportunity, allowing the ball to run to Ederson. Fabianski smothered a Sterling effort at the other end. Yarmolenko gave a ball away and gave Sterling a chance, but Ogbonna came to West Ham's rescue.
In the last minute of added time Gundogan gave Mahrez a chance with a nice ball, but Fabianski was strong at his right post to concede a corner. It was a good point for West Ham, who would have gone third with a win, and another disappointing result for City. Both teams remained below Spurs.
Fulham 1 Crystal Palace 2
Milivojevic returned to the Palace line-up and within 8 minutes he provided a pass for Wilfried Zaha, whose shot was saved near the right post by Areola. The ball was returned to the middle by Mitchell and passed to Riedewald by Zaha as the midfielder entered the box and beat Areola to open the scoring. Lookman had a shot from an angle on the left touched by Guaita onto the outside of the post and out for a corner. Townsend floated a ball in for Zaha, who headed wide, but had probably been offside. Lookman hit the other post with a shot which had Guaita well beaten, but after the rebound, Mitrovic’s reaction shot went over the target.
Zaha made it 2-0 in the 64th minute after Townsend passed forward to Batshuayi who crossed from the right near the bye-line. The ball crossed the goalmouth and Zaha scored from close range. Zaha hit his knee on the post as he slid in after scoring but was able to continue. Lookman continued to look the most likely player to score for Fulham.
Fulham substitute Kamara had only been on the pitch 20 minutes before he was eventually sent off by referee Graham Scott after he checked the monitor regarding a dangerous foul on Eze. The referee had initially shown a yellow card and took a long time to upgrade his decision . Cairney did get a consolation goal in the fifth minute of added time with an excellent 20 yard shot. It was Fulham’s first home league goal of the season.
Manchester United 0 Chelsea 0
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started with the team that last week beat Newcastle. Cavani made it to the bench, as did Greenwood, who has been out of favour recently for non-football reasons. Frank Lampard went with a 3-4-3 formation, with a strong bench which included Mount and Ziyech.
The game was played in typical Manchester weather and offered little in the way of excitement in the first half-hour. Chelsea conceded a comical corner when Mendy, trying to pass short across his goalmouth, nearly put the ball into his own net, but the ball ran out of play beyond his post. The passage of play which followed ended in a decent shot by Fernandes, but it went straight to the arms of the keeper. Chelsea did look the more likely team to score, but De Gea was not overstretched. Even the "virtual" crowd was quiet.
Mata sent a pass to Rashford in space towards the right, but Mendy saved his shot with his outstretched foot. Rashford became provider for Mata five minutes later but Mendy saved Mata's left-footed shot well with a dive to the right. Chelsea should have had a penalty when Harry Maguire held Azpilicueta as he jumped for a free kick, but VAR didn’t look at that.
Solskjaer introduced both Pogba and Cavani after 58 minutes for the disappointed Mata and James. Cavani nearly scored with his first touch which was a flick in front of the near post after a corner on the left.
Frank Lampard replaced two of his high profile (and high priced) signings Werner and Havertz with Academy boys Abraham and Mount. Ziyech subsequently replaced Pulisic, but chances were a rare commodity at either end. Pogba had a less than convincing shot blocked inside the Chelsea area and the away team had some pressure but no chances at the other end.
Rashford had a right-footed shot saved by Mendy's dive to the left as the game entered added time.
It seems that both sides valued a clean sheet higher than a real desire to play expansive football, although the draw was a fair result.
Both Manchester sides remain in the bottom half of the table after 5 games.
Liverpool 2 Sheffield United 1
Liverpool welcomed back ace goalkeeper Alisson after injury. Fabinho resumed his role as centre-back cover and played alongside Joe Gomez. Diogo Jota made his second Premier league start for his new club. Former Liverpool man 20-year-old Rhian Brewster made his first start for “The Blades”.
After only one minute Mane got a cross/shot in from the left as Ramsdale advanced to the edge of his area but Egan cleared to prevent the ball reaching Mo Salah. Lundstram got an early booking for a heavy challenge upon Salah near the halfway line. Alexander-Arnold tried an audacious free kick which Ramsdale had to tip over the bar.
VAR decreed that a foul by Fabinho on Brewster was on the line of the penalty area and a penalty was awarded, over-riding Mike Dean’s free kick decision. Berge scored the penalty in the 13th minute. It was only the third Premier League goal for United, two of which have been penalties. Robertson handled inside the area from a close-range ball, but new guidance directs that a penalty should not be given. United had a good opening spell and should have gone two up through McBurnie after 20 minutes, but he put his left foot shot wide across the goal. VAR might have adjudged him offside.
Alisson made a powerful save from Osborn’s cracking shot after 23 minutes. Liverpool were level four minutes before the break after Henderson crossed from the right and Mane’s header could only be parried by Ramsdale to the feet of Firmino.
Despite a good showing by the "Blades" in the opening phase of the second half, Liverpool thought they had taken a 62nd minute lead when Alexander-Arnold lifted a good ball to Salah who took a nice touch before sending his shot beyond Ramsdale into the far corner of the goal. However, VAR found Salah had been offside. The winning goal did come two minutes later when Jota scored with a free header after Mane crossed from the left. Henderson and Wijnaldum subsequently combined to thread the ball into the area where Salah tried a shot but hit the post.
Sunday 25th October, 2020
Southampton 2 Everton 0
Southampton made one change with Armstrong coming in for Walcott, who cannot play against his home club. James Rodriguez was fit for the "Toffees”, but they were missing Coleman through injury and Richarlison through suspension. Gomes started on the bench. Ben Godfrey started at the back, whilst Iwobi played in Richarlison's place. Gylfi Sigurdsson took Gomes' place and captained the side.
Southampton had the first real threat of the game after 11 minutes. Ings fed Bertrand ahead of him on the left, who crossed, but Redmond put his shot wide of the far post. Calvert-Lewin went to the ground after Bertrand's challenge and James stepped up to take the free kick which went straight to McCarthy. Sigurdsson hit the top of the bar with a 20-yarder which dipped and surprised the keeper.
Romeu hit a pile driver from over 25 yards which Pickford parried, but in the following play James Ward-Prowse beat the England keeper with a sharp right-foot shot (27 mins). Things got worse for the League leaders in the 35th minute when Danny Ings raced down the left with Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey on his tail. Ings crossed and Che Adams beat Pickford with a shot that took a slight deflection.
"Saints" thought they had a third goal through Armstrong's cracking shot, but there had been an offside in the build-up.
Carlo Ancelotti replaced Iwobi with Bernard at half-time. Southampton still looked more dangerous with both Adams and Ings looking sharp. Everton suffered another blow when Digne was sent off after 71 minutes. He had one nibble at Walker-Peters' ankles, and then trod on the back of the full back's foot as he raced away. That's two red cards in two games now for Ancelotti's men.
Vestergaard had a header pushed over the bar after a corner by Bertrand.
Wolves 1 Newcastle 1
With Jonjo Shelvey injured and Hayden and Matty Longstaff not fit enough to start, Steve Bruce had to improvise with his midfield selection, and went with a 3-5-2 giving Saint-Maximin a free role in support of Callum Wilson. Ryan Fraser made his first Premier League start since March when he was at Bournemouth. Jacob Murphy made his first Premier League start for nearly two years at right wing-back.
Wolves started brightly and Podence had a 20 yard shot saved by Darlow inside 5 minutes. Podence hit another shot wide, and Jimenez uncharacteristically fired wide after good work by Semedo on the right.
Newcastle began to get more possession without forging any real chances. Saint-Maximin did worry Rui Patricio with a low shot from outside the area, but the goalkeeper got down to hold the ball.
Five minutes into the second half Podence put in a cross from the left to Neto's feet, but Neto couldn’t keep the shot down. Neto had another chance two minutes later from 20 yards, but this went over too. After some good skill and three short sharp passes, Podence got into the area and had a shot blocked. Wolves asked for a penalty for a handball to no avail.
There was a little panic in the Wolves area after 62 minutes when both Wilson and Almiron were after Murphy's short cross from the right. Almiron's shot took a deflection but Rui Patricio managed to pick the ball up eventually.
After 67 minutes Traore replaced Podence whilst Marcal took over the left wing-back role from Saiss. Newcastle were defending deep and effectively but after Neto's short ball Jimenez did find room for a shot on target, but Darlow saved.
Wolves had a free kick on the left after 79 minutes, floated in by Neto, but only half-cleared to Jimenez who was lurking just outside the box. The Mexican ace beat Darlow with a right-footed shot. Darlow did reach the ball, but his touch was not strong enough.
Newcastle were awarded a soft free kick three minutes from the end. Schar, Almiron and Murphy stood over the ball, and it was Murphy who scored with a right footed shot inside Rui Patricio's left post when the defensive wall was probably not correctly positioned.
Arsenal 0 Leicester 1
Arsenal suffered their second consecutive Premier League defeat. Both were 1-0. Last week their victors were Manchester City, who were the last Premier League victims of Leicester a month ago. This was Leicester’s first win away to Arsenal since 1973! Thomas Partey made his home debut and his first Premier League start. Brendan Rodgers played a 3-4-3 formation and Jamie Vardy was fit enough to sit on the bench.
James Maddison was making his first Premier League start of this season and within two minutes he spotted Leno in an advanced position and went close with a shot from a good 35 yards. A minute later Lacazette headed a corner into the net off the post, but Xhaka and Aubameyang had been offside.
The game had not offered much in the way of incident or excitement before Vardy came off the bench (for Praet) after an hour. Bellerin had been booked in the first half and was lucky not to get a second yellow for his late challenge upon Justin. Nothing came of the free kick either. It was Bellerin who gave Schmeichel his biggest test so far after Aubameyang crossed and the right back made good contact with Schmeichel having to react and save quickly.
The goal came 10 minutes from time. Substitute Cengiz Under received a long ball from Tielemans and entered the Arsenal area on the right, before crossing nicely for Vardy to head home. Vardy has an excellent goal-scoring record against Arsenal, and this was his 11th goal in 12 Premier League meetings. Vardy had another chance in added time, but Leno saved well.
Monday 26th October, 2020
Brighton 1 West Bromwich Albion 1
Slaven Bilic was upset with his club’s decision to sell centre-back Ahmed Hegacy before the game to Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad, as the player had been in his plans for this game. Hegacy had been with the Baggies for three full seasons and played a big part in their promotion run-in this year. Brighton gave Dutch International Joel Veltman his first league start in place of the suspended Lewis Dunk. Danny Welbeck, who has been signed on a one-year deal, was on the Brighton bench. Ajayi replaced Hegacy and played beside veteran Ivanovic.
Krovinovic tested Ryan early on with a right-foot shot. Maupay had the ball in the net from Lallana’s pass after 14 minutes, but the offside flag was raised. Johnstone saved a shot midway through the first half from Maupay after a good move featuring Trossard’s forward pass and Lallana’s short cross to Maupay. Brighton were the team offering most threat and after half an hour Johnstone held Trossard’s 20-yard effort. The goalkeeper needed two touches to beat away another Trossard shot after 34 minutes.
Brighton took the lead in the 40th minute. It followed a move started with a determined run through the middle by Dan Burn and a cross from the left by Trossard. In the area Lallana had a shot blocked, but that ran to the feet of Lamptey, whose cross was turned in at the back post by Ivanovic and finally Jake Livermore.
West Brom’s 20-year-old Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher had a powerful on target shot blocked by Veltman early in the second half. In truth the game lacked intensity and many real chances. Those who had paid the £14.95 PPV fee would have felt sorely disappointed. Pereira pulled a shot wide of the target after 65 minutes. Shortly after Krovinovic did hit a good shot from the edge of the box which Ryan beat away from danger.
West Brom did get an equaliser in the 83rd minute when Karlan Grant latched onto Robinson’s cross from the right and hit the net with a powerful 15-yard shot. It was Grant’s second game after signing from Huddersfield, and his first goal for his new club. The “Baggies” looked the more likely side to grab a winner and Pereira had another shot off target, but the scores remained level. These two teams provide our next two Premier League opponents.
Burnley 0 Spurs 1
The Spurs Odyssey survey will remain open for your votes until tomorrow (Wednesday) morning, but as you'd expect Kane and Son are neck and neck to win your man of the match vote. The pair are now now joint-second in Premier League goal-assist combinations:-
36 Drogba and Lampard
29 Kane and Son
29 D Silva and Aguero
29 Pires and Henry
27 Anderton and Sheringham
Comment of the week:-
"This was a game in tough conditions and against a team who play the set pieces! 62% possession to Spurs showed who were dominant. The elbow to Alderweireld's eye showed what they up against! I think Spurs did not let this play beat them. MOTM again Harry Kane. The assist and header off his line alone gave him that. I am fed up with fans moaning about Ben Davies. This guy is great. Lamela nearly floated a pass for him to score! The squad are happy with Ndombele up his levels and one looks forward to Dele following suit."
Friday 23rd October, 2020
A. Villa 0-3 Leeds
Saturday 24th October, 2020
West Ham 1-1 Man City
Fulham 1-2 C. Palace
Man Utd 0-0 Chelsea
Liverpool 2-1 Sheff Utd
Sunday 25th October, 2020
S'hampton 2-0 Everton
Wolves 1-1 Newcastle
Arsenal 0-1 Leicester
Monday 26th October, 2020
Brighton 1-1 West Brom
Burnley 0-1 Spurs
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Everton 6 4 1 1 14-9 5 13
2. Liverpool 6 4 1 1 15-14 1 13
3. A. Villa 5 4 0 1 12-5 7 12
4. Leicester 6 4 0 2 13-8 5 12
5. Spurs 6 3 2 1 16-8 8 11
6. Leeds 6 3 1 2 12-9 3 10
7. S'hampton 6 3 1 2 10-9 1 10
8. C. Palace 6 3 1 2 8-9 -1 10
9. Wolves 6 3 1 2 6-8 -2 10
10. Chelsea 6 2 3 1 13-9 4 9
11. Arsenal 6 3 0 3 8-7 1 9
12. West Ham 6 2 2 2 12-8 4 8
13. Man City 5 2 2 1 8-8 0 8
14. Newcastle 6 2 2 2 8-10 -2 8
15. Man Utd 5 2 1 2 9-12 -3 7
16. Brighton 6 1 2 3 10-12 -2 5
17. West Brom 6 0 3 3 6-14 -8 3
18. Burnley 5 0 1 4 3-9 -6 1
19. Sheff Utd 6 0 1 5 3-9 -6 1
20. Fulham 6 0 1 5 5-14 -9 1