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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2020-21 - Matchday 7

Premier League Review – Matchday 7

Each game was preceded by silence for Remembrance Day (next week), and the players also remembered European and World Cup winner Nobby Stiles, whose passing was announced on Friday. Premier League players are also still "taking a knee" in support of the Black Lives Matter continuing campaign.

Friday 30th October, 2020

Wolves 2 Crystal Palace 0

In the first game of the weekend Wolves claimed level top place with this win. Their first goal was scored on his debut by 19-year-old left wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri, signed on loan from Angers. Podence had a curling right-footed shot well saved at the far post by Guaita, conceding a corner. Batshuayi had the ball in the net from Van Aanholt’s cross but he was offside. Ait-Nouri’s goal followed a deep cross hit by Podence from the right, which reached the debutant at the back corner of the area. He beat the defence and the goalkeeper with a low driven shot.

Dendoncker hit the bar to the left of Guaita with a 25-yarder after 25 minutes. Two minutes later the lead was doubled after Jimenez fed the ball to Neto who crossed from the right. The ball was met by Podence at the back of the goal area and he beat the keeper with a first-time shot back across his goal.

Referee Martin Atkinson gave Palace a penalty after Van Aanholt went down, but this was denied by a VAR review which disclosed a marginal offside in the build-up. Both Dendoncker and Podence put good chances wide in the second half. Substitute Traore had a shot saved by Guaita. In the build-up to this move Moutinho had been tackled by Palace skipper Milivojevic, and it was only after the Traore shot that this incident was reviewed. The result was a red card for Milivojevic, whose foot had rolled above the ball onto Moutinho’s shin. Roy Hodgson was aggrieved by this decision, and by the fact he will miss his captain for three games.

Saturday 31st October, 2020

Sheffield United 0 Manchester City 1

The first chance fell to Ferran Torres after 7 minutes with a header from a Cancelo cross. Ramsdale saved strongly with two hands. 20-year-old Torres was signed from Valencia and has scored in his last two games for City. Rodri took Ramsdale by surprise with a 25 yard shot and the keeper was happy to push the ball away for a corner.

Ramsdale's best save to date was after 22 minutes when Torres tried to prod home a Sterling cross from close range. It had been one-way traffic and it was former "Blades" player Kyle Walker who opened the scoring after 27 minutes with a low driven shot from 25 yards that beat Ramsdale just inside his right post.

Ramsdale was alert and saved De Bruyne's low free kick which reached the keeper because Berge had been the only player in the wall to jump. The ball went under his feet. Sheffield United did manage to get forward more, making headway down their right flank and winning a couple of corners, but City dominated the first half.

After 54 minutes Kyle Walker got all the way to the bye-line in the United area and after he cut the ball back it was half-cleared to the feet of De Bruyne who fired low across the goalmouth. Ramsdale then saved a low free kick by Mahrez.

The "Blades" were very much in the game with Berge hitting a cross which Ederson held and later cutting the ball back from the bye-line for Lundstram whose shot passed over the goal. Ederson was out to save from Brewster who had broken clear, but he was then flagged offside anyway.

With seven minutes left Mahrez laid on a nice short pass for Bernardo Silva, whose low shot was held by Ramsdale. In the closing stages it became more a case of City managing the game, which they did effectively to climb up the table.

Burnley 0 Chelsea 3

Chelsea went with a potent 4-3-3 in this game, with Havertz in midfield beside Kante and Mason Mount. Up front they had Werner, Abraham, and Hakim Ziyech, making his first Premier League start. Werner had originally been named as a sub but played due to the late withdrawal of Pulisic.

Burnley had an early chance when Ashley Barnes raced onto Lowton’s long ball from near the half-way line. Mendy came out to the edge of his area and Barnes lifted his effort over. Ziyech had his first Premier League goal (he scored a Champions League goal in midweek) after 26 minutes at the end of a move also involving Werner and a touch back by Abraham. Ziyech’s shot from just inside the area was inside Pope’s left post.

Burnley were still in touch going into the second half and Barnes had another decent effort, this one from 25 yards, which just went wide of the post. It was 2-0 though in the 63rd minute when Zouma headed home Mason Mount’s corner which had been won when Taylor cleared off Ziyech’s feet. There haven’t been many occasions when two players whose name begins with “Z” have scored in the same game!

James picked up a poor ball by Westwood and passed to Ziyech who slipped the ball to Werner for a straightforward finish and a 3-0 scoreline after 70 minutes. Substitute Giroud had the ball in the net at the near post from Chilwell’s cross but there was an offside flag. Lowton had a shot go just over from 20 yards in added time, but Burnley slipped to the bottom of the table with this defeat, whereas Chelsea claimed an early top four place with six games still to be played over the weekend.

Liverpool 2 West Ham 1

With injuries to Van Dijk and now to Fabinho, Jurgen Klopp gave 23-year-old Nat Phillips a debut at centre-back next to Joey Gomez. Curtis Jones made a second league start in midfield. West Ham were missing Antonio with a hamstring injury, giving Haller a start up front.

West Ham had a lead in the 10th minute when Gomez headed a cross from the left to the feet of Fornals, who scored from the edge of the box with a shot that was not powerfully hit, but well placed, hitting the net off the inside of Alisson's right-hand post.

After the West Ham defence blocked strongly inside their area, Henderson had a shot from over 25 yards go just wide of Fabianski's left post. Kevin Friend took his time before awarding Liverpool a penalty when Masuaku caught Salah, and Salah equalised from the spot in the 42nd minute.

Diogo Jota and Shaqiri came on after 70 minutes when the scores remained level. Fornals had had a couple of chances for West Ham, who had been defending well. Jota had the ball in the net after Mane’s shot had been saved, but this goal was disallowed because Mane was preventing the goalkeeper to react to Jota’s shot. Shaqiri had a hand in that attack as Liverpool broke out of their half, and he was the provider for Jota with a ball through the middle of the defence as Jota raced through and scored a legitimate goal in the 85th minute. Jota has scored in his first three home games for Liverpool, who seem to have spent well again.

Sunday 1st November, 2020

Aston Villa 3 Southampton 4

Southampton have a good recent record against Villa, and they continued it in style here. Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse had a great 26th birthday!

Danny Ings won a corner after three minutes which was taken by Ward-Prowse, flicked on by Ings and turned in by Vestergaard. The “goal” was chalked off for offside by Che Adams at the time of Ings’ flick-on. Vestergaard did have a goal after 20 minutes when Kyle Walker-Peters was fouled; Ward-Prowse delivered the free kick and Vestergaard headed home.

Walcott was fouled 22 yards out after 32 minutes and Ward-Prowse hammered the free kick into the net to the right of Martinez. Two minutes before half time Cash handled a Che Adams cross which was heading for Walcott. Cash was booked for the offence which occurred just outside the area. Ward-Prowse scored again. This time his shot had more curve on it, but Martinez was helplessly rooted to the spot.

Trezeguet had been a first half substitute for Bertrand Traore and after a Villa free kick six minutes into the second half he powered a diving header at goal which McCarthy saved. Grealish had a header saved after a cross from the right by Douglas Luiz. Danny Ings made it 4-0 in the 58th minute with a cracking shot from the left side of the box, beating Martinez to his left. A full Holte End would have been in deep shock and distress, but of course the stands were empty.

Four minutes later Villa did score when Tyrone Mings headed Jack Grealish’s cross into the net across the keeper. There were six minutes of added time and Villa scored two more goals. Firstly, Watkins’ shot was blocked and came out to Grealish who was fouled. Substitute Diallo had made the rash challenge and was booked for his trouble. Watkins scored from the penalty spot to McCarthy’s left.

Grealish scored himself with a right foot shot from the edge of the area. McCarthy did not move, but it was virtually the last kick of the game and Villa had lost a second consecutive game to slip down the table. Southampton on the other hand went into third place before they were overtaken by Tottenham, and Leicester on Monday night.

Newcastle 2 Everton 1

The big pre-match news was about Carlo Ancelotti dropping Jordan Pickford to the bench, introducing loan signing Robin Olsen, who is Sweden's keeper and currently on loan from Roma. Ancelotti also brought in Jonjoe Kenny at right back and another summer signing Niels Nkounkou at left back. This was a debut for the 20-year-old Frenchman. Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph returned to the side.

Everton were missing the injured James Rodriguez, and Seamus Coleman. Richarlison and Digne are still suspended. Steve Bruce's one change was Sean Longstaff for Ryan Fraser.

Exciting action was a scarce commodity in the first twenty minutes. The only effort of note had come in the first five minutes when Callum Wilson collected a long ball but fired over from the right of the area. Most of the game was being played in the middle third where the teams cancelled each other out. Finally, after half an hour and a break forward by Almiron and Wilson, Saint-Maximin had a shot on target which Olsen saved. Saint-Maximin was hobbling with an injury when the half-time whistle was blown, but did return for the start of the second half.

Newcastle were awarded a penalty by referee Stuart Attwell after 53 minutes when Wilson went down after being hit by the boot of Gomes after a corner from the right. The ball was on the spot during a lengthy VAR review, but Wilson scored in the 56th minute. Olsen made a good save at close range from a Longstaff shot soon afterwards.

Calvert-Lewis back-headed a Sigurdsson free kick into the arms of Darlow after 63 minutes.

Inevitably the last 10 minutes of the game were more exciting than what had come before. Newcastle went two up in the 85th minute when Yerry Mina failed to defend effectively against Ryan Fraser's run. Fraser's shot took a deflection off Mina and looped beyond the keeper's reach allowing Callum Wilson to get the final touch and a second goal.

There were six minutes of added time and Ancelotti had thrown all he could at Newcastle in terms of substitutes which included Iwobi, whose cross was deflected slightly then deflected past Darlow by Calvert-Lewin. Despite the late pressure, Newcastle held on. Everton have gained one point from their last three games, and did desperately miss their missing key players.

Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1

United had beaten Leipzig 5-0 during the week deploying a diamond midfield, but that strategy did not work against a lively Arsenal team with Partey pulling the strings in the middle.

Arsenal bossed the first half after a very bright start during which Aubameyang was very close to putting in a Bellerin cross after 13 minutes. Leno saved a Greenwood shot at his right post after a good ball by Rashford. Willian had a shot skim the top of the crossbar after 38 minutes. Saka hit a free header over the bar two minutes before half-time.

After a loose header in midfield by Rashford, Arsenal countered through Lacazette who passed to Aubameyang. He put his right foot shot wide. United had a free kick from the left after 54 minutes, but Harry Maguire put his header wide back across the goal.

Partey hit a powerful shot from 25 yards after 58 minutes, but it was straight at De Gea. De Gea punched away a Tierney cross, but only as far as Elneny, whose shot was way off target. After 67 minutes Willian put a ball through for Bellerin who was brought down by Pogba. Mike Dean blew for a penalty and Aubameyang made no mistake. (69 minutes)

After a United corner substitute Donny van der Beek had a cross deflected against Leno's left post. United put some pressure on Arsenal towards the end, but Arsenal held out and United remain deep down the table without a home Premier League win. All four of their games have been against London sides. This was Arsenal's first away league win against United for 14 years.

Spurs 2 Brighton 1

Referee Graham Scott scored only 2.4 in our post-match survey and inevitably drew the most comments. this was one I could publish:-

"I always try to be very fair to the officials - it’s absolutely one of the most difficult jobs on the planet. Things don’t occur in slow motion, and you only get one look at something to instantly make a decision. That said, Mr Scott was asked by the VAR team to go have a look and I cannot for the life of me understand how that was NOT a foul. A massive error in judgement and his next assignment should be in the Championship."

The comment was, of course, made in relation to the foul on Hojbjerg before Lamptey's goal. Hojbjerg's skill, endeavour and leadership qualities are being increasingly recognised by observers. He and Hugo Lloris are the only players to have played 90 minutes in all of our Premier League games to date. Hojbjerg pipped Sergio Reguilon for your man of the match vote.

Monday 2nd November, 2020

Fulham 2 West Bromwich Albion 0

Scott Parker’s men climbed out of the bottom three with this vital win, thus consigning Slaven Bilic’s team to the relegation zone. The “Baggies” will host Spurs on Sunday lunchtime. There was a debut at the back for Joachim Andersen, signed on loan from Lyon by Fulham. West Brom were unchanged.

West Brom left back Conor Townsend hit the frame of the goal with a cross inside two minutes, but Fulham cleared when the ball was returned to the area. Lookman flashed a shot across the West Brom goal after 18 minutes. After a Fulham free kick in midfield the ball was passed forward to Bobby Decordova-Reid who hit a right footed shot over from 25 yards. Decordova-Reid did score in the 26th minute when Robinson crossed from the left; Mitrovic headed the ball back to Decordova-Reid, who scored with a close-range header. Three minutes later it was 2-0 when right back Aina latched onto Decordova-Reid’s pass inside from the right and scored from 20 yards. It was Aina’s first Premier League goal.

West Brom offered little threat, and neither goalkeeper was forced into a difficult save. Lookman advanced down the left after 79 minutes and Johnstone came out of his area and lost out in his attempt to clear. Cairney hit a left-foot shot which was cleared off the line by Townsend and Decordova-Reid’s follow-up was blocked by Ajayi. Fulham claimed a handball, but VAR didn’t agree.

Slaven Bilic said of his team’s performance:- "They were better than us in everything, one v one, two v two, passing the ball, aggression and commitment, everything really and I'm extremely disappointed - we can't play like this.”

Leeds United 1 Leicester 4

Leeds were missing Rodrigo, who had to self-isolate with regard to COVID-19. They welcomed back club captain Liam Cooper after injury. Pablo Hernandez and Jamie Shackleton also started with Alioski and Struijk returning to the bench. Leicester started with Luke Thomas at left wing-back. It was Thomas's first start of the season.

The game was played in heavy rain, on a sodden pitch and opened with frantic action at each end. Firstly, Bamford headed into the arms of Schmeichel from close range after Harrison had headed back Helder Costa's cross. Leicester sent a clearance down the left flank and after an under-strength back pass, Jamie Vardy seized the ball and teed up Harvey Barnes for an easy finish. Only two minutes had gone. Barnes was in again after a Vardy header, but goalkeeper Meslier managed to smother Barnes' shot at the expense of a corner.

Vardy laid another ball off for Barnes, this time right of centre. Barnes' shot was well saved , but the Leicester man was disappointed not to have scored. It was 2-0 in the 21st minute. The ball was crossed from the right by Albrighton and Meslier could not hold Vardy's diving header. Tielemans swept in the rebound. Leicester were taking Elland Road by storm.

Leeds were also missing their England midfielder Kalvin Phillips and were guilty of giving the ball away too many times in their own half. Thomas stole a ball and had a shot saved after 36 minutes, before Bamford had a chance at the other end but was not clinical with his shot, allowing Schmeichel to save.

The Leeds manager replaced Shackleton at half-time with Poveda. The rain had stopped, but the pitch remained slightly heavy. Leeds had a freakish goal after only two minutes of the second half. After a corner on the left the ball was passed back to Dallas, who lifted an intended cross deep into the area. Schmeichel was expecting a touch by one of his defenders, but the ball beat everyone and went in the net to Schmeichel's left.

Leeds were pressing Leicester now and after a corner from the left Hernandez created room for a shot which rebounded off Schmeichel's top left goal frame. Klich tried a shot from 25 yards, but Schmeichel saved in front of his right post.

Bamford chased a long ball and was tackled by Schmeichel who had come just outside his area. Luckily, the ball ran out for a goal kick.

Referee Andre Marriner denied Luke Ayling a penalty after 73 minutes when the Leeds man anticipated Fuchs' challenge. VAR quickly confirmed Mr. Marriner's decision. Leicester went 3-1 up in the 76th minute with a goal set up by two substitutes. Maddison sent Under away down the right channel and the Roma loanee set up Vardy for an 8-yard finish. Vardy might have scored another goal after 82 minutes when Under passed forward. Vardy put his shot just wide under pressure from Meslier.

Mr. Marriner was advised to review an incident on the monitor some time after an occasion where Klich had fouled Maddison just inside his area, and a penalty was awarded. Vardy had been substituted so Tielemans scored from the spot in the first minute of added time. The win took Leicester above Spurs to second place. Leeds have now twice conceded 4 goals, and also conceded three at home to Fulham.

Fixtures/results 30.10-02.11.20

Friday 30th October, 2020

Wolves     2-0  Crystal Palace

Saturday 31st October, 2020

Sheff Utd  0-1  Man City
Burnley    0-3  Chelsea
Liverpool  2-1  West Ham

Sunday 1st November, 2020

A. Villa   3-4  S'hampton
Newcastle  2-1  Everton
Man Utd    0-1  Arsenal
Spurs      2-1  Brighton

Monday 2nd November, 2020

Fulham     2-0  West Brom
Leeds      1-4  Leicester  

            Premier League Table

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts
 1. Liverpool  7  5  1  1  17-15   2   16 
 2. Leicester  7  5  0  2  17-9    8   15 
 3. Spurs      7  4  2  1  18-9    9   14  
 4. Everton    7  4  1  2  15-11   4   13
 5. S'hampton  7  4  1  2  14-12   2   13 
 6. Wolves     7  4  1  2   8-8    0   13
 7. Chelsea    7  3  3  1  16-9    7   12
 8. A. Villa   6  4  0  2  15-9    6   12  
 9. Arsenal    7  4  0  3   9-7    2   12 
10. Man City   6  3  2  1   9-8    1   11
11. Newcastle  7  3  2  2  10-11  -1   11
12. Leeds      7  3  1  3  13-13   0   10
13. C. Palace  7  3  1  3   8-11  -1   10 
14. West Ham   7  2  2  3  13-10   3    8 
15. Man Utd    6  2  1  3   9-13  -4    7  
16. Brighton   7  1  2  4  11-14  -3    5
17. Fulham     7  1  1  5   7-14  -7    4
18. West Brom  7  0  3  4   6-16 -10    3
19. Sheff Utd  7  0  1  6   3-10  -7    1    
20. Burnley    6  0  1  5   3-12  -9    1

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