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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2020-21 - Matchday 8

Premier League Review – Matchday 8

Once again, each game was preceded by silence for Remembrance Day which this year fell on Sunday 8th November.

Friday 6th November, 2020

Brighton 0 Burnley 0

Burnley have not won a top-flight game on a Friday since 1926. They are now winless in their last 11 such matches, losing six of them. They are also winless in the last 8 league games, losing 6 of those. They’ve also failed to score in their last four Premier league games.

This game did not occupy much time at the end of Match of the Day! Lamptey had a good chance to score in the first minute but lifted his shot over the bar. Lowton hit a long shot from outside the right side of the box and beat Ryan, but not his bar. Gross’s header from a Lallana cross was easy for Nick Pope to save. Pope saved with his legs from Welbeck after another Lallana pass. Pope was also out to smother another chance for Welbeck in first half added time.

Brighton dominated second half possession but did not test Pope as much as they had in the first. They did have a couple of handball appeals turned down by referee Mike Dean and VAR.

Southampton 2 Newcastle 0

Southampton were missing the injured Danny Ings, but opened the scoring after 7 minutes, nonetheless. Che Adams hit a shot from 20 yards which Darlow saved and managed to push away well to the left. Inexplicably Almiron dwelt too long on the ball and was dispossessed after which Walcott took the ball into the area and cut the ball back for Adams who scored on the volley.

Newcastle recovered from a poor start and won a couple of corners, although Sean Longstaff's on-target header followed another cross from the left. The ball went straight to McCarthy's arms.

Djenepo was the player to come in for Ings and he as much as anyone was responsible for Southampton's slick pass and move game. After one clever flick by Djenepo, Walcott had a good chance but pushed his shot wide.

Walcott, after a run through the middle three minutes into the second half, had a shot deflected which won a corner. After a second corner from the left Vestergaard headed back across the goal and Bednarek had a shot cleared off the line before Romeu skimmed the top of the Newcastle bar with another shot.

Bednarek had a near post header well saved by Darlow after a 63rd minute corner taken by Ward-Prowse. Newcastle were getting forward more, but Southampton were close when Adams sent Armstrong away down the right channel. Armstrong crossed for Walcott, who was tackled by Lascelles and needed treatment. Replays suggested Newcastle had got away with a penalty, despite VAR.

Southampton finally got the second goal they deserved in the 82nd minute. After a long clearance by their keeper, Adams had passed to Walcott, who advanced upon the Southampton area. Newcastle stopped Walcott but were dispossessed by Armstrong who scored inside Darlow's left post. Southampton were heading for the top of the table for the first time ever, and overnight at least.

Substitute Joelinton headed goalward from a Lewis cross and Darlow made a great save, diving to his left and pushing the ball over with his right hand. In added time Darlow managed to flap away an Armstrong shot.

Saturday 7th November, 2020

Everton 1 Manchester United 3

Everton made 6 changes to the team which lost at Newcastle. Jordan Pickford returned. James Rodriguez was fit, as was right back Seamus Coleman. Lucas Digne was able to play as his recent sending off against Southampton was not rescinded, but the suspension was reduced to one game. Holgate was preferred at centre back to Yerry Mina, and Bernard was on the left of a front three.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure and after an embarrassing midweek defeat in Turkey he reverted to a 4-2-3-1 with McTominay and Fred preferred in front of the defence.

United dominated the early possession but Everton had the first chance after 5 minutes when Calvert-Lewin met Bernard's cross from the left and headed just over the bar. After a United corner on 15 minutes the ball was half-cleared to the edge of the area. Fred hit a short overhead pass and Martial shot wide across the goal, outside Pickford's left post.

Bernard gave Everton the lead in the 19th minute. Pickford hit a long clearance. Calvert-Lewin challenged but it was Lindelof who got the touch with the ball falling to Bernard's feet. On his first Premier League start of the season Bernard placed his shot just inside De Gea's right post.

United equalised five minutes later when Fernandes headed in Shaw's cross from inside the area in a central position. The header was well-placed to the left of Pickford. Digne hit the outside of the post with a shot from inside the left of the box.

United were 2-1 up after 32 minutes. Fred hit a good ball to Rashford in a central area and he passed to Fernandes to his left who returned the ball with a cross. It looked as if Rashford had flicked the ball on with his head, and the ball hit the far post and rebounded over the line. The goal was initially credited to Rashford, but the striker had not got a touch and Fernandes had a second goal.

After 59 minutes Mata hit a high free kick from 25 yards which Pickford dropped just in front of his line to the right of his goal. Harry Maguire hit the ball with his knee just over the bar, but there was a debate over whether he had been fouled by both Pickford and Keane.

There was no flag raised against Marcus Rashford when he ran onto a pass over the Everton defence, but fired his shot against Pickford's leg. Everton had been dominating possession but couldn't get through. Maguire made a good clearing back header to prevent Calvert-Lewin from scoring.

There were four minutes of added time allotted, but that ran into five as United broke forward from a failed Everton attack. Fernandes was in the middle and picked out substitute Cavani to his left to score his first United goal. Everton have lost three on the trot after their good start. For all their troubles, United have won seven consecutive away league games. They remain in the bottom half of the table.

Crystal Palace 4 Leeds United 1

Leeds conceded four goals for the second consecutive game and for the third time already this season. They are still missing Phillips to protect their defence. There was VAR controversy about one disallowed goal. Palace had the lead in the 12th minute from a corner taken by Eze from the left. Scott Dann headed into the net left of goalkeeper Meslier, who got a touch, but failed to stop the goal. Five minutes later Bamford had the ball in the net after Ayling sent a low diagonal pass from the right to Klich who fed the ball to Bamford who had pointed where he wanted the ball to go before “scoring”. The still photo shot appeared to show that Bamford’s pointing arm was offside and VAR denied the goal. Confusion continues to reign about what is and what is not offside under VAR’s most recent interpretations.

Having been fouled 20 yards out, Eze took the free kick and scored with a great right-footed shot. It was his first goal for the club who signed him from QPR this summer. Bamford was allowed a goal when he took on Klich’s header inside the area and scored past Guaita in the 27th minute.

Palace went 3-1 up after 42 minutes through a somewhat bizarre own goal by Helder Costa. Zaha had sent a ball down the line for Van Aanholt to chase. The left back tried to cut the ball back towards the area, but it rebounded off Helder Costa and beat Meslier from a very narrow angle.

Palace had a fourth goal twenty minutes from the end of the game when Zaha found Jordan Ayew unmarked towards the right of the box. Ayew hit his right-footed shot which Meslier failed to stop, getting quite a strong touch, only to see the ball pass and hit the net. Meslier did manage to save from Van Aanholt, but only with his second attempt after the ball looped into the air.

Chelsea 4 Sheffield United 1

Chelsea were missing Havertz who was isolating due to COVID-19. Sheffield United could not play Ampadu who is on loan from Chelsea.

The "Blades" had a bright start from kick-off, but it was Ramsdale who had to make the first save from Chilwell inside four minutes when Abraham touched on Reece James' cross for the Chelsea left back to force the save. The "Blades" took the lead in the ninth minute. Sheffield United had a corner on the right, taken short between Norwood and Baldock. Baldock cut the ball back; Berge turned the ball into the danger zone first time and McGoldrick scored with a clever touch.

Lowe hit a good 25-yard shot which went straight at Mendy, before Chelsea equalised in the 23rd minute. Kovacic turned back a Ziyech ball into the area from where Abraham hit a shot that hit the ground before bouncing over Basham and into the net to the right of Ramsdale.

Ramsdale's goal was coming under pressure now. Werner hit the bar with a close-range shot, and then Chilwell got on the end of a Ziyech ball two yards out from Ramsdale's right post to make it 2-1. (34 mins) Chilwell had another shot from further out pushed around the left post by the United keeper.

Within two minutes of the start of the second half Kovacic was through into a scoring position in the area but Basham managed to put the ball clear for a corner. Ziyech hit a left-footed curler from the edge of the area after 56 minutes which Egan cleared with a timely header for a corner. The "Blades" were under pressure again.

Chelsea had a free kick 25 yards out after 63 minutes. It was taken by James and patted away by Ramsdale. Ziyech passed inside to Kovacic just outside the area. Kovacic hit his shot just wide of Ramsdale’s right post. Chelsea had a free kick after 76 minutes near the right corner flag. The ball was curled deep into the 6-yard zone by Ziyech and headed in by Thiago Silva for his first Chelsea goal. Ziyech followed that up with a beautiful pass from his own half for Werner, who lifted his shot over the advancing keeper, but wide of the target.

The floodgates were well and truly open in the 80th minute. Kante was challenging Lowe for a ball facing backwards from the United goal, but the ball rebounded in favour of Werner who rifled in a shot with his right foot from the edge of the area. Ramsdale made an excellent save from a dipping shot by Mason Mount in added time.

Chris Wilder's team are at the foot of the table, which seems alien after the season they had last year.

West Ham 1 Fulham 0

There was high drama at the end of this game after Soucek had given West Ham an added time lead before Fulham’s Ademola Lookman chose an embarrassing moment to make a hash of a Panenka penalty kick which could have rescued a point for the strugglers. Lookman was distraught. Scott Parker was not a happy man!

Masuaku had an early shot blocked and Areola saved Cresswell’s follow-up shot which was hit from 20 yards. Areola made another good save from Bowen’s powerfully hit shot, also from outside the area, after a corner on the left five minutes into the game. From what was the “Hammers”’ third corner Haller headed onto the top of the crossbar. That was the end of the first half excitement.

The Fulham goalkeeper might have got a slight touch to Cresswell’s free kick three minutes into the second half and the ball went off the top of the bar. Substitute Benrahma had two shots saved at a narrow angle on the left by Areola after 89 minutes, which led to a corner. Soucek’s goal came with a right foot shot from 15 yards after Benrahma’s pass. There was an argument about Haller being in an offside position in the build-up to this move and then when Soucek fired in his shot, but the goal stood.

More drama was to come as Cairney went down just inside the area after Benrahma’s challenge. Referee Robert Jones was not going to award a penalty, but VAR sent him to the monitor, and he changed his mind. Lookman’s failed attempt was to simply chip the ball into Fabianski’s hands.

Sunday 8th November, 2020

West Bromwich Albion 0 Spurs 1

Thanks to all those who took part in our usual post-match survey. Once again Harry Kane won your man of the match vote. That is the fifth time in his last nine matches that Harry has won the vote. Harry has scored 10 of his 13 club goals in those games too.

Spurs have won all four of their away games this season. The last time this occurred was in 2017 when Harry was also on fire, scoring 6 goals in those games plus a hat-trick in Cyprus against APOEL. He scored two at home against Dortmund too. Spurs finished third that season and Harry scored 30 Premier League goals with a total of 41 club goals for the season.

Who knows what we (and Harry Kane) might achieve this season? Our next two league games against Manchester City and Chelsea will be indicative.

Leicester 1 Wolves 0

Leicester overtook Spurs and went top after this win. Vardy scored one penalty but failed with another. The first was another controversial VAR decision with referee Anthony Taylor checking the monitor before deciding that Kilman had handled Praet’s attempted cross. The ball did hit the defender from short range. Vardy scored to the left of Rui Patricio in the 15th minute. The second penalty was an easy decision after Wolves’ young player Ait-Nouri brought down James Justin after 38 minutes. Vardy went too straight this time and Rui Patricio saved as he dived to the right. Vardy’s follow-up was off target.

Wolves’ first shot came early in the second half but was way off target by Semedo. Fofana made a great run forward from defence and passed to Vardy on the right, whose shot was saved by Rui Patricio. Schmeichel made a good save from Neto’s shot after Podence had teed him up. A better save came when Neves fired in from 20 yards and Schmeichel dived to his left, pushing the ball over with his right hand. Substitute Harvey Barnes put a good chance over eight minutes before the end.

Manchester City 1 Liverpool 1

Of course, this game was built up as the match of the weekend and the first half lived up to that. The second was not so good. City welcomed back Gabriel Jesus, who hadn’t started a game since 21st September. Jurgen Klopp surprisingly played both Diogo jota and Firmino. They were part of a three-man attacking midfield with Mane, playing behind Salah. Mane won a penalty when he got a nudge from Kyle Walker and Salah scored from the spot in the 13th minute.

Jesus scored with a clever two touches before firing home after De Bruyne’s pass in the 31st minute. De Bruyne then hit a shot from 25 yards which skimmed the wet surface just outside Alisson’s right post. City were awarded a penalty when a cross by De Bruyne hit Gomez’s arm in a position where previously he would surely have avoided a handball judgement. Not this time, according to VAR and referee Craig Pawson’s review. Amazingly De Bruyne pulled his shot wide. Ederson managed to claw back Alexander-Arnold’s shot with Jota looming, just before half-time.

Both sides were only interested in attack, but the defences generally bossed the game in the second half. Gabriel headed a great opportunity wide after Cancelo’s cross from the left, and De Bruyne hit a dipping shot over the bar.

Arsenal 0 Aston Villa 3

Arsenal’s social media no doubt went into meltdown after this defeat which means they went into the International break in the bottom half, four points behind the top four and five points behind Spurs. After two defeats in which they had conceded seven goals, Villa are back on track and clearly not a flash in the pan, being inspired by Jack Grealish and led up front by Ollie Watkins who now has 6 Premier League goals to his name. Emiliano Martinez was returning to his former club for the first time since signing for the “Villans”.

Arteta fielded the same side as that which won at Old Trafford last week. Villa kicked off and thought they had a sensational lead after only 48 seconds when Grealish passed inside to McGinn whose shot nearly burst the net. Unfortunately, the “goal” was not allowed because Ross Barkley was in an offside position in the goalkeeper’s line of view. The VAR process and referee’s review took up most of the first five minutes of the game. McGinn nearly gifted a goal to Partey but with a poor back pass, but Martinez managed to clear.

Villa did have the lead in the 25th minute. It was initially credited to Trezeguet but was in fact an own goal by Saka. Arsenal did not seem interested in a tackle as Barkley, Grealish and Targett were allowed to dwell on the ball outside their area. It was Targett’s cross which was converted, and the ball passed all the way to the back of the 6-yard area before Saka’s touch.

Lacazette headed over a cross by Tierney four minutes before the break. Three minutes after half-time Leno saved Trezeguet’s right foot shot after approach play by Grealish and Barkley. The same pair were working well together and after Barkley’s pass, Grealish hit a shot across the goalmouth from a narrow angle. Leno got a vital touch. Holding put a good chance wide from 8 yards after Gabriel’s pass after 61 minutes. Substitute Pepe hit a shot wide across the goal with his left footed shot.

Villa had a 2-0 lead in the 72nd minute. Douglas Luiz’s ball was hit across the Arsenal area by Barkley and Watkins dived and headed in from close range. A minute late Barkley crossed from the right. The ball reached Grealish on the edge of the area and his shot was cleared off the line by Ceballos. Arsenal survived more pressure from Douglas Luiz, Barkley, and that man Grealish. After a cross by Tierney, Martinez sent Grealish away down the left side with a smart throw-out. Grealish raced forward and eventually fed the ball to Watkins who scored with a sharp shot from the left of the area.

Fixtures/results 06-08.11.20

Friday 6th November, 2020

Brighton   0-0  Burnley
S'hampton  2-0  Newcastle

Saturday 7th November, 2020

Everton    1-3  Man Utd
C. Palace  4-1  Leeds
Chelsea    4-1  Sheff Utd
West Ham   1-0  Fulham

Sunday 8th November, 2020

West Brom  0-1  Spurs
Leicester  1-0  Wolves
Man City   1-1  Liverpool
Arsenal    0-3  A. Villa

            Premier League Table

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

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