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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2020-21 - Matchday 9

Premier League Review – Matchday 9

Saturday 21st November, 2020

Newcastle 0 Chelsea 2

Chelsea went to the top of the league for a few hours with this result. Stephen Clemence was on duty next to Steve Bruce as his assistant coach within a week of his father’s passing.

Darlow continues to deputise for the injured Dubravka and he made a good save from the nippy Werner after only four minutes. The keeper’s next save was from an Abraham header following Ziyech’s cross from the right. Unsurprisingly, Chelsea had the lead inside 10 minutes. Werner slipped the ball to Mount who crossed from the right. With Chilwell threatening to convert the cross a desperate Fernandez put the ball into his own net. Werner was looking to score in a fifth consecutive game and he missed a good chance when he collected Abraham’s short pass but pulled his shot wide.

Newcastle had failed to make any impression whatsoever, but ten minutes before the break Joelinton broke forward from just inside the Chelsea half, leading to a chance for Saint-Maximin who hit a shot after crossing the area from left to right. The shot was blocked and led to a corner for the home side. Newcastle lost Lascelles to injury and he was replaced by Schar at the start of the second half. Werner played a massive part in Chelsea’s second goal, racing up the inside left channel before teeing up Abraham to score to his right.

Sean Longstaff did hit the bar with a shot from 25 yards following a Newcastle corner, and Werner did have the ball in the net at the other end, but he was offside. He was replaced by Hudson-Odoi, so that chance of a goal in a fifth consecutive game was missed. Mason Mount scuffed a shot wide across Darlow’s goal and the score remained 2-0. Chelsea host Spurs next Sunday afternoon.

Aston Villa 1 Brighton 2

That early season Villa bubble has burst as they fell to a third defeat in four Premier League games. This one was a surprise, as Brighton won only their second league game, both of which have been away from home. The last one was a 3-0 win at Newcastle on Matchday Two. Danny Welbeck made his second start for his new club. Welbeck received a short clearance after 12 minutes. He was still inside the Brighton half, but he was clean through as he raced all the way to the area and lifted his shot neatly over Martinez. The last goal he scored was also past Martinez when he was in the Arsenal goal in July, when Welbeck was with Watford. Welbeck failed to take advantage of a Lamptey pass four minutes later.

Villa attacked through Grealish and Watkins after 18 minutes and Trezeguet had one shot blocked before putting his second effort over the bar. Bertrand Traore had a shot from outside the area which was saved by Ryan. Maupay was through towards the left of Villa’s area but Martinez advanced outside to make an important block with his body. Villa had a free kick floated in by Grealish. Mings’ effort floated towards Ryan’s left corner and the keeper managed to make an unconventional save with his shin. Watkins put another Grealish pass just on the wrong side of Ryan’s left post.

Villa levelled the scores two minutes after the break. Traore floated in a free kick from the left and it was met by Konsa whose shot from the back of the area beat Ryan. Brighton regained the lead in the 56th minute. Gross passed across the Villa area from right to left and Solly March beat Martinez with an excellent right-footed shot from the edge of the box.

Tariq Lamptey was shown two yellow cards within two minutes of each offence at the end of the game by referee Michael Oliver. Villa were initially awarded a penalty by the referee following the resulting free kick after Lamptey’s second offence. Trezeguet went down dramatically having been caught by March, but after viewing the monitor Mr. Oliver overturned his decision. The feeling was that March had got a bit of the ball first, but his challenge was shin-to-shin. Villa’s chance of an equaliser was lost.

Spurs 2 Manchester City 0

Our two best performances so far this season (according to Spurs Odyssey voters have been against the two Manchester teams. This was Jose Mourinho's best assessment by voters to date. As for the team this was their best mark since the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid in November 2017.

Needless to say the masterful Harry Kane was man of the match. That makes it 6 times in his last 9 games.

The bookings for Sissoko and Kane were their first for the season in both cases. In 15 games played so far in all competitions, we have collected 14 yellow cards, less than 1 per game. Last season we collected 101 yellow cards in 52 games.

Comment of the week:-

"If this was Jose 'parking the bus' especially in the first half, then I can live with that. Superb performance and every man jack played superbly. How can one not give 10 with that kind of performance? - The back four superb, Aurier's best game ever for us. But from the front to the back a masterclass in team defending while being awake to the few opportunities to attack. And then the precision of a neurosurgeon from Son and Lo Celso. Arguable Jose deserves three tens - but remaining grounded!"

Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey.

Since Spurs Odyssey was created there has only been one other time I have been able to record Spurs being at the top of the table for a full week. That was after Matchday Two of the 2014-15 season

Manchester United 1 West Bromwich Albion 0

United’s win over Slaven Bilic’s men was as hard as that by Spurs two weeks previously. There was more VAR controversy and (of course) Fernandes penalty drama. Telles made a Premier League debut at left back for United. West Brom’s goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is a former United Academy player, but he never played a first team game. Johnstone was kept busy and made his first save from a Martial header following an early free kick. He saved again from Martial after 16 minutes. This was a low dive to his left from Martial’s shot.

Grant had a good chance for the visitors midway through the first half. His shot took a touch from a defender but went wide to the right of De Gea. Pereira got a hand on Martial’s back inside the West Brom area and the United man went to the floor, but he got no reward for responding to the slight touch. United had gone over 5 hours without scoring a league goal at Old Trafford. That had been against Spurs in the famous 6-1 defeat.

Early in the second half Chelsea loanee Gallagher went down inside the area when challenged by Fernandes and referee David Coote gave a penalty. He was recommended to view the monitor and once again, as has become the trend, when this happens the original decision is overturned, and so it proved. Fernandes had got the ball first. Johnstone saved again, this time from Rashford, whose shot was heading just inside the top right corner.

De Gea made a save with his left boot from a Conor Townsend shot and then United were awarded a penalty when Furlong tuned his back on a Mata shot, but the ball still hit his arm. This decision stood, but when Johnstone saved Fernandes’ penalty, he had moved off his line, so Fernandes got another chance, which he took, firing to the goalkeeper’s right (56 mins). United have been awarded no less than 44 penalties in their last 127 matches. Fernandes has scored 12 such goals (in all competitions) since his arrival in January. Two of these were against Spurs including the United goal in our 6-1 win. 50% of his Premier League goals have been spot kicks, most of them of the “skippy” variety!

Robinson hit De Gea’s bar with a rasping shot after a pass by Gallagher. At the other end Johnstone managed to save from Rashford at close range. It was a weakish effort after a pass by Fernandes. The West Brom goalie saved again from Maguire following a corner.

Sunday 22nd November, 2020

Fulham 2 Everton 3

Scott Parker left Aleksandar Mitrovic on the bench, meaning Bobby Decordova-Reid would lead the line. Mitrovic had played 210 minutes of International football during the break. Everton made four changes including the return of Richarlison after his three-match suspension.

Everton had the lead after only 42 seconds. Decordova-Reid made a poor backward pass, and the ball ran to Richarlison who crossed low for Calvert-Lewin to score from close range. Everton nearly had a second goal after 11 minutes when Iwobi crossed from the right and Calvert-Lewin again got on the end of ball. This time Fulham cleared and soon won a corner when Decordova-Reid's effort was pushed around the post after Robinson crossed from the left.

Decordova-Reid did equalise after 14 minutes when he picked up Cairney's short pass, moving into the area before beating Pickford's right hand. Calvert-Lewin stabbed home another cross by Iwobi, but this time he was offside. Areola made a good save, diving to his left to push away a shot by Richarlison.

The game was very open, and Everton went 2-1 up in the 29th minute when Calvert-Lewin scored with a first-time low shot from Digne's cross. VAR had a look at offside, but the goal stood. It was 3-1 in the 35th minute when Doucoure headed in another cross by Digne.

Areola had a couple of saves to make early in the second half, and the game remained to be in an open style. Scott Parker made a double substitution after 57 minutes with Mitrovic and Loftus-Cheek replacing Decordova-Reid and Cairney.

Lofts-Cheek won a penalty when he was brought down by Godfrey after taking a return pass from Mitrovic. Cavaleiro's penalty was an appalling miss. He slid over as he kicked the ball, possibly hitting the ball against his own foot to put it over. Fulham did have a goal back after 69 minutes. Lookman, who has previously played for Everton, cut the ball back for Loftus-Cheek who scored courtesy of a Yerry Mina deflection.

Fulham put up a spirited fight in the second half and but for that shocking penalty, would have got a point, but Everton took all three points back to Liverpool.

Sheffield United 0 West Ham 1

West Ham are still without Mikhail Antonio, so Haller led the line again. The "Blades" had a bright start with McBurnie threatening and Baldock forcing a save from Fabianski in the first three minutes. After 23 minutes McBurnie hit a good rising shot from just inside the area with his right foot which required a good save by Fabianski. The follow-up shot by Fleck was weaker and easy for the keeper.

Sheffield United goalie Aaron Ramsdale had his biggest test so far after 27 minutes when Coufal fired low from the right of the box. Soucek put a good opportunity wide after 33 minutes from Haller's head down. Fabianski had to punch away a McBurnie header after a cross from the right by Basham. McGoldrick headed against the post from the ensuing corner but the flag had been raised for offside.

It was Haller who seized the opportunity to fire home from 20 yards when Fornals’ shot was blocked and fell to the striker's feet. (56 mins) Rice had a header from a corner that hit the top of the bar after 72 minutes. McBurnie hit the bar in the top right corner at the other end with a shot as he ran into the left side of the West Ham box.

Sheffield United are only the third side (after Manchester City in 1996 and Sheffield Wednesday in 2000) to gain just one point from their first nine games. On both occasions those clubs were relegated.

Leeds 0 Arsenal 0

Leeds dominated this game in terms of possession and shots on goal, but their inability to finish cost them. Pepe was sent off for a headbutt on Alioski after 51 minutes in an incident which attracted unseemly comments from both sets of fans after the game. In particular there were clearly racist comments by Leeds fans directed at the Arsenal player, who will miss the forthcoming North London Derby. Both clubs have firmly criticised the comments of both sets of fans and Arteta criticised his play for his indiscipline. Pepe was only starting because Lacazette had been dropped.

David O’Leary, a former Leeds manager and still the record-holder regarding appearances for Arsenal, was in the stadium. O’Leary is now a club ambassador for Arsenal.

Ceballos had a shot go just wide for Arsenal, before Bamford stabbed an effort into the goalkeeper’s hands at the other end. Pepe hit a cross from the left that bounced into play off the top of the bar. Bielsa had given a debut to his Brazilian signing Raphinha, and he curled a decent shot from outside the area which passed wide. Bamford had another reactive shot saved by Leno after 31 minutes.

There is no doubt that Alioski dramatised the effect of Pepe’s head being put to his own, but the red card was correct. Leno made a good one-handed save diving to his right from a Dallas shot. Substitute Rodrigo hit the bar after 79 minutes. Bellerin made a late burst towards the halfway line and released Saka who had a good chance from the left of the area. However, the Leeds keeper had advanced and made a good right-handed save to concede a corner. Bamford hit the inside of the Arsenal post with a late header, but the ball ran clear of danger. Raphinha also hit the woodwork in the fifth minute of added time.

Both clubs remain in the bottom half of the table.

Liverpool 3 Leicester 0

Liverpool were missing Mo Salah (Covid-19 positive) and injured key defenders such as Van Dijk and Joey Gomez, but in the end, they beat an under-par Leicester side comfortably. One of the reasons was the continuing impact of summer signing Diogo Jota who has already scored 4 league goals and 4 champions League goals for his new club. His former club miss him badly, I suspect, despite the potential £45 million deal. This win gave Liverpool a record-breaking unbeaten run of 64 home league matches which includes 53 wins. The previous run was between 1978 and 1981 and ended with a defeat to Leicester. Leicester had won their preceding 4 away league games this season.

Liverpool paid their own special tribute to Ray Clemence before the game.

Curtis Jones got a start in midfield for Liverpool and both he and Jota had shots beaten away by Schmeichel before Liverpool were gifted the lead after 21 minutes when Jonny Evans headed into his own net from a corner. Harvey Barnes pushed a good opportunity wide shortly afterwards after Vardy’s low cross from the left. It was 2-0 in the 41st minute when Robertson hit a lovely cross from the left and Jota met it beautifully to glance a header across the beaten Schmeichel.

Schmeichel made a good save in the second half, pushing up Mane’s shot, before Fuchs managed to head the ball over for a corner, with Jota challenging. Schmeichel was busy again in the 57th minute when Jota received the ball on the right of the area. Schmeichel saved at his left post, and again when Jota collected the ball quickly and crossed low. With Firmino close, Evans then headed against his own post before the ball was cleared.

After 76 minutes, Jota put through a ball to Firmino whose shot beat the goalkeeper, but rebounded off the far post. When it came back to Firmino, Schmeichel did just enough to save and the ball was cleared off the line, reaching Mane, whose shot was again saved by the busy goalkeeper. The ball rebounded off the right post back into the grateful keeper’s hands.

The game was secured by Liverpool when Firmino headed home from a corner in the 86th minute. The win put Liverpool level on points with Spurs, but significantly worse off in goal difference.

Monday 23rd November, 2020

Burnley 1 Crystal Palace 0

Burnley have the benefit of Ben Mee back in defence and Gudmundsson in midfield. Sean Dyche preferred Jay Rodriguez over Ashley Barnes to partner Chris Wood. Palace were missing their talisman Wilfried Zaha, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Nick Pope made an early save from Palace right back Nathan Clyne, but Wood gave Burnley an 8th minute lead. Gudmundsson had floated in a speculative ball from the right. Kouyate’s mistake let in Rodriguez who slipped the ball to Wood who slammed his shot home for his club’s first home goal of the season.

After a long clearance by his goalkeeper, Batshuayi picked up the ball and was able to make a run to the edge of the Burnley area where he put his shot wide of Pope’s right post. Dwight McNeil hit a shot from 25 yards at the other end. This was also wide of the target. Townsend hit a powerful left foot shot from just outside the area which Pope was happy to push over for a corner.

After 54 minutes Gudmundsson was free inside the area with only Guaita in his way, but he hit the bar with his shot. McNeil misplaced a pass backwards into Batshuayi’s path, but Pope had come out and smothered the shot by the Palace striker. Palace tried desperately to level the scores. After a Townsend free kick from the left, Pope saved bravely at close range from substitute Benteke, and needed attention. He was able to continue and kept his clean sheet thus enabling Burnley to climb out of the bottom three.

Wolves 1 Southampton 1

Wolves were without their captain Conor Coady, who has been unable to train with his team-mates due to a track/trace COVID-19 alert. Coady has tested negative and was allowed in the stadium to watch the game from a good distance. Coady played every minute of every Premier League match last season, and his absence ends a run of 119 consecutive league games. Southampton were without Danny Ings and Theo Walcott was chosen to play up front alongside Che Adams.

Wolves included Adama Traore and Joao Moutinho. Wolves had a free kick after five minutes just outside the area after a cynical foul by Romeu on Podence, who had got away from Bednarek. Moutinho's free kick was blocked. Semedo hit a shot from 25 yards which was well saved by McCarthy, who then had to save a rising shot by Dendoncker.

Southampton's first real chance came after 14 minutes when Armstrong put Walcott through towards the right of goal. Walcott's angled shot was saved by Rui Patricio.

Traore managed to make room for a shot from 25 yards after 29 minutes. This took a strong deflection which made McCarthy's test more of a problem, but the goalkeeper saved cleanly. Armstrong was teed up by Adams just over a minute later, but his shot from just inside the area passed wide of the post.

Traore was fouled out on the right by Vestergaard. Moutinho took the free kick and McCarthy made a very good save from Podence's glanced header. The next significant action also came from Podence six minutes into the second half. McCarthy saved his left footed shot. Wolves' young wing-back Ait-Nouri had provided the final pass.

Southampton took the lead in the 58th minute after a string of passes to and fro across the outside and inside of the area. Adams provided the final cross from near the bye-line on the right which left Walcott with an easy finish for his first Southampton goal (in a League match) since December 2005.

Adams hit a great long pass from the left flank offering Walcott another chance after 65 minutes. The former Arsenal and Everton man pulled his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.

Wolves were energised by the introduction of Neto (for Neves) after 70 minutes and he levelled the scores within five minutes, sweeping up after Jimenez's shot rebounded off the post. Jimenez headed a Moutinho free kick into the net three minutes later, but he was offside. Neto had another shot well saved by McCarthy at his right post after Walker-Peters lost out to Moutinho and Jimenez gave Neto the chance.

The teams were evenly matched, and the draw was a fair result.

Fixtures/results 21-23.11.20

Saturday 21st November, 2020

Newcastle  0-2  Chelsea
A. Villa   1-2  Brighton
Spurs      2-0  Man City
Man Utd    1-0  West Brom

Sunday 22nd November, 2020

Fulham     2-3  Everton
Sheff Utd  0-1  West Ham
Leeds      0-0  Arsenal
Liverpool  3-0  Leicester

Monday 23rd November, 2020

Burnley    1-0  C. Palace
Wolves     1-1  S'hampton

            Premier League Table

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts
 1. Spurs      9  6  2  1  21-9   12   20  
 2. Liverpool  9  6  2  1  21-16   5   20
 3. Chelsea    9  5  3  1  22-10  12   18
 4. Leicester  9  6  0  3  18-12   6   18 
 5. S'hampton  9  5  2  2  17-13   4   17 
 6. Everton    9  5  1  3  19-16   3   16
 7. A. Villa   8  5  0  3  19-11   8   15
 8. West Ham   9  4  2  3  15-10   5   14
 9. Wolves     9  4  2  3   9-10  -1   14
10. Man Utd    8  4  1  3  13-14  -1   13
11. C. Palace  9  4  1  4  12-13  -1   13  
12. Arsenal    9  4  1  4   9-10  -1   13 
13. Man City   8  3  3  2  10-11  -1   12  
14. Leeds      9  3  2  4  14-17  -3   11
15. Newcastle  9  3  2  4  10-15  -5   11 
16. Brighton   9  2  3  4  13-15  -2    9
17. Burnley    8  1  2  5   4-12  -8    5
18. Fulham     9  1  1  7   9-18  -9    4
19. West Brom  9  0  3  6   6-18 -12    3
20. Sheff Utd  9  0  1  8   4-15 -11    1    

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