Premier League Review – Matchday 10
Saturday 30th October, 2021
Leicester City 0 Arsenal 2
Do you remember how we crowed after Matchday Three when we were top of the league and Arsenal were bottom? Arsenal haven’t lost any game since then and climbed above us with this win. Their goals were scored in the first 18 minutes and goalkeeper Ramsdale made a number of great saves to hold Leicester at bay.
Arsenal’s first goal was a Gabriel header from Saka’s fifth-minute corner. Schmeichel had to save low to his left from a shot by Partey, hit 22 yards out. Arsenal’s second goal followed a loss of the ball by Maddison deep in the Arsenal half. Partey sent Saka away, and after he and Lacazette shared passes towards the right of the box, the ball fell to Smith-Rowe who fired home.
After a poor clearance Ramsdale made amends when he just got a touch to Iheanacho’s shot to push the ball around his right post. Ramsdale made a brilliant diving save from Maddison’s 41st minute free kick, pushing the ball onto the post with Partey following up to clear off his line.
Luke Thomas was just off target for “The Foxes” early in the second half after a good pass by Tielemans. Lookman found Ramsdale in his way after 58 minutes with his low shot inside the area to the right of goal. Ramsdale came out to block another shot by Harvey Barnes. Leicester fans still gave the Arsenal keeper their traditional (and pathetic) anti-goalkeeper chant at goal-kicks. That must be a Championship thing because I noticed it used at Norwich this weekend. In fairness to Ramsdale he punched his fist in unison with the final "Ah" on one occasion.
Burnley 3 Brentford 1
Burnley got a welcome first league win of the season, climbing out of the bottom three overnight, until Leeds beat Norwich. Brentford will be missing goalkeeper Raya for up to five months with a knee injury and he was replaced by Alvaro Fernandez, making his debut in this country. Mbeumo was also a doubt but was on the bench. Toney was partnered by Marcus Forss.
Chris Wood scored a quite sensational fourth minute opener taking a good pass from Lowton before smashing past the goalkeeper with a powerful right foot shot. Cornet thought he had added a second, created by Wood’s pass, but Wood had been offside when receiving another forward pass. Pope saved from Toney at the other end.
Goalkeeper Fernandez saved from Gudmundsson who had made a good run, after receiving a pass made when he was just inside his own half. Chesterfield-born Matt Lowton scored a rare (headed) goal in the 32nd minute, after Charlie Taylor lifted a cross from the left wing. It was 3-0 to Burnley in the 36th minute after Dwight McNeil found Cornet with an excellent cross-field pass and the striker scored with a right foot shot from the edge of the area. Burnley were playing a brand of football I did not recognise.
Brentford got a goal back, but it took them till the 79th minute. Ghoddos beat Pope with a powerful right-footed scissor-kicked drive inside the box after Norgaard headed to him from the left.
Liverpool 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 2
Brighton manager Graham Potter was given great kudos after masterminding Brighton’s great comeback at Anfield. Sadio Mane replaced Jota in Liverpool’s front three. Bissouma made his first start since mid-September for Brighton.
March had an early shot saved by Alisson before Liverpool took a fourth minute lead in front of The Kop. Salah was the provider, cutting the ball back from the right of the area before Henderson scored inside Sanchez’s right post. It was Henderson’s first league goal of the season. Bissouma broke up play in midfield before taking the ball on, hitting a shot which beat Alisson but rebounded off the bottom of his left post.
Naby Keita had to be replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain after 20 minutes and the former Arsenal man delivered the perfect cross for Mane to head home from the back of the goal area in the 24th minute. It looked as if Liverpool had scored third goal when Mane closed down goalkeeper Sanchez, but the striker had used his arm. Brighton got one back in the 41st minute through a superb strike from outside the area by Mwepu, beating Alisson with a beautiful curved and dipping shot.
Salah had the ball in the net three minutes into the second half, receiving from Mane, but the offside flag was raised and supported by VAR. A minute later, March, who had been the provider for Mwepu’s goal, cleverly set up Lallana for a shot at goal, but Alisson saved. Lallana, playing in front of his former fans of course, became the provider for Trossard’s equaliser in the 65th minute. Trossard danced inside Robertson before hitting the net with his right foot shot. Trossard even thought he had scored a winner when converting substitute Lamptey’s pass, but he was offside this time.
Manchester City 0 Crystal Palace 2
What is it about Palace? Three years ago, Roy Hodgson took a side to The Etihad, and they won 3-2. In January 2020 they got a draw and now, former City man Patrick Vieira won 2-0! The return of Wilfried Zaha for Palace made a big difference. Zaha scored with a well-placed left foot shot across Ederson after City uncharacteristically gave the ball away in their own half after only 6 minutes.
Rodri hit a shot straight at Guaita after a City corner. After half an hour Rodri teed up Gabriel Jesus who appealed for a penalty when his shot was blocked but got no joy. Palace were defending stoutly. To add to their woes, in first half added time City’s Laporte was shown a straight red card by referee Andre Marriner for holding Zaha and preventing a goal-scoring opportunity.
Rodri had another chance early in the second half, receiving the ball from Grealish inside the area. The City midfielder fired over the bar. City fans were aggravated and not helped by the fact that a “goal” by Jesus on the hour was chalked off because Foden had been offside in the build-up. Ederson saved from Gallagher after 77 minutes, when Zaha passed to the Chelsea loanee to his right. With two minutes remaining Palace substitute Olise broke forward and he was joined by Zaha and Gallagher. Olise provided the final pass before Gallagher scored to the left of Ederson in front of the delighted travelling fans.
Newcastle United 0 Chelsea 3
Newcastle’s quest for a win continues, but they had tough opposition today in league leaders Chelsea. Ziyech thought he had opened the scoring after 29 minutes, but he had been offside. Ziyech missed an easier chance in front of The Gallowgate Stand when James crossed from the right inside the box, but the former Ajax man lifted his shot over the bar. Ziyech hit a long range free kick over the bar before halftime. He hit the post a minute into the second half with a deflected left foot shot.
Chelsea finally scored after 65 minutes. Hudson-Odoi took the ball to the bye-line on the left and lifted a cross which Ritchie only half-cleared to the feet of Reece James who hammered home an angled right-footed shot. James scored again, 12 minutes later, with another powerful right footed shot after Loftus-Cheek’s shot was blocked and fell to the feet of the right wing-back. Back three, with wing-backs? There’s an idea!
Havertz was brought down by goalkeeper Darlow after Barkley’s low pass. Jorginho did the honours from the spot in the 81st minute without even a hop, skip or a jump!
Watford 0 Southampton 1
It’s a funny old game, as a wonderful man used to say. Claudio Ranieri is still looking for his first home win, despite last week’s big win at Goodison. Southampton had the better chances in the early stages and their goal was scored after 20 minutes when Adams fired home from inside the area after receiving Adam Armstrong’s pass. Adams’ goal beat Foster in his top-left corner in front of The Rookery Stand. Sarr had a shot just cleared off the line by Kyle Walker-Peters after it had glanced off the post. Adams somehow missed when Armstrong crossed from the right and Adams’ header hit the ground then bounced over the bar. Armstrong hit one chance just wide of Foster’s left post, and yet another over the bar.
Armstrong had yet another good chance go wide early in the second half. At the other end Kucka hit a low shot which necessitated a save by McCarthy low at his left post. Another shot by Armstrong, which was on target, was deflected wide. Ashley Fletcher, making his league debut for Watford, hit a good shot low to the right of McCarthy but this was saved well by the Southampton keeper.
Spurs 0 Manchester United 3
Manchester United became the third team (after Chelsea and Liverpool) to rack up 100 Premier League goals against Spurs. We have managed less than one point per game against all three teams, which is our worst record against other Premier League sides. (We have yet to play Brentford)
The club reacted quickly to the negativity of the fans, and of course because of the poor football being presented by Nuno Esperito Santo who was sacked on Monday morning. Nuno was never first choice as we know, but he is an honourable man and I wish him well on a personal level. I shall be writing more about the team's performances under Nuno in the October review, and possibly another article.
Plenty of constructive comments were made, and I have chosen these three as being representative of your thoughts:-
"Worst set of marks I have ever given and that reflects in one of the worst team performances I have seen from this Spurs team. No idea, no effort, no leadership, no future. Same old excuses after the game as well."
"When the fans turn on the manager, it’s generally the end of the road. It was a dreadful appointment completely opposite in management philosophy to what Levy suggested he was looking for. The players as a group are clearly not buying into it."
"Disgrace! Nuno totally out of his depth. Players are also 100% accountabl.e Romero Royal and Lucas the only players to come away with any sense of pride. Act now!"
Cristian Romero was adjudged Spurs' best player and I can tell you he tops our moderate ratings for October too.
Now the club has formally announced the appointment of Antonio Conte with an initial contract taking him till June 2023. I am sure the players will be suitably inspired and motivated. Let's hope we see a quick return to form and entertaining football!
Sunday 31st October, 2021
Norwich City 1 Leeds United 2
Leeds got their second win and moved three points above Burnley. Predictably Norwich lost yet again, although they did manage a third Premier League goal. Daniel Farke made several changes including 19-year-old Andrew Omobamidele at left back and recalls for Dowell and Rashica in midfield. Marcelo Bielsa has his problems including the continuing absence of Bamford, but he was able to play Kalvin Phillips in midfield. Leeds’ had a front three of Raphinha, Harrison and James.
Daniel James escaped a Norwich call for handball inside his own area, but at the other end rounded Krul and hit a left foot shot only to see Grant Hanley clear off the line. Pukki had a right foot shot go just wide at the other end. Norwich had a corner just before half-time when Meslier made a rather needless save outside his post from Rashica. After the corner, Normann hit a shot just wide from the edge of the area. Rashica hit a low free kick which was held by Meslier early in the second half.
Raphinha passed a late fitness test to play today, and Leeds were grateful when he gave them the lead in the 56th minute. After receiving the ball from James, Raphinha worked his way towards the centre of the area before picking his spot, although the ball did take a touch off Tim Krul’s legs. Meslier gave away a cheap corner at the other end, from which Omobamidele headed in his first senior club goal. (58 mins) Rodrigo restored the lead only two minutes later with a 20-yard shot after Phillips’ pass.
Aston Villa 1 West Ham United 4
After this fourth consecutive defeat, and a drop to 15th place, Villa manager Dean Smith is coming under the spotlight. Smith even dropped his captain Tyrone Mings, but he was needed when Konsa was sent off in the 52nd minute. As for West Ham, they held their fourth place and sit three points above Manchester United. “The Hammers” didn’t even need a goal from Antonio today.
Right back Ben Johnson opened the scoring in only the seventh minute at The Holte End. Johnson received a crossfield pass from Declan Rice before moving into the corner of the area and taking a left foot shot which beat Martinez just inside his right post. Johnson had shown similar intentions against Spurs last week. Bowen had two shots blocked by Matty Cash after 15 minutes. Around the same time, veteran left back Ashley Young replaced injured midfielder Jacob Ramsey. Watkins scored a 34th minute equaliser after Buendia cut the ball back from the bye-line on the right. Villa fans had some hope. However, only four minutes later Declan Rice beat Martinez inside the same right-hand post with another low shot. This was struck from a good 25 yards after Benrahma had run the ball across the field from the left before teeing up his captain.
There were two incidents after 48 minutes in the same sequence of play. Bowen broke forward for West Ham, passing to Fornals who was challenged by Kortney Hause with an elbow in his face. Play continued and Bowen was brought down on the edge of the area by Konsa, who was initially shown a yellow card, which was upgraded to red after VAR review for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. Hause suffered no sanction for his challenge. Dean Smith was aggrieved and mystified. Nothing came from the free kick.
Watkins hit the bar with a header after 57 minutes. Ten minutes later after substitute Lanzini had been fouled, Rice took a free kick outside the area and Martinez saved the low shot well with a dive to his left. There was a melee after Fornals and Nakamba collided in a 50/50 midfield challenge. Yellow cards were shown by referee Chris Kavanagh to Fornals, Bowen and McGinn. The game was taken out of Villa’s reach ten minutes before time. Bowen raced forward and hit a shot which Martinez could only push away towards his right post where Fornals was able to fire home. Bowen scored himself four minutes later after Antonio fed the ball to Lanzini inside the area on the right. Lanzini crossed to his left where Bowen finished the job, and finished Villa.
Monday 1st November, 2021
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Everton 1
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was in Sky's MNF studio, so he was definitely not involved at Molineux! Bruno Lage left Adama Traore on the bench. His two team changes meant that Neves and Trincao started this game. Rafa Benitez gave 26-year-old Jean-Phillippe Gbamin a first Premier League start in midfield for over two years. Digne was rested and Godfrey played at left back with Holgate in the middle next to Keane. Richarlison led the line for Everton.
Wolves dominated the early possession without any penetration but after a corner from the left, Neves hit a right foot shot from the edge of the box, which was saved by Pickford, then cleared. Pickford was required to make another good save four minutes later, pushing over Trincao's left foot shot. Wolves thought they had the lead in the fifteenth minute. They burst forward from midfield and Jimenez delivered a short pass to Hwang, who hit the net inside Pickford's left post. VAR decreed he had been offside. It was one-way traffic and Ait-Nouri crossed from the left before Trincao's shot was blocked.
Holgate was lucky not to be booked by referee Martin Atkinson when he hauled back Trincao 22 yards out. Neves' free kick was off target. Everton actually got into the Wolves area after 26 minutes when Richarlison released Iwobi, but a goal kick resulted after which Wolves went forward again and Jimenez won a corner on the left. This was delivered by Ait-Nouri and headed into the net by Kilman. (28 mins)
Everton's nightmare continued when Godfrey hit a weak ball backwards from 40 yards out. Jimenez collected and scored with a delicate shot dinked over Pickford’s advance. (32 minutes) Demarai Gray had a chance when Saiss mis-kicked the ball, but the Everton player fired wide across the goal. After a Townsend free kick from the right Holgate hit the ball over, but there might have been an offside anyway.
Another rarely seen Everton player, Fabian Delph came on at half-time for Gbamin. Everton looked stronger and nearly scored when Coady headed a Townsend cross past his far post. "The Toffees" were even closer after a poor clearance was hit at Richarlison but captain Coady came to the rescue of his keeper.
Jimenez had a chance, heading against the outside of the post after 59 minutes. Hwang had been sent forward and his cross was returned from the right by Semedo. Everton had a goal back in the 66th minute. Godfrey hit a shot from over 25 yards which was half-blocked, falling to the feet of Iwobi who beat Sa with his low shot. Trincao soon had a glorious chance to restore the two-goal lead after Hwang carried the ball into the box and delivered a pass to Trincao for whom the goal beckoned. He put his shot wide of the post to the right of Pickford.
After 72 minutes referee Martin Atkinson initially pointed to the spot when Trincao went down under Holgate's challenge, but the offence had been just outside the box, so a free kick resulted. Everton had a corner after 85 minutes when Coleman's shot was blocked. Substitute Gordon headed goalward, but Sa made a good stop, and the ball was cleared. Everton pressed hard for an equaliser, but Wolves held on for a win which takes them above Spurs.
Everton have now lost their last three games against teams whose name begins with "W". (West Ham, Watford, and Wolves). They start moving back through the alphabet on Sunday when Tottenham come to town, with a new manager.
Fixtures and results - 30.10-01.11.21
Saturday 30th October, 2021
Leicester 0-2 Arsenal
Burnley 3-1 Brentford
Liverpool 2-2 Brighton
Man City 0-2 C. Palace
Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea
Watford 0-1 S'hampton
Spurs 0-3 Man Utd
Sunday 31st October, 2021
Norwich 1-2 Leeds
A. Villa 1-4 West Ham
Monday 1st November, 2021
Wolves 2-1 Everton
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Chelsea 10 8 1 1 26-3 23 25
2. Liverpool 10 6 4 0 29-8 21 22
3. Man City 10 6 2 2 20-6 14 20
4. West Ham 10 6 2 2 20-11 9 20
5. Man Utd 10 5 2 3 19-15 4 17
6. Arsenal 10 5 2 3 12-13 -1 17
7. Wolves 10 5 1 4 11-10 1 16
8. Brighton 10 4 4 2 11-11 0 16
9. Spurs 10 5 0 5 9-16 -7 15
10. Everton 10 4 2 4 16-16 0 14
11. Leicester 10 4 2 4 15-17 -2 14
12. Brentford 10 3 3 4 12-12 0 12
13. C. Palace 10 2 6 2 13-14 -1 12
14. S'hampton 10 2 5 3 9-12 -3 11
15. A. Villa 10 3 1 6 14-19 -5 10
16. Watford 10 3 1 6 12-18 -6 10
17. Leeds 10 2 4 4 10-17 -7 10
18. Burnley 10 1 4 5 10-16 -6 7
19. Newcastle 10 0 4 6 11-23 -12 4
20. Norwich 10 0 2 8 3-25 -22 2