Premier League Review – Matchday 13
Saturday 27th November, 2021
Arsenal 2 Newcastle United 0
Eddie Howe tested negative for Covid this week, so he was able to personally oversee his team. They still lost, and they are still bottom of the league without a win. Howe was in charge of two of his former players at Bournemouth with Callum Wilson up front. Ryan Fraser was preferred on the right of midfield to Jacob Murphy. Joe Willock was playing against his former club.
It was a quiet first 15 minutes and a quiet Emirates before Saka went close at the keeper’s left post after Lokonga’s deep pass. Odegaard had been fouled by Willock and took the free kick himself, bringing a diving save by Dubravka inside his right post. Shelvey had a long-range shot at the other end, tipped onto his bar by Ramsdale who made a good save. Ramsdale had also formerly played for Howe at Bournemouth. Four minutes before the interval, Saka lifted a short cross from the left and Odegaard’s header was saved but parried to the feet of Aubameyang who made a shocking miss at the back post.
Arsenal’s first goal came in the 56th minute and was scored by Bukayo Saka, who had been impressive throughout the game. He scored with a low shot from the left across the keeper and inside his left post, having taken a short pass from Tavares. Wilson got nothing when going to ground in the Arsenal area after Tavares’ challenge. Substitute Martinelli scored with his first touch taking a cross from Tomiyasu before finishing with a neat volley.
Crystal Palace 1 Aston Villa 2
Steven Gerrard has had a great start to his Premier League managerial career, winning his first two games.
Wilfried Zaha hit a left foot shot only just wide of the post after eleven minutes. Villa had a corner four minutes later, taken by Ashley Young and converted with a low shot by Targett when the ball reached him at the back post. McGinn went close with a left foot curler at the end of a move where Palace fans felt that Gallagher had been fouled. Rookie referee Michael Salisbury thought otherwise.
Ashley Young hit the top of the bar with a second half free kick. Douglas Luiz was initially shown a straight red by the referee for a foul on Kouyate, but this was downgraded by VAR. McGinn gave Villa a two-goal lead in the 86th minute with a left foot shot from the edge of the box after takinng El Ghazi’s pass from his left. Palace got a goal back deep into added time when Guehi converted Kouyate’s cross, but it was too late for “The Eagles” to prevent a first home defeat of the season.
Liverpool 4 Southampton 0
Liverpool have won two consecutive league games 4-0 (both at Anfield). They are the league’s top scorers and have the best goal difference. In between these games, Liverpool beat Porto 2-0 and have waltzed into the Champions League Round of 16 with maximum points.
Ralf Hasenhuttl tried a back three which included the Brazilian Lyanco, signed in the summer from Torino. Lyanco was making his first Premier League start. Liverpool scored in only the second minute, following a move where Jota had made an exciting run to the final third after Alexander-Arnold’s speculative ball. Jota ended the attack by converting Robertson’s short cross from the left inside the penalty area.
Liverpool had a free kick after 11 minutes when Mane had been fouled by Livramento, who was booked. Robertson crossed and Mane headed powerfully into the net, but he had been offside. Liverpool had had one scary moment earlier in the game when Alisson rescued Thiago’s poor attempt to pass out from the back. Alisson had to save at the feet of Broja who had made a good advance down the left flank before entering the Liverpool box in front of The Kop.
Jota made it 2-0 with another close range finish in the 32nd minute. This time he finished off a good low cross by Salah, after Henderson had been involved too. Jota was closed down effectively when he had a hat-trick chance after 37 minutes. Thiago did make it 3-0 with a shot from inside the area which was heavily deflected past McCarthy in the Southampton goal. Alisson saved another deflected shot. This one was by Armstrong.
Early in the second half, Mane hit a spectacular curving right footed shot from outside the area and McCarthy did well to push the ball over his bar. The corner was taken by Alexander-Arnold and fell to the feet of Van Dijk, who scored with a low driven shot against his former team. (52 mins) Armstrong failed with two chances in front of the travelling fans after Tella’s cross from the right. Jota missed another hat-trick chance after 74 minutes, but the game had been over for Southampton a long time before that.
Norwich City 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Dean Smith has not had quite the impact at Norwich as has his successor at Villa, but “The Canaries” must surely be happy with four points from their last two games. This did not look as a good a goalless draw as the evening game between Brighton and Leeds. Wolves came closest to scoring in the first half when between them Krul and Handley made a mess of clearing the ball, before Krul did save Moutinho’s attempt from 25 yards. (41 mins) There was still time in the first half for Aarons to advance into the box at the other end and force a save by Sa.
Pukki took a pass from substitute Rupp after 70 minutes, but Sa saved. Rupp had a chance himself later in the game, hitting a snap shot after Rashica’s cross. Sa saved again. Both goals remained intact.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Leeds United 0
Brighton had such a great start to the season, winning four of their first five games, but they are without a win now in their last eight league games. Manager Graham Potter was mystified by the booing of home fans at the end of the game, despite the team holding ninth place in the league. “The Seagulls” did miss some good chances in this game though, notably Neal Maupay. Leeds might have stolen the points late in the game, but they too are struggling to find a win at the moment.
Moder had Brighton’s first chance, meeting Lamptey’s cross, but hooking it over the target. Maupay made a big miss in front of goal after more good work by Lamptey who advanced to the bye-line. His ball into the box was touched on to Maupay who prodded his shot over the bar. Leeds were on the back foot and Trossard hit the outside of a post with a right foot shot. Meslier just got a fingertip to the ball as well. Another first half Trossard shot was more comfortable for the keeper. Moder hit the outside of the right bar and post with a rising shot from an angle on the left after 34 minutes.
Lamptey made another exciting run and crossed into the middle where Maupay’s attempted flick passed wide of the far post.
Sanchez made a save from a Dallas shot after 55 minutes but chose to push the ball away rather than hold it. The Brighton keeper saved with his legs from Roberts who had advanced down the right channel before hitting a low shot.
March replaced Lamptey and forced another fingertip save from Meslier as he cut in from the right and hit a powerful left foot shot which did take a deflection. Sanchez had to save with his leg from Roberts after Brighton (Webster in particular) had made a mess of trying to play out from the back. (How many times have I written that last phrase this season?) Sanchez had to dive to his right post to save from Roberts again after the corner. The shot had been deflected heavily, so it was a very good save. Meslier had to make a similar save low at his left post from another march shot. This one was not deflected, but the keeper did collect the ball when it rebounded off his post.
It looked like a good 0-0 draw to me.
Sunday 28th November, 2021
Brentford 1 Everton 0
An Ivan Toney penalty was enough to give Brentford their first league win in six games. Everton’s Rafa Benitez is having a tough time and will probably get more cheers from the red half of Liverpool in Wednesday’s derby game. Everton did have Doucoure back in midfield, but they continue to miss Calvert-Lewin and this week had to manage without the suspended Richarlison, of whom Benitez had been critical on the lead-up to this game. “The Toffees” have now failed to score in their last three games and have not won any of their last seven games. They’ve slipped to 14th place.
The penalty followed a couple of corners. After the second, Townsend tried to clear, but with a high boot against Onyeka and referee Darren England allowed play to continue. Onyeka was down injured, and play was halted. VAR called the referee to the monitor and a penalty was awarded. Gareth Southgate was in the stadium to watch his keeper, but Pickford hardly moved (but was shifting the wrong way) when Toney scored low to his right.
Fernandez saved a Rondon shot with his leg, but that was as close as Everton came to scoring in the first half. Rondon had an on-target shot blocked by the Brentford defence after 55 minutes, following good work by Seamus Coleman who advanced into the area before crossing. Iwobi had a shot saved after another Coleman cross.
Burnley v Spurs (Match postponed)
Obviously, it was frustrating to make the journey to Burnley, only for the game to be called off 50 minutes before kick-off. However, we held on to seventh place as the results of teams just above and below us generally went in our favour. It is interesting to note that Davinson Sanchez was included in Antonio Conte’s planned team, and I suspect we will see the same line-up on Thursday against Brentford.
Leicester City 4 Watford 2
Claudio Ranieri will always be a hero to Leicester fans because of their 2016 Premier League title success, and he arrived at the King Power Stadium with a side that had won two of their previous four games, and that had scored a few goals in the process. Watford scored two today, but that was not enough to stop Leicester, who have found some form this week, after a midweek Europa League win. Jamie Vardy scored two of the goals, which were his first for 6 games.
Ben Foster was missing from Watford’s side and Bachmann had to save from Vardy after only three minutes following a long ball by Jonny Evans and a pass by Soumare into the right side of the Watford area. Evans got the assist for Leicester’s first goal in the 16th minute when Troost-Ekong let a high ball pass him where Maddison took advantage to score. A long time ago, Troost-Ekong was a Spurs junior. He is still playing International football for Nigeria.
Watford had a free kick five minutes later which they thought had been handled in the wall. As play continued, Dennis hit a shot from the right forcing a save by Schmeichel. Schmeichel was totally beaten when Hernandez later hit the keeper’s right post with a shot. The rebound passed harmlessly across goal. The shot had been heavily deflected leaving the keeper flat-footed.
Dennis was clipped in the area by Ndidi, and the penalty was an easy decision for referee Andy Madley. Josh King scored the spot-kick inside Schmeichel’s left post with the keeper going the right way and making a good effort to save. Snow had been falling for a while but did not stop the game. Vardy made it 2-1 four minutes later, taking Maddison’s lofted ball deep into the area on the left before lifting his shot skilfully over the Watford keeper and into the net.
Three minutes before half-time, the same Maddison-Vardy combination made it 3-1. Maddison took a corner which was met by Vardy with a well-placed header across the goalkeeper and into the net.
The pitch looked whiter in the second half. They were still using a white ball. Hernandez had a chance to shoot, but chose instead to pass to King, who was not expecting the ball and hit it wide. In increasingly difficult conditions, Dennis took advantage of Castagne’s mistake and carried the ball forward before slotting past Schmeichel.(61 mins) There was a pause for the lines to be cleared on the pitch.
Vardy took a Luke Thomas ball into the area and passed across the goal to give Lookman an easy finish. (68 mins) Bachmann made a late save, diving to his left, to prevent a Vardy hat-trick.
Manchester City 2 West Ham United 1
Manchester City did manage to stage a game, despite snowy conditions, unlike Burnley. City’s second goal came late in the game but was needed as Lanzini scored even later in added time. Kyle Walker hit a corker of a shot from fully 25 yards after 7 minutes. This passed just wide of Fabianski’s right post. It put me in mind of a super goal Kyle had scored for Spurs against Arsenal a few years ago. Laporte headed a corner across goal, hitting the back post. Mahrez had the ball in the net after 16 minutes after a West Ham attempted clearance had bounced off a City player, but Mahrez was adjudged offside.
Gundogan gave City the lead in the 3rd minute after Mahrez put a ball across the area from the right for Gundogan to tap in. The snow was now getting heavier. Mike Summerbee was in the stadium. And there was reference in commentary to the 1960s’ "ballet on ice" in which Summerbee played and City won. Summerbee regularly makes reference to the game in City v Spurs programmes. Man City 4 Spurs 1 – December 1967).
Ben Johnson cleared a Gabriel Jesus shot just in front of the goal-line. The white ball was still in use and difficult to see as Cancelo’s shot was saved but parried by Fabianski to the feet of Mahrez, whose shot hit the post. Half-time was extended to allow some snow clearance.
Sterling crossed to Jesus after 56 minutes. His shot was partially saved by the keeper, but Cresswell had to make a clearance, sliding into the post in doing so, to his considerable discomfort. Cresswell was subsequently replaced by Coufal but is likely to fit for "The Hammers"' next game.
Ederson comfortably saved a shot by Rice hit from outside the area. Fernandinho had replaced Sterling after 87 minutes and was on hand at the edge of the West Ham area to collect a pass from Jesus and score low past Fabianski. Fernandinho was a bit slack in his own area and allowed Lanzini to score with a cracking shot in front of the away fans. He hit a right foot shot which went in off Ederson’s right post.
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 1
Caretaker Michael Carrick has had a decent week, after a Champions League win away to Villarreal ensuring qualification for the Round of 16 and now gaining an honourable draw at Stamford Bridge. United were preparing for the arrival of an interim manager Ralf Rangnick, announced on Monday with a work permit to be confirmed. Rangnick has even been accused in some quarters of affecting tactics from the outside, after Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench until the 64th minute. Ronaldo did not score and left the pitch without acknowledging the travelling fans or opponents.
Lukaku was on the bench for Chelsea whilst Werner started. Chelsea were without the injured Kovacic, Kante and Chilwell, whose period of absence through knee injury has yet to be determined. Alonso took over at left wing-back. Maguire was suspended for United, who were missing Varane, Shaw, Pogba and Cavani through injury. Bailly stepped in next to Lindelof and Telles played at left back. Matic featured in a three-man midfield between McTominay and Fred.
Hudson-Odoi had a great chance after 4 minutes, following Alonso’s pass, but De Gea prevented the shot hitting the net, passing the back post instead. Rudiger hit the bar with a right foot shot after half an hour. De Gea might also have got a touch. James was then flagged offside, so there was no follow-up attempt. De Gea saved again from Hudson-Odoi who got the chance thanks to a terrible in-field pass by Fernandes.
Against the run of play, United took the lead in the 50th minute. United had been defending a Chelsea free kick before Fernandes hit a long high ball which Jorginho failed to control. Jadon Sancho was away and able to score his first Premier League goal. Sancho had also scored in midweek against Villarreal. Werner hit a shot wide across the goal following a Chelsea corner when it would have been much easier to have at least hit the target.
Chelsea had a couple of corners, the first of which was doubtful. Following the second, Wan-Bissaka caught Thiago when following through on a challenge and VAR supported Anthony Taylor’s award of a penalty. Jorginho made no mistake, with De Gea going the wrong way anyway. (69 mins) Werner had a shot deflected wide. Three minutes from time, Mendy gifted the ball to Fred, who in return dollied his shot back to the fortunate keeper.
There was a lot of added time, at the end of which Ziyech cleverly pushed the ball to substitute Pulisic, whose cross from the bye-line reached the unmarked Rudiger. Rudiger hit his shot over the goal.
Fixtures and results - 27-28.11.21
Saturday 27th November, 2021
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle
C. Palace 1-2 A. Villa
Liverpool 4-0 S'hampton
Norwich 0-0 Wolves
Brighton 0-0 Leeds
Sunday 28th November, 2021
Brentford 1-0 Everton
Burnley P Spurs
Leicester 4-2 Watford
Man City 2-1 West Ham
Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Chelsea 13 9 3 1 31-5 26 30
2. Man City 13 9 2 2 27-7 20 29
3. Liverpool 13 8 4 1 39-11 28 28
4. West Ham 13 7 2 4 24-16 8 23
5. Arsenal 13 7 2 4 15-17 -2 23
6. Wolves 13 6 2 5 12-12 0 20
7. Spurs 12 6 1 5 11-17 -6 19
8. Man Utd 13 5 3 5 21-22 -1 18
9. Brighton 13 4 6 3 12-14 -2 18
10. Leicester 13 5 3 5 20-23 -3 18
11. C. Palace 13 3 7 3 19-19 0 16
12. Brentford 13 4 4 5 17-17 0 16
13. A. Villa 13 5 1 7 18-21 -3 16
14. Everton 13 4 3 6 16-20 -4 15
15. S'hampton 13 3 5 5 11-18 -7 14
16. Watford 13 4 1 8 18-24 -6 13
17. Leeds 13 2 6 5 12-20 -8 12
18. Burnley 12 1 6 5 14-20 -6 9
19. Norwich 13 2 3 8 7-27 -20 9
20. Newcastle 13 0 6 7 15-29 -14 6