Tuesday 28th December, 2021
Arsenal v Wolverhampton (Match postponed - Covid)
Crystal Palace 3 Norwich City 0
Norwich continue to leak goals profusely and will surely be making an immediate return to The Championship. Palace bounced back nicely from their Boxing Day defeat to Spurs, despite missing the suspended Zaha. Gallagher was also absent. Dean Smith made six changes and was still missing Krul. Pukki was added to the list of absentees. Patrick Vieira was still subject to Covid isolation.
Palace had a penalty after only 6 minutes when Will Hughes was brought to the floor by McLean’s foul. Edouard scored for the first time since October. After a let-off at one end because Sorensen failed to connect with a cross in front of goal, Mitchell passed forward to Edouard who now had an assist to his name, passing into the box where Mateta scored his first goal of the season. (38 mins) It was 3-0, just four minutes later as Edouard got the ball out from under his feet and passed to Jeffrey Schlupp who hit a rocket from inside the box on the left, beating Gunn all ends up. Schlupp’s only other goal this season had been scored against his old club Leicester.
19-year-old Christos Tzolis failed to take advantage when Guaita fumbled a ball after a cross from the right. Norwich had a free kick on the right headed by Byram and also touched by the Palace keeper with the ball rolling off the bar.
Gunn made a save from Schlupp in the second half, as did Guaita from Placheta, but there was an offside flag against Norwich. Substitute Benteke had the ball in the net following a ball from Schlupp, but this time the offside flag was against Palace, and there was to be no addition to the first half score.
Southampton 1 Spurs 1
The last time a Premier League team had an opponent sent off in three consecutive league games was October 2015 and the team was West Ham United. In the next Premier League match West Ham had a player sent off. We hope this part of the sequence won't be repeated against Watford tomorrow! ( Many thanks to Declan Mulcahy for this stat)
Harry Kane was your man of the match for only the second time this season. Understandably many comments referred to the VAR decision which disallowed what would have been a cracking goal by Kane from a Harry Winks pass.
Watford 1 West Ham United 4
Watford have had three consecutive games postponed due to Covid and hadn’t played at home since December 4th. Their fans were delighted with an early lead, but ultimately would be disappointed as West Ham romped home and reclaimed fifth place.
Declan Rice was suspended (5 bookings) and club captain Mark Noble had a rare outing, making his first league start of the season. Fornals was missing due to a positive Covid test and was replaced by Lanzini.
Watford’s goal was scored in only the fourth minute following a throw from the right. Josh King made the final pass and Dennis (due to play in the African Cup of Nations next month) hit the net with a left foot shot. Benrahma rattled the bar 6 minutes later with a right foot shot. Soucek scored the equaliser at The Rookery End in the 27th minute, taking a good through pass by Bowen before beating the keeper with a powerful low shot inside the area. Two minutes later, West Ham had the led as Antonio teed up Benrahma for another low deflected shot which hit the net.
It looked as if Watford weakly lost the ball in the middle two minutes into the second half allowing “The Hammers” to advance and score in front of their own fans. Bowen had the final touch. However, VAR decided that Soucek had committed a foul at the start of the move, so there was no goal.
Sissoko led a Watford attack and had a shot on target which tested Fabianski. West Ham were awarded a penalty after a monitor review by referee Darren England, and Noble converted from the spot in the 58th minute, scoring his first Premier League goal (also a penalty) since January 2020. Noble also became West Ham’s joint-second all-time Premier League goalscorer alongside Paolo Di Canio with 47 goals. Wow! Antonio must be top with his 53. Kane has 170. Of our current squad, Son has 78. Sheringham, Keane and Defoe also scored over 90 Premier League goals for Spurs!
Josh King headed wide following a free kick incorrectly awarded to Watford. In added time, Vlasic had the centre of the area to himself and scored after Bowen cut the ball back from the right. Dennis had a subsequent shot, and also a header from the corner saved by Fabianski but Watford’s place above the bottom three looks very precarious.
Leeds United v Aston Villa (Match postponed - Covid)
Leicester City 1 Liverpool 0
Substitute Ademola Lookman (once an Everton player) scored a goal worthy of winning any game to consign Liverpool to a second league defeat and a six point deficit against leaders Manchester City, even before City’s game at Brentford. Mo Salah had a rare penalty failure to enable Leicester’s thrilling win, two days after a 6-3 defeat at The Etihad.
Leicester made five changes, which included Jamie Vardy and Ndidi. The “Foxes” were also seeking revenge for the league cup penalty shot-out defeat last week. Andy Robertson was suspended following his recent red card at Tottenham. Tsimikas took his place. Jurgen Klopp was able to include Van Dijk, Fabinho and Henderson following Covid isolations.
Salah’s penalty was awarded after 14 minutes when he was tackled inside the box by Ndidi. However, the Premier League’s leading scorer hit his spot-kick too close to Schmeichel whom dived correctly to the right and saved. Salah tried to follow up with a header, but that hit the bar.
Schmeichel made a good save from Salah again as he hit a shot from regular territory inside the box at an angle from the right. At the other end, Vardy had a neat exchange with Castagne inside the Liverpool area before Matip made a vital clearance, conceding a corner. Ndidi won a midfield challenge against Salah and cleared the ball forward to Vardy, advancing down the right channel. He set up Maddison for a shot, but that was always going wide of the far post and was cleared.
In the second half after a one-two with Iheanacho, Dewsbury-Hall made a run and hit a cross intended for Vardy, but Tsimikas reached the ball first and cleared. Mane received from Jota and lifted an excellent chance well over the bar. Liverpool would pay for that and the penalty miss.
Lookman replaced Choudhury after 56 minutes, and three minutes had a super goal. Lookman passed from halfway ahead to left back Luke Thomas. Lookman made a run to the edge of the area, receiving Thomas’s return pass and with skilful control and touch beat Alisson inside his right post with an excellent right foot shot.
Leicester withstood considerable pressure by the visitors, including a save by Schmeichel from Van Dijk, but they kept their first clean sheet since beating Newcastle 4-0 earlier this month, for a very welcome win.
Wednesday 29th December, 2021
Chelsea 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Chelsea have drawn three of their last four league games, and the loss of two points in this game came because Brighton substitute Danny Welbeck scored an equaliser in added time. Brighton had never even scored before at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea moved one point above Liverpool, but they are eight points behind Manchester City. For Brighton this was draw number nine.
Thomas Tuchel made four changes to his side, which included a first League start for Lukaku since October. Brighton’s three changes included the return of Bissouma from suspension and the inclusion of Solly March for Trossard.
Chelsea nearly scored from a corner after 16 minutes when goalkeeper Sanchez gifted the ball to Mount whose effort was collected by skipper Azpilicueta, whose shot hit the outside of the post. Reece James went down injured and was replaced by Alonso. Chelsea took the lead in the 28th minute when Lukaku headed in a Mount corner.
Mendy had to make a save from Lallana, pushing the ball away for a Brighton corner. Chalobah replaced the injured Christensen at half-time. Early in the second half, with the Chelsea defence not convincing, Lallana chipped a ball to Moder who clipped the ball just over Mendy’s bar. Mendy soon had to save Bissouma’s powerful drive from 25 yards. Maupay hit a shot just wide after 56 minutes.
Brighton were giving Chelsea a hard time and forging more chances than the home side. Both Maupay and Lallana went close.
Danny Welbeck had replaced MacAllister after 80 minutes, and in the first minute of added time he rose to head home Cucurella’ s cross. Brighton were well worth their point.
Brentford 0 Manchester City 1
City march on with this tenth consecutive league win and they have a considerable advantage over their nearest rivals.
Brentford were missing the suspended Norgaard and the injured Mbeumo. Wissa partnered Toney in attack. Guardiola had riches at his disposal as usual and his bench included Zinchenko, Sterling, Gundogan and Mahrez, although there were two goalkeepers among the subs.
Brentford started well and Ederson’s best save was to push away Ruben Dias’s deflection of a Brentford cross. After the corner, Wissa hit a shot downward which bounced over Ederson but was just about cleared off the line by Cancelo. City’s 16th minute goal followed when Phil Foden flicked in a ball by De Bruyne. Spurs fans were mystified as to how Foden’s goal was allowed by VAR, whereas Kane’s at Southampton was not.
Foden had a header go just wide of the far post early in thee second half from a similar pass by De Bruyne. Fernandez cleanly held a De Bruyne shot. Foden headed into the net from a Jesus cross but had been offside this time. De Bruyne hit the post with a low shot after 65 minutes. Laporte also had the ball in the net with a header from a free kick, but this too was disallowed for offside.
Brentford had battled hard, particularly in the first half and perhaps City played within themselves for lot of the game. After all, they are playing Arsenal away on New Year’s Day.
Thursday 30th December, 2021
Everton v Newcastle United (Match postponed – Covid & injuries)
Manchester United 3 Burnley 1
Burnley have lost more games to Covid (and snow) than any other Premier League team and they fell victim to a United side which featured both Ronaldo and Cavani in their starting line-up. The win took United above Spurs. The game was played on the 80th birthday of Sir Alex Ferguson who was present.
Bruno Fernandes was suspended for United. Burnley were without Nick Pope, due to Covid. Hennessy took his place. Aaron Lennon made a second league start of the season.
Chris Wood headed over from a Lowton cross before Ronaldo picked up a long ball and also fired over a goal which was at his mercy. Ronaldo did provide the pass which led to McTominay’s opening goal in the 8th minute. The United midfielder’s first league goal of the season was a right-footer from the edge of the area. United’s second goal was initially called as a Sancho goal, but his shot was deflected into the far corner of goal by the unfortunate Burnley skipper, Ben Mee.
Ronaldo scored the third goal in the 35th minute.Sancho had passed inside to McTominay whose rocket shot was well saved by Hennessy but rebounded off the post to the feet of the United number seven. Aaron Lennon scored what proved to be a consolation goal for the visitors after he picked up a loose ball from Bailly, advancing and beating De Gea with a well-placed shot inside the keeper’s right post. There would be no more scoring, although Hennessy made a good second half save from Greenwood.
Hennessy also made a flying save to tip over a long-range effort by McTominay, and also a close-range save from an offside Cavani.
Fixtures and results - 28-30.12.21
Tuesday 28th December, 2021
Arsenal P Wolves
C. Palace 3-0 Norwich
S'hampton 1-1 Spurs
Watford 1-4 West Ham
Leeds P A. Villa
Leicester 1-0 Liverpool
Wednesday 29th December, 2021
Chelsea 1-1 Brighton
Brentford 0-1 Man City
Thursday 30th December, 2021
Everton P Newcastle
Man Utd 3-1 Burnley
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 20 16 2 2 51-12 39 50
2. Chelsea 20 12 6 2 43-14 29 42
3. Liverpool 19 12 5 2 50-16 34 41
4. Arsenal 19 11 2 6 32-23 9 35
5. West Ham 19 9 4 6 34-25 9 31
6. Man Utd 18 9 4 5 30-26 4 31
7. Spurs 17 9 3 5 22-20 2 30
8. Wolves 18 7 4 7 13-14 -1 25
9. Leicester 18 7 4 7 31-33 -2 25
10. Brighton 18 5 9 4 17-18 -1 24
11. C. Palace 19 5 8 6 27-27 0 23
12. A. Villa 18 7 1 10 24-28 -4 22
13. S'hampton 19 4 9 6 20-29 -9 21
14. Brentford 18 5 5 8 21-25 -4 20
15. Everton 17 5 4 8 21-29 -8 19
16. Leeds 18 3 7 8 18-36 -18 16
17. Watford 17 4 1 12 22-35 -13 13
18. Burnley 16 1 8 7 15-24 -9 11
19. Newcastle 19 1 8 10 19-42 -23 11
20. Norwich 19 2 4 13 8-42 -34 10