Premier League Review – Matchday 22
Tuesday 11th January, 2022
Southampton 4 Brentford 1
This match had been originally scheduled for December 18th. A rejuvenated Southampton side won only their fifth league game of the season in front of their new owner Dragan Solak, following a £100 million takeover. "The Saints" scored four at home for the first time since November 2017. Brentford were well beaten despite being able to field the Mbeumo – Toney partnership. Both teams played a 3-5-2 formation with Southampton using Tella as their right wing-back. Redmond partnered Broja in attack.
Southampton took the lead after only five minutes, following a James Ward-Prowse corner met by a glancing header into the net by Bednarek. Brentford equalised in the 23rd minute when Mbeumo lifted a short cross and Janelt smacked home a left foot volley. Forster soon had to bat away another shot by Janelt. Southampton regained the lead after 37 minutes and it went down as a Fernandez own goal. The goal followed another Ward-Prowse corner and a shot into the ground by Diallo from the edge of the box. The ball reached and rebounded off the post but back into goal off the unfortunate Brentford keeper. Fernandez redeemed himself with an excellent save from Perraud’ s header.
Broja made it 3-1 only four minutes later when he collected a good pass from Romeu running into the area before lifting a shot over Fernandez, who got a touch but could not stop the ball hitting the net. Che Adams replaced Redmond after 65 minutes and scored his team’s fourth goal within five minutes. The goal followed a long throw from the left by Salisu, which Brentford tried to clear, but Diallo took control hitting a ball towards the centre outside the box where Adams collected and advanced before chipping his deft shot over the keeper. Forster spread-eagled his body to save a shot by Mbeumo, but there was no way back for "The Bees."
Everton P Leicester City
This re-arranged match (originally scheduled for 19th December) was again postponed due to Leicester’s inability to muster a side due to Covid and injuries. The "Foxes" had played and won an FA Cup tie against Watford at the weekend.
Wednesday 12th January, 2022
West Ham United 2 Norwich City 0
Norwich suffered a sixth consecutive defeat and remained bottom of the table after Jarrod Bowen scored a goal in each half to enable West Ham to climb back into fourth place. Soucek was missing but West Ham welcomed Cresswell back after a six-week absence.
Krul made a good save from an early left footed shot by Bowen, hit powerfully from inside the Norwich area. Norwich spent some time under pressure midway through the first half, conceding several corners. After one of these, Lanzini curled a shot straight at Krul. Bowen had the ball in the net after one corner, curling in a shot from the right side. However, this was disallowed by VAR, because Vlasic was offside and decreed to have been interfering with play.
Bowen did score legitimately in the 42nd minute. Cresswell's deep cross was returned by Coufal, and Bowen headed into the net.
West Ham were denied a penalty early in the second half despite Aarons having a handful of Vlasic's shorts as the West Ham player went down in the Norwich area. Antonio turned and hit a shot over from only 8 yards. Norwich were now getting forward more, but not testing Fabianski.
Bowen hit the bar having been out through by Fornals. Bowen had the goalkeeper beaten with a lifted shot but saw that hit the bar. Bowen hit the woodwork again with a low shot (again from a Fornals pass) which was slightly deflected and hit the outside of the post.
Norwich’s best moment was provided by Idah who made a run to the West Ham box, hitting a shot which was tipped onto the post by Fabianski. West Ham needed that second goal which eventually came seven minutes from time, scored by Bowen from close range after a cross by Masuaku. The flag went up, but VAR allowed the goal to stand.
Norwich haven’t managed a goal in any of those 6 defeats. Their last league goal was scored on 30th November in a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.
Friday 14th January, 2022
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Crystal Palace 1
Palace have started 2022 with high profile games. First, they lost 3-2 at home to West Ham. Next, they beat Millwall at The New Den in a hot-tempered FA Cup game (on and off the pitch). Now they had the return match in the "M23 derby". The game at Selhurst Park in September had been a draw.
Brighton had played three consecutive away games. They gained a creditable draw at Stamford Bridge before beating Everton away and then West Brom in the FA Cup.
Palace's front three was Olise, Edouard and Eze. Zaha, Ayew and Kouyate are away in Africa. Brighton went with a front two of Maupay and Trossard. Brighton's Bissouma was one of those also in Africa.
Brighton were nearly gifted the lead after only ten minutes when Joel Ward headed a long ball to the feet of Cucurella who sent Trossard away. He had only the goalkeeper to beat, but Butland made a great save with his leg. It was the Palace defence that was being most tested. Butland had to save again from Webster after a corner, but the Brighton man had fouled his marker.
Referee Rob Jones was called to the monitor after 35 minutes after VAR spotted Will Hughes had his hand around Veltman's neck following a corner. Penalty was the decision, but Pascal Gross hit a poor shot straight down the middle and Butland saved. Maupay had the ball in the net after the corner, but Butland just about had two hands on the ball when Maupay challenged and took the ball. Once again Mr. Jones went to the monitor and the decision was that a foul had been committed upon the keeper.
The second half had a bright start. Moder beat Butland with a lifted shot after Trossard's pass inside, hitting the bar, before Palace finally tested the Brighton keeper who saved at close range back pass by Webster, under pressure from Edouard. Moder had another chance after a good chip over the defence by Trossard, but Butland got a hand on his shot, conceding a corner.
Palace took the lead in the 69th minute after a great move inspired by Joel Ward, who was involved three times on the right, in the middle and then finally with a ball inside the area where Schlupp laid the ball back from the bye-line for Gallagher who took a touch before firing home inside Sanchez's left post. Palace had barely been in the game.
Brighton fought hard and got a deserved equaliser after 87 minutes. A cross from the right reached Cucurella at the back of the area. He passed to Maupay, who beat Ward with skill before hitting a low cross into the 6-yard-zone which Andersen turned into his own net.
There were four minutes of added time, during which Welbeck headed March's cross just over the bar, but the score remained 1-1. This was draw number 10 for Brighton, and number 9 for Palace.
Saturday 15th January, 2022
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 0
City fielded a strong side and named five top subs (Steffen, Ruben Dias, Fernandinho, Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus), but four young players were also on the bench.
The Chelsea side had five changes from that which beat Spurs in the midweek Carabao Cup semi-final. Alonso, Thiago Silva, Kante, Ziyech and Pulisic all started. Chelsea's bench was stronger than that of City.
Here was a meeting of the last two teams to beat Spurs in the Carabao Cup, and two teams who stand before most others and the possibility of a trophy.
Alonso was shown an early yellow card for his foul on Raheem Sterling, but nothing came of that free kick. Most of the early traffic was in the direction of the Chelsea goal. Lukaku got away from Stones and tried to tee up Ziyech, but the former Ajax man was offside.
Chelsea’s fans taunted City with their current signature chants, "We know what we are, Champions of Europe, we know what we are". This was coupled with "Champions of Europe, you'll never sing that!"
John Stones hit a powerful header towards goal after a 14th minute corner, but this was aimed straight at Arrizabalaga. De Bruyne picked up an inside pass from Grealish and tested the Chelsea keeper with an angled shot from the left.
Kovacic was booked for taking out Bernardo Silva after 31 minutes. Chelsea defended De Bruyne’s free kick and corner well. Grealish had a big chance after a Kovacic error in the 39th minute but Arrizabalaga saved, and Chelsea cleared the corner. De Bruyne had another angled shot go over the target from another Grealish pass.
There was a bright start to the second half. Sterling went down in the box trying to reach De Bruyne’s cross, but there was no penalty. At the other end Lukaku received a good ball from Kovacic and hit a good left foot shot which was well saved by Ederson.
Grealish was the victim of two fouls. The first was in midfield by Rudiger. After the free kick, Grealish was clipped just outside the area by Azpilicueta. De Bruyne hit a right footed free kick which was pushed over by Arrizabalaga.
Sterling hit a shot from inside the area on the right after 67 minutes, but this passed wide of the back post. De Bruyne finally broke the deadlock in the 70th minute. He received the ball in midfield towards the left, before running into a central position scoring with a delightful 20-yard shot inside Arrizabalaga's left post.
Chelsea substitute Werner had a shot well blocked by Laporte at the other end. City might have increased their lead after a Sterling run and a pass to Foden, but Foden's shot was way too high.
Chelsea had hardly threatened City, truth be told, and this defeat left them 13 points behind Pep Guardiola's men.
Burnley v Leicester City (Match postponed due to Covid issues in the Burnley camp)
Newcastle United 1 Watford 1
Despite the presence of new signings Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, Newcastle succumbed to a late Watford equaliser and are still looking for a second league win. "The Toon" are only above bottom club Burnley because the Lancashire side had yet another game postponed.
Joelinton hit the woodwork with a shot off his outstretched foot after 10 minutes, following a cross by Ryan Fraser. Wood’s first effort came off his back and went over the goal after another cross by Fraser. He had a proper header following a corner, but this also passed over the target.
Saint-Maximin was Newcastle’s scoring hero in the 49th minute with a fine solo effort, coming inside from the left of the area before beating Foster with a fine right-footed shot. Joao Pedro had a looping shot saved under his crossbar by Dubravka after an hour’s play. Sissoko had a chance after 67 minutes but that went over the bar, no doubt to derision from his one-time fans.
Watford’s equaliser was scored at the Gallowgate End with only three minutes of normal time remaining. Femenia crossed from the left and Joao Pedro found the net with a looping header to the right of Dubravka. Ranieri was overjoyed. Watford are just one point above the bottom three.
Norwich City 2 Everton 1
The pressure became heavy upon Rafa Benitez as Norwich climbed off the bottom with this win. Everton fans chanted against their manager and their board. “The Toffees” have lost 9 of their last 12 games. Benitez did have Richarlison back after a month’s absence, but he started on the bench.
Aarons and Sargent had been operating together on the right flank for Norwich and Michael Keane turned a fairly innocuous Sargent cross into his own net in the 16th minute. Norwich were two up within 90 seconds and this time approached from the left flank with Williams finding Idah in the middle with a good pass. Idah took one touch and fired low past Pickford’s right hand. It was only the second time all season that “The Canaries” had gone 2-0 up in a Premier League game. The other was in November at Brentford. They won that game 2-1 too.
Everton fans had travelled the width of the country to see their team and the anti-Benitez banner was quickly unfurled and displayed.
The closest Everton came to scoring in the first half was when Krul was troubled by a corner after 36 minutes. They deserved to go three down after 51 minutes when Lucas Digne’s replacement – Mykolenko – nearly gifted Idah with a goal with a disastrous back-pass. Pickford saved at Idah’s feet and Godfrey managed to clear the ball. Mykolenko (whose fee was £17 million) was making his Premier League debut.
Yerry Mina came on for Coleman and Richarlison replaced Rondon in the 54th minute. Richarlison got his team back in the game with a spectacular overhead kick from 12 yards out after Krul batted out Mykolenko’s cross following an over-hit corner. Demarai Gray hit a deep cross which was returned to the middle by Godfrey before Gordon hit a shot which was well blocked by Giannoulis. (83 mins).
Rashica was sent clear in added time and hit the outside of the post with a shot which had beaten Pickford.
On Sunday (16th January) Everton announced the dismissal of Rafa Benitez.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 Southampton 1
23-year-old Tote Gomes made his Premier League debut at the back. Gomes had originally been signed from Estoril but spent the last season and a half on loan in Switzerland with Grasshoppers. Adama Traore, said to be a Spurs target, scored his first goal since last May in the 90th minute, to seal a good win for his club.
Southampton showed more threat early on and Sa had to dive at his right-hand post to deny Perraud who hit a shot from the edge of the area. Wolves attacked in numbers after Southampton lost the ball in the middle of their half and referee Michael Salisbury (rarely seen at this level) gave a penalty after being called to the monitor to review Bednarek’s challenge on Ait-Nouri. Neves was not in the team, so Jimenez took on the spot kick which he scored in the 37th minute, sending Forster the wrong way.
After a Southampton free kick, Romeu returned the ball with a short cross from the right and Salisu’s powerful header was very well saved by Sa. Broja hit Perraud’ s deflected cross over the bar after 41 minutes.
Wolves had a two-goal lead in the 59th minute and it was a rare goal by Coady who scored after a free kick from the left by Ait-Nouri was headed goalward by Kilman and rebounded off the post. Coady pounced to head home for his second goal of the season.
James Ward-Prowse scored a trademark 25 yard free kick in the 84th minute to make Wolves sweat, and Perraud hit the post with an 89th minute header after a cross by Bednarek. Traore had come off the bench after 78 minutes and he blazed one effort over the bar after Forster could only parry Fabio Silva’s shot. Traore did score in the first minute of added time after taking on Ait-Nouri’s pass before making a composed finish.
Aston Villa 2 Manchester United 2
This was a re-run of Monday night’s FA Cup game between the two sides, although that game had been played at Old Trafford. Steve Gerrard made two changes to the team which lost that game. Lucas Digne made his debut following his signing from Everton. Morgan Sanson replaced the suspended McGinn. Philippe Coutinho was on the bench for Villa.
United had three changes with Telles and Matic replacing the suspended Shaw and McTominay. Teenager Anthony Elanga played in place of Rashford, who didn't make the squad of 18. Ronaldo was side-lined, but the United bench was strong, although it did include two keepers. Harry Maguire, Mata, Lingard, and Sancho were all included. Both Rashford and Ronaldo were absent because of slight injuries.
United had a free kick after Sanson fouled Fernandes who was on the advance. The kick was touched by Telles to Fernandes who surprised Martinez so much with his shot that the keeper let the ball through his legs. (6 mins) There was more danger for Villa after 18 minutes when Cavani tried to get a touch on Telles' cross before Martinez successfully closed down and saved from Greenwood.
Digne got his first booking of his Villa career for a foul on Dalot outside the area. Telles' kick was batted away by Martinez, and then Greenwood’s follow-up passed just outside the post. Watkins had a shot on target easily saved by De Gea and at the other end Martinez did not save Greenwood's shot cleanly.
De Gea made a great reaction save from Buendia's glanced header following a corner on the right. The game was very competitive and being played at a fast pace. Digne latched onto a cross which came deep from the right and hit a powerful shot which De Gea saved in excellent fashion.
Konsa was injured late in the first half and was replaced by Hause at the start of the second half. Elanga hit a good left foot shot inside the Villa area, but Martinez made a strong save. Villa had a good chance in the 49th minute when Ramsey took a one-two pass from Sanson before getting a low shot on target. De Gea saved at his right post. Digne passed inside to Buendia, whose shot was on target, but easy for De Gea.
Digne hit the side netting with a shot of his own whilst at the other end both Greenwood and Elanga had shots go wide. Greenwood’s effort took a deflection and was worth a corner. Greenwood had a run into the right side of the area after an hour and was forced into a right foot shot which passed wide across the goalmouth.
Villa were working ever so hard, and The Holte End crowd was trying to suck the ball into the net. United took advantage of an error by Sanson which allowed Fred to slip the ball to Fernandes, who found his killer touch again hitting his shot powerfully into the net. (67 minutes)
Coutinho came on for Sanson, who took out his self-disappointment (over his error) on a box of water bottles.
Villa were back in the game in the 77th minute in a move where two substitutes (Coutinho and Chukwuemeka) were involved before Jacob Ramsey fired into the net from inside the United area. It was 2-2 five minutes later and Coutinho was the scorer from close range after Ramsey laid on the short low cross from his left. The home fans went wild with joy!
Coutinho had another shot after 87 minutes following a cross by Digne and a pass by Buendia. This shot was from outside the area but ran straight to the keeper.
The draw kept United a point below Spurs.
Sunday 16th January, 2022
Liverpool 3 Brentford 0
Despite the absence in Africa of Salah, Mane and Keita, Liverpool roll on, although it took them until the 44th minute to break down a Brentford side who have now lost four of their last five league games. Jurgen Klopp’s front three was Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino and Jota.
Alexander-Arnold had a shot go wide after 14 minutes, and midway through the first half after an Alexander-Arnold corner, Brentford keeper Fernandez initially failed to hold the ball, then recovered to save Van Dijk’s shot with his leg. Robertson blocked a shot by Janelt after he had received Toney’s pass, but Toney had been offside anyway.
The first goal was scored by Fabinho with a back post header after another Alexander-Arnold corner at the Anfield Road End. Mbeumo went close to equalising after 58 minutes hitting his shot just outside Alisson’s right post. Jota hit the post with a shot four minutes later and Firmino’s follow-up was held by the Brentford keeper. Fernandez saved a little later from Jota after he had been put in by Firmino’s pass.
Liverpool’s second goal was scored in the 69th minute. It was an excellent header by Oxlade-Chamberlain, diving forward to meet Robertson’s cross. Liverpool’s third goal was a gift for substitute Minamino after Brentford lost the ball trying to play out from the back. (77 mins)
The win put Liverpool second in the table, 11 points behind Manchester City.
West Ham United 2 Leeds United 3
Leeds fans had a second trip to the London Stadium in successive weeks having seen their team lose 2-0 last week in the FA Cup. This time they saw a fantastic win by a team whose squad included just 12 senior players, but as they had no Covid cases they could not seek a postponement. Jack Harrison scored his first senior hat-trick. There was high drama towards the end of the game with goals disallowed at either end, and a glaring added time miss in front of goal by West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen.
Leeds opened the scoring in the 10th minute. Luke Ayling sent a long ball down the right side which was picked up by Raphinha who took it to the bye-line before passing inside to Klich, whose low shot was saved, but parried by Fabianski. Forshaw passed the loose ball back to Harrison who swept up with a left foot shot inside the keeper’s left post.
Antonio wanted a penalty when he went down inside the Leeds area, but referee Mike Dean awarded a corner, from which Craig Dawson headed wide when he should have scored. "The Hammers" did score from another corner which had been won by Declan Rice, taken by Cresswell, and headed in by Bowen. (34 mins) Harrison regained the lead for Leeds within three minutes. He won a corner which was headed down by Ayling. Harrison got the touch to put the ball into the net from close range. James missed a good opportunity in first half added time. Leeds had lost Firpo and Forshaw to injury during the first half and 19-year-old Lewis Bate had been one of the replacements and was involved in midfield before James’ chance.
Fornals made it 2-2 in the 52nd minute, taking Antonio’s pass inside the area before finding room to slot home a right foot shot. West Ham had scored from both their shots on goal. "The Hammers" were slack to allow Raphinha’s pass to Harrison on the hour. Fabianski over-committed and Harrison dinked a nice shot into the net in front of the ecstatic travelling fans. Raphinha was fouled and took the free kick himself, hitting the post with a lovely curving shot.
Klich had the ball in the net in the 73rd minute after Raphinha’s pass to the back of the area, but this was chalked off because the shot went into the net off Rodrigo’s arm. Rodrigo had also been in an offside position. West Ham thought they had equalised three minutes from time after a long throw by Antonio was hit goalward by Coufal, parried by Meslier before being snapped up by Yarmolenko. Bowen had also had a touch and he was offside.
In added time Bowen’s missed opportunity came when he met Antonio’s cross with his chest, hitting the ball over the bar, when he should have headed the ball.
David Moyes bemoaned the Premier League’s scheduling of their midweek game against Norwich, and perhaps his players (unchanged from that game) were tired. Bielsa won admiration for his team’s attitude and result, despite the degree of weakness in their squad. The Leeds manager explained he could not seek postponement because he did not have any Covid cases.
West Ham still hold fourth place, but every team below them has games in hand. Spurs have four. Perhaps "The Hammers" will be slip sliding away in the near future.
Spurs v Arsenal (Match Postponed)
Arsenal had one Covid case – Odegaard. After playing their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Anfield (which was drawn), Mikel Arteta suggested Arsenal might struggle to raise a team for the Spurs game. The Premier League’s agreement to postpone the game was “a result of a combination of COVID-19, existing and recent injuries and players on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. All clubs are able to apply for a postponement if COVID-19 infections are a factor in their request.”
Spurs made a statement expressing their disappointment with the Premier League’s decision, stating the following:-
“We are extremely surprised that this application has been approved.
We ourselves were disqualified from the European Conference League after a significant number of COVID cases meant we needed to reschedule a fixture and our application to move our Leicester fixture was not approved - only for it to be subsequently postponed when Leicester applied.
The original intention of the guidance - here - was to deal with player availability directly affected by COVID cases, resulting in depleted squads that, when taken together with injuries, would result in the club being unable to field a team.
We do not believe it was the intent to deal with player availability unrelated to COVID.”
The transfer window is open and Spurs have yet to act. With that in mind, Vietnamese online sports bookie has compiled a list of five Bundesliga players Spurs could pursue this month.
Fixtures and results - 11-16.01.22
Tuesday 11th January, 2022
S'hampton 4-1 Brentford
Everton P Leicester
Wednesday 12th January, 2022
West Ham 2-0 Norwich
Friday 14th January, 2022
Brighton 1-1 C. Palace
Saturday 15th January, 2022
Man City 1-0 Chelsea
Burnley P Leicester
Newcastle 1-1 Watford
Norwich 2-1 Everton
Wolves 3-1 S'hampton
A. Villa 2-2 Man Utd
Sunday 16th January, 2022
Liverpool 3-0 Brentford
West Ham 2-3 Leeds
Spurs P Arsenal
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 22 18 2 2 54-13 41 56
2. Liverpool 21 13 6 2 55-18 37 45
3. Chelsea 22 12 7 3 45-17 28 43
4. West Ham 22 11 4 7 41-30 11 37
5. Arsenal 20 11 2 7 33-25 8 35
6. Spurs 18 10 3 5 23-20 3 33
7. Man Utd 20 9 5 6 32-29 3 32
8. Wolves 20 9 4 7 17-15 2 31
9. Brighton 20 6 10 4 21-21 0 28
10. Leicester 18 7 4 7 31-33 -2 25
11. C. Palace 21 5 9 7 30-31 -1 24
12. S'hampton 21 5 9 7 25-33 -8 24
13. A. Villa 20 7 2 11 27-32 -5 23
14. Brentford 21 6 5 10 24-33 -9 23
15. Leeds 20 5 7 8 24-39 -15 22
16. Everton 19 5 4 10 24-34 -10 19
17. Watford 19 4 2 13 23-37 -14 14
18. Norwich 21 3 4 14 10-45 -35 13
19. Newcastle 20 1 9 10 20-43 -23 12
20. Burnley 17 1 8 8 16-27 -11 11