Premier League Review Matchday Three
This is a weekend which will remain imprinted upon the memories of Spurs fans (and probably Arsenal fans for the wrong reasons) as for the first time in our top flight history we finished the third game at the top of the league with all three games won and not a goal conceded, whilst our nemesis was at the bottom of the table without a goal or even a point. Thanks must go to Norwich for at least scoring a goal against Leicester, because they do have the same -9 goal difference.
Of course, we would all like a similar situation to exist at the end of the season, but that must remain a dream.
Saturday 27th August, 2021
Manchester City 5-0 Arsenal
City were unchanged, but Pep’s former assistant Mikel Arteta made four changes to his side. Chambers and Kolasinac were in the back three, either side of Holding. Odegaard, whose permanent signing has been secured, played in midfield, whilst Aubameyang returned up front.
Goal number one was all too easy but was also the result of a stylish City move as they ploughed through the Arsenal midfield and defence. Bernardo Silva was involved twice before finally Sterling lifted a cross from the right and Gundogan headed in from the back of goal. It was 2-0 only five minutes later when Bernardo Silva hit an innocuous ball from the inside right channel which was allowed through the Arsenal defence, reaching Ferran Torres, who gratefully accepted the scoring opportunity. VAR checked for a foul, but the goal stood.
Possibly the best chance for Arsenal came when City played out from the back and Ederson casually kicked against Smith-Rowe’s feet. The goalkeeper was lucky the ball rolled wide across his goal and did not simply rebound into the net.
Arsenal’s woes were accentuated ten minutes before the break when Xhaka was sent off for a two-footed foul upon Cancelo. Leno had kicked a clearance straight at the City left back, and in City’s subsequent move forward Cancelo crumpled under Xhaka’s rash foul. Xhaka was only just off the ground, but he flew into the foul. VAR backed referee Martin Atkinson. Xhaka will be out until the “North” London derby at the end of September. It was his fourth red card for Arsenal. Some of the travelling fans were either going home or taking an early half-time break. Goal number three came a minute before half-time at the end of a swift move started by goalkeeper Ederson. He passed to Torres, who fed Grealish on the left. Grealish’s cross was turned in by Gabriel Jesus.
Rodri scored a very good goal in the 53rd minute. The shot came at the end of a typical City passing move around the area before Rodri placed his shot just inside Leno’s left post. Leno might have been unsighted by the legs of two of his defenders. Leno made a good save, pushing Sterling’s header over the bar, and he later saved from the feet of Sterling, whose provider had again been Mahrez. Mahrez, who had replaced Gabriel Jesus, provided the cross for the final goal – a header by Torres in the 84th minute. I was amazed that quite a few Arsenal fans stayed and actually applauded their team, who stood at a good distance and sheepishly acknowledged the sympathy of their supporters. City had won three consecutive home games 5-0.
10 years ago, almost to the day, Arsenal lost 8-2 at Old Trafford, but let’s not talk about that too much because Spurs were losing 5-1 at home to a rampant City. The “Gooners”’ next game is a bottom of the table clash against Norwich!
City left back Benjamin Mendy was last week remanded in custody on charges which include rape, and he was suspended by the club. Mendy was in the team which lost at Tottenham, but he had been under investigation for some time.
Aston Villa 1 Brentford 1
There were two early goals at Villa Park where the fans provided a good atmosphere. Brentford are unbeaten and have made a good start in their debut Premier League season. 17-year-old midfielder Carney Chukwuemeka was given a first Premier League start by Dean Smith, who was facing his former club.
Brentford opened the scoring in the seventh minute, and it was Toney’s first goal of the season. The goal followed a corner on the left and a return ball from the right, which was flicked on by Jansson. Toney fired home with a right foot shot at The Holte End. Buendia equalised 6 minutes later receiving from Danny Ings before hitting a good right-footed shot from the edge of the box. It was Buendia’s first goal since his move from Norwich. Raya made a sharp save from Danny Ings’ snap shot minutes later.
Henry hit a shot inches wide of the far post for Brentford after 33 minutes. Ollie Watkins came off the bench with little more than 10 minutes remaining and was applauded by both sets of fans (having previously played under Dean Smith at Brentford). Watkins had a headed chance and a left-footed shot saved in added time. Both saves were of a routine nature for the goalkeeper.
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Everton 2
Brighton had won their first two games but fell to two Everton goals. Bearing this success in mind, it was surprising to see quite a few empty seats in the home section. “The Toffees” have had a good start and have seven points. Andros Townsend was among their starters. Maupay had an excellent dipping long range shot early on which passed two feet over Pickford’s bar.
Bargain buy Demarai Gray opened the scoring in the 41st minute, receiving from Allan, before advancing upon the left side of the area from where he scored low past Sanchez with his shot. Pickford made a very good (if slightly fortunate) low save from Gross’s free kick taken from just outside the box, but Everton went two up from a Calvert-Lewin penalty after Coleman had been fouled by substitute Veltman. There was a row in the Everton team about who should take the spot-kick, but all the upset was on Richarlison’s side as it would appear he was the only one who did not know who was the appointed penalty taker. (58 mins) Calvert-Lewin has again scored in Everton’s opening three games, but he will miss England duty due to a toe injury.
Sanchez saved low from Doucoure, whilst Pickford managed to parry then hold a shot from Trossard.
Newcastle United 2 Southampton 2
Now that the fans are back – well, 44,000 anyway – the Newcastle manager and executive are coming under renewed criticism, especially after they surrendered an added time lead, only to be denied by a last ditch Southampton penalty. Mohamed Elyounoussi was making his first Premier League appearance since May 2019 after spending time on loan with Celtic. Adam Armstrong was returning to the club with whom he had started his career.
Elyounoussi was involved in an early move where Djenepo somehow fired over from close range at the Gallowgate End. Newcastle managed to clear from the same player inside the box after 25 minutes when Armstrong had passed to Djenepo who took a touch before the ball was cleared off his feet. Newcastle had their first corner a minute before the break. Callum Wilson met it with a near post header which McCarthy saved well.
Djenepo curled a shot wide of the far post four minutes into the second half. Elyounoussi had been involved, as had Armstrong, whose effort was blocked. Wilson scored a 55th minute diving header from Murphy’s cross at the end of a good move which had twice involved Saint-Maximin and also a good pass by Schar to Murphy. The 74th minute equaliser was courtesy of Elyounoussi (his first for “The Saints”) who got on the end of a good cross by Redmond, who had replaced Djenepo.
The Gallowgate End was in raptures when they thought Saint-Maximin had won them the game. The winger had fed the ball to Joelinton to his right, who passed inside to another sub - Ryan Fraser. Fraser’s shot was blocked in front of goal, but Saint-Maximin snapped up the rebound. The equaliser was controversial and caused depression. Lascelles had taken the ball off Armstrong with a low sliding tackle which the referee did not initially punish, but VAR called Mr Tierney to the monitor and a penalty was awarded. It took a long time for the matter to be resolved but Ward-Prowse did his job from the penalty spot.
Norwich City 1 Leicester City 2
Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams made his first Premier League start for Norwich. Albrighton was the only change to Leicester’s side in place of the suspended Perez. Ricardo got away from Williams and delivered a cross from which Vardy opened the scoring after only 8 minutes with a right-footed shot. Schmeichel had to save from Lees-Melou’s left foot shot following an error by Leicester’s Soyuncu. Krul made a good full-body save from Vardy at short range at the other end.
Referee Rob Jones initially declined to award Norwich a penalty when Soyuncu slid into Lees-Melou inside the area, but after viewing the monitor changed his mind. Pukki sent Schmeichel the wrong way and scored Norwich’s first league goal of the season. (44 mins)
Maddison missed a good chance and could only hit the side netting in the second half from close quarters, but Albrighton scored a very good right-footed shot at the end of a good Leicester move in the 76th minute. Vardy made the final pass to his right and Albrighton scored inside Krul’s right post. 21-year-old Norwich new boy Josh Sargent had a good effort under close marking but put his shot just wide.
McLean thought he had equalised with a powerful header from a corner, but Cantwell was standing in front of Schmeichel, and was offside.
West Ham United 2 Crystal Palace 2
It looked as though West Ham were heading for maximum points, but Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher spoiled that prospect with a second equalising goal for Palace, who thus gained their second point of the season. Gallagher’s goals were Palace’s first league goals of the season.
Palace came under pressure and Ward made a goal-line clearance after a defender’s header from Coufal’s ball into the box midway through the first half. It was 1-0 to the home side in the 39th minute after Benrahma sent Antonio away. Antonio exchanged passes with Fornals before passing back to Fornals who scored.
Gallagher’s first goal came in the 58th minute in front of the away section. Zaha crossed from the left and Benteke headed the ball down to Gallagher who wriggled forward before beating Fabianski with a well-placed low shot into the far corner. Antonio restored the home side’s lead ten minutes later. He got a lucky rebound off a defender following Cresswell’s long ball forward, but powered home his shot. Gallagher quickly levelled within two minutes, receiving McArthur’s cross inside the area before skilfully turning and scoring swiftly.
There were chances at either end in added time, but the scores remained level. Palace’s next game will be against Spurs at lunchtime on 11th September.
Liverpool 1 Chelsea 1
Liverpool had a familiar look about them with Andy Robertson back at left back and Fabinho back in midfield. 18-year-old Harvey Elliott retained his place. Thomas Tuchel had Kante back in midfield in a 3-4-3 formation with James and Alonso as his wing-backs. Romelu Lukaku was up front, with Mount and Havertz in support.
Elliott went close with an early shot, but Henderson should have scored when meeting Alexander-Arnold's excellent ball after 9 minutes. Between those efforts, Fabinho and Matip made a couple of challenges which brought free kicks, but no early card from referee Anthony Taylor.
Chelsea had a contested corner in front of the Kop after 20 minutes. James whipped it in from the left and Havertz scored a superb back header which beat Alisson hitting the net in his top left corner. The game was high-paced and end to end. Lukaku and Havertz offered more danger approaching the Liverpool goal.
After 34 minutes, Lukaku, with his back to goal, turned and beat Matip before teeing up Mason Mount, who shot wide across the goal. Elliott missed a good chance in front of goal at the other end.
Firmino had started the game but had to be replaced by Jota after 42 minutes. In first half added time there was a goalmouth scramble when Matip's header hit the bar and Reece James cleared Mane's effort on the other side of goal. The ball went up off James's leg and hit his arm. Only after viewing the monitor did Mr. Taylor a) award a penalty and b) show James a red card for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. Rudiger was also booked for dissent before Salah scored from the penalty spot. Chelsea were livid and now Mendy was also shown yellow. Tuchel berated the fourth official, but the score was now 1-1.
Tuchel's half-time adjustments were necessarily defensive, bringing on Thiago Silva and Kovacic for Havertz and Kante.
Jota headed over Salah's short cross after 50 minutes and Mendy had to stretch to push away a long shot by Van Dijk. The pressure was on now for Chelsea and Henderson put another shot just wide following a corner taken from the right. Mendy dived to his left to push away a Fabinho shot before he also parried a Robertson shot.
Chelsea managed an attack after 62 minutes getting four men forward, ending in a Lukaku shot on target which was easily cleared.
Jordan Henderson made way for Thiago Alcantara after 73 minutes. Ten minutes later, Chelsea had a decent effort when Kovacic ran forward and after a wall pass from Lukaku, the midfielder hit his shot at Alisson.
Jurgen Klopp's final change was to replace Robertson with Tsimikas with less than five minutes of normal time remaining. Chalobah replaced Jorginho for Chelsea. Mendy pushed over a Jota header from a 90th minute corner. Chelsea had three added minutes to negotiate. Tsimikas hit a cross which landed on top of Mendy's net, but Chelsea's second half defensive strategy secured them a point.
Sunday 29th August, 2021
Burnley 1 Leeds United 1
Both teams still seek a first Premier League win of this season. There was a mess in the Leeds area after Meslier hit a clearance to Burnley feet and the ball was returned with Wood clearly offside, but in accordance with policy the flag was not raised. Barnes made a challenge upon Dallas and was booked. There was potential injury suffered in a situation where the offside flag could have been raised and stopped play from continuing.
Leeds had a promising move after 34 minutes, following Harrison’s cross. Raphinha hit his shot wide across goal. Harrison led another slick Leeds move down the left flank, but Bamford’s touch let him down at the crunch. Ashley Barnes hit a shot which Meslier managed to push around his left post after Llorente thought the ball had gone out of play but was returned to the Leeds area. The closest either side came to a goal was from a Burnley corner when Bamford headed against his own post. Leeds then broke forward just before the end of the first half when Bamford suffered a heavy challenge from Mee, who was booked.
Brownhill received a lay-off from Wood and hit a 22-yard shot wide of Meslier’s right post after 59 minutes. McNeil also worried the keeper with a shot from similar range which took a deflection and won a corner. McNeil took the corner and Tarkowski’s header hit the bar. Brownhill had a shot blocked and it was returned to the middle. Tarkowski challenged and the ball ran to Lowton whose shot was deflected before Chris Wood beat Meslier with a final touch. (61 mins) Wood’s very close range goal was the 30,000th Premier League goal. Les Ferdinand had scored the 10,000th such goal for Spurs against Fulham in December 2001.
It looked as if Burnley were going to hold on, but Bamford scored an equaliser four minutes from time. Leeds substitute Shackleton was twice involved in the move and there had been good skill from Raphinha on the right, but Bamford’s name goes on the scoresheet because he got a touch on Shackleton’s driven shot.
Spurs 1 Watford 0
Goalscorer Son Heung-min won your man of the match vote.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Manchester United 1
The massive news this week at Old Trafford has been the return of Cristiano Ronaldo (for a fee) at the age of 36 from Juventus, 12 years after he was sold to Real Madrid. The deal was not finalised until the day after this game, which featured a controversial challenge by Paul Pogba.
Wolves were unchanged from the side which lost to Spurs. United included a former team-mate of Ronaldo at centre-back – Raphael Varane – who played beside Harry Maguire. Daniel James played 53 minutes of this game, but it is believed he is destined to move to Leeds. Jadon Sancho made his first United start, playing to the left of Bruno Fernandes. Cavani was on the bench, and he wears Ronaldo’s coveted number 7 shirt. It is believed that United are seeking Premier League permission to be allowed to give that number to Ronaldo. United were wearing a strange (for them) blue kit, with the shirts a patterned light, almost sky-blue shade.
Traore made a typical powerful run through the middle and fed the ball to his right to Jimenez, whose shot was saved by De Gea at his left-hand post. Wolves broke clear from a United corner and Fred made a mistake with the ball running to Trincao, whose shot beat De Gea, but not Wan-Bissaka who made ground to cover the goal-line and clear. Moutinho fired over in the middle after Jimenez’s short cross. Mason Greenwood had United’s first legitimate chance just before the break, firing just wide across goal after receiving from Fernandes. Fernandes had hit the net earlier, but clearly had been offside.
Wolves were still looking dangerous in the second half, but Trincao could not make strong contact with his shot after a pass from Traore. Traore won a corner, taken by Moutinho from the right. De Gea made a brilliant double save from Saiss, firstly from a header, and secondly when Saiss shot from close range from the rebound.
Pogba had an angled right foot shot tipped over by Sa following a corner. The moment of controversy came when Pogba over-stretched in trying to reach the ball and seemed to foul Neves, but referee Mike Dean waved “play on”. The move continued and Greenwood scored with a right-footed shot after taking a ball from Varane. Sa got a touch to his shot, but it was not enough. (80 mins) VAR Stuart Attwell did not overrule the decision, and poor old Neves got a yellow card for his dissent.
Wolves have lost all three of their Premier League games 1-0.
Fixtures and results - 27-28.08.21
Saturday 27th August, 2021
Man City 5-0 Arsenal
A. Villa 1-1 Brentford
Brighton 0-2 Everton
Newcastle 2-2 S'hampton
Norwich 1-2 Leicester
West Ham 2-2 C. Palace
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
Sunday 29th August, 2021
Burnley 1-1 Leeds
Spurs 1-0 Watford
Wolves 0-1 Man Utd
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Spurs 3 3 0 0 3-0 3 9
2. West Ham 3 2 1 0 10-5 5 7
3. Man Utd 3 2 1 0 7-2 5 7
4. Chelsea 3 2 1 0 6-1 5 7
5. Liverpool 3 2 1 0 6-1 5 7
6. Everton 3 2 1 0 7-3 4 7
7. Man City 3 2 0 1 10-1 9 6
8. Brighton 3 2 0 1 4-3 1 6
9. Leicester 3 2 0 1 4-5 -1 6
10. Brentford 3 1 2 0 3-1 2 5
11. A. Villa 3 1 1 1 5-4 1 4
12. Watford 3 1 0 2 3-5 -2 3
13. S'hampton 3 0 2 1 4-6 -2 2
14. C. Palace 3 0 2 1 2-5 -3 2
15. Leeds 3 0 2 1 4-8 -4 2
16. Burnley 3 0 1 2 2-5 -3 1
17. Newcastle 3 0 1 2 4-8 -4 1
18. Wolves 3 0 0 3 0-3 -3 0
19. Norwich 3 0 0 3 1-10 -9 0
20. Arsenal 3 0 0 3 0-9 -9 0