Premier League Review – Matchday 32
Friday 8th April, 2022
Newcastle United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Newcastle have played six of their last seven games away from home and were still looking for points to fully secure their Premier League status. Wolves started outside the European places and needed all three points to stay in the hunt for Europe. Eddie Howe replaced Manquillo and Willock with Krafth and Guimaraes. Dendoncker and Podence missed out for Wolves and were replaced by Lee Cundle and Hwang Hee-chan.
Newcastle made the brighter start with Wolves happy to sit back and look for a counter-attacking opportunity. Ryan Fraser needed early treatment for a muscle injury and was replaced by Almiron. Almiron had a chance after he picked up a long ball and hit a shot from the right of goal, but this was over the target. Chris Wood thought he had his second Newcastle goal midway through the first half after Wolves gave the ball away in the final third and Wood finally hooked in a shot from short range after a cross from the right was deflected into his path. VAR decreed there had been an offside.
There was little to excite in the first half, but the crowd roared when Almiron received another long ball down the right and cut in before hitting a shot which lost its threat following a deflection and the ball landed in Sa's hands. Wolves hadn’t mustered an attack of any note.
Newcastle had a free kick after 51 minutes when Guimaraes was fouled by Fabio Silva in the Newcastle half. Chris Wood flicked on the long ball and Dan Burn had the first legitimate shot on target, which was held by Sa in the Wolves goal. Hwang had a chance at the other end, but this was deflected and made comfortable for Dubravka.
Wolves were showing more attacking intent and Schar was shown the first yellow card of the game when he unfairly halted a run down the left wing by Fabio Silva. Guimaraes hit a cross from the right from which Saint-Maximin tried to convert, but his shot was too high, and the ball had been a little behind him.
Saint-Maximin sent Joelinton away with a back-heel, and when he passed inside to Wood, the goalkeeper collided with him. Referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot, and although the ball was running out of play, Wood went down when the ball was still in play. VAR found no offside, and Wood did have his second Newcastle goal (his first at home) with an emphatic 72nd minute penalty.
Another exciting Newcastle attack followed. This time Wood turned a quick pass to Saint-Maximin who raced forward before passing to Guimaraes whose shot took a slight deflection to pass the far post. Fabio Silva headed wide from Marcal's cross from the left. Dubravka had to made a good save at his right-hand post after 80 minutes from Fabio Silva’s right foot shot.
Three minutes from time Boly could only head a long Newcastle free kick to the feet of Joelinton who hit a good snap shot, which was well saved by Sa. Saint-Maximin had a run and a shot on goal in added time. This went into Sa's arms.
Wolves paid the penalty for a lack of adventure in the first half. The win put Newcastle 10 points clear of the bottom three.
Saturday 9th April, 2022
Everton 1 Manchester United 0
It was a crunch game for both teams, for different reasons. Both made several changes. For Everton, club captain Seamus Coleman returned. Michael Keane and Allan were back from suspension. Fabian Delph was making a first appearance since December. Kenny, Branthwaite, Holgate and Doucoure made way. Manchester United will be without Luke Shaw for a few weeks as he has to have metal bolts removed, which had been inserted in his treatment for his previously broken leg. Among six United changes were a return for Ronaldo, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof and Telles in the back four, and starts for Matic and Rashford.
Pickford was required to make a save from a shot by Rashford after 8 minutes following a Fernandes free kick. This save was made near his right-hand post. Four minutes later the Everton keeper saved again from Rashford. This was a header and Pickford saved low to his right. Michael Keane had conceded the earlier free kick, and his mistake led to the United build-up which preceded Rashford’s near post effort.
There had been a lack of quality on both sides and Everton’s goal (in the 27th minute) was scored by Gordon who had been gifted the ball in the middle before he sent Richarlison away towards the left of the area. The ball reached Gordon when he reached a central position on the edge of the area and scored with a right foot deflected shot. The deflection had been off Maguire. It was Everton’s first attempt on goal. A second Everton chance soon followed and this time a Richarlison shot took a deflection and De Gea made a great save pushing the ball over the bar.
Three minutes into the second half Fernandes hit a great long ball into the Everton area where Rashford just failed to get the touch which would surely have led to an equalising goal. Gordon went down with Telles behind him in the area after a pass by substitute Demarai Gray, but referee Jon Moss was not interested in the penalty appeals. Pogba had come off the United bench and he hit a right foot shot which required Pickford to save low to his right. In added time, Pickford didn’t know too much about the save he made from Ronaldo’s right foot shot.
The tension in the home crowd was high, but Everton had their win and a four point gap above the bottom three before Burnley’s game at Norwich. The last time United had failed to score in an away league game was last April at Elland Road. Inevitably this result led to yet another post-match inquest.
Arsenal 1 Brighton 2
Arsenal suffered a double injury blow this week. Kieran Tierney's knee injury which kept him out of their game at Palace will keep him out for the season and Thomas Partey suffered a thigh muscle injury which is likely to keep him out for weeks. Arteta played Xhaka at left back as he had on Monday after taking off Tavares at half-time. Lokonga replaced Partey in the middle. 20-year-old Moises Caicedo made his first Premier League start for Brighton who included ex-Arsenal Danny Welbeck up front.
Brighton made the better start, but Arsenal came close following a 25th minute free kick after which Saka floated the ball to the back post where Gabriel hit the outside of the woodwork with a free header. Three minutes later Trossard gave the visitors the lead with an easy right foot shot following Mwepu’s cross from the right. The Arsenal defence were nowhere. Smith-Rowe had a shot well blocked by Dunk after 37 minutes. Arsenal had a corner in first half added time which was headed back into the centre of goal where Martinelli headed in. However, a lengthy VAR review found that he had been offside when that first header had been made.
Brighton had a two-goal lead in the 66th minute and it followed some neat football on the left before Caicedo passed the ball back to Mwepu who drilled home a low shot from the edge of the area. Lokonga had a decent 23 yard shot go just wide towards the end of the game and nearly scored three minutes before time when Odegaard’s free kick rebounded off the bar and Nketiah’s follow-up also hit the woodwork. Thy did get what turned out to be no more than a consolation goal when Odegaard’s 28-yard left footed shot took a deflection which beat Sanchez in the Brighton goal. Sanchez made a great save to his left from a powerful Nketiah header after a cross from the right.
Brighton surprised everyone, not least Arsenal, with this first win in 8 games. Arsenal have lost two consecutive league games for the first time since December.
Southampton 0 Chelsea 6
Southampton, arguably in no-man’s-land, must be on the beach already. They’ve lost 4 of their last five league games and drew the other. Their fans are too familiar with big defeats, having suffered two 9-0 defeats in recent years. They were unable to play Broja, who is on loan from Chelsea, so Adam Armstrong was given a start. Werner started up front for Chelsea.
Werner hit the bottom of Forster’s right post after Chelsea broke out from an early Southampton corner. Werner’s shot had been hit hard and low from a good 25 yards. He hit the bar with a header after a Loftus-Cheek cross after both Bednarek and Salisu had failed to stop Mount in the middle of the area. Alonso did open the scoring in the 8th minute with a powerfully driven shot after firstly Loftus-Cheek, then Mason Mount fed the ball from the right and centre of the area. Mount’s control and pass was skilful.
Ward-Prowse had a dangerous free kick pass all the way across the 6-yard zone with no contact being made before Mount made it 2-0 with a right-footed shot from 22 yards. Mount had sent a good ball to Loftus-Cheek to the right of the area before taking the return pass in a central position. Forster made an excellent close-range save from Werner after good work by Alonso inside the rea on the left.
Werner did have his goal after 21 minutes, taking on the loose ball after Ward-Prowse’s backward header in midfield before racing away from Bednarek goalward, rounding Forster before and scoring a Premier League goal for the first time since October. Salisu fell over and presented the ball to Werner who hit the left post with his shot, after which Havertz snapped up the rebound. Werner had hit both posts and the bar! It was 4-0 and only 31 minutes were on the clock!
Forster made a save from Havertz from a tight angle and also from Mount before a great save from Christensen at close range after Loftus-Cheek had headed down from the corner.
The Southampton keeper got a hand to Kante’s attempt to lift a shot over him four minutes into the second half, but Werner had a second goal, snapping up the loose ball. Mendy saved too easily really from a Che Adams shot which followed a Walker-Peters cross from the left. It was 6-0 in the 54th minute. Alonso crossed from the left and Forster saved from Pulisic with Werner failing to snap up the ball as it ran loose. Mount did not miss as the ball ran further clear to his feet.
Chelsea must have taken their feet off the pedal, as there were no goals in the remaining 36 minutes plus added time.
Watford 0 Leeds United 3
With three wins and a draw in their last four games, Leeds opened up a 9-point gap over the bottom three following this game. Watford are one of those bottom three clubs – a further two points behind Leeds – with four defeats in their last five games. The only win they’ve managed was over out of form Southampton. Watford’s last home win was back in November.
Watford’s Louza hit a free kick just wide of Meslier’s left post after 14 minutes. Watford had another free kick three minutes later, also won by Kucka. This was swung in from a sharp angle by Hernandez, but passed across the goalmouth, although Meslier did get a touch. Meslier made a save from the corner, but the ball had come off Kabasele’s arm.
Watford had two chances to clear from a Leeds attack, but Raphinha scored in the 21st minute with a left foot shot at the Rookery End. Raphinha had started the move and Daniel James had been given two chances to return the ball to the scorer’s feet.
Watford had a couple of good chances in the second half but missed the target by a distance on both occasions. Rodrigo scored Leeds’ second goal after being gifted the ball inside the Watford area by Kamara and Samir in the 73rd minute. The win was sealed in the 85th minute by a powerful Jack Harrison left-footed strike after substitute Sam Greenwood had passed from a central position.
Aston Villa 0 Spurs 4
In a game of brilliant Spurs performances with 5 players scoring over 8 out of 10, hat-trick hero Heung-min Son was your man of the match with his best mark of the season (9.1) and also his best since 8.4 in our home win against Villa, when he was also man of the match! With his hat-trick "Sonny" overtook Teddy Sheringham to become the club’s all-time tenth highest scorer. Son has Alan Gilzean in his sights with 8 more goals needed to emulate the "King of White Hart Lane".
Following our 4-0 away win, Spurs reached 201 league points against Villa, including 87 Premier League points in 54 games. We also reached double figures with this win and have won our last 8 league games against "The Villans". Finally, we have won 8 successive away games against Villa in league and cup games including three 4-0 wins!
John Ellis kindly agreed to let me post his Facebook comment on the game:-
“It’s a long time since we travelled to a match expecting to win but that feeling we once had under Mauricio Pochettino has now returned.
The results from the earlier kick offs gave the whole club a "massive" boost and boy did Spurs take advantage!
On any other day Lloris’ first half performance would have merited the man of the match award but then again Kulusevski scoring one and providing an assist would and even Kane’s two assists might have earned it!
However, Son’s clinical hat trick was fantastic. His third and Spurs fourth goal was a contender for goal of the season. It started almost in the Spurs right back position by the corner flag with superb skill by Kulusevski and ended with the same player showing excellent composure to set up Son for an accomplished finish.
Leaders and winners were all over the pitch. Romero at the back was immense and Dier alongside again commanding.
Hojberg won battles all over the park and was especially prominent in the first half when Villa tried to out muscle and at times successfully out play Spurs. Bentancur was assured in possession and created forward momentum with his positive intent on the ball as well as providing a fine defensive shield.
The first half was though a tough watch. Villa played incredibly well allied with close to the edge aggression, but this Spurs side are no “southern softies” and stood up firmly to the test. Villa’s football in the first half was inventive and but for Hugo Lloris they could well have overturned Son’s early goal and even gone in at half time with a lead. Lloris made a number of excellent saves even clawing one out from almost behind the goal line just before half time.
As has often been the case of late, the second half was chalk and cheese. Spurs played some sumptuous football and emptied much of the home end with twenty minutes to go. The team is brimming with confidence and scoring goals for fun. It is difficult to keep feet on the ground as to how good Tottenham can become under the leadership of Antonio Conte. In a matter of a few short months, Conte has transformed a team which looked lost, had forgotten how to play football and couldn’t score goals with a squad most thought the weakest for sone years. He is some manager!
So, with a three point gap and a +10 goal difference on Arsenal, Spurs are now in pole position for a top 4 position. The momentum is now firmly with Spurs. The next game can’t come quickly enough!”
Here are some of the comments received by our voters:-
"Antonio and Daniel Levy have delivered! Now the squad are delivering. Hugo saves ensured the 2nd half great win. Son hat trick just edges Harry Kane's incredible displays since January! ALL seem to be growing to greater levels!"
"Excellent result and the lads showed great resolve after we went one up and saw out the Villa onslaught. Really feel we are going places with Conte."
"They tried to kick us off our game. Those who tangled with Romero regretted the attempt. He absolutely intimidated their players by the end of the match. About time Spurs had a player like him."
"Wow! The resolve of the team was magnificent. Feeling very proud today and hoping we can keep up this standard. Thank you, Mr Conte."
Sunday 10th April, 2022
Brentford 2 West Ham United 0
West Ham’s David Moyes cited the Thursday-Sunday schedule as one of the reasons for West Ham’s performance and defeat in this game. As they fall out of contention for the top four, their second leg Europa League quarter-final away to Lyon has massive importance. For Brentford this second consecutive win over an established Premier League London side along with the fact they have won four out of their last five games surely gives them a second Premier League season. Ivan Toney has scored six goals in those games and stands fifth equal (alongside Ronaldo and Harry Kane) in the Premier League goalscorers’ list.
Coufal and Lanzini were back in “The Hammers” side so former Brentford man Benrahma started on the bench. Christian Eriksen made his fourth start for Brentford.
Toney and Mbeumo are a great combination, and the latter forced a good save by Fabianski after 21 minutes with a powerful shot from the corner of the area. Eriksen took the corner and Fabianski slapped the ball partially clear to Mbeumo, who this time fired over. West ham lost Zouma to injury and Diop stepped into his place.
Mbeumo gave "The Bees" a 48th minute lead, following a throw on the right and flick-on by Toney. It was a powerful left foot shot that beat the West Ham keeper from inside the area. Mbeumo hadn’t scored in the league since December. Benrahma came on for Lanzini to try and inject some spark into "The Hammers."
It was 2-0 in the 64th minute. Antonio lost possession too easily in the Brentford half and Henry moved the play forward with Wissa. Henry’s deep cross reached Mbeumo who returned the ball into the middle where Toney headed in. It looked all too easy for the home side, but their fans were justifiably delighted and there is a great connection between fans, players and management at this club.
Fabianski batted away an Eriksen cross and Toney had a shot blocked. Janelt hit a short ball from the left and with the goal at his mercy, Mbeumo blasted over the bar. Benrahma had a deflected shot land on top of the net in added time, but Brentford had a deserved win and a league "double" over West Ham.
Leicester City 2 Crystal Palace 1
There was some drama over a Wilfried Zaha twice-taken penalty, but Leicester already had a two-goal lead and reached 40 points and ninth place. Leicester also leap-frogged Palace in the table. Brendan Rodgers’ focus was chiefly upon his side’s Europa Conference campaign as he made seven changes to a side which included Lookman and Daka in its attack. Palace were unchanged with Vieira insisting next week’s FA Cup semi-final did not affect his selection.
Lookman showed his intentions after only five minutes when he received a good ball from Luke Thomas before unleashing a powerful drive which passed wide of Guaita’s right post. Schmeichel made a good low left-handed save from Mateta who received the ball from Zaha. Lookman scored the first goal in the 39th minute. He received a slick pass from Dewsbury-Hall before beating the Palace keeper with a low right-footed shot.
Dewsbury-Hall added the second goal himself as half-time approached. Daka fed him the ball (via a slight touch from Maddison) from the right of the box and the 23-year-old had his first Premier League goal with a clever turn and a super left-footed shot which hit the net high to the right of Guaita.
Guaita flicked over a Tielemans shot after more good play by Dewsbury-Hall early in the second half. Palace had a penalty following a corner, then a Tielemans foul on Jordan Ayew. Schmeichel saved Zaha’s first penalty low to his left, but then VAR decreed that Soyuncu had encroached, as had other players. However, Soyuncu had cleared the ball following the save, hence the re-take. This time Zaha tried a shot to the right of the keeper, but Schmeichel saved again before Zaha finally headed the loose ball into the net. (65 mins)
Palace desperately sought an equaliser and came close when Zaha cut the ball back from close in on the left, but Schlupp’s shot was blocked.
Norwich City 2 Burnley 0
At the moment every game is a must-win for both these teams, but Burnley are the ones with a better chance of clawing out of the bottom three. Norwich’s one change was Kieran Dowell for Billy Gilmour who is ill. Burnley's change was the return of Matt Lowton for Connor Roberts.
Rashica had a right foot shot from the left of goal parried by Pope then cleared by Taylor after three minutes. Rodriguez was on target with a header from a Cornet cross at the other end, but Krul saved comfortably.
Norwich had a second corner in the ninth minute which was cleared to the feet of Lees-Melou who scored his first goal for Norwich with a slightly deflected right foot shot from the edge of the area which hit the net inside Pope's left post. "We've scored a goal!" chanted Norwich fans.
Pukki had a right foot angled shot saved by Pope's outstretched right leg after 16 minutes, before Normann hit a 20-yard shot just over the bar. Norwich had started brightly.
Cornet had a left foot shot well saved by Pope after 25 minutes- low to his right. Brownhill hit a 25-yard shot over the bar seven minutes later. Aaron Lennon won a corner on the right following a surging run three minutes before the break and after the corner a powerful Westwood shot was well blocked.
Norwich started the second half brightly, as they had in the first.
Sean Dyche replaced Weghorst with Vydra and Lennon with McNeil. Soon after McNeil came on, he won a ball in midfield before hitting a beautiful deep cross to the back post where Cornet somehow failed to score.
Pukki went down just outside the box under Charlie Taylor’s challenge and Norwich had a free kick. After the free kick, Pukki's attempted shot fell to Hanley, whose header was saved. The Norwich captain had probably been offside. Pope made an excellent one-handed save from Rashica as Norwich broke forward after 80 minutes.
Norwich sealed their win when Normann found Pukki with a very good pass and Pukki did the rest with a right foot finish in the 86th minute.
Vydra had a somewhat contorted effort roll off the top of the bar as the game entered five minutes of added time and Krul made a brilliant dive to his left to deny Brownhill, but it was all too late for Burnley.
Everton will have celebrated this win as much as anybody. Burnley and Norwich will probably be meeting each other in The Championship next season.
Manchester City 2 Liverpool 2
This was clearly the big match of the weekend, and arguably a decider regarding the destiny of this year’s Premier League title. City had Walker at right back and Gabriel Jesus was included in a front three which included Foden and Sterling. Mahrez, Grealish and Gundogan were on the bench.
Liverpool had Henderson, Fabinho and Thiago behind Salah, Mane and Jota. Sterling had an early chance well saved by Alisson before City had a free kick 30 yards out. Quickly taken, the ball was fed to De Bruyne who passed Fabinho and hit a shot which rebounded into the net off Alisson’s left post after taking a deflection off Matip. (5 mins)
There was speed, intensity and great skill at either end though and Liverpool equalised in the 13th minute after Alexander-Arnold's cut-back left Jota with a close-range shot which hit the net off Ederson. Cancelo received a long ball and passed inside to De Bruyne, who hit the side netting. Due to the vagaries of no flag being shown during play, we’ll ever know if Cancelo was offside or not. Cancelo also hit the side netting after 34 minutes after he received a good ball from Rodri.
After a City corner and a return pass from Cancelo, Guardiola’s surprise selection Gabriel Jesus stayed onside and lifted his shot over the advancing Alisson. (37 mins) Sterling just failed to get onto the end of Foden's cross from the left into the danger zone. Great defending by Laporte prevented Jota from scoring at the other end.
Laporte got on the end of a free kick and hit the post and the goalkeeper with his shot but had been offside.
Liverpool equalised in the first minute of the second half. Salah hit an excellent pass from the right and Mane met it to score with his right foot. The attackers were getting the better of defenders at both ends in this game and Liverpool had another chance with Walker playing Salah and Jota onside as the Egyptian provided the pass which led to Jota’s shot and an Ederson save.
Gabriel Jesus received a long pass inside the Liverpool area towards the right and found himself in a shooting position, but his shot was blocked. Sterling thought he'd made it 3-2 in the 63rd minute. De Bruyne put in a ball from behind and Sterling converted with a right foot shot, but VAR decreed he had been offside.
Luis Diaz replaced Jota and soon after, Mane hit a good pass left to right to Salah, whose shot took a deflection past the post for what should have been a corner. Referee Anthony Taylor and his officials missed what was an obvious corner to most of the crowd. Gabriel Jesus hit the side netting at the other end.
Van Dijk took a late booking "for the team" after 89 minutes and substitute Mahrez hit the outside of the post with his free kick. In the last minute of added time, De Bruyne gave Mahrez an excellent chance. Mahrez chose to try a lifted shot rather than fire low, and the ball floated well over the goal.
It was honours even, and the title race could very well go to the wire. These two sides meet again next week in an FA Cup semi-final.
Fixtures and results - 08-10.04.22
Friday 8th April, 2022
Newcastle 1-0 Wolves
Saturday 9th April, 2022
Everton 1-0 Man Utd
Arsenal 1-2 Brighton
S'hampton 0-6 Chelsea
Watford 0-3 Leeds
A. Villa 0-4 Spurs
Sunday 10th April, 2022
Brentford 2-0 West Ham
Leicester 2-1 C. Palace
Norwich 2-0 Burnley
Man City 2-2 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 31 23 5 3 72-20 52 74
2. Liverpool 31 22 7 2 79-22 57 73
3. Chelsea 30 18 8 4 64-23 41 62
4. Spurs 31 18 3 10 56-37 19 57
5. Arsenal 30 17 3 10 45-36 9 54
6. West Ham 32 15 6 11 51-42 9 51
7. Man Utd 32 14 9 9 49-42 7 51
8. Wolves 32 15 4 13 33-28 5 49
9. Leicester 29 11 7 11 45-48 -3 40
10. C. Palace 31 8 13 10 43-40 3 37
11. Brighton 31 8 13 10 28-37 -9 37
12. A. Villa 31 11 3 17 42-46 -4 36
13. Brentford 32 10 6 16 39-48 -9 36
14. S'hampton 31 8 12 11 37-52 -15 36
15. Newcastle 31 8 10 13 34-54 -20 34
16. Leeds 32 8 9 15 38-68 -30 33
17. Everton 30 8 4 18 33-52 -19 28
18. Burnley 30 4 12 14 25-44 -19 24
19. Watford 31 6 4 21 29-60 -30 22
20. Norwich 31 5 6 20 20-63 -43 21