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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2021-22 - Matchday 34

Premier League Review – Matchday 34

Saturday 23rd April, 2022

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 1

Results over the last few days have taught Tottenham not to rely upon Chelsea or Manchester United to help them stumble across the Champions League qualification line. If anything, after three recent successive defeats, Arsenal are looking the strongest candidates. Next week they are at The London Stadium. I don’t suppose we can hope for West Ham to help us either.

Manchester United’s woes continue, and they are currently best illustrated by Bruno Fernandes, who was the darling of Old Trafford after he was signed two years ago but has not registered a goal or assist for the club since February. Today he had a most embarrassing penalty failure.

Cristiano Ronaldo was back in action, despite his family tragedy last week. Harry Maguire was demoted to the bench. Fernandes led his side out.

Tavares was at left back for Arsenal and had his first club goal after only three minutes. Some woeful defending by Varane and Telles allowed a cross to reach Saka, whose shot was saved by De Gea but presented to the feet of Tavares. Arsenal fans gave Ronaldo applause after seven minutes, following the loss of his baby twin son.

Elanga was denied a penalty by both referee Craig Pawson and VAR when he raced away and went down under Tavares’ challenge in the box. Cedric got away with a handball as he pulled the ball inside the Arsenal area with Sancho at his back. Dalot hit Ramsdale’s bar with a powerful right footed shot from 20 yards.

De Gea made a good, strong save from Nketiah’s powerful shot midway through the first half. Nketiah thought he had made it 2-0 after 26 minutes after a short pass by Odegaard and a touch by Saka, but VAR denied Arsenal a second goal for offside. However, VAR Jarred Gillet spotted a push by Telles on Saka and Arsenal had a second chance from the penalty spot. Saka put this away. (32 mins)

Ronaldo got one back for United two minutes later receiving Matic’s cross from the left before scoring with a left foot shot. That was Ronaldo’s 100th Premier League goal.

The Fernandes penalty failure came after Tavares handled needlessly when rising for the ball after 55 minutes. It was a pathetic stuttering run-up and a poor shot which hit the outside of Ramsdale’s right post. Ronaldo was called offside when he put the ball in the net and Dalot hit the woodwork again. This time it was the post after receiving a short pass inside the box from Ronaldo. Ramsdale had made a save to prevent a goal, pushing the ball onto his left post.

Xhaka sealed the win in the 70th minute while his team-mates were asking for another penalty. The ball had run to the midfielder who scored from 25 yards. Fernandes was booked for a studs-up tackle on Tavares which might have led to even worse sanction.

Leicester City 0 Aston Villa 0

When Dean Smith was sacked in November after five consecutive defeats, Villa were in 15th place. Now, after four consecutive defeats and a draw, they find themselves in fifteenth place again. At least Steven Gerrard’s men had managed to end the run of losses. Villa’s last game had been their 4-0 home defeat to Spurs.

Jamie Vardy was fit enough to sit on Leicester’s bench for the first time since early March. Bailey hit a left foot shot well over the target after Watkins’ good run and pass back to the centre of the Leicester area. Leicester’s best first half effort was a Maddison free kick, curled just wide of Martinez’s right post. Mings headed over from a first half added time corner.

Schmeichel was positioned well to save a Watkins shot just in front of the left-hand post. Vardy came off the bench, replacing Daka with 20 minutes to go. Maddison had another free kick. This one was saved by Martinez as he dived low to his left. Buendia put a right foot shot wide at the other end.

Leicester are at Tottenham next Sunday, but first they face Jose Mourinho’s Roma side in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg.

Manchester City 5 Watford 1

This was the one Saturday match whose scoreline I managed to predict correctly. No-one would have expected Gabriel Jesus to have scored four of the goals though. The last time he scored more than nonce for his club was in March last year. Jesus was one of no less than six City changes since their 3-0 defeat of Brighton. Sterling and Grealish were with him in the front three. Even veteran Fernandinho got a game. Watford included Cleverley and King in their starting line-up. Understandably, there did not seem to be too many away fans present. Their team lost 8-0 at the Etihad last time the two teams met here.

Goal number one for City came after just three minutes and forty seconds. Cancelo (who plays at left or right back) hit a cross from the right which reached Zinchenko beyond the goal. He returned the ball, low, hard and accurately to the feet of Jesus, who scored with a first touch. Seven minutes later Watford gave away a cheap corner, but they broke away after this and after a Cancelo mistake in the middle Dennis raced clear into the area where he was stopped by a great challenge by Zinchenko.

Jesus scored goal number two in the 23rd minute. De Bruyne hit a powerful cross from the right and the City striker met the ball with a powerful and killing header. Hassan Kamara reduced the deficit five minutes later, receiving Dennis’s ball from the left before beating Ederson with a shot across his goal, hitting the net inside the back post.

Rodri made it 3-1 in the 34th minute, but even then, Jesus got the assist with a pass from the right side. Rodri took the chance to hit a powerful right foot shot from 22 yards into the net.

City had a penalty in the first minute of the second half when Kamara let Jesus go through on goal and Ben Foster’s attempted tackle brought the striker down. No-one was going to stop Jesus taking the penalty for his hat-trick, which doubled his goal tally for this season. (49 mins) Goal number 5 was scored in the 53rd minute and was a good team goal which began inside City’s half and ended with another De Bruyne assist (118 for City) and a fourth goal for Gabriel Jesus, who became the first Brazilian to score four goals in one Premier League game. This one was a right footer at the near (right) post.

Joao Pedro should have scored a second Watford goal late in the game after a free kick but managed to head wide. City’s three subs were Gundogan, Ake and Mahrez. Bernardo Silva and Foden were not needed. City became the first English side to beat another team in fifteen consecutive games. Liverpool won’t be going above City this week.

Norwich City 0 Newcastle United 3

Newcastle were level at the bottom with Norwich on 10 points at Christmas after they lost 4-0 at home to Manchester City. 16 games and 10 wins and 33 points later they found themselves in ninth place after this 3-0 win against a club seemingly doomed to make the drop.

Jacob Murphy had an early chance for the visitors, taking a good crossfield ball from Guimaraes to the right of goal, before firing wide back across the goalmouth. Dowell lifted a shot over the target at the other end after a long ball from the middle by Normann. Dowell put another chance over after good work by Lees-Melou, who had made a run from deep, and a pass by Pukki.

Joelinton scored the first of two personal goals in the 35th minute. Sean Longstaff had started a good team move with a long ball from the middle and was close when Saint-Maximin made the final pass across the area and Joelinton curled a right foot shot into the far corner. Joelinton celebrated his 100th Premier League appearance with a second goal six minutes later. This was from closer range towards the left of goal after a pass by Murphy. Guimaraes had started this move with a lovely pass from near the halfway line.

Guimaraes added a third goal, four minutes into the second half picking up a poor ball out by Krul before lifting a neat shot into the net. Krul managed a fisted save from a Saint-Maximin 20-yarder soon after, and Dubravka flew to his left to save a Dowell free kick at the other end. Krul saved and held a Joelinton 20-yard hat-trick effort.

Brentford 0 Spurs 0

Brentford v Spurs, 23.04.22

This was Spurs’ first drawn London derby match of the season. The last such draw was at home to Fulham in January last year. Fulham have already confirmed their promotion from the Championship, so we will meet them again next season.

As regular readers know, this week’s post-match survey was the last of many years with public participation. Those who have taken part in this process have enjoyed voting and reading the overall results. Sadly, due to increasing costs and relatively low turn-out by voters, I have decided to end my relationship with Constant Contact. Here are a couple of this week’s comments:-

"Failed to learn from the Brighton game. At least the next three terms are attacking."

"Sad to finish with another toothless and tepid performance. But thanks to you for all your work to keep the survey running all these years. Now it’s back to fingers crossed again!"

Hugo Lloris was considered our best player and with one month to go currently leads our player of the season rankings. I shall be reverting to my initial process of offering my personal marks to the players, manager and referee. They are usually consistent with the popular vote!

Sunday 24th April, 2022

Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Southampton 2

These two mid-table sides played an entertaining south coast derby match with “The Saints” coming back from a two-goal deficit, thanks to goals by their captain James Ward-Prowse, who is approaching David Beckham’s Premier League record of 18 goals directly from free kicks. Ward-Prowse is four behind that figure.

Brighton took the lead inside two minutes following a throw from the left. Cucurella crossed low towards the near post and Forster failed to hold the ball when Mwepu challenged. Welbeck swept in the loose ball from short range. Livramento hit Sanchez’s right post with a shot across the goalmouth and the ball rebounded off Sanchez’s foot which meant Che Adams could not quite reach with his attempt to follow up.

Forster did save a shot by Welbeck after Mwepu’s cross. The ball went for a corner. Livramento had to be stretchered off after a serious-looking leg/ankle injury caused when he fell badly as he challenged an innocent opponent. Perraud was the replacement.

Forster came out on top when challenged by two players (one was Welbeck) after Trossard’s trickery inside the box and a low cross. Brighton scored again a minute before half-time after they broke from their own half. Welbeck made a strong run down the right and crossed to Trossard who was in space. When Trossard returned the ball, Welbeck had continued his run, but the ball was intercepted and put into his own net by Salisu.

Southampton got one goal back in added time after a foul by Cucurella on Tella just outside the box. Ward-Prowse hit a low free kick through the wall and inside Sanchez’s right post.

Ward-Prowse’s second goal was in open play and followed passes by Tella and Romeu before the Southampton captain scored with a powerful and low driven shot inside the right post again. He’s scored 9 league goals so far this season, which is his highest tally to date.

Gross thought he had scored a winner for the home side, but he had been flagged offside and VAR supported that decision. In 9 Premier League meetings between these two sides, the home team is yet to win. Despite their recent away successes, “The Seagulls” haven’t won at home since Boxing Day. No wonder their home attendance looked a little sparse!

Burnley 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

Burnley won a second consecutive game for only the second time this season. Spurs were their victims on the first occasion in February. The win lifted them out of the bottom three and they remained above Everton after the Merseyside Derby played later in the afternoon. Wolves were playing their first game since 8th April, due to their scheduled opponents of last week (Manchester City) being involved in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Burnley’s interim manager Mike Jackson had to make one change. The injured Cornet was replaced by Vydra, who played beside Weghorst, with Rodriguez playing on the left of the midfield four. Jimenez was back in the Wolves side and was partnered by Hwang.

Pope was called upon to make a good save from Jonny, pushing the on-target shot away with two hands. (20 mins) Sa pushed over a 38th minute shot by McNeil, again plying on the right side, after a good move through the middle by Burnley, started by Cork.

Pope made a save from a decent Semedo shot five minutes into the second half. Burnley’s goal came in the 62nd minute. It followed combination play on the right wing from Roberts and McNeil who found Weghorst with a good through ball. Weghorst crossed from the right of the area and Vydra scored with a clever side-footed touch. It was only his second goal of the season. The other had been in a precious 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in November.

Goals have been hard to come by for Wolves all season and Hwang hit a late shot straight at Pope. Although they have a game in hand, Wolves might miss out on a European place altogether.

Chelsea 1 West Ham 0

All the drama came at the end of this game. Played in front of a Stamford Bridge crowd still restricted because of sanctions imposed on departing owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea had looked flat for much of the game. West Ham's focus was on their Europa League semi-final and Rice, Bowen and Antonio did not start.

West Ham's one fit centre-back Craig Dawson was initially shown a yellow card for hauling back Chelsea sub Lukaku with the additional cost of a penalty. VAR called referee Michael Oliver to the monitor and the yellow card was upgraded to red, meaning Dawson will miss next week's game against Arsenal. That won't help Spurs' Champions League hopes as "The Hammers'" next opponents are Arsenal.

Jorginho stepped up to take the penalty with his usual hop, skip and jump technique but pathetically dollied the kick to the hands of Fabianski. However, Chelsea did win the game with a 90th minute goal when Alonso pulled the ball into the centre of the area and another sub -Pulisic - scored the killer goal.

The result probably puts paid to West Ham's prospects of Champions League qualification through the league, justifying the focus on Thursday's game. Chelsea’s grasp on third place had been looking fragile with recent results, but they are now five points above Arsenal, and two more above Spurs.

Liverpool 2 Everton 0

The first piece of bad news for Everton was Burnley's win over Wolves which put them in the bottom three for the first time since December 2019. The second was the loss of Ben Godfrey in the warm-up which gave Michael Keane a start that had not been intended by Frank Lampard. Yerry Mina was also sitting out this game. Everton did have the strength of Doucoure and Allan in midfield.

Keita replaced Henderson in Liverpool's midfield, and Jota took the place of Diaz in the front three.

Everton defended with strength and Salah was being watched closely by left back Mykolenko and either Gordon or Iwobi. Mane had the first real pop at goal after 21 minutes with a right foot shot on the turn from 22 yards. Gordon was shown a yellow card by referee Stuart Attwell for simulation in the Liverpool area.

Jota had a poke at goal after half an hour striking Robertson's cross with a first touch to the left of goal. Doucoure got ahead of Richarlison and stayed onside as he received the pass but fired wide across Alisson's goal.

Richarlison stayed on the floor (for at least the third time) and referee Attwell let play continue. In frustration, Doucoure had two goes at Fabinho and was shown a yellow card for his trouble. Tempers were getting heated - also not for the first time.

Liverpool attacked the Kop End in the second half and there was more pace in the game. Everton's Iwobi and Gordon made a couple of breaks forward and Gordon went down in the box under pressure from Matip, but again the referee’s decision was no penalty. Iwobi lifted a ball to Gordon who hit a shot wide across the goal. Gordon's blistering pace forced Alexander-Arnold into a cynical foul which drew an obvious yellow.

Origi and Dias replaced Mane and Keita after 60 minutes. Origi played a part in Liverpool’s 62nd minute goal. He combined with Salah on the right of the area before Salah chipped to the back of the area where Robertson headed into the net.

Everton had been under the cosh but after 71 minutes, Gordon and Iwobi fed the ball to Demarai Gray whose shot worried Alisson but was wide. Dele Alli came on for Allan. Soon after, Rondon replaced Gray. Dele caused a moment of panic in the Liverpool area with a low cross from the bye-line on the left, but Alisson half cleared before Robertson swept up.

Jordan Henderson came on after 81 minutes for Jota. Pickford had to dive to his right to push away a deflected Thiago shot from Salah's pass. After the corner was returned across the area from the back of the area, Luis Diaz hit a shot into the ground which bounced up nicely for Origi to head into the net. (85 mins)

Richarlison was booked for pushing Jordan Henderson away with his boot to leg (not quite a kick) and then had Everton’s first shot on target in added time trying to shoot across Alisson, who comfortably held the shot.

Everton began and ended the game in the bottom three. Liverpool remain one point behind Manchester City.

Monday 25th April, 2022

Crystal Palace 0 Leeds United 0

This was Leeds first game since they beat Watford on April 9th. They had the greater need for points to lift them away from the relegation zone. Kalvin Phillips started. Palace made five changes and included Jordan Ayew, Eze, and Mateta in their front four, which of course included Wilfried Zaha.

Mateta was presented with a good chance after only three minutes as he ran onto a long ball down the right channel. His shot beat Meslier, but was cleared before it reached the goal. Palace were certainly looking the sharper of the two sides and after 14 minutes, Gallagher hit a long ball down the right side which was collected by Ayew. His cross was nearly converted by Mateta, but Llorente's touch was vital to stop the Palace man from scoring.

Leeds had a corner after 26 minutes taken by Harrison but headed down by Cooper into Guaita’s arms. After a Leeds throw from the right and a clever back-heel by Cooper, Dallas had a 22-yard shot charged down by Ayew. Zaha was, of course, prominent and was awarded free kicks after fouls by Ayling and Dallas.

Leeds coach Jesse Marsch replaced Klich with Koch at the start of the second half. Soon after kick-off, Raphinha had an on-target shot well blocked by Ward, who conceded a corner. Leeds were trying to move the ball forward quicker. Daniel James was booked for an over-eager tackle on Ward, who was also booked for his physical and aggressive reaction.

The game was being played at very fast pace and from end to end. Marsch took off James for 20-year-old Sam Greenwood after 59 minutes. Zaha got away from Ayling, but when Mateta met his cross he skied his shot. Michael Olise replaced Jordan Ayew after 66 minutes. Meslier saved low from Zaha after he rescued a long cross at the bye-line.

Leeds' final change was Gelhardt for Rodrigo after 73 minutes. Ward had Meslier worried with a curling shot, but the ball was always going wide. Palace had a free kick after Zaha was held by Llorente, who was booked. Following the kick, Gallagher hit a 20-yard shot just two feet over the crossbar. Schlupp replaced Ayew.

After a poor ball out by Llorente and a pass from Schlupp, Zaha had two shots saved by Meslier. Vieira's last throw of the dice was to put on Benteke for Mateta. Benteke crossed from the left to Olise who passed back to Gallagher. His shot was on target but held by the Leeds keeper.

Zaha had an added time shot deflected wide for a corner, after which the Leeds defence managed to clear from Gallagher.

The game had been played at frantic pace with no penetration. Palace had the best chances to win, and Leeds will probably be grateful for the away point.

Fixtures and results - 23-25.04.22

Saturday 23rd April, 2022

Arsenal    3-1  Man Utd
Leicester  0-0  A. Villa
Man City   5-1  Watford
Norwich    0-3  Newcastle
Brentford  0-0  Spurs

Sunday 24th April, 2022

Brighton   2-2  S'hampton
Burnley    1-0  Wolves
Chelsea    1-0  West Ham
Liverpool  2-0  Everton

Monday 25th April, 2022

C. Palace  0-0  Leeds

            Premier League Table

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts

 1. Man City  33 25  5  3  80-21  59   80 
 2. Liverpool 33 24  7  2  85-22  63   79 
 3. Chelsea   32 19  8  5  67-27  40   65
 4. Arsenal   33 19  3 11  52-40  12   60
 5. Spurs     33 18  4 11  56-38  18   58 
 6. Man Utd   34 15  9 10  53-51   2   54
 7. West Ham  34 15  7 12  52-44   8   52 
 8. Wolves    33 15  4 14  33-29   4   49
 9. Newcastle 34 11 10 13  40-55 -15   43
10. Leicester 32 11  9 12  47-51  -4   42
11. Brighton  34  9 14 11  31-42 -11   41
12. Brentford 34 11  7 16  41-49  -8   40
13. S'hampton 34  9 13 12  40-56 -16   40
14. C. Palace 33  8 14 11  43-41   2   38
15. A. Villa  32 11  4 17  42-46  -4   37
16. Leeds     33  8 10 15  38-68 -30   34
17. Burnley   33  6 13 14  29-45 -16   31
18. Everton   32  8  5 19  34-55 -21   29
19. Watford   33  6  4 23  31-67 -36   22
20. Norwich   33  5  6 22  22-69 -47   21

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