Premier League Review - Matchday 37
The penultimate round of Sunday games followed Saturday’s FA Cup Final between Liverpool and Chelsea. The same teams met in February’s League Cup Final. Liverpool won both games after penalty shoot-outs, making the first two steps in their bid for an historic “quadruple”.
Sunday 15th May, 2022
Spurs 1 Burnley 0
Declan Mulcahy kindly wrote our match report. This was certainly a tough game to watch, but of course the win was vital, and put Arsenal under additional pressure for their penultimate game at Newcastle. Somewhere on my site recently (I haven’t found the offending link so far) I suggested that Harry Kane had overtaken Sergio Aguero in the list of Premier League top scorers. Harry now has 182 such goals and needs three more to overtake Aguero’s 184. Harry also now needs 20 club goals to overtake the incredible 266 total of Jimmy Greaves. He will need another season to do that, won’t he?
Son Heung-min won the BBC man of the match vote, and also swept up the club’s end of season awards. Ryan Sessegnon was voted our best player via the club’s Twitter feed. My personal favourite was Rodrigo Bentancur . It just goes to show the benefit of my defunct public survey. Harry Kane’s Premier League penalty conversion rate is 28 out of 31 (90%). I cannot remember his last failure from the spot, and I particularly liked the great variation between his penalties against Arsenal and Burnley.
Aston Villa 1 Crystal Palace 1
With both sides in mid-table there was nothing riding on this game except pride and of course the extra prize money for a higher place in the table. Martinez made the first save of the game midway through the first half from a Zaha right-footer. Ings was teed up by Watkins but pushed his right foot effort wide. Nathan Clyne had a shot saved by Martinez on the stretch towards the end of the half.
Gallagher had a low shot deflected and saved by Martinez as he dived towards his left post after 64 minutes. Ollie Watkins, whose fitness had been in doubt during the week, opened the scoring five minutes later with a low right footed shot after Lucas Digne’s long cross from the left. The goal was scored at the Holte End. Palace equalised ten minutes from time following a free kick taken from the left side. Ultimately, Guehi headed down and substitute Schlupp provided the finish from short range.
Leeds United 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
There was high drama at Elland Road in added time when Pascal Struijk scored an equaliser to take them that one point above Burnley, giving them at least a chance of survival. Leeds’ final fixture is away to in-form Brentford.
Leeds had been affected by injuries and suspensions. 20-year-old Joe Gelhardt started a league game for only the fourth time this season. Brighton were unchanged from the team which had thrashed Manchester United last week.
Leeds had an early corner, which was not collected by Sanchez. Gelhardt’s shot hit his team-mate and captain Liam Cooper in the face in front of goal. March turned a shot wide across the goal after a good Brighton move and a pass by Trossard. Meslier saved a from Pascal Gross after cross from the right by March after 17 minutes.
Brighton took the lead in the 21st minute after Leeds were blocked in the Brighton half. Bissouma brought the ball forward and found Welbeck who made a run to the inside of the Leeds area on the right. Welbeck created room for a shot and scored with a delicately struck shot. Sanchez made a good save diving to his left to stop Klich’s drive from outside the area after a late first half corner.
Sanchez might have got something on the ball, but a 65th minute Raphinha free kick rebounded off the bar. The Leeds crowd urged their team on and Raphinha had a shot go just outside the post after Rodrigo’s short cross from the left of the box. Sanchez saved well from a Klich shot from closer range on the right of goal, following a Raphinha pass.
Welbeck had a great chance to seal the win after 86 minutes but headed wide from Trossard’s cross. Leeds had a lifeline, and they took it in the second minute of added time. Gelhardt somehow managed to cross the ball despite the attentions of two defenders near the bye-line to the right of goal. Struijk rose at the back post to meet the cross and headed into the goal. Elland Road went crazy! Lamptey put a shot just wide in the seventh added minute, but Leeds had their precious point.
Watford 1 Leicester City 5
The new Watford manager was introduced before the game, but then the crowd had to witness a thrashing by Leicester. Goalkeeper Danny Ward, signed from Liverpool four years ago made a first Premier League start for Leicester. Kaspar Schmeichel was on the bench, ending a run of 149 consecutive Premier League games.
Leicester have a poor record defending set pieces and went one down from a 6th minute corner when Joao Pedro’s low shot from the right made it past a sea of legs into the net. Castagne actually deflected the ball into the net, but Pedro got the credit. Ward made a good save six minutes later when Joao Pedro hit a shot from close range towards his left post.
Watford were in a mess at the back after 18 minutes, failing to clear a long ball, allowing Tielemans to slide the ball across to Maddison who could not miss with his left foot shot. Four minutes later, after being gifted the ball, Maddison lifted the ball forward and Jamie Vardy headed over the advancing Foster from the edge of the box.
Harvey Barnes made it 3-1 in the first minute of the second half, after collecting Albrighton’s cross from the right. This was all too easy. Barnes had another good chance but headed wide after 60 minutes. Sissoko gave Joao Pedro a chance, but Ward managed to make a good reaction save in front of The Rookery Stand.
Vardy got away from Cathcart to convert Barnes ball lifted from a deep inside left position, slotting home in front of the away fans in the 70th minute. Barnes had a second goal four minutes from time after Etebo (on loan from Stoke) lost the ball in midfield. Maddison had another assist.
Watford must be one of the worst sides we’ve seen in the Premier League. I’m not sure they are of Championship standard. They became the first club to lose 15 home games in a Premier League season. Click here Watford fans if you want summer entertainment, especially if you are of an Italian persuasion.
West Ham 2 Man City 2
This was another exciting and dramatic game as City came back from two goals down to remain above Liverpool. City are still favourites for the title. Fabianski even saved a late penalty to preserve a point for West Ham. West Ham are also guaranteed a place in Europe for a second successive season, but they do not yet know whether that will be another Europa League campaign or one in the Europa Conference League.
City went with Fernandinho and Laporte at centre-back. Dawson headed over from an early corner, conceded after Ederson patted away a cross by Bowen. In a hot home atmosphere Jarrod Bowen gave West Ham a 24th minute lead, running onto a good, chipped ball from Fornals before rounding Ederson and scoring from the left of goal, despite Laporte’s desperate effort to reach the ball. Bowen scored again in the 45th minute. This time he beat the back line from the right. Antonio had clipped a short ball to him, and Bowen scored from the edge of the box with a low left foot shot that beat Ederson close to his outstretched leg. City were looking fragile.
City’s comeback began in the 49th minute, following a corner. Rodri headed back inside the area to Grealish, whose right foot shot bounced into the ground and over Fabianski. Bernardo Silva had a shot saved but not held by the West ham keeper, before Zouma booted the ball out for a corner.
Antonio was gifted a chance by Fernandinho’s poor back pass, but the West Ham striker was closed down by Ederson and hit his shot high and off target. City were level in the 69th minute and West Ham scored their goal! Mahrez delivered a free kick from the left and Coufal headed into the net to the left of his keeper.
Bowen had a shot deflected wide by Laporte. Noble came on with fifteen minutes still to be played. Jesus went down in the box after a Dawson challenge. Referee Anthony Taylor initially signalled goal kick, but after a monitor review, awarded a penalty. Mahrez took the kick which was at a nice height for Fabianski to save to his left.
There were emotional scenes as the West Ham fans paid tribute to club captain and one-club faithful servant Mark Noble, who made his final home appearance from the bench, having previously announced his retirement at the end of this season, aged 35. Noble has made a total of 549 appearances for the club with one possible game remaining to make that 550. Noble was in tears before and after the game. Only five players in West Ham’s history have played more games. These were Billy Bonds (799), Frank Lampard (senior) (670), Bobby Moore (647), Trevor Brooking (643) and Alvin Martin (596). Noble was embraced warmly by Pep Guardiola, which was a touch of class.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Norwich City 1
Wolves have won just three of their last thirteen games and have failed to win any of their last six games. Today they managed to concede a point to bottom club Norwich, who have also failed to win any of their last six games and managed one win in their last fifteen in the Premier League. There will be no European football at Molineux next season. Wolves might yet lose eighth place to Leicester.
John Ruddy was given a game in goal against his former club making only his third Premier League start in four years. Pukki had a great chance to open the scoring after 10 minutes, after Dowell fed him with a neat pass into the left of the area. Pukki hit his shot wide across the goal. Ruddy managed to save another Pukki effort from a similar area soon afterwards. Pukki did score and gave Norwich a 37th minute lead. He took a pass from Max Aarons, moving left inside the area. Ruddy seemed to wrong-foot himself and Pukki was able to slot the ball home to his left.
Ait-Nouri scored a headed equaliser in the 55th minute. Wolves had a free kick on the right, after which there was a scramble in the box before the left wing-back headed back across goal and past Gunn in the Norwich goal. Gunn made an excellent fingertip save from Neto’s diving header from Chiquinho’s cross. The score remained 1-1.
Everton 2 Brentford 3
Everton had two players sent off and conceded two goals in two second half minutes to leave their Premier League future in the balance. Once again, the atmosphere before the game had been highly charged inside and outside the stadium. Frank Lampard went with a back three which included 19-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite.
Everton had a chance after four minutes with Richarlison and Gordon in tandem. Gordon’s shot was saved by Raya and Richarlison headed the rebound wide. Everton did have the lead in the tenth minute, but it took a little while to establish that the scorer was Calvert-Lewin after Richarlison turned a free kick across the goalmouth. The ball had brushed Calvert-Lewin across his chest.
Richarlison was denied a penalty when he was being held and when the ball was cleared, Branthwaite was shown a red card for a “last man” foul on Toney. Everton’s protests fell upon deaf ears, and “The Toffees” were down to ten men after only 19 minutes.
Brentford were level in the 37th minute. After an Eriksen corner from the right Jensen found Toney towards the right of goal with a cute pass. Toney hit the ball across goal and Wissa seemed to have scored with a right foot shot, but the ball went into goal off the head of the unfortunate Seamus Coleman. Everton regained the lead in first half added time after referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot when Bech challenged Richarlison. It looked a soft decision, but VAR wasn’t going to argue. Richarlison stuttered his approach and sent Raya the wrong way before hitting the net.
Three points would have made Everton safe, but disaster struck in the second half. They conceded a 62nd minute equaliser from Wissa’s near post flick after Eriksen’s corner. Two minutes later Rico Henry met Norgaard’s cross with a perfect header inside Pickford’s left post to make it 3-2.
Salomon Rondon was a late substitution for Coleman, but his stay on field was brief as he made a clumsy tackle on Henry with both feet off the ground, making contact with Henry’s shin. That’s two more players Lampard did not have available for Thursday night’s game against Palace.
Monday 16th May, 2022
Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 0
This was a fantastic result for Spurs, who remain in fourth place and in the driving seat for the last Champions League spot with an away trip to bottom-placed Norwich to come. Spurs will need just a point from that game to stay ahead of their arch-rivals. For the second time in four days, Mikel Arteta’s team crumbled in front of a big home crowd. Newcastle were clearly the better team and had Arsenal under pressure from the start. Arteta admitted Arsenal lost to the better team.
Both goals were scored in the second half. Firstly, Ben White turned in Joelinton’s cross from the left, with Callum Wilson on his back (55 mins). Both sides used four subs, one of which was a “concussion” substitution. By the end Arteta had six attacking players on the field, but Newcastle were getting men behind the ball and blocking well, whilst also offering threatening counter-attacking moves. Wilson nearly scored with a stunning long-range effort, but that passed just over Ramsdale’s bar. They scored a second goal, which sealed the result in the 85th minute. Wilson was onto a neat through ball, but Ramsdale blocked his effort. The ball ran to Guimaraes who had the goal at his mercy. He did not fail!
Tuesday 17th May, 2022
Southampton 1 Liverpool 2
Despite the knowledge that only a win would put pressure on Manchester City, Jurgen Klopp made 9 changes from his Cup Final side. Some of those changes were enforced with Van Dijk, Fabinho and Salah injured, but Klopp's focus appeared to be on the Champions League Final on May 28th, rather than the Premier League. His selection included a midfield three of Jones, Milner and Elliott. The front three was Minamino, Firmino and Jota. There was plenty of strength on the bench, although Mane was not among the subs.
Southampton’s side included five changes. Alex McCarthy was in for the injured Forster. Nathan Redmond gave Southampton a 13th minute start. A Liverpool attack broke down through Lyanco (Liverpool claimed a foul) and the play was spread to Redmond on the left. He made a solo run down the left, before cutting inside and curling a right foot shot from 20 yards inside Alisson’s top left corner. Lyanco was soon in defensive action again, clearing from the feet of Jota, conceding a corner.
Firmino headed into the net after a Liverpool free kick but had been one of three offside players. Minamino, who spent time on loan with "The Saints' last season, equalised with a right footed rising shot from an angle on the right after Jota took a cross from Gomez and slipped the Japanese player a short pass. (27 mins) Minamino's celebrations were muted.
Before and after their goal, Liverpool dominated possession and asserted control of the game. Joe Gomez was injured in first half added time and was replaced at the start of the second half by Jordan Henderson. Henderson took the armband from James Milner, who reverted to right back.
Within three minutes of the restart, Jota received Tsimikas's cross, but put his shot just wide of the far post. Elliott hit the side netting with a right foot shot after Firmino set him up. Origi replaced Elliott after 65 minutes. Within two minutes, Liverpool had a corner from the left taken by Tsimikas. Both Walker-Peters and Matip stooped to head the ball which looped into the net left of McCarthy. Matip was credited.
Redmond had another pop at goal three minutes from time, but this was straight to Alisson’s hands.
Jurgen Klopp’s team selection and strategy proved to be right, and Liverpool have taken the title race to the last day.
Thursday 19th May, 2022
Aston Villa 1 Burnley 1
When Burnley lost at home to Villa on 7th May, it was the first of two defeats which put them back in the bottom three. Now they were desperate for some return from the game. James Tarkowski made a welcome return to the side at the expense of Matt Lowton. It appeared that Burnley would again play in a back three formation that so nearly worked at Tottenham on Sunday. Steve Gerrard made four changes, with Danny Ings and Coutinho on the bench. Buendia, Chambers, Ramsey and Chukwuemeka all started.
Barnes escaped sanction of any kind early on when he struck Mings' head with his elbow in an aerial challenge.
Burnley played the same 5-3-2 as they had at Tottenham and came under early pressure, defending a free kick and two corners. They then won a corner themselves as Cornet and McNeil attacked in tandem. Villa took a quick corner from the right after 16 minutes and Pope had to stretch to his right post to save a 22-yard curler from McGinn. Burnley won a second corner after 20 minutes, after which McNeil's 20 yard effort was deflected out of play for another corner.
Matty Cash hit a right foot shot just over the corner of goal after 25 minutes. Pope made an even better save after half an hour from a powerful 20-yarder by McGinn, this time diving to his left to push the shot around the corner.
Burnley were awarded a penalty after 43 minutes when Buendia caught Cornet after a free kick. Barnes sent Martinez the wrong way in front of The Holte End. (45 mins)
Buendia made amends for his penalty error three minutes after the restart. McGinn hit a long cross from the right and Buendia had sprinted into the box, meeting the cross perfectly to beat Pope with a first-time right foot shot.
Martinez saved a Brownhill shot low to his right after 63 minutes. VAR reviewed a possible handball by Digne inside the Villa area. The incident was not dissimilar from that at Tottenham on Sunday when Burnley were the victims. This time the decision was "No Penalty"
Pope had to save from Watkins's right foot shot, pushing the ball over his bar. Ings replaced Watkins in the 78th minute, and nearly scored against his old team with his first touch, putting a 20 yard right foot shot wide. Aaron Lennon came on for McNeil. Weghorst was already on for Barnes.
Pope made another brilliant save with a low right hand from a header by another Villa sub - Traore. Burnley’s final substitution was defensive - Lowton for Cornet- but then Roberts forced a save from Martinez at his right post before Weghorst had a shot at an almost open goal blocked by Mings' outstretched leg. Pope had more work to do, saving a Mings long range effort and an angled shot by Ings. As added time beckoned, Pope was well placed to save from Cash.
Matt Lowton was shown a red card by Paul Tierney for an over-zealous tackle on Chambers. VAR did not oppose the decision.
Burnley held onto what is a precious point, and one which puts them above Leeds on goal difference and in control of their destiny on Sunday. Burnley host Newcastle. Leeds travel to Brentford.
Chelsea 1 Leicester 1
Chelsea made two changes to their Cup Final side and included Kante and Ziyech. Having missed the last game Kaspar Schmeichel started in a side which also included Amartey, Thomas and Iheanacho.
Chelsea are still hampered by the sanctions imposed upon Roman Abramovich and have not been able to sell tickets to non-season ticket holders. Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle guaranteed Chelsea’s Champions League qualification.
Chelsea dominated the early possession and Ziyech hit a shot just wide of Schmeichel’s left post, but Leicester’s player of the year James Maddison gave the visitors a 6th minute lead with their first attack. Castagne had got the better of Alonso on the wing, but his cross was blocked, falling to the feet of Maddison, who advanced and unleashed an unstoppable right foot shot from the edge of the box. A long distance shot by Chalobah n the run was well saved by Schmeichel.
Chelsea continued to dominate in a subdued atmosphere, but most of their efforts were being blocked, including a good defensive clearance by Amartey when Lukaku tried a shot. Thiago headed over following a corner taken from the right and a cross by James, but it wasn’t long before the home side equalised. James was the provider with a lofted ball across the area and Alonso finished with a first-time left foot shot. (35 mins)
Ziyech had a second half free kick comfortably saved by Schmeichel at the bottom of his left post and in Chelsea’s next attack the Leicester keeper saved again from Ziyech, shotting from 20 yards. Lukaku headed wide from six yards after a Ziyech cross. There was no addition to thee scoring, but Rudiger was lucky to see only yellow for a two-footed lunge on Fofana.
Pulisic had a tantrum after he had been substituted. Rudiger and Christensen will be leaving this summer. All in all, despite Champions League football and their current World Club Champions status, Chelsea does not seem to be a happy home.
Chelsea’s point gives them third place, as they have a far superior goal difference to that of Spurs who could only draw level with a win should Chelsea fail to conquer relegated Watford.
Everton 3 Crystal Palace 2
This sensational win ensured Everton’s Premier League status. Michael Keane was the one team change, replacing the suspended Branthwaite. Gallagher, Kouyate and Milivojevic made way in the Palace side for Schlupp, Hughes and Jordan Ayew. The match was preceded by blue flares displayed by the local masses, and there was a pitch invasion when they went 3-2 up five minutes from time. Everton had a couple of last day escapes in the nineties, but this was a game which was surely just as memorable as "The Toffees" made a fantastic second half comeback to win after going two goals down.
Palace had a couple of efforts off target by Ayew and Schlupp before Richarlison was fouled just outside the area by Andersen. Richarlison took the kick which went out of play off the top of the bar. Schlupp was fouled by Gomes out on the left wing. Eze took the kick and Mateta rose to head into the net to the left of Pickford at the distraught Gwladys Street End. (21 mins)
After taking a pass from Gordon, Richarlison hit a shot straight into the arms of Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland. There were scenes in front of the dug-outs when Jordan Ayew fouled Anthony Gordon. Everton wanted a red, but Anthony Taylor showed Ayew a yellow card. The Everton upset was only aggravated within two minutes. Seamus Coleman was robbed of the ball inside the Palace half by Mateta. His cross was aimed at Ayew, but Everton managed to scramble the ball clear, only as far as Zaha on the edge of the bx. Zaha returned the ball to the 6-yard area when Ayew managed to force the ball over the line when Pickford and his defence failed to claim it and clear. At 2-0 down, the situation was looking grim.
Frank Lampard put on Dele All for Gomes at the start of the second half, giving Dele more minutes than since the first of his 10 substitute appearances since the move from Spurs. Dele had his best game yet for “The Toffees”. Dele was fouled by Andersen a good 35 yards out towards the left. Mykolenko floated in the free kick and after a header by Holgate Michael Keane managed to poke the ball into the net from10 yards with an instinctive left foot shot. (54 mins) This was a “game on” situation!
Demarai Gray replaced Gordon, who was no doubt suffering after the Ayew challenge. Pickford saved well from Mateta after Eze had passed to his left inside the box, and after the corner Schlupp found space for a shot but this was hit straight at the Everton keeper. Conor Gallagher replaced Schlupp but within a minute Everton were level. A Dele Alli shot had been blocked but the ball rebounded to Richarlison who managed to hook the ball into the net from the left side of the box into the far corner. Cue roars! (75 mins)
With five minutes of the game remaining and after a foul by Zaha on Coleman, Gray floated in the free kick from the right and Calvert-Lewin powered a header into the net. This led to the first pitch invasion and a delay, but ultimately Everton held on to the win and their Premier League status.
There was a massive pitch invasion at the end of the game, with scenes resembling a trophy win. Patrick Vieira had walk 80 yards across the pitch in the face of Everton fans who surrounded him and abused him. Vieira snapped and kicked out and will no doubt face disciplinary action.
Fixtures and results - 15-19.05.22
Sunday 15th May, 2022
Spurs 1-0 Burnley
A. Villa 1-1 C. Palace
Leeds 1-1 Brighton
Watford 1-5 Leicester
West Ham 2-2 Man City
Wolves 1-1 Norwich
Everton 2-3 Brentford
Monday 16th May, 2022
Newcastle 2-0 Arsenal
Tuesday 17th May, 2022
S'hampton 1-2 Liverpool
Thursday 19th May, 2022
Everton 3-2 C. Palace
A. Villa 1-1 Burnley
Chelsea 1-1 Leicester
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 37 28 6 3 96-24 72 90
2. Liverpool 37 27 8 2 91-25 66 89
3. Chelsea 37 20 11 6 74-32 42 71
4. Spurs 37 21 5 11 64-40 24 68
5. Arsenal 37 21 3 13 56-47 9 66
6. Man Utd 37 16 10 11 57-56 1 58
7. West Ham 37 16 8 13 59-48 11 56
8. Wolves 37 15 6 16 37-40 -3 51
9. Leicester 37 13 10 14 58-58 0 49
10. Brighton 37 11 15 11 39-43 -4 48
11. Brentford 37 13 7 17 47-54 -7 46
12. Newcastle 37 12 10 15 42-61 -19 46
13. C. Palace 37 10 15 12 49-46 3 45
14. A. Villa 37 13 6 18 50-51 -1 45
15. S'hampton 37 9 13 15 42-63 -21 40
16. Everton 37 11 6 20 42-61 -19 39
17. Burnley 37 7 14 16 33-51 -18 35
18. Leeds 37 8 11 18 40-78 -38 35
19. Watford 37 6 5 26 33-75 -42 23 R
20. Norwich 37 5 7 25 23-79 -56 22 R