Premier League Review – Matchday 38
Issues being decided on this last Premier League matchday were the destination of the title, the last Champions League place, lesser European places and the final relegation place. Apart from that, each place in the league table carries considerable prize money on a sliding scale. Then there was the Golden Boot to be settled but that was shared between Mo Salah and our own Son Heung-min, who both scored 23 Premier League goals. Harry Kane finished one behind Ronaldo with 17 goals. Liverpool had three players in the top six goalscorers’ list with Mane and Jota joining Salah.
Sunday 22nd May, 2022
Arsenal 5 Everton 1
It’s Europa League football for Arsenal next season and a sixth season without Champions League football. At least they managed to qualify for Europe this season, although they have now finished below Spurs for the six seasons in which they have failed to qualify for The Champions League. Having ensured their Premier League safety on Thursday night, Everton were not at the races for this game. Frank Lampard made six changes to his team which included Begovic in goal, and a first start for Dele Alli since his move from Spurs.
Arsenal were awarded a penalty following monitor review when a Martinelli shot struck Iwobi’s upper arm. Martinelli converted from the spot in the 27th minute. Nketiah made it 2-0 four minutes later after Martinelli flicked on a corner which had been awarded after Dele tried and failed to shepherd out an almost static ball. (Spurs went two up at Norwich only minutes later when Arsenal’s destiny was virtually certain)
Everton’s first half added time goal was scored almost at half-speed. Iwobi had pushed the ball into the Arsenal area on the right to Calvert-Lewin, whose cross was not challenged and was slotted into the net by Manchester United loanee Donny van de Beek, scoring his one and only Everton goal.
Cedric scored from a 56th minute Saka corner with a right foot shot, and three minutes later provided the short through ball for Gabriel to score, following another corner. Begovic got a touch on the shot but was not strong enough. Odegaard literally passed the ball into Begovic’s net from the edge of the area in the 82nd minute.
Brentford 1 Leeds United 2
Burnley’s defeat meant that a point would have kept Leeds in the top flight, but they made sure with a late added time winner by Jack Harrison to send the Yorkshire fans home in ecstasy.
Gelhardt had the ball into net after 19 minutes, as news of Burnley going one down came through, but he had been offside. Meslier had to make a save from Jensen’s clever lofted attempt later in the half. Eriksen had hit a long ball to Mbeumo out on the right and he had crossed into the Leeds area.
After 53 minutes, Raphinha passed inside from the right to Rodrigo, whose shot was held by Raya. A minute later, Leeds had a penalty as Raphinha snapped up Raya’s poor clearance, then entered the area where he was felled by the keeper’s outstretched legs. Referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot and Raphinha scored off a stuttering run.(56 mins) As things stood, Leeds were safe.
Brentford had used all their subs when Ajer had to leave injured, leaving them with only ten men with 13 minutes remaining. They did manage to equalise in the 78th minute when Canos headed into the net across Meslier after Wissa had floated the ball in from the right. Canos was booked for taking off his shirt, and only a minute later was shown a second yellow when he fouled Raphinha. Leeds were level and playing nine men.
Leeds won a corner in added time when Harrison’s shot was deflected. Harrison scored the winner himself with a low left foot shot (also deflected) from some 25 yards, after the corner was cleared to his feet.
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 West Ham United 1
Whilst it is unusual for West Ham to have two successive seasons in Europe, they will play Conference League teams next season. “The Hammers” finished 15 points behind Spurs, and in the end their tiring season restricted their achievement. After beating another top 7 side Brighton can justifiably feel proud of their highest top flight finish.
News had leaked through that Palace had taken the lead against United when Antonio gave West Ham a 40th minute lead after a throw from the right. Antonio received a ball, before turning and shooting into the net in one fluid action. West Ham had one foot in the Europa League door at that point.
Brighton equalised five minutes into the second half when Veltman latched onto March’s pass after a Brighton move from the left. Fabianski failed to hold the shot. Welbeck put a shot just the wrong side of the post firing across goal from an angle on the left. David Moyes was not looking happy with his players and “The Hammers” went 2-1 down in the 80th minute when Pascal Gross had Fabianski well beaten with a great left-footed shot, after Brighton had moved the ball well from the right-hand side. In added time, Welbeck completed the win with a header from Gross’s right-side corner.
Burnley 1 Newcastle United 2
Disaster struck at Turf Moor as Burnley’s current six-year tenure of a Premier League place came to an end. James Tarkowski’s contract ends this summer, so he was leading his club out for probably his last game. Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier, once of Burnley, made his first start for three months.
Nick Pope had to come to his team’s rescue after 16 minutes, saving Guimaraes’ shot from 18 yards after an error by Nathan Collins had given the visitors an opening. After the corner, Collins raised an errant hand, but it took VAR and a monitor review to convict him of handball, leading to a penalty taken and scored by Wilson (20 mins). Pope saved a low shot from Saint-Maximin in first half added time.
Burnley went two down on the hour when Callum Wilson was unmarked, receiving Saint-Maximin’s pass across the area before slotting the ball into the net. Cornet got one back when his first shot was saved by Dubravka, but only parried, allowing Cornet to score from the rebound. (69 mins)
After Canos’s equaliser against Leeds, Burnley needed just one goal. They nearly got it when Barnes crossed and Weghorst got a touch but put the ball wide of the far post. Targett made a vital block from Cork’s shot just inside the post. Jack Harrison’s added time goal finally condemned Burnley to the drop.
Chelsea 2 Watford 1
This game probably had the least interest of all the games played on this last day. Chelsea had already secured third place and Watford’s relegation was already settled. Chelsea included 26-year-old Kenedy for the first time in five years. He has been a perpetual loanee. Roy Hodgson made six changes including goalkeeper Bachmann for Ben Foster, who has played his last game.
Bachmann made a decent save from Havertz after only 6 minutes. However, Havertz scored five minutes later after a good Chelsea move which ended when Kenedy crossed low from the left of goal and Havertz scored at the back post. Mendy had to save low at his left-hand post from a Femenia shot after half an hour. In first half added time, Havertz took a pass from Kenedy, hitting a shot which just rolled off the top of the bar.
Mendy was well tested to save from Joao Pedro early in the second half. It was still just 1-0, three minutes from time, when Gosling headed in a Masina cross to make it 1-1. In added time Ross Barkley, making a rare (substitute) appearance, scored an even rarer Chelsea goal heading James’ cross beneath Bachmann’s body. Ben Chilwell had come on for the last few minutes, making his first appearance (due to injury) since November.
Crystal Palace 1 Manchester United 0
Despite another defeat and finishing with a goal difference of zero, United will at least play Europa League football next season. Their new manager has a massive challenge on his hands. Erik Ten Hag was in the stadium to watch his new team before formally taking charge. His former team (Ajax) will again be playing in the Champions League.
Cavani was up front for United. Ronaldo was absent through injury. Patrick Vieira gave 19-year-old Jesuran Rak-Sakyi a first Premier League start. Guaita was back between the sticks for Palace, and he made a good early left-handed save from Cavani after being wrong-footed at first. At the other end, De Gea saved low to his right with his legs from a shot by Schlupp. Zaha scored the only goal of the game in the 37th minute, taking a cross from the right before rolling Dalot, entering the area and placing a nice shot inside De Gea’s right post.
19-year-old Mebri had started the game for United and he had a nice right foot shot from the edge of the area pushed over the bar by Guaita on the hour. That’s about as close as United came from scoring, although Andersen headed a ball onto the top of his net, and McTominay headed down to the goalkeeper from a United corner.
United’s 58 point total is their worst since the 1990-91 season.
Leicester City 4 Southampton 1
Leicester climbed to eighth place with this entertaining win against a Southampton side which has lost nine of their last twelve games and slid down to 15th place. On this form they’ll have to look out next season.
The first half was goalless, with Vardy going closest but failing to make strong enough contact to a cross from the right. Leicester broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half. Vardy took advantage of Lyanco’s poor header, but his shot was saved by McCarthy. The ball ran to Maddison who scored. Southampton were unhappy as the goal followed a dropped ball which went in favour of Leicester and the goal followed a long clearance by Schmeichel.
After another Leicester advance, Lyanco was turned inside out by Vardy, who made it 2-0 in the 74th minute. VAR did not argue with retiring referee Jon Moss’s decision to award Stuart Armstrong a penalty when he tripped over Tielemans’ foot and Ward-Prowse scored from the spot (79 mins). However, Perez restored Leicester’s two-goal advantage with a flying right-footed shot after a great ball across the area by Maddison. (81 mins)
Perez completed the scoring in the sixth minute of added time with another right-footed shot. This one was more conventional as he met Ricardo’s cross from the right at the near post.
Liverpool 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
All eyes were on Liverpool and Manchester City today, but by the time Liverpool had taken the lead against Wolves, City had already come back from two down against Steve Gerrard’s Villa and ultimately completed the comeback with a win to secure their fourth title in five years and their sixth Premier League title. Liverpool’s quadruple is off the table, but they do still have a Champions League Final to play against Real Madrid.
Mo Salah did not start this game. Neither did Van Dijk. Both players had slight injuries following last week’s FA Cup victory. Wolves gave Anfield a nasty shock in only the third minute when Jimenez collected Sa’s long clearance before crossing from the right. Pedro slammed the ball into the net at the Kop End. Wolves had a great chance to make it 2-0 after 18 minutes when Neves sent a long ball down the left for Neto, whose cross was met by Dendoncker, but put wide of Alisson’s right post.
Mane levelled the score in the 24th minute, taking on Thiago’s neat through ball before scoring with a low left foot shot. Liverpool were pressing hard for a lead, but Robertson put a shot just over the bar from the left of goal.
At half-time Milner replaced Thiago for Liverpool and Wolves changed keepers with Ruddy on for Sa. Mane had the ball in the net in the 50th minute but had been offside when Jota had put him through. Salah replaced Jota after 58 minutes. Boly took the ball off Salah’s feet as he was about to pull the trigger, and was heartily congratulated by his captain Conor Coady, who was once on Liverpool’s books.
Urged on by Liverpool fans who knew City had gone two down, Alexander-Arnold had a shot well blocked (it was Boly again) in front of The Kop. It was still 1-1 at Anfield when the news of City taking the lead broke around the stadium. Coady got in the way of a Diaz shot, but from the corner, Matip’s header was blocked on the line and in the scramble, Salah managed to force the ball over the line. (84 mins) Salah thus shares the Golden Boot with Son.
Robertson made it 3-1 in the 89th minute after an exchange with Firmino deep inside the Wolves area, but it was all to no avail as City held their nerve and their lead.
Manchester City 3 Aston Villa 2
After playing in his 384th City game 37-year-old captain Fernandinho lifted the Premier League trophy before he would say his goodbyes to the club and its fans.
Steve Gerrard gave Swedish goalkeeper Robin Olsen his club debut, as Martinez had a knee problem. Philippe Coutinho started this game, as anticipated.
City had an early chance blocked after skill by Mahrez on the left-hand bye-line, and midway through the first half Foden put a shot wide after De Bruyne had made a great run before uncharacteristically slipping as he reached the area. In the knowledge that Liverpool had equalised, City fans were getting nervous, more so when Matty Cash headed in Digne’s cross from his left in the 37th minute. The two title contenders were level on points at this stage, but City had the better goal difference. Fernandinho was relieved when Watkins did not take full advantage of his defensive error in failing to win a header.
Early in the second half Digne made a great goal-saving block and Jesus managed to lift a shot too high from a cross by Cancelo. Watkins put a good chance the wrong side of the post after racing onto Olsen’s long clearance. Former Liverpool man Coutinho made it 2-0 to Villa in the 69th minute when Watkins headed on another Ruddy long ball and Coutinho hit the net with a right foot shot just inside Ederson’s right post. Ederson was stationary.
Gundogan had replaced Bernardo Silva and he rose to powerfully head in a Sterling cross in the 76th minute. Two minutes later City were level when Rodri hammered low into the net after Zinchenko laid up the ball. There were shrill screams of delight at The Etihad. The shot beat Olsen, despite his dive towards his right post. City’s sensational comeback was complete, and the title secured only three more minutes later when Gundogan met De Bruyne’s pass at the back post to score his second goal. That was three goals and the Premier League title in five minutes!
There was a pitch invasion at the end of the game and Villa keeper Olsen was accosted by City fans, but he came to no harm and has not pursued any complaint. There has been concern regarding incidents at various levels where there have been mass invasions by overjoyed fans.
Norwich City 0 Spurs 5
I had to make two-goal Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min my man of the match. Son has shared this season’s Golden Boot with Mo Salah and became only the third Spurs man to win this award in the Premier League era. Teddy Sheringham and Harry Kane (3 times) were the other winners.
There were other good individual performances in this game, notably Kane, two-goal Dejan Kulusevski and double assist man Rodrigo Bentancur.
Spurs qualified for the Champions League for a sixth time (don’t forget it would have been seven if not for Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League win when they finished sixth). They matched the 71 point tally of three years ago and beat their totals of 09/10 and 15/16 (70 points).
It is interesting to note our points-per-game total in the Premier League against this season’s opponents. The three relegated clubs are at the top of this table, shown below:-
Premier League Points per game record against
2021/22 season opponents
Pl W D L For-Ag Pts (Per-game)
1. Watford 16 10 5 1 28 - 9 35 2.19
2. Burnley 16 10 3 3 31 -11 33 2.06
3. Norwich 20 12 5 3 38 -13 41 2.05
4. C. Palace 26 15 7 4 38 -19 52 2.00
5. Brentford 2 1 1 0 2 - 0 4 2.00
6. Brighton 10 6 1 3 12 - 9 19 1.9
7. Everton 60 28 23 9 95 -58 109 1.82
7= S'hampton 46 24 8 14 84 -54 84 1.82
9 Man City 50 27 7 16 71 -69 88 1.76
10 Wolves 16 8 3 5 28 -21 27 1.68
11 West Ham 52 25 10 17 76- 61 85 1.63
12 A. Villa 54 24 15 15 80 -57 87 1.61
13 Leicester 32 15 5 12 62 -53 50 1.56
14 Newcastle 54 24 8 22 83 -82 80 1.48
15 Leeds 28 11 6 11 41 -38 39 1.39
16 Arsenal 60 15 23 22 76 -95 68 1.13
17 Liverpool 60 14 17 29 69 -103 59 0.98
18 Man Utd 60 10 12 38 59 -104 42 0.7
19 Chelsea 60 7 20 33 55- 108 41 0.68
Look out for our final monthly review of this season, and of course the end of season review.