Premier League Review – Matchday Four
Saturday 11th September, 2021
Crystal Palace 3 Spurs 0
The Premier League Manager of the month for August (Nuno) and Spurs Odyssey’s player of that month (Tanganga) blotted their copybooks with their performances in this game, but that can be said for just about everybody except for our best player on the day Lucas Moura. I suspect Harry Kane was awarded his lowest ever grade in this game. I personally felt that some players did better than as judged by our voters, but such a demoralising result has a negative effect upon the marks given. Referee Jon Moss drew low assessments and poor comments! Here are a couple of the many comments received after this game:-
"What a shambles! Our false start was exposed brutally by Crystal Palace. Tanganga was a disgrace. Discipline was zero. Kane should butt out instead of sticking his oar in to defend the indefensible. How we miss Eriksen ! New playmaker required urgently."
"Very poor performance by almost all concerned, except for Lucas Moura. On this game perhaps we should have let Kane go, he didn't look interested. The team was set up wrong to start with and Nuno must take the blame for that. The referee was appalling."
Arsenal 1 Norwich City 0
Ironically, at Selhurst Park, Spurs fans had been singing about Arsenal always getting battered, but the North London infiltrators managed to get off the mark today, albeit by just the one goal. Norwich remain rooted to the bottom with four defeats. Mikel Arteta chose Aaron Ramsdale (recently signed from Sheffield United) in goal in preference to Leno and made other changes too with Tomiyasu making his debut at right back.
Kenny McLean went close for the visitors heading wide across the goal after Aarons’ cross. Aubameyang had a couple of first half efforts, one of which was ruled offside and Tomiyasu went close with a shot that passed just over the goal. Pepe was denied after 57 minutes by a brilliant Brandon Williams block. Pepe was involved in the build-up to Aubameyang’s 56th minute goal. Pepe actually hit the post twice before he got a touch to the second rebound which allowed the ball to run across goal where Aubameyang scored from close range.
Arsenal fans ironically chanted “We are staying up”, and let’s face it, they will.
Brentford 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
With three wins and a positive goal difference, Brighton climbed above Spurs. Brentford missed some good chances. Toney had a brilliant effort from over 30 yards which passed just over the goal 10 minutes into the game. Four minutes later Trossard put Welbeck in, but his low shot was held by Raya. After 23 minutes Toney crossed from the left, but Mbeumo was off target. The same player hit a left foot shot well over the target only a minute later. Mbeumo’s hat-trick of misses came in first half added time after Toney had again provided the opportunity. Janelt hit a shot on target before the half-time whistle, but this was saved by Sanchez.
The Toney-Mbeumo combination was in play again after 71 minutes, but Mbeumo did not get the right contact on the ball which allowed Sanchez to pick up. Trossard scored the only goal of the game in the last minute. Mac Allister had worked the ball in from the left, following a throw-in, passing to Trossard who scored with a well-placed right foot shot inside Raya’s left post.
Leicester City 0 Manchester City 1
Bernardo Silva is apparently not too happy at City and had been one of those players included in the media’s push of a possible Harry Kane move, but he was the difference in this game. Bernardo Silva provided the cross for an early headed effort by Gabriel Jesus which was well saved by Schmeichel. Silva then had a shot at goal himself, but this was blocked. Ederson made an early save at the feet of Harvey Barnes who had met a cross by Vardy.
Early in the second half, Barnes hit the top of the bar with a header from another Vardy cross. Vardy thought he had given Leicester the lead when he took on a pass through the middle and had both Cancelo and Ederson flailing, but he was adjudged offside. Bernardo Silva’s goal came in the 62nd minute after Grealish passed to Cancelo, whose shot was blocked by Soyuncu, but fell into Bernardo Silva’s path. He scored with his left foot across Schmeichel’s goal.
Leicester substitutes Iheanacho and Lookman combined giving Lookman a shot on goal, but this was saved by the advancing Ederson. In added time a Manchester City substitute Fernandinho put a shot just wide of Schmeichel’s right post after the ball had been fed to him by Raheem Sterling.
Manchester United 4 Newcastle United 1
The mere presence of the returning Cristiano Ronaldo was always going to top the headlines and the 36-year-old superstar of football capped his second United debut with not one but two goals – his 85th and 86th for the club. Ronaldo’s first step-over came after 10 minutes when he took the ball to a sharp angle left of goal and hit the top of the side netting with his adventurous shot. Varane headed wide from United’s first corner of the game. The trio of Sancho, Ronaldo and Fernandes combined, and Sancho nearly got a killer touch to Fernandes’ shot which passed just outside the post.
The only surprise really was that it took till first half added time for Ronaldo to score the first goal of the game. Mason Greenwood’s shot was deflected and only parried by Woodman and Ronaldo snapped up the rebound to score at close range. Manquillo scored a surprise equaliser for “The Magpies” in the 55th minute, keeping up with Saint-Maximin’s run as Newcastle broke forward through Almiron and beating De Gea to his right with a low shot. The away fans were in dreamland, but it wouldn’t last. Ronaldo took care of that seven minutes later, picking up Shaw’s pass before hitting the net by shooting through Woodman’s legs.
Joelinton had a shot saved by De Gea, but another Portuguese player made it 3-1 in the 80th minute. Bruno Fernandes had been calling for the ball, and when he received it, smashed home a 22-yard right footed shot. In added time, substitute Jesse Lingard scored his first Manchester United goal since August last year, after an excellent piece of play in which Pogba passed into the area, another sub - Martial - dummied allowing Lingard to smack home a right-footer. United went top of the table and most of the 72,000 crowd went home very happy, anticipating good times to come.
Southampton 0 West Ham United 0
West Ham are still unbeaten but will be disappointed to have drawn their last two games. Michail Antonio blotted his copybook with a second yellow card in the fifth minute of added time and will have to sit out next week’s game against Manchester United. West Ham were unchanged for a fourth consecutive game and are unbeaten in their first four games for the first time since 1999 when Harry Redknapp was their manager. “The Hammers” played in Europe that season too and Spurs were their first league victims that season.
Craig Dawson blocked an on-target shot by Djenepo after 21 minutes. Fabianski just about managed to hold and keep out a good deep cross by Southampton right back Livramento. Antonio had a shot from the edge of the box saved cleanly by McCarthy early in the second half. McCarthy saved well from Bowen’s powerful, rising shot.
Antonio’s first booking resulted from a set-to with Jack Stephens who was also booked. 20-year-old Armando Broja is yet another Chelsea loanee who spent last season on loan with Spurs’ European Conference League opponents Vitesse Arnhem. He came off the bench in this game and in the 81st minute, broke forward, beating Fabianski to the right with a 20-yard shot only to see his shot rebound off the post. Livramento is a permanent signing by “The Saints” from Chelsea. In added time Broja headed down a Ward-Prowse corner and Declan Rice made a brilliant clearance on the line.
Antonio’s second yellow came as a result of a raised leg challenge upon Djenepo giving referee David Coote an easy decision. West Ham have a Thursday trip to Zagreb to begin their Europa League campaign and it will be interesting to see how they cope with the extra fixtures this season.
Watford 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2
Wolves got their first win of the season to drag themselves out of the bottom three, but they were set on their way by an embarrassing own goal by Chilean International defender Sierralta. South Korean forward Hwang Hee-chan came off the bench and scored Wolves’ second goal on his debut.
Moussa Sissoko actually had a very good shot at goal after 16 minutes, meeting Sarr’s pass with a drive which was saved by the Wolves keeper Sa. Trincao had a left foot shot on target after 35 minutes, but this was comfortable for Bachmann. Josh King just failed to get on the end of a Sarr cross in front of goal at the Vicarage Road End. Bachmann saved well from Semedo in first half added time.
Semedo had another chance in the second half at the end of a slick move with Jimenez providing the final incisive pass, but Semedo’s shot passed wide of the far post. Traore was fouled and Moutinho swung in a free kick which was headed over by the diving Jimenez. The 74th minute own goal came when Marcal crossed from the left and Sierralta crouched and headed into his own net. Wolves’ first league goal of the season had been scored by the opposition!
Hwang’s goal was scored at very close range after a cross from the right was turned back into the centre of goal by Marcal.
Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0
Chelsea (and Romelu Lukaku) march on and will prevent a massive challenge to Spurs next Sunday in front of Sky’s “Super Sunday” cameras. There is also a challenge to be found with Barstool Sportsbook Illinois. Thomas Tuchel gave new signing (on loan from Atletico Madrid) Saul a debut in midfield. Villa played Steer in goal with first choice Martinez forced out due to his trip to South America last week.
Ezri Konsa somehow managed to clear a ball off the line from below the bar when an early Chelsea corner floated all the way to the far post. Lukaku’s first goal was scored in the 15th minute after Kovacic moved forward in his own half before sending the ball to Lukaku who turned and scored swiftly in one brief incisive moment. Mendy saved well from Watkins at the other end, diving low to push the ball around his right post. Minutes later Watkins got around Mendy, but Thiago Silva blocked his shot. Mendy later had to make a double save from Tyrone Mings and Konsa’s follow-up effort.
Saul was replaced by Jorginho at half-time, but it was his midfield partner Kovacic who scored Chelsea’s second goal four minutes into the half. Kovacic took full advantage of a short back pass by Mings. Traore won a corner for Villa, from which Konsa headed straight at the keeper. Alonso turned and hit a shot just in front of the far post. Lukaku finished the scoring in added time after receiving the ball from Azpilicueta and firing home with his left foot from 20 yards.
Sunday 12th September, 2021
Leeds United 0 Liverpool 3
There was a white-hot atmosphere at a packed Elland Road for this game. Liverpool were one of the clubs grateful to have been granted a reprieve after the threat to ban players such as Alisson who had not travelled to South America for the recent International break. Harrison kept his place in the Leeds starting line-up despite the presence of recent signing Daniel James on the bench.
Leeds had an early chance after Salah was denied a foul just outside the Leeds area. The ball went forward quickly and Raphinha passed inside to Rodrigo who shot straight at Alisson. Jota just failed to reach Alexander-Arnold's cross at the other end.
Liam Cooper took an early booking for holding and impeding Mane, but Alexander-Arnold's free kick passed harmlessly wide of the Leeds goal. After 14 minutes, Jota received a ball from Salah, controlled it well and hit a shot which brought a good reaction save from Meslier.
The game was end to end, as anticipated, but Liverpool took the lead in the 20th minute after a move in which Matip got forward, passed the ball out to Alexander-Arnold, whose cross was turned in by Salah for his 100th Premier League goal. Salah became the fifth fastest to reach the milestone after Shearer, Kane, Aguero and Henry. Thiago had a "goal" correctly disallowed because his assistant Salah had been offside before Mane put a chance over after Jota got to the bye-line and cut the ball back. The Leeds defence was being exposed and Harvey Elliott had a shot blocked before Van Dijk missed a chance from the ensuing corner.
Mane had a decent low shot from the edge of the area go just wide of the post after Salah teed him up with half an hour on the clock. Llorente had not long been booked for his foul on Jota before he had to be replaced by Struijk due to an injury sustained in another challenge.
Marcelo Bielsa made a half-time change bringing Tyler Roberts on for Rodrigo. Liverpool had an early attack and thought they deserved a penalty after a good move when Jota sent Mane away but had to make do with a corner. From the corner Van Dijk headed down and Fabinho scored when his first effort rebounded to his feet, and he slotted home. (50 mins)
18-year-old Harvey Elliott suffered a nasty and distressing injury in what initially seemed to be regarded as a robust but not unfair challenge by Struijk by referee Craig Pawson. After consultation with VAR, Struijk was shown a red card, although apparently Mr. Pawson had that in mind anyway. Elliott was stretchered off and was replaced by Jordan Henderson. Daniel James got his Leeds debut, replacing Harrison after 67 minutes.
Despite being down to 10 men there were still times when Leeds had 6 men in the Liverpool half. Thus, the game remained open in nature with Liverpool creating but not converting their chances, particularly Mane. Bamford had come closest for Leeds when he met Raphinha’s cross, and Alisson saved at close range. After 82 minutes Bamford saw Alisson off his line and hit a shot from 40 yards which the keeper just managed to push over the bar.
Mane finally got on the score sheet in the second minute of added time receiving Thiago's pass before turning and scoring with a right foot shot. Liverpool became the fifth team to overtake Spurs this weekend, whilst Leeds remained one of five teams still seeking a league win.
Monday 13th September, 2021
Everton 3 Burnley 1
Everton were missing Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison led the line. Rafa Benitez went for a 3-4-3 which had Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray either side of the front man with Coleman and Digne as wing-backs. Salomon Rondon was on the bench. He had been signed for a third time by Benitez. Burnley were unchanged which left new signing Cornet on the bench. Burnley captain Ben Mee was making his 200th Premier League appearance.
Richarlison needed treatment after only one minute, following a challenge by Brownhill. Chris Wood failed to get on the end of a cross by McNeil when Keane failed to make contact. Everton were struggling to make headway against Burnley who spent more time in the Everton half. It was Burnley who had the next meaningful chance after 26 minutes when Wood turned in a cross and Barnes pushed the ball back to Brownhill, whose shot was saved by Pickford. A minute later Pope had a tougher save to make from Doucoure's shot in front of the Gwladys Street Stand.
Demarai Gray hit a shot wide after good play by Richarlison and Coleman, but Coleman had been offside when Richarlison passed forward inside the area anyway.
Benitez maintained his team and formation at the start of the second half. Everton’s players, fans and manager were getting more and more frustrated regarding Burnley's tough "no holds barred" approach. One crunching challenge by Tarkowski upon Richarlison was deemed fair by referee Martin Atkinson. The defender did win the ball before his follow-through had Richarlison on the floor. That frustration was compounded when Townsend was booked at the other end and following a free kick and a return ball into the area by Gudmundsson, Ben Mee was on hand to head home. (53 mins)
Everton equalised in the 60th minute. Michael Keane, once of Burnley, was still in the Burnley area following a corner and met Townsend's cross with a perfect header. Benitez switched to a back four, inserting midfielder Gomes for Godfrey and there were rapid results. Townsend topped his assist with an excellent goal, scored with his left foot from some 28 yards inside Pope's top right corner. (65 minutes) It was Andros's first Premier League goal for his new club. Doucoure had provided the pass for that goal. It was 3-1 a minute later when the Burnley defence was exposed by Doucoure's pass and Demarai Gray scored his third club goal with only the goalie to beat. After another minute, Doucoure converted a Coleman cross, but this was offside. Goodson was rocking!
Townsend cut in from the right and had a powerful left foot shot well saved by Pope before sub Gomes just missed the post after being teed up by Gray. Tarkowski headed into the net at the other end, but Pickford had been impeded by an offside player.
McNeil tested Pickford with a couple of shots, but Burnley were unable to reduce the deficit.
Spurs had been overtaken by a sixth team since losing the opening game of the weekend. Burnley were left in the bottom three, and still without a win.
Fixtures and results - 11-13.09.21
Saturday 11th September, 2021
C. Palace 3-0 Spurs
Arsenal 1-0 Norwich
Brentford 0-1 Brighton
Leicester 0-1 Man City
Man Utd 4-1 Newcastle
S'hampton 0-0 West Ham
Watford 0-2 Wolves
Chelsea 3-0 A. Villa
Sunday 12th September, 2021
Leeds 0-3 Liverpool
Monday 13th September, 2021
Everton 3-1 Burnley
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man Utd 4 3 1 0 11-3 8 10
2. Chelsea 4 3 1 0 9-1 8 10
3. Liverpool 4 3 1 0 9-1 8 10
4. Everton 4 3 1 0 10-4 6 10
5. Man City 4 3 0 1 11-1 10 9
6. Brighton 4 3 0 1 5-3 2 9
7. Spurs 4 3 0 1 3-3 0 9
8. West Ham 4 2 2 0 10-5 5 8
9. Leicester 4 2 0 2 4-6 -2 6
10. Brentford 4 1 2 1 3-2 1 5
11. C. Palace 4 1 2 1 5-5 0 5
12. A. Villa 4 1 1 2 5-7 -2 4
13. Wolves 4 1 0 3 2-3 -1 3
14. S'hampton 4 0 3 1 4-6 -2 3
15. Watford 4 1 0 3 3-7 -4 3
16. Arsenal 4 1 0 3 1-9 -8 3
17. Leeds 4 0 2 2 4-11 -7 2
18. Burnley 4 0 1 3 3-8 -5 1
19. Newcastle 4 0 1 3 5-12 -7 1
20. Norwich 4 0 0 4 1-11 -10 0