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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2021-22 - Matchday 6

Premier League Review – Matchday Six

Saturday 25th September, 2021

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1

Thomas Tuchel made four changes to the team which started against Spurs, including the return of Mendy in goal. James, Kante and Werner also started in place of Thiago Silva, the injured Mason Mount and Kai Havertz. Pep Guardiola also made four changes and his team included De Bruyne and Foden.

There was little goal-threatening action in the first 15 minutes until Chelsea cleared a De Bruyne pass into the area and responded with an Alonso-led break which ended with Lukaku just failing to make contact with Werner's cross. Werner then had a decent shot well blocked for a corner.

Reece James had to go off after 28 minutes and was replaced by Thiago Silva pushing Azpilicueta to right wing-back.

City had been dominating possession 70-30 and Rodri had a shot deflected after taking the pass from Grealish. After 40 minutes Jesus had a clear chance after Foden chipped a short cross, but the shot was pushed wide. We had yet to see a shot on target.

City started the second half well and Grealish hit a right foot shot just wide of the far post after two minutes. Cancelo won a corner on the left, after which the same player hit a shot from outside the area which fell to Gabriel Jesus. He turned and beat Mendy with a shot which took a deflection off Jorginho. (53 mins) Grealish had another shot across goal, but this one was well saved by Mendy, conceding a corner.

City had another great chance after 61 minutes. Grealish sent Cancelo away whose cross could only be parried by Mendy. Jesus was in space and should have scored, but Thiago made a great block in front of goal. Havertz had replaced Kante and teed up Lukaku for what Chelsea thought was a close-range goal, but there had been an offside.

The game had opened up with Chelsea searching for a goal. Kovacic had a shot blocked by Ruben Dias. De Bruyne took a City free kick from the right after 78 minutes which reached Laporte at the back post, but the defender put his shot wide. De Bruyne was replaced by Mahrez. Mendy made a great save from Grealish, closing the player down when he tried to convert a ball from Foden.

Manchester United 0 Aston Villa 1

This game was not selected for TV broadcast in the UK but was brought forward to kick-off at 12.30. Villa had one enforced change as Tuanzebe cannot play against his home club. Hause took his place. Ashley Young was on the Villa bench. United were unchanged from the team which beat West Ham last week. (Not the team which was beaten at home by "The Hammers" in the midweek League Cup game).

Villa should have had the lead after 16 minutes when one full back (Cash) crossed low to the back post where the other full back (Targett) somehow fired over the bar. Greenwood had a tame effort at the other end, hitting the ball into Martinez’s hands. Watkins had a good chance after Harry Maguire over-hit a back pass to De Gea who could not hold that but saved Watkins’ shot. Two minutes before the break, Martinez saved well when Maguire hit a powerful header goalward after a Fernandes free kick. United had a corner in added time, met by Pogba who headed just wide of the far post.

Watkins was denied by De Gea when he hit a good right foot shot on target after 69 minutes. United countered but Greenwood again struggled to hit a meaningful shot as Villa reinforcements lined up in front of him. There was drama in the closing stages of the game. Firstly, Villa had a corner, taken from the left by Douglas Luiz and headed in by Hause for his first goal since last December. In added time, United wanted and were awarded a penalty when a long cross from the right went over substitute Cavani and hit the unfortunate Hause’s outstretched arm. Now came the question of who would take the penalty – Ronaldo or Fernandes. It was Fernandes, who astounded everyone by hitting his shot over the bar into the dismayed Stretford End.

Everton 2 Norwich City 0

James Rodriguez has been allowed to leave Goodison Park and has gone to Qatari side Al-Rayyan. Everton were still without forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin (thigh) and Richarlison (knee) for the visit of Norwich City. Jordan Pickford returned in goal. For Watford Pierre Lees-Melou and Ben Gibson replaced Billy Gilmour and Milot Rashica. Norwich wore a bright orange away strip, despite the lack of colour clash.

Townsend had a tame shot at goal after 18 minutes after Doucoure had led the way forward with his powerful run. Allan went down in the area under Kabak’s challenge. The penalty was not initially awarded, but referee David Coote changed his mind after viewing the monitor. Townsend scored having sent Krul to dive the wrong way to his left (29 mins).

Pickford made a good save, tipping over Normann’s shot after 50 minutes. It was a game with few highlights. Norwich failed to make good use of a couple of free kicks conceded by Digne and paid the penalty in full when Demarai Gray fed the ball to Doucoure to his right who scored the 77th minute second goal which clinched the game for “the Toffees”.

Leeds United 1 West Ham United 2

18-year-old defender Charlie Cresswell played 90 minutes in midweek at Fulham in the League Cup and made a Premier league debut ffor Leeds today. Patrick Bamford was injured so Rodrigo led the line. Michail Antonio was back for West Hham after his one-game ban.

Antonio had an early shot across goal well saved by Meslier’s low right hand. Meslier got a touch to his left shortly after that chance when Antonio teed up Benrahma for a good effort. Fabianski saved well at the other end from Dallas’s rising 20-yard shot. Only 13 minutes of the game had gone so far. A low Raphinha shot was easier for the West ham keeper. Raphinha opened the scoring in the 19th minute with a beautiful low shot inside the keeper’s right post. Soucek had made a mistake down the West Ham right enabling Rodrigo to take the ball down the left flank before passing inside to Klich who set the ball nicely for the scorer. Elland Road went wild!

Raphinha hit the outside of Fabianski’s right post with another shot. Antonio released Fornals with an excellent ball from inside his own half. Fornals was one-on-one with the keeper, but Meslier came off best and saved.

Jack Harrison replaced Daniel James at half-time for Leeds. Antonio won a free kick off the inexperienced Cresswell and won a free kick awarded by Kevin Friend. The kick was taken by West ham’s Aaron Cresswell and after Meslier dropped the ball under challenge Soucek thought he had scored, but Meslier had been whacked on the face by Antonio as his arm was raised and VAR disallowed the goal. There was no sanction for Antonio.

Raphinha set the ball up for Klich in the middle of the area, but Klich managed to push his shot wide of the post. Bielsa was on his haunches, and not happy. Leeds would pay the price for this and other misses. Firstly, Bowen’s shot was turned into his own net by Firpo (67 mins) after a previous deflection. Then in the 90th minute, Declan Rice passed inside from the right and Antonio delivered the coup de grace with a touch to beat Shackleton and then a right foot shot into the net left of Meslier. It was a very good goal which decided a veery good game. Leeds are still without a win.

Leicester City 2 Burnley 2

James Maddison dropped to the bench and his place was taken by Lookman. Summer signing Maxwel Cornet made his first league start for Burnley after impressing as a substitute against Arsenal. Matej Vydra also started, with Gudmundsson and Ashley Barnes starting on the bench.

Leicester had a bright start and Vardy should have scored from Tielemans’ cross after 9 minutes. The striker headed the ball down and it bounced over the target. Cornet won a corner for Burnley at the other end and Vardy became the villain as he headed Westwood’s kick into his own net. (12 mins) Vardy made up for his error by scoring a 37th minute equaliser, taking the ball from Tielemans before beating Pope with a low right-footed shot. Cornet scored a super first goal for his new club, meeting Vydra’s cross with an unstoppable right footed shot three minutes later. Cornet had another chance a minute later but put this one wide. He pulled up with a hamstring injury and had to be replaced before the break.

With just five minutes remaining, Vardy scored a second goal and the equaliser. Harvey Barnes passed inside to Iheanacho who pushed it on to Vardy, continuing the move down the left channel before rounding Pope and scoring low with his left foot. There’s no stopping the 34-year-old yet! Chris Wood thought he had given his side an added time winner, but VAR found him offside by a whisker.

Watford 1 Newcastle United 1

Jarred Gillett became the first overseas official to referee a Premier League match when the Australian took charge of Watford’s home game with Newcastle. Gillett, 34, was promoted to the Select Group 1 of referees by Professional Game Match Officials Limited before the start of the season. He moved to England in the 2019-20 season to referee in the EFL after officiating in the A-League in his home country. Mr. Gillett refereed our ill-fated League Cup game at Colchester two years ago.

Watford were unchanged from the team which beat Norwich, which gave Danny Rose another start. Moussa Sissoko is already a fixture for the Hertfordshire side. Lascelles was injured, so Fernandez stepped in for Steve Bruce’s side, for who, Saint-Maximin was the front man.

Watford attacked from the kick-off and Darlow had to push Dennis’s shot away around his right post at The Vicarage Road end. Darlow in fact made a double save as Dennis tried to cut back the rebound. Sean Longstaff scored a sensational goal for Newcastle with a 25-yard shot after Almiron and Saint-Maximin had combined on the left. Ben Foster got a slight touch, but the shot hit his top left corner.

Sarr responded for Watford hitting a low shot and seeing that saved by Darlow. Willock was fouled but just outside the penalty area. Nothing came of that free kick, but Newcastle missed another good opportunity after Saint-Maximin’s run to the area and a pass to Longstaff who this time fired over.

Early in the second half 38-year-old Foster saved firstly from Almiron then from Joelinton’s follow-up from an angle on the left. Another save was required after 68 minutes from Willock who had been sent forward by Saint-Maximin. Watford had a corner on the left at the Rookery End and after Josh King’s header across goal Sarr headed inside the post with power. (72 mins) Newcastle’s Ciaran Clark had a good chance at the other end, heading wide from Ritchie’s cross, and Watford thought they had a winner at the Rookery End. Danny Rose had battled for and won the ball on the left, before Sissoko’s shot could only be parried. Josh King put the rebound into the net, and the celebrations were wild near the corner flag, but VAR cancelled out the goal for offside by three players, including King, who is still looking for his first Watford goal.

There was still time for Saint-Maximin to give Murphy a run on goal, but Foster won the one-on-one situation.

Brentford 3 Liverpool 3

The last time these two teams met in a league game was in May 1947. They have met in cup matches four times since, and Liverpool scored four goals in each of the last three. Their last meeting was in 1989, when Spurs' 1984 UEFA Cup hero Tony Parks was in the Brentford goal.

Thomas Frank made just one change in midfield, which was for Onyeka to replace Baptiste. Jurgen Klopp made four changes from the team that beat Palace. Alexander-Arnold, Matip and Andy Robertson all returned to the defence, while Curtis Jones took the place of Thiago Alcantara.

Liverpool had been in control and nearly scored when Salah was put through towards the right of the area after 6 minutes. His shot was goal-bound, but Ajer cleared in front of his line. Brentford then responded with a couple of half-chances for Toney. After 10 minutes, Toney gave Mbeumo a chance in the area, and he had a shot cleared off the line by Matip. This was "game on".

Brentford were not going to be shy, and they took a 27th minute lead after a free kick which was followed by a cross from the right by Canos. The ball was touched on by Toney and converted at the back post by Jamaican International Ethan Pinnock, who was born in Lambeth, and only five years ago was playing National League football. Pinnock previously played for Dulwich Hamlet.

Liverpool were level in the 31st minute when Henderson delivered a good cross from the right and Jota headed into the net. Curtis Jones had another chance 7 minutes later with a deflected shot that hit the post. Goalkeeper Raya made a good recovery to save the attempted follow-up by Jota.

Goal scorer Pinnock eventually had to succumb to injury, and he was replaced by Jorgensen (aka Zanka), who played Premier League football with Huddersfield.

Liverpool again dominated possession early in the second half. They were rewarded with the lead in the 54th minute when Salah got behind Henry to take on Fabinho's ball and beat Raya. The assistant initially signalled offside, but Salah had been played on by Canos and VAR allowed the goal. It was Salah's 100th Premier League goal.

Brentford have a never-say-die attitude though and were level again 10 minutes later. "The Bees" had a three-on-one advantage at the back post when a long cross was sent from the right. Jansson hit the underside of the bar with a shot. The ball rebounded to Janelt, who with his second attempt, managed to get the ball over the line, quickly confirmed by the technology.

It wasn't long before Liverpool regained the lead with Curtis Jones hitting a belter from just inside the box. His shot took a wicked deflection off Ajer and beat the keeper inside his right post. (67 mins)

Salah hit a great chance over the bar after Mane's pass, before two Brentford substitutes were involved in another dramatic equaliser. Baptiste had replaced Onyeka and his cross. From deep on the right reached Yoane Wissa, who scored with a second attempt. There was pandemonium in the stadium! (82mins)

Toney had the ball in the net, but he had been well offside. There were chances and drama at either end, but this enthralling game finished 3-3 and was enjoyed by everybody. The managers embraced at the end having exchanged rueful smiles over a late Liverpool attack and more heroics from Raya.

Spurs Odyssey was saddened to hear today (28/09/21) of the passing of another of our 1966 World Cup heroes Roger Hunt, aged 83.

Sunday 26th September, 2021

Southampton 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

Wolves got a second win of the season, and it was Raul Jimenez who scored, for the first time sine last November when playing for Mexico. The goal seals Jimenez’s come-back from his traumatic head injury. Wolves fans will be hoping to see a win at Molineux soon. Bruno Lage chose Podence and Hwang to play either side of Jimenez, who was wearing his protective headband, as instructed by Wolves’ medical staff.

Semedo forced an early save by McCarthy and Jiminez had offered the pass. There were a number of empty seats at St Marys’ and those present thought Redmond had given them a first half lead, only to see the offside flag supported by VAR. Kyle Walker-Peters started a good Southampton move in the second half which ended in a low shot by Livramento, saved by Wolves keeper Sa low at his left post. Sa made a double save from a shot by Elyounoussi and the follow-up by Che Adams, who might have been offside anyway.

That Jimenez winning goal came after Southampton had been on the attack and Sa sent a long ball down the left channel. Jimenez won his challenge against Bednarek, taking the ball to his right before planting his right foot shot into the net in front of his travelling fans. The celebrations were emotional. Jimenez had another chance after Romeu lost his footing in the box, but McCarthy saved the shot after Jimenez delayed his strike.

Arsenal 3 Spurs 1

The least said about this game, the better. However, I will say that the fact the "spursometer" for this game is one off the worst ever on record (and that's over 20 years) and against a team against whom our fans expect a 100% effort speaks for itself.

The last time we lost three consecutive London Derby matches was in October-November 2004 to Fulham, Charlton and Arsenal. We conceded 10 goals in the process, five of which were to Arsenal.

This was the last time we were in the bottom half after 6 games. We had two points. It didn't get any better until three games later and Harry Redknapp!

Monday 27th September, 2021

Crystal Palace 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1

Brighton were seeking history tonight - to win the game and go top of the top flight for the first time. Brighton were missing Bissouma, due to injury sustained in the recent game against Leicester. Patrick Vieira gave Edouard a first start in place of Benteke, whilst captain Milivojevic replaced Kouyate in midfield.

Palace had the early pressure upon the Brighton goal, and a shot by Gallagher was well blocked by Dunk after 7 minutes. Danny Welbeck took on a Sanchez clearance and reached the Palace area, trying to dink the ball past Guaita, but the goalkeeper saved. Welbeck also failed with a penalty appeal as he went to ground in making the shot. Sanchez soon got down well at his right post to a Zaha shot.

Just as the game went into first half added time, Gallagher went down under a body check by Trossard in the area and referee Andre Marriner pointed to the spot. Zaha scored from the spot as Sanchez went the wrong way. The goal came on Zaha's 400th Palace appearance.

At half time Graham Potter took off one of his back three -Dan Burn- off for midfielder Alzate. Cucurella became an authentic left back. This was a game where space was hard to find by both sides when attacking, and strong defensive work was succeeding. Alzate needed treatment after 63 minutes and had to be replaced by Moder.

Edouard went off after 71 minutes and was replaced by Benteke with Kouyate coming on for Milivojevic at the same time. Andre Marriner waved play on when Gallagher was fouled by Cucurella and Benteke took the ball forward teeing up Ayew for a chance which should have been in the net, but instead was put wide. Cucurella was booked.

There was tension in the air as Brighton tried desperately to level. Duffy headed goalward after a free kick, but Guaita saved comfortably. There were five added minutes and in the last of them Maupay grabbed an equaliser when a Guaita goal kick was immediately returned from Brighton's half. The ball was taken on by Maupay who delightfully lifted a shot over the Palace keeper.

They missed out on history, but Brighton had grabbed a point off their fierce "M23" rivals.

Fixtures and results - 25-27.09.21

Saturday 25th September, 2021

Chelsea    0-1  Man City
Man Utd    0-1  A. Villa
Everton    2-0  Norwich
Leeds      1-2  West Ham
Leicester  2-2  Burnley
Watford    1-1  Newcastle
Brentford  3-3  Liverpool

Sunday 26th September, 2021

S'hampton  0-1  Wolves
Arsenal    3-1  Spurs

Monday 27th September, 2021

C. Palace  1-1  Brighton 

            Premier League Table

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts

 1. Liverpool  6  4  2  0  15-4   11   14
 2. Man City   6  4  1  1  12-1   11   13
 3. Chelsea    6  4  1  1  12-2   10   13
 4. Man Utd    6  4  1  1  13-5    8   13 
 5. Everton    6  4  1  1  12-7    5   13
 6. Brighton   6  4  1  1   8-5    3   13
 7. West Ham   6  3  2  1  13-8    5   11
 8. A. Villa   6  3  1  2   9-7    2   10
 9. Brentford  6  2  3  1   8-5    3    9
10. Arsenal    6  3  0  3   5-10  -5    9
11. Spurs      6  3  0  3   4-9   -5    9 
12. Watford    6  2  1  3   7-9   -2    7
13. Leicester  6  2  1  3   7-10  -3    7
14. Wolves     6  2  0  4   3-5   -2    6
15. C. Palace  6  1  3  2   6-9   -3    6
16. S'hampton  6  0  4  2   4-7   -3    4
17. Newcastle  6  0  3  3   7-14  -7    3
18. Leeds      6  0  3  3   6-14  -8    3
19. Burnley    6  0  2  4   5-11  -6    2
20. Norwich    6  0  0  6   2-16 -14    0

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