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Spurs Odyssey Reviews the Premier League Season
for 2021-22 - Matchday 7

Premier League Review Matchday Seven

The world of football paid tribute this week to England World Cup star Roger Hunt, who sadly died aged 83.

Saturday 2nd October, 2021

Manchester United 1 Everton 1

The pressure is on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after United have dropped four home points in their last two games. They also lost a League Cup game at home to West Ham, and it was only thanks to a late added time winner by that man Ronaldo against Villarreal midweek that United managed to win one of their four consecutive home games. United’s one remaining home league game this month is against Liverpool, and their other two games are away to Leicester and Spurs (at the end of the month). Ole might have Rashford and Maguire available after the International break. Today, he chose not to start with Ronaldo, who did come off the bench. Everton were still missing the likes of Coleman, Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin.

Cavani started a United game for the first time this season and had a header saved by Pickford after 21 minutes. Gray had a good low shot well saved by De Gea, low down to his right. Doucoure had an on-target shot well blocked by Wan Bissaka after Townsend crossed from the right. Martial gave United a 43rd minute lead with a powerful rising shot from left of goal after slick passes by Greenwood, then Fernandes.

Ronaldo replaced Cavani and Jadon Sancho replaced Martial after 57 minutes. However, two minutes later, Greenwood was dispossessed in the Everton half and the visitors made swift progress down the left flank with Gray getting away before failing inside the United area. Five minutes later United had a corner at the Stretford End from which Everton swept forward with Gray again allowed to progress down the left wing. He passed inside to Doucoure who laid up a nice ball for Townsend to sweep home with a right-footed shot from 15 yards. Townsend even celebrated Ronaldo-style and I understand was initially disappointed not to get Ronaldo’s shirt at the end of the game as the Portuguese star had left the pitch on a huff. Andros later tweeted a picture of said shirt, exchanged in the dressing room.

Everton might even have had a late winner when substitute Tom Davies passed inside to Yerry Mina who was still in the area following a corner. However, Mina had strayed offside.

Burnley 0 Norwich 0

Norwich have their first point of this Premier League season, thus avoiding equalling the record of seven opening defeats. Burnley, also without a win, remain in the bottom three. Vydra was involved in a couple of failed penalty appeals. One was the result of Tim Krul’s challenge for an aerial ball. The other came when Grant Hanley challenged inside the Norwich area. The closest to a goal in the first half was when Krul had to save Normann’s headed interception of a Lowton attempt.

Krul saved a good early second half effort by McNeil, before Kabak went on a brilliant solo run all the way to the edge of the Burnley area where he was fouled. Rodriguez was booked and Normann took the free kick, saved well by Pope’s dive to his right. Normann, who is a Norwegian International signed on loan from Rostov, showed some good skills moving into the right of the Burnley area before firing over from an angle, clipping the top of the bar. McNeil failed at the back post for Burnley after Gudmundsson’s cross. Lowton headed over in the last minute of normal time following Brownhill’s cross.

Chelsea 3 Southampton 1

Chelsea had to wait till late in the game for this win after James Ward-Prowse equalised with a 61st minute penalty. Ward-Prowse was later sent off for his challenge upon Jorginho, and after that “The Blues” scored two late goals. Thomas Tuchel gave outings to players such as Chalobah, Loftus-Cheek, Chilwell and Hudson-Odoi. Timo Werner scored his first Premier League goal of the season.

Chalobah gave his team a ninth minute lead after a corner from the right which was headed on by Loftus-Cheek. Walcott somehow failed to score with a close-range header after Walker-Peters had crossed from the left. Lukaku converted a Rudiger pass, after the centre-back had carried the ball almost as far as the penalty area, but the striker had been offside. 18-year-old full back Livramento, who was bought from Chelsea this summer, was dispossessed by Rudiger at the back and Rudiger sent Hudson-Odoi away. It was Livramento who made amends for his mistake by chasing back and preventing Hudson-Odoi from shooting inside the area.

Werner thought he had increased Chelsea’s lead before the break when he rose to head in Hudson-Odoi’s cross. However, VAR Mike Dean had other ideas, as he found a foul by Azpilicueta early in this move and the goal was disallowed. Tuchel was incensed and was shown a yellow card by referee Martin Atkinson.

The Southampton penalty was awarded after Livramento went flying after a challenge by Chilwell. There was no doubt about the penalty, and no doubt about Ward-Prowse’s finish either!

McCarthy made a brilliant one-handed save from Werner who advanced into the box with the ball after Lukaku’s lay-off. That Ward-Prowse sending off followed a poor ball by Mendy to Jorginho just outside the Chelsea area. Initially the Southampton skipper was shown yellow, but that was upgraded by VAR and a look at the pitch-side monitor.

Ross Barkley made a third substitute appearance in three games this week and had an involvement in Chelsea’s 84th minute goal as he sent a good pass to Azpilicueta whose low cross was converted by Werner from close range. Five minutes later, both Lukaku and Azpilicueta thought they would score after Mason Mount crossed from the right, but both hit the woodwork before Chilwell’s shot from the left of the area was found to have crossed the goal-line before McCarthy had managed to push the ball out with both hands.

Chelsea went to the top of the table, whilst Southampton still seek their first win.

Leeds United 1 Watford 0

Leeds were deserved winners of this game but failed to take more from the chances on offer. Ben Foster did well to save a low shot by Dallas, then to use his boot to clear the loose ball after 10 minutes. Moussa Sissoko had over-hit a back pass before the move which led to this chance. Leeds had a corner from the right after 18 minutes and when this was headed back across the area centre-back Diego Llorente hooked the ball into the net to cap his return to the side following injury. Daniel James wanted a penalty when he went to the floor under Troost-Ekong’s challenge but was denied by referee Simon Hooper, and of course by VAR.

Ozan Tufan, on loan to Watford from Fenerbahce had been given a first start by Xisco Munoz and after pressing play from Femenia, Tufan hit a shot just over the bar. That was about all that came of Watford’s first half efforts. Klich went close to the corner stanchion with a right-footed shot.

Klich turned provider for Dallas early in the second half, but Dallas fired over the target. Meslier had bravely saved from Dennis to concede a corner, taken by Danny Rose. The goalkeeper then seemed to make a mess of his attempt to collect, dropping the ball which rolled into the net, but the referee had seen a foul by Kabasele, not necessarily directly upon the keeper.

Ben Foster dropped a Phillips free kick giving Tyler Roberts a couple of chances. The first was cleared off the line inside the left post. The second shot rebounded to safety off the bar.

Watford sacked manager Xisco Munoz the day after this defeat. Munoz had been Watford's 14th manager/coach in just 10 years. 69-year-old Claudio Ranieri has been appointed as his replacement.

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Newcastle United 1

Wolves got a first home league win of the season thanks to two goals by Hwang Hee-chan, leaving Steve Bruce’s team in the bottom three, still without a win. They face Spurs in their next game.

Hwang’s first goal came courtesy of a Jimenez pass. The South Korean scored with a low angled shot from right of goal in the 20th minute. That was even Wolves’ first home league goal. Newcastle had an escape after 39 minutes, following a sweeping move by Neves, then Hwang who crossed from the left. Trincao hit the bar with the goal beckoning. Wolves paid a price shortly after when both Saint-Maximin and Joelinton forced desperate clearances in the area. The ball reached substitute Hendrick who scored with a rasping 25-yarder just inside the keeper’s right post.

Sa had suffered a knock in the build-up to Newcastle’s goal and had desperately tried to recover his position when Hendrick scored. The Wolves keeper made a great close-range save from Saint-Maximin after 54 minutes. Hwang’s second goal came four minutes later. This was another sweeping move with Neves passing to Jimenez, who turned and quickly sent the ball to Hwang, who this time scored with his left foot inside the area.

Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal were not quite bottom of the Match of the Day billing. This was clearly deemed the better of the two goalless draws! Sambi Lokonga replaced the injured Xhaka in Arsenal’s midfield. The tea-time game was played in murky and wet conditions.

Saka had a very good run from the right, advancing into the Brighton area after only one minute, but his shot was weak. Brighton went close after 14 minutes following a good move down the left, before Curella’s cross/shot was cleared at the far post. Trossard hit a shot wide, and later in the half Saka lifted a cross from the right for Aubameyang, but his effort hit the outside of the post. At the other end, a short Lallana cross was met by a reaction effort by Trossard which went over the bar. It was a game of missed chances with Dan Burn heading over at one end and Partey firing wide with a 22-yard shot at the other.

15 minutes from time, Smith-Rowe was sent forward and hit a shot which Sanchez saved with his leg. Ramsdale could not save a Cucurella cross cleanly, but he did make a good save, slapping March’s header away with his right hand. Duffy had a good chance but headed wide from a late Brighton corner. Duffy appealed for a penalty when he was seemingly impeded by Gabriel at a Brighton free kick, but nothing was awarded.

Sunday 3rd October, 2021

Crystal Palace 2 Leicester City 2

Palace came back from a first half two-goal deficit to leave under-par Leicester in the bottom half. Jamie Vardy put a free header wide after only one minute when Leicester were awarded a soft free kick for a challenge on Choudhury. Kaspar Schmeichel made a couple of saves with his feet from shots by Zaha and Gallagher after 12 minutes.

Iheanacho was gifted the ball by Andersen in the 31st minute, allowing the Leicester striker to advance and score low to the right of Guaita. It was 2-0 six minutes later as Barnes was sent away by Tielemans and he passed to Vardy to the left of the area, who scored.

Barnes hit the side netting early in the second half. Edouard hit the bar at the other end after a Schmeichel ball had been collected and fed forward by the Palace midfield. Patrick Vieira replaced Jordan Ayew with 19-year-old midfielder Michael Olise, who was signed from Reading in the summer. The manager was rewarded with Olise’s first Premier League goal in the 61st minute. The Frenchman received Tyrick Mitchell’s cross from the left. His first effort was blocked by Bertrand but rebounded to his feet before he hammered home with a right foot shot.

Another sub, Jeffrey Schlupp, scored Palace’s equaliser within a minute of coming on for Gallagher. Schlupp nearly scored with his first touch after a cross by McArthur, but he did score from his second, when Palace maintained the pressure and Olise returned the ball to the area where ultimately Schlupp’s header beat Schmeichel. (72 mins). In the end, Palace looked the more likely winners.

Spurs 2 Aston Villa 1

Spurs v Aston Villa, 03.10.21

7 years ago, Mauricio Pochettino was worried about his job until we beat Aston Villa with two late goals. In some circles this game was seen as being just as meaningful to Nuno. This game was not won with two late goals, and Harry Kane was not a scorer. We have yet to see how important this win will be to Nuno’s Spurs career.

The following were amongst comments received:-

1. Play players in their right positions and get a half-decent performance. Who would have thought it?
2. Much improved performance and tactically 4231 Front foot and determination On the right track something to build on COYS
3. Felt that Nuno should have changed Ndombele and Lo Celso earlier and given Gil a bit more time on the pitch. Good to watch today - flowing football, the Spurs way, more like at least!

Son Heung-min was your man of the match and has overtaken Hugo Lloris in the early chase for the player of the season poll. That competition has not been tough so far.

West Ham United 1 Brentford 2

Yoane Wissa, who last week scored Brentford’s dramatic third goal equaliser against Liverpool, was the hero again scoring a winner in the fourth minute of added time at The London Stadium. As a result, “The Bees” climbed into seventh place above every London team except league leaders Chelsea.

Brentford won an early corner after which Mbeumo hit the top of the crossbar with his shot from the back of the area. Fabianski was required to make a save from Toney after 10 minutes. Zouma had West Ham’s first chance, heading just wide after Cresswell’s corner. Mbeumo gave the visitors a 20th minute lead with a shot that Fabianski saved, but he was just behind his line. Toney had fed the ball forward to Canos who advanced to the right of the box before delivering the pass to Mbeumo. Benrahma fired wide four minutes before half time.

Antonio was fouled early in the second half and Benrahma’s free kick went just over the bar. Coufal delivered a cross for Bowen, but he headed wide. Fornals had a shot blocked after Antonio’s cross from the left and goalkeeper Raya saved Coufal’s follow-up. West Ham did equalise with ten minutes to go after a corner which reached Bowen who scored with a powerful low shot from just inside the back of the box. Both Antonio and Bowen just failed to reach a cross from the left with four minutes of normal time remaining.

Some fans had left, thinking the draw was sealed, but Brentford snatched the winner from a free kick when Jansson’s header was saved by Fabianski, but ran out to substitute Wissa who connected and scored with a right foot shot which hit the ground before bouncing inside the keeper’s right post. Now the “Hammers”’ fans did leave in their droves and of course some of them waved affectionate congratulatory signals towards their away counterparts. (No, of course not really!)

Liverpool 2 Manchester City 2

In some quarters this game was billed as being between the top two contenders for the league title. However, Chelsea were top before and after the game, and I would personally include them as definite contenders in the race. The game was a classic and Mo Salah’s goal was heralded as being a touch of a genius.

Jurgen Klopp fielded James Milner at right back, with Alexander-Arnold injured. Curtis Jones was included on the left side of midfield and Jota played in the front three with Salah and Mane. Pep Guardiola played the team which had beaten Chelsea last week. The Kop and the whole stadium made their own very special tribute to “Sir” Roger Hunt.

The first significant action came after 20 minutes when Bernardo Silva turned and made a good run before delivering the ball to Foden on the left, whose shot was saved by Alisson. De Bruyne carried the ball out of his own half after 32 minutes and again the ball was delivered to Foden, who went down in the area under Milner’s challenge, but referee Paul Tierney waved away appeals for a penalty. Contact was outside the box anyway, so a penalty was out of the question. Foden crossed from the left and de Bruyne tried a header, but that was too high.

Foden was fouled and Milner was booked after Grealish had passed down the left channel. Nothing came of the free kick. Just before the break Foden beat Milner and collected Ederson’s long clearance (or was it a pass?). Alisson came to the rescue of his right back and saved with a tackle on Foden.

Liverpool had been second best, but five minutes into the second half did have a chance when Jota’s shot was saved by Ederson. That had been the first save Ederson had to make, but he couldn’t stop Liverpool’s first goal scored by Mane from the right of goal. This move had been started in Liverpool’s half, with Salah involved twice. His second involvement was a great run down the right, skipping past a couple of City players, before feeding Mane for his right-foot shot. Anfield erupted! Guardiola sighed. (59 mins) Foden equalised in front of The Kop ten minutes later, after another good City passing move and a final pass across the area by Gabriel Jesus.

City were unhappy when Milner fouled Bernardo Silva as he advanced down the left wing but escaped a second booking. Guardiola was very incensed. Mike Dean, who had been VAR for the Chelsea game was fourth official at Anfield and had to field the flack.

The media have been rhapsodic about Salah’s 76th minute goal, and there is no doubt it was a great goal, but his added time goal against Spurs in the same Anfield Road goal in February 2018 comes to mind. He received Jones’ short pass outside the right corner of the area, turning and beating two players (Cancelo was one) before entering the box, leaving a couple more defenders standing with his slalom run and scoring with his right foot from an angle inside Ederson’s right post.

City equalised again five minutes later. De Bruyne had fed the ball out to Foden out on the left. His return reached the Belgian midfield star and he beat Alisson with a left foot shot from just outside the box. The shot took a deflection off Matip which had Alisson already committed to his right. Rodri made a magnificent saving tackle at the other end when Fabinho was in the clear in front of the back post after a cross from the right. Ederson had been beaten by the cross and the goal beckoned, but Rodri cleared with his outstretched foot.

The managers embraced at the end of the game. Sky co-commentator Gary Neville made Phil Foden and Mo Salah joint men of the match.

Fixtures and results - 02-03.10.21

Saturday 2nd October, 2021

Man Utd    1-1  Everton
Burnley    0-0  Norwich
Chelsea    3-1  S'hampton
Leeds      1-0  Watford
Wolves     2-1  Newcastle
Brighton   0-0  Arsenal

Sunday 3rd October, 2021

C. Palace  2-2  Leicester
Spurs      2-1  A. Villa
West Ham   1-2  Brentford
Liverpool  2-2  Man City

            Premier League Table

               P  W  D  L   F-A   GD   Pts

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

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