Premier League Review – Matchday Nine
Friday 22nd October, 2021
Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 1
Arsenal made three changes from their game against Palace on Monday, with Lacazette, Nuno Tavares and Albert Sambi Lokonga replacing Kieran Tierney, Nicolas Pepe and Martin Odegaard. Villa were unchanged from their last match.
There was a feisty start to the game with Watkins getting booked for throwing Gabriel to the ground with less than a minute gone. Aubameyang went for an overhead kick from Saka's cross, but the ball ran back to Saka who crossed wide this time. Then Tavares raced forward to the Villa area but fired wide. Aubameyang had the ball in the net, but referee Craig Pawson had already blown for a foul by Lacazette. Only 8 minutes had passed so far.
Partey hit a shot against the bar following a free kick by Saka, but in the 23rd minute Partey got a headed touch to put Smith-Rowe's corner into the net. Martinez made a crucial save with his leg from Saka after Smith-Rowe had passed forward to Tavares who delivered the cross.
Villa were not offering a threat and Partey nearly scored a second with a header from Saka's corner in the last minute before half time. In added time there was a VAR review over a tackle by Targett on Lacazette and after Mr. Pawson viewed on the monitor, Arsenal were awarded a penalty. Aubameyang took the kick and Martinez saved to his right, but the Arsenal captain scored with the follow-up by which time we had entered the sixth minute of added time.
Villa made a spirited start to the second half, but Smith-Rowe made it 3-0 in the 56th minute with a shot that took a deflection and went into the net off Martinez's right post. There was no way back for Dean Smith's side.
Buendia got through after 61 minutes and had a shot saved by Ramsdale with Ben White close at hand. Ramsey came on for Buendia and scored a fine left-footed goal from the edge of the box, hitting the net inside Ramsdale’s left post.(62 mins) Ramsey had another chance in the last minute of ordinary time, but he pulled that one wide. Second half substitute Bailey hit an added time free kick over the bar, but Villa's second half response proved to be insufficient.
Saturday 23rd October, 2021
Chelsea 7 Norwich City 0
Thomas Tuchel was forced into a couple of changes due to the midweek injuries to Lukaku and Werner, but he made five changes from that team in all. Havertz played up front, supported by Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount. Norwich were unchanged from last week, but Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour could not be a named substitute.
Chelsea scored their first goal in only the 8th minute. Following a cross from the left and a short pass by Jorginho, Mason Mount hit a low drive from 20 yards just inside Krul's right post. The second goal followed ten minutes later and was scored by Hudson-Odoi with a low shot inside the left of the area, having received a very good ball from Kovacic. Mount nearly had a second goal after half an hour when Hudson-Odoi passed to him across the penalty area. Mount hit a rising shot, but this was held by Krul's up-stretched arms.
Kabak had a shot on goal for the visitors after 36 minutes, but it was well over the target. Reece James joined the young goal-scorers' list with a delightful dink over Krul from the right of goal in the 42nd minute. Mount laid on this goal. Chelsea were being allowed to play exhibition football. Mount went close again from 20 yards before the break.
Daniel Farke made two half-time changes. Rashica replaced Lees-Melou, and Brandon Williams came on for Giannoulis. Rashica had a chance towards the right of the box after a Chilwell error, but Mendy came out and saved with a tackle. Chilwell made amends by scoring Chelsea’s fourth goal in the 57th minute, following an advance by James and the ball being worked across the field from right to left with Kovacic getting the assist. Chilwell's goal was a low shot across Krul inside his left post.
The procession continued five minutes later. Kovacic passed to Hudson-Odoi to his left. Hudson-Odoi hit a cross, which was deflected by Aarons and the ball went over the goal-line via Krul's elbow. It got even worse for "The Canaries" when Ben Gibson was sent off for a second yellow following a hack on James.
Chilwell and substitute Ziyech went close with subsequent shots, as did Loftus-Cheek, but Krul made good saves from Barkley and Ziyech. VAR called referee Andy Madley to the monitor when Normann handled a Rudiger shot at close range. A penalty was awarded but Krul saved Mount's weak spot-kick. However, Mount got another chance because Krul had come off his line, and this time Mount did score (85 mins).
Mount had a hat-trick in the first minute of added time after Loftus-Cheek carried the ball into the right side of the area and put the ball on a plate for Mount.
Norwich's goal difference is already minus 21. Chelsea are 41 goals and 19 places better.
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle United 1
Steve Bruce’s departure “by mutual consent” was confirmed last Wednesday. One of Bruce’s coaching staff Graeme Jones has succeeded him as interim manager. There was a banner protest by Palace fans regarding the Saudi Arabian led takeover. This banner was subject of a complaint and investigated, but the police said there were no offences committed. I am sure Newcastle will be plagued by similar banners and chants in the years ahead.
Benteke hit the bottom of the post after 21 minutes following a cross from the right by Olise. Benteke did have a headed goal in the 56th minute following determination in the middle from Gallagher and a final cross by Tyrick Mitchell. The Palace centre-forward hit the top of the bar with another header.
Newcastle's equaliser came courtesy of a super overhead kick by Callum Wilson after Krafth’s header from a corner taken on the left (65 mins). Benteke had a glorious chance to score a winner, but put his left foot shot the wrong side of the post. Benteke thought he had scored the winner three minutes from time with a header from a corner, but VAR revealed there had been a foul (not by Benteke) by one of his team-mates (Guehi) pulling Benteke’s defender away.
Newcastle still seek that elusive first win while Palace have now drawn six of their nine games.
Everton 2 Watford 5
Having conceded five goals at home to Liverpool last week, Claudio Ranieri’s side astounded everyone, not least Everton at Goodison Park. Everton have now lost to West Ham and Watford, and just when they don’t want to play a team whose name begins with “W”, their next game is away to Wolves!
Rafa Benitez was still missing Calvert-Lewin but had Richarlison on the bench. Former Watford player Doucoure was injured and replaced by Tom Davies, whilst 20-year-old Anthony Gordon came in for Iwobi. Josh King had a brief spell with “The Toffees” last season, but his last Premier League goal was scored for Bournemouth in July last year against – Everton! Today he scored a hat-trick with two of those goals coming in the last 10 minutes (plus added time). Indeed, Watford were 2-1 down and scored their last four goals in the last 12 minutes of the game!
Everton scored the first goal of the game in only the third minute. Gordon brought the ball out of defence and passed forward to Gray, who got to the bye-line and crossed hard and low for Davies to score at close range. Everton fans must have fancied a thrashing – in their favour, of course! Gordon was involved again when passing to Townsend whose shot was parried away by goalkeeper Ben Foster. When the ball was returned from the right, Gordon headed wide.
King’s first goal came in the 13th minute from a free kick taken near the right-hand corner flag. Cathcart headed the ball down towards the back post and King was on hand to stab the ball into the net. King had to wait for a VAR review as the officials gave offside, but that was overruled, and the goal stood.
Jordan Pickford made a good save from King’s close-range effort after 58 minutes, following Sarr’s cross from the right. Richarlison replaced Gordon after 60 minutes. The crowd was not happy to see the home-grown Gordon replaced, but they were ecstatic to see Richarlison dive to head home Keane’s ball into the area at the Gwladys Street End. It was a lovely goal. (63 mins)
Watford equalised again through Kucka heading home Hernandez’s corner in the 78th minute. King’s second and Watford’s third goal followed just two minutes later after a good attack down the right win and a cross by Dennis to King, who had been left in too much space.
King had a hat-trick in the 86th minute to make it 4-2. This time, Watford attacked along the left channel and made some good passes to get the ball into the middle. Everton’s defence fumbled and after another pass by Dennis, King dragged the ball back to defeat Keane before firing past Pickford. A lot of the home fans missed the last goal, but they would have seethed at the poor defending by Coleman as this time King crossed from right, Joao Pedro moved the ball on, and Dennis left Coleman on his knees as he scored.
This was Watford’s first-ever win at Goodison Park.
Leeds United 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Leeds welcomed Raphinha back to the side, but he didn’t last beyond the 54th minute and could be out for a while. He will be a bad miss for a side only just outside the bottom three.
Hwang gave Wolves a 10th minute lead following good work on the right and a cross by Semedo. Jimenez’s shot was half-blocked, and the ball ran forward for Hwang who beat Meslier with a shot from close range. Raphinha’s injury was sustained in a foul by Saiss catching the Leeds player on the run. The player had to be helped down the tunnel.
19-year-old Joe Gelhardt who replaced Klich was nearly a hero ten minutes from time with a left foot drive which was pushed over the bar by Sa. Gelhardt did reach hero status in added time when he went down in the box under Semedo’s challenge and won a penalty. Rodrigo scored after Sa went the wrong way. Gelhardt even had a chance of a winner with the last kick of the game, but his shot was deflected comfortably wide.
Southampton 2 Burnley 2
Burnley remain one of three teams without a Premier League win. Each of those teams are in the bottom three. Burnley took a 13th minute lead through summer signing Maxwel Cornet who met a cross from the right by Lowton and headed home. Wood went close with a low shot after McNeil’s pass, but McCarthy saved at his left post.
Walcott had a couple of chances for “The Saints”, but Redmond should have equalised after 38 minutes when Broja crossed from the right and Redmond somehow pushed the ball wide of the far post when he had an easy goal available. A minute later Livramento hit the post with a shot from the right of goal. The Southampton right back did score with a downward header in the 41st minute following a corner from the right. It was a deserved equaliser for team and individual.
Broja gave the home side a lead five minutes into the second half following a poor pass by Burnley in their own half allowing the forward to advance on goal and score with a right-footed shot. Burnley were soon level though, through Cornet, who received the ball from Westwood and showed strength to hold off the defender before scoring a left foot shot in the 57th minute.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Manchester City 4
This was a meeting between fourth and third placed teams with Brighton having a chance of leapfrogging City with a win. Solly March came in for Shane Duffy, but Brighton were otherwise unchanged. Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez were on the bench, replaced by Gabriel Jesus and Gundogan. Raheem Sterling didn’t even make the City squad today.
Brighton’s marvellous start to the season came to a halt against a City side in a rampant mood. I suppose you could argue that City were the first decent team "The Seagulls" have met. They did beat Everton (so did Watford today) and drew against Arsenal.
City's first goal was scored in the 13th minute. Foden had a shot deflected into the air which Sanchez should have held, but dropped under pressure from Jesus. Bernardo Silva clipped the ball to Gundogan who scored from ultra-close range.
Foden scored the first of his goals in the 28th minute. City broke out of their own half at pace. Bernardo Silva sent Grealish away with a lovely ball and Foden raced forward to the right of Grealish, receiving Grealish's pass and scoring under pressure from a Brighton defender. Three minutes later Foden had another goal, although it was a deflection off Gabriel Jesus's shot with Sanchez also close to the ball. Grealish had been to the fore in the build-up to this goal, having had a shot saved, but parried by Sanchez.
Brighton at last had a decent chance after 54 minutes when Trossard crossed from the left of the box. Gross received the ball, turned and tested Ederson with his shot. The keeper saved and recovered in time to prevent Maupay taking advantage. Graham Potter added Lamptey and Mwepu to the mix in favour of Burn and Maupay.
Brighton had another good attack on the hour with Cucurella and Moder involved before Ederson had to save a low shot by Trossard, operating towards the left of the area. Brighton players and their fans were becoming more and more frustrated by some of referee Kevin Friend's decisions. That did at least boost the atmosphere in The AMEX. Potter's final throw of the dice was to put on Mac Allister for Gross.
Guardiola's reinforcements included the veteran Fernandinho for Gundogan and De Bruyne for Grealish.
Referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot when Mwepu went down near the bye-line when Ederson dived in. VAR supported the penalty and Mac Allister scored to the left of Ederson, who did get a hand to the ball. (81 mins)
City were in control of the closing stages and Foden nearly had a hat-trick when he received De Bruyne's pass and shot at goal inside the box. Sanchez saved. Foden did get the assist for City's final added time goal, scored by another late substitute Riyad Mahrez, who was given loads of space and swept home a left foot shot.
Sunday 24th October, 2021
Brentford 1 Leicester City 2
Patson Daka, who made a substitute appearance last week against Manchester United and scored his first Premier League goal had a sensational game on Wednesday, scoring all four of Leicester’s goals away to Spartak Moscow. Daka didn’t start this game, but he came on for Jamie Vardy at half time, and did claim an assist for Leicester’s winning goal. Leicester had scored four times in each of their previous two games but settled for two today.
After a throw taken on the right, the ball reached Norgaard in the middle of the area and he tried a decent overhead kick, which was saved by Schmeichel. The Mbeumo-Toney combination came into play after 6 minutes, and Toney had the ball in the net, but he was offside. Three minutes later it was Mbeumo’s turn to shoot, but he hit the ball wide. Tielemans scored with a thunderbolt shot from over 25 yards in the 14th minute. A free kick was cleared as far as the Belgian midfielder who hit an unstoppable rocket shot.
Schmeichel got a touch to push a Toney header over his bar after 35 minutes. Brentford equalised on the hour from a corner taken on the left which was headed into the net across Schmeichel’s goal by Zanka (aka Jorgensen). Leicester had been under pressure but took the lead in the 73rd minute. Schmeichel hit an arrowed kick, fielded by Iheanacho, who passed to Tielemans. Tielemans quickly passed forward to Daka, who raced on with Maddison to his left. Daka laid on the pass for Maddison to score with ease.
West Ham United 1 Spurs 0
Hugo Lloris and Oliver Skipp share the honours for Spurs’ man of the match, if indeed that is an appropriate title. Cristian Romero and Eric Dier have also emerged from this game with reasonable grades, but yet again too many players were below average, as was the assessment of our team performance and our coach. The team has now been marked as below average in 7 of our 15 games to date. Nuno has escaped such a negative grade in two of those games but has been considered below par in one third of our games. The coach’s worse grades have been in our Europa Conference League defeats and three of our London derby defeats (Palace, Arsenal and now West Ham).
I received lots of comments after this game, and have included a flavour of your opinions here:-
Spurs are currently fluctuating between good or poor. This was disappointing, not only because it was against that lot but both sides were very erratic with their finishing. Aside from Kane's dip, Spurs are simply struggling to score most weeks.
I feel that our Club are moving in the wrong direction. When Poch stated that changes were needed a few years back, he wasn't supported by the Board. They have then gone on to appoint “Boreinho” and Nuno (“Boreinho” mark 2)! To Dare is To Do!!!
I am so disappointed just how far we have regressed since Poch was moved on. Our team completely lacks any creativity from midfield, our pressing is non-existent, the service to our strikers is non-existent and we look totally devoid of any idea.
Never once before in over 30 years have I asked for the manager’s head. Nuno is however clearly out of his depth, and his style of football - if he has any - is the polar opposite of the Tottenham way. I need this nightmare to be over, sooner the better...
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 5
This was, of course, the headline game. Following the sensational score, the result dominated the headlines and would have shaken United fans to the core around the world. The post-mortem will take a long time. Mo Salah had been promoted before the game as arguably the best player in the world right now, and a hat-trick, an assist, and the fact he has now scored in 10 consecutive games certainly supports that argument. He was sensational today, but United were abysmal and their fans left in their hordes from half-time onwards.
Jurgen Klopp gave 22-year-old centre-back Ibrahim Konate his second Premier League game. Diogo Jota was preferred to Sadio Mane to start this game.
Fernandes put a shot woefully off target after only four minutes, but a minute later Liverpool were passing a United defence looking like traffic cones as Firmino passed to Salah, who fed the ball to Keita to his right who scored. Rashford tried a long range shot five minutes later, but that was outside Alisson’s right post. It was 2-0 (at The Stretford End) in only the 13th minute. Maguire and Shaw collided and became immobile as the ball reached Alexander-Arnold on the right. He crossed and Jota scored from inside the 6-yard box.
Alisson dived to his right to save confidently from Greenwood’s strike. Salah made it 3-0, scoring his first goal in the 38th minute. The goal followed a prolonged passing move in which Salah had been involved, but finally Keita crossed low from the right and Salah swept the ball into the net at the near post. In added time Alisson saved at close range from Ronaldo, who perhaps in his frustration took a kick at Curtis Jones, getting only a yellow card from referee Anthony Taylor. Fred also was booked for a high boot and Liverpool scored a fourth before the break. Jota got the assist for his final pass to Salah to the right of goal who scored inside De Gea’s left post, but Firmino and Robertson had also contributed to the move with successful passes in close quarters on the edge of the area.
Salah’s hat-trick came five minutes into the second half and in front of the away contingent. Firmino and Henderson had pinned substitute Pogba in midfield before Henderson sent a long ball forward and Salah did the rest in his usual style, utilising pace to race to the ball and delicate skill to dink the shot past De Gea. Ronaldo thought he had got a goal back for United, but that was ruled out for offside!
Pogba’s cameo did not last long as he jumped into a tackle on Keita and after an initial yellow card, Pogba was shown a straight red. Keita was stretchered off. De Gea got a fingertip to a shot by Alexander-Arnold, by which time thousands of United fans were already walking up Sir Matt Busby Way. A late United effort rebounded off the bar, but VAR would probably have denied a goal for offside anyway.
United are at Tottenham next week and their next home game is against Manchester City!
Fixtures and results - 22-24.10.21
Friday 22nd October, 2021
Arsenal 3-1 A. Villa
Saturday 23rd October, 2021
Chelsea 7-0 Norwich
C. Palace 1-1 Newcastle
Everton 2-5 Watford
Leeds 1-1 Wolves
S'hampton 2-2 Burnley
Brighton 1-4 Man City
Sunday 24th October, 2021
Brentford 1-2 Leicester
West Ham 1-0 Spurs
Man Utd 0-5 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Chelsea 9 7 1 1 23-3 20 22
2. Liverpool 9 6 3 0 27-6 21 21
3. Man City 9 6 2 1 20-4 16 20
4. West Ham 9 5 2 2 16-10 6 17
5. Brighton 9 4 3 2 9-9 0 15
6. Spurs 9 5 0 4 9-13 -4 15
7. Man Utd 9 4 2 3 16-15 1 14
8. Everton 9 4 2 3 15-14 1 14
9. Leicester 9 4 2 3 15-15 0 14
10. Arsenal 9 4 2 3 10-13 -3 14
11. Wolves 9 4 1 4 9-9 0 13
12. Brentford 9 3 3 3 11-9 2 12
13. A. Villa 9 3 1 5 13-15 -2 10
14. Watford 9 3 1 5 12-17 -5 10
15. C. Palace 9 1 6 2 11-14 -3 9
16. S'hampton 9 1 5 3 8-12 -4 8
17. Leeds 9 1 4 4 8-16 -8 7
18. Burnley 9 0 4 5 7-15 -8 4
19. Newcastle 9 0 4 5 11-20 -9 4
20. Norwich 9 0 2 7 2-23 -21 2