Monday, 20 January 2020

Premier League Notes - Week 23

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 23

The 23rd week of the 2019-2020 Premier League season saw:

22 goals - most by Wolves = 3 
244 shots - most by Man City = 25
83 on target - most by Leicester = 8
100 corners - most by Man City = 14
219 fouls - most by Chelsea and Burnley = 14 each
32 bookings - most by Spurs, Brighton, Villa and Man United = 3 each 
2 red cards - Cook for Bournemouth and Godfrey for Norwich
4 penalties - 2 scored (Pukki for Norwich, Jiménez for Wolves)

The home side frustrated the hell out of their guests in the Saturday lunchtime London derby. The first half didn’t serve much chances for either side, the Hornets well organised and not giving Spurs much space or any way into the game. Étienne Capoue’s challenge on Japhet Tanganga was only cautioned (36’), a lot of social media reaction felt it should have been a red, another VAR fail for many, the crowd included, making their feelings clear with their chants after the incident. (I feel it’s not the video technology that's the problem, it’s the officials of the FA that are proving themselves incompetent to deal with it week in week out.) Troy Deeney missed the golden opportunity from the spot, Paulo Gazzaniga’s dive to his right gifted the keeper an easy push away (69’). Modern technology helped Watford again late on, goal-line technology showing Erik Lamela’s low shot had not crossed the line completely - it was 10.4mm on the line, a good clearance by debutant Ignacio Pussetto (90+2’)! It stayed goalless, José Mourinho must have watched a different game saying they deserved more, I saw his side were just not good enough, regardless of any refereeing mistakes, whilst Nigel Pearson will be a more gutted his robust side didn’t take all points. The stalemate ended a run of 93 Premier League games without a goalless draw for Tottenham, the second longest run in the competition's history (Man Utd, 114 games ending May 2002).

18-year-old Gabriel Martinelli shot the Gunners ahead just before the break (45’) with a tap in after seeing Bukayo Saka’s cross deflect off a United defender and loop over Dean Henderson. John Fleck’s powerful drive deflected and whacked the visitors level late on (84’), a first for him on the road, after the hosts failed to deal with the ball in the box. Without their suspended skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mikel Arteta's side were missing any real fire power, the Spaniard having just overseen one win in his first five league games in charge, his team stuck in tenth, whilst the bouncing Blades drop one place to seventh. 

Leandro Tossard broke the deadlock for the home side, set up by Neal Maupay, converted into the bottom corner with his left foot, past new loanee keeper Pepe Reina (39’). Born and bread Villan Jack Grealish equalised with a left-footed whacker (76’). The Spanish stopper made a top save late on, play and tempers flared, but it stayed 1-1. The hosts ended more disappointed, dropping one place to 15th, whilst the visitors were more chuffed, avoiding defeat and remaining 18th, just one point separating them from West Ham and Watford in 16th and 17th respectively. 

The Citizens dominated, but the Eagles coped well. Cenk Tosun headed the home side ahead against the run of play, off a corner and Gary Cahill’s header, ping, pong, across, right, across, left and in, all over City there (39’). Pep Guardiola’s 49th birthday ruined?! It tolled like they would get a penalty saviour, Jaïro Riedewald handball - but nope, the VAR seeing and saying no handball, no pen, as the player made no move toward the ball, the ball was ping-ponging so quick, he couldn’t have avoided it! Brave but right call, especially at the Etihad (71’). Non-other than Sergio Agüero slid home an equaliser eventually (82’), lighting up the sound and ground. And of course, it was the Argentine legend who headed and bounced the second in off the grass (87’). Another goal, another brace, when will the statue be built? 250th goal in 360 games, fourth highest in PL history. It would have been harsh on Roy Hodgson’s side. But even the old man couldn't deny all the Citizens' dominance nearly paid off and would have served his Spanish counter part the perfect birthday cake, if it weren't for Wilfried Zaha (90’)! The last-minute equaliser was actually an own goal, deflected in off Fernandinho, to end the game a goal and point each, the crazy ending keeping Palace in ninth and City in second.

It was a cagey affair at Carrow Road. Steve Cook was sent off for the visitors after blocking Ondrej Duda’s attempt with his hand - it was a great acrobatic save by the defender, not much for the VAR to check and confirm. Teemu Pukki netted the following penalty to give the home side the lead against the struggling Cherries (33’). Then Canaries defender Ben Godfrey was sent for an early shower for a serious foul on Callum Wilson, after referee Paul Tierney consulted the VAR and pitch-side screen (77’), much better and clearer that way, it was a dangerous tackle, the replay made it clear(er). The bottom side ended their nine-match winless run, their dominance finally paying off, recording their first clean sheet in 16 PL home games. Meanwhile, Eddie Howe's worries and struggles continue, his side having failed to score in four consecutive top-flight games for the first time ever, and lost 10 our of their last 12 top-flight games (W1 D1) after just losing one of the seven before that (W3 D3). Slump. 

What a cross by James Ward-Prowse and what a goal by Jan Bednarek to open the scoring for the hosts at St Mary’s, leaving Wolves keeper Rui Patrício completely help- and hopeless (15’). Shane Long doubled the Saints’ lead heading the ball into the far corner for his first PL goal of the season (35’). Pedro Neto pulled one back for the visitors after the break, with a nice spin and fire in (53’), just after the Saints had hit the woodwork as well. And Raúl Jiménez levelled the score from the spot (65’) after Jack Stephens and Cédric Soares both brought down Jonny. And the Nuno Espírito Santo’s side completed an unbelievable comeback, Jiménez again, the Mexican striker slotting home the winner unmarked from the centre of the box (76’). RJ has been directly involved in 27 goals for Wolves in all competitions this season (18 goals, 9 assists), more than any other PL club in 2019-2020. What a fightback, seeing Wolves up to sixth, level on points with Man United in fifth, whilst Southampton slump to 13th, six points away from the drop zone.

Both teams were at it at the London Stadium, Robert Snodgrass coming close a couple of times, got one in, but flagged just offside about halfway through the first half. Issa Diop gave the Hammers the lead eventually, off Snodgrass’ lovely free kick (40’). But Dominic Calvert-Lewin equalised soon after for the Toffees, with an easy header from close range (44’). Fans protested about the ownership on the 10-year anniversary of the takeover by David Sullivan and Gold, overseeing their side share a goal and point each with manager David Moyes' former team, the result keeping both sides in 16th and 11th respectively.

The Magpies hit the woodwork 20 minutes in. That was it really. Until the 94th minute, the first Newcastle corner, cleared by Willian, but not far, Allan Saint-Maximin picking it up and putting a fine cross into the box, for a clear header down and in by Isaac Hayden, unbelievable! Steve Bruce chuffed, Frank Lampard less so. I’m still thinking I blinked and thought this up, but no, it actually happened! St James’ Park absolute bonkers! This is Newcastle's first 90th-minute winner in a Premier League match since December 2015 against Tottenham, when Ayoze Pérez struck. The three points lift them up to 12th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone. Massive victory.

It was an even competition in the Super Sunday early kickoff at Turf Moor, until Harvey Barnes broke the deadlock for the visitors, running through the back four and hitting the ball through under keeper Nick Pope, who should have kept that one out (33’). Former Fox Chris Wood headed the hosts back into the game (56’). Jamie Vardy was denied from the spot after Benjamin Mee was booked for taking down Barnes in the box, harsh but Pope made up for his earlier muck-up (69’). Ashley Westwood smacked in the winner, his first ever goal at the ground, a boomer from the centre of the box (79’). Brilliant comeback win for Sean Dyche and his men taking then up to 14th, whilst Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes keep stumbling but stay in third, six points clear of Chelsea in fourth, three points behind City in second.

The Reds bossed and rocked Anfield in the Super Sunday clash against their arch rivals. Virgil van Dijk headed the league leaders in front (14’). Roberto Firmino thought he had doubled their lead with a beauty of a curler from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net, for the VAR to spoil the party, disallowing the goal for a foul by VvD on David de Gea in the six-yard box (25'). Harsh. Soft. Contact, yes. Foul, no. The keeper got the ball, before he just collapsed. Pathetic. Georginio Wijnaldum had the ball in the net (35'), but the flag was up and the VAR confirmed offside, by half an inch of an armpit. Pf. Mo Salah missed a sitter from close range (48') and the Red Devils stopper and the woodwork denied Jordan Henderson (49'). The hosts could and should have been four or five goals clear. But the Kop had to wait till injury time, the final seconds, Alisson setting up Salah with a long clearance, the great Egyptian making no mistake this time, a fine run and catching out de Gea, to double their lead and spark wild celebrations (I couldn’t get enough of the celebration videos on Twitter). Jürgen Klopp was still quite humble in the post-match interview, but can’t deny how unbelievable this run is, 21 wins out of 22 games this season, 91 of a possible 93 points (P31 W30 D1), still unbeaten, 16 points clear at the top, with a game in hand, more records tumbling all over the place. Simply the best. Top. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s face said it all, blank stare, his side slipping and sliding nowhere, nowhere near their arch rivals, 30 points between the two clubs. Flop. 

My Predictions - Actual Results 
Watford 2:2 Tottenham - 0:0
Arsenal 2:1 Sheffield United - 1:1
Brighton 2:0 Aston Villa - 1:1
Man City 2:1 Crystal Palace - 2:2
Norwich 2:1 Bournemouth - 1:0
Southampton 2:2 Wolves - 2:3
West Ham 2:2 Everton - 1:1
Newcastle 2:1 Chelsea - 1:0
Burnley 0:2 Leicester - 2:1
Liverpool 2:0 Man United - 2:0

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, ByTheMinPL and ByTheMinLFC Twitter and RMC Sport coverage.

Monday, 13 January 2020

Premier League Notes - Week 22

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 22 

The 22nd week of the Premier League Football season saw:

27 goals - most by Man City = 6
221 shots - most by Man City = 22
90 on target - most by Man City = 12
77 corners - most by Chelsea = 10
198 fouls - most by Arsenal = 21
25 bookings - most by Arsenal, Burnley, Saints and Newcastle = 3 each
1 red card - Aubameyang for Arsenal
3 penalties - 3 scored (Jorginho for Chelsea, Rashford for Man United, El Ghazi for Villa)

The Blades dominated the Friday Night Football match, an early injury and substitution of keeper Łukasz Fabiański didn’t help the visitors after barely 15 minutes. The hosts took a clumsy but deserved lead after the restart, John Fleck capitalising on sub stopper David Martin’s error and setting up Oli McBurnie for an easy finish from close range (53’). Sub Robert Snodgrass celebrated a last-minute equaliser after plenty of missed chances by both sides, to be disallowed by the VAR (90+3’). It looked like a foul-shove by Declan Rice on John Egan in the build-up, but the screen said handball against Rice. The number 41 was gutted to say the least, lambasting the VAR in the post-match interview saying the ball was headed onto his arm at such a speed, how can you stop it?! Harsh decision indeed, but correct, that’s the rule. So, it stayed 1-0, Chris Wilder and his men recording their eighth consecutive league win against London sides at Bramall Lane, taking them up to fifth before all the other weekend’s games, cutting short David Moyes’ 100% record as Hammers boss, which was shred to pieces by the VAR. The Scotsman’s side remain 16th before the other matches, just two points separating them from the drop zone. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slotted home Alexandre Lacazette’s lovely through ball (12’). Jordan Ayew saw his shot deflected in to level the score after the break (54’). The French Gunner went from hero to zero, seeing red for a late and nasty ankle-turning tackle on Max Meyer, the ref’s yellow reviewed and changed to red by the VAR (67’), correct call in my eyes. It was a heated derby, end-to-end stuff, misses, clearances and woodwork whacking, physical clashes, the crowd on the ref’s and VAR’s case - the anti-banners vanished very quickly after decisions went the home side's way though. It stayed one goal and one point each. No wins in four league and FA Cup games for the oldest boss Roy Hodgson and his men. One win in four Premier League games for the youngest manager Mikel Arteta and his team. The result keeps both sides in 9th and 10th respectively, one point between them. Arsenal have failed to win five league games after leading at the break (D4 L1), their joint-highest total in a single Premier League campaign (also five in 2010-11). Dire.

The Blues bossed it, but got lucky with a couple of calls. The VAR camera angles and lines were ridiculous once again, denying the visitors any chance of getting back into the game. Pf. Jorginho gave the hosts the lead from the spot (27'), sending the goalkeeper the wrong way after Willian made the most of Matt Lowton's "challenge". To be fair, the Burnley number 2 did his best to take his legs away and avoid contact, but the VAR confirmed foul and pen, 1-0. Another harsh one. Tammy Abraham doubled the lead rising the highest and heading home Reece James' fine cross, too easy (38'). Nick Pope won't like to see these replays as the ball went through the keeper's gloves. Flop. And Callum Hudson-Odoi made it three (49'), the VAR checking whether his team mate the number 9 didn't touch the ball on its way in, and deeming he didn't, so H-O's fine run and take was not offside and the goal stood, 3-0. Three goals and three points for Frank Lampard and his men keeps them in fourth, five points clear of Man United. Sean Dyche is watching his side crumbling, fourth defeat on the trot, falling down to 15th, four points from the drop zone before Sunday’a crucial relegation clash between Bournemouth and Watford. 

Early on in the game, Theo Walcott didn’t get a penalty just because he didn't go down against Seagulls captain Lewis Dunk's pull, sad but true. Is that not what the VAR is there for??? Richarlison broke the deadlock for the Toffees with a lovely turn and curl in (38'). Dominic Calvert-Lewin thought he had doubled their lead from close range, but the VAR disallowed it because of handball (79'). Goodison Park was in total dismay about the officiating, but ended up cheering on the winning side, taking Carlo Ancelotti's side to 11th, level on points with Arsenal in 10th, whilst Graham Potter's men remain winless at Goodison, four points above the relegation zone in 14th. 

TEN shots on target for the visitors, over half of them by Danny Ings including a couple of woodwork smackers, it could have been 1-9! Unbelievable! (See week 10 if you don't get what I'm referring to.) Dennis Praet had opened the scoring for the home side, netting Jamie Vardy's ball across at the back post (14'). Simples. But the visitors replied soon after, Stuart Armstrong equalising for the Saints with the help of a huge deflection off James Maddison to fool and beat Kasper Schmeichel (19'). Ralph Hasenhüttl's men remained on top, and with just over an hour played, the VAR denying them a penalty after a foul on Shane Long by Çağlar Söyüncü, but replays showed an offside in the build-up. But the former Red finally did it, 81st minute, Ings raced ahead and poked the ball through Schmeichel's legs to give Southampton a deserved lead, getting booked for his celebrations, stripping his shirt off and all. I don't think anyone cared at that point. And in the last minute of normal time. Jonny Evans thought he had headed his side level, but the VAR disallowed it offside, late drama for the one side, relief for the other, Brendan Rodgers gutted, his Austrian counterpart chuffed to bits.

Who else but Marcus Rashford gave the home side the lead, goal number 13 for him, poked home from close range off Juan Mata's whipped in ball (27'). The 22-year-old England striker outplayed and -performed everything and everyone in his 200th PL game. David de Gea kept out Todd Cantwell's attempt just before the break, the visitors trying their best to stay in the tie. Rashford doubled the Red Devils' lead from the spot soon after the restart (52'), after Tim Krul slid into Brandon Williams' leg to concede the penalty. And Anthony Martial made it 3-0 seconds later (54'), set up by Mata's curler, to head it into the bottom corner, keeper no chance. Not a good day for the stopper! And it went from bad to worse, sub Mason Greenwood scoring from the edge of the box (76'), low and hard into the bottom corner to make it 4-0 and Ole Gunnar Solskjær smiling, his side moving up to fifth. 

Miguel Almirón put the visitors ahead with a great finish, top right corner from inside the box, provided by Dwight Gayle (7'), his second PL goal of the season, three in three in all competitions. Leander Dendoncker levelled the score soon after with a volley in from close range (14'). A point-blank save by Martin Dúbravka against Pedro Neto late on spared his side from a defeat, despite more injury woes and forced changes for Steve Bruce and his men. Do the Magpies have enough fit players left?! They remain 13th with the point gained, whilst Nuno Espírito Santo's side climb up to 7th. 

The Reds continue their reckless run at the top, more records tumbling left, right and centre. The visitors bossed the first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the front trio creating chance after chance. It was surprising the league leaders only led by one goal at the break, thanks to Roberto Firmino, his left foot doing the magic, across goal and into the right side of the net, after Mohamed Salah set him up, surrounded by white shirts but still able to turn and pass the ball (37'). The VAR checked for a handball by Jordan Henderson in the buildup, deemed fine, the goal stood. Of course Sky Sports pointed out and José Mourinho complained about the Red throw-in that started the whole move, replays showing it looked like the final touch came off Sadio Mané. Anyway, anyhow, the Reds got a deserved lead and Spurs tried to hit back on the counter, creating more chances after the break, but Alisson kept another clean sheet, LFC's sixth one on the trot. Jürgen Klopp still looked very frustrated in the post-match interview, no wonder, it was a tense match-up, which his side could and should have put to bed much earlier by netting their chances. Spurs stopper Paulo Gazzaniga made some fine saves as well, including a point-blank one against Mané. Sub and Real Betis loanee Giovani Lo Celso put a golden chance across goal and wide late on, Klopp and Mourinho fuming and stunned on the sideline, the German because of his defence, the Portuguese for the missed opportunity to grab a point. The one goal was enough in the end. It's the first time EVER in any of Europe's five main leagues that a team has ever taken 61 points of the first 63 = 21 games. They're at the top, SIXTEEN POINTS CLEAR - before City's Super Sunday clash, AND A GAME IN HAND not to forget! 38 games unbeaten, their longest league run EVER. Mind. Blown. Completely nuts as Gary Lineker put it on Twitter. Simply the best. 

The visitors dominated and Abdoulaye Doucouré had all the time and space in the world to control the ball and take the shot from just over six yards out to give Watford the lead (42'). Ismaïla Sarr set the midfielder up after keeper Mark Travers messed up his clearance. The Cherries were nowhere, very sloppy and unable to cope and organise themselves, leaving a very worried atmosphere around Dean Court. Hornets skipper Troy Deeney doubled the advantage from close range, Sarr the provider again (65'). And substitute Roberto Pereyra put the icing on the cake, making it three goals and three points with a bang after Andre Gray's attempt had been cleared off the line by Ryan Fraser (90+2'). What a win! Nigel Pearson has taken 13 points from a possible 18 in charge at Watford. The only game the English manager has lost was his first game at league leaders Liverpool (week 17). The run has taken his side out of the relegation zone for the first time this season, whilst Eddie Howe's men drop down to 19th, two points from safety. Dire times at the Vitality Stadium. 

Riyad Mahrez broke the deadlock running through the Villa defence and bashing the ball into the bottom right corner, too quick for keeper Ørjan Nyland on his near post (18'). And the Algerian doubled the lead soon later, the Villans unable to clear the ball, and the number 26 capitalising and smashing in the ball from nearly the same spot as the first, just a few yards out, no one near him or the ball (23'). Sergio Agüero made it three a few minutes later, with a bang across from the edge of the box and in off the keeper's gloves, beaten to his right this time (28'). Kevin De Bruyne's run and exemplary cross from the right found Gabriel Jesus perfectly, who whacked in the fourth just before the break (45+1'). Villa were in bits, unable to cope, all over place. No competition. And one great Argentinian overtook a great Frenchman*, making it 176 for him and 0-5 to Pep Guardiola and his men, running all over the Villans and tapping it in (57'). And that was not all, it had to be a hat-trick, his 12th in the PL, another record, overtaking Alan Shearer (11) AND *Thierry Henry's Premier League total (176), moving level with former Chelsea midfielder and now manager Lampard on 177 PL goals. Legend. The hosts did pull one back from the spot late on, but Anwar El Ghazi didn't celebrate, understandably so (90+1'). It ended 1-6, taking the Citizens up to second, two points ahead of Leicester in third, 14 points behind Liverpool at the top. Record-breaker(s). I loved how the City fans delayed their goal celebrations until after the VAR confirmed the goals, every single goal, making a point of their discontent with the system. Not that they had much to moan or boo about in this match.

My Predictions - Actual Results 
Sheffield United 2:1 West Ham - 1:0
Crystal Palace 1:2 Arsenal - 1:1
Chelsea 2:0 Burnley - 3:0
Everton 2:1 Brighton - 1:0
Leicester 2:1 Southampton - 1:2
Man United 2:1 Norwich - 4:0
Wolves 1:0 Newcastle - 1:1
Tottenham 0:2 Liverpool - 0:1
Bournemouth 1:1 Watford - 0:3
Aston Villa 1:3 Man City - 1:6

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, ByTheMinPL, ByTheMinLFC and RMC Sport coverage.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Premier League Notes - Week 21

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 21

The 21st week of the 2019-2020 Premier League football season saw:

25 goals - most by West Ham = 4
241 shots - most by Burnley = 21
85 on target - most by Leicester = 9
99 corners - most by Tottenham and West Ham = 9 each
209 fouls - most by Southampton = 21
34 bookings - most by Norwich = 5
1 red card - Kabasele for Watford
1 penalty - 1 scored (Noble for West Ham) 

Tammy Abraham’s take after Kurt Zouma headed on a corner was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but only as far as César Azpilicueta, who was left with an easy take to give the Blues the lead unmarked from close range (10’). But the Seagulls didn’t go down from there, quite the opposite, they kept going and pushing, pulling a great low save out of Kepa Arrizabalaga, just before Alireza Jahanbakhsh equalised with a stunning Rooney-esque overhead kick (84’). Kepa couldn’t stop that one! Having failed to score in any of his first 26 appearances for Brighton in all competitions, the Iranian winger has now netted in consecutive appearances for the Albion. The Chelsea stopper denied Neil Maupay a late winner, the home side tried their best, ending a cracking contest on top, it was nearly a shame they had to share a point each. 

Jack Grealish had the ball in the back of the net for the Villans after Charlie Taylor had messed up his clearance, but the VAR chalked the goal off deeming Wesley was offside in the buildup (14’). He wasn’t. All the lines and dots didn’t clarify or confirm anything. Shambles. It’s the 22nd goal disallowed by the vid ref. Grealish and Wesley worked well together again to give the visitors the lead after all, the latter taking the prior’s fine pass on his chest and hitting it in through keeper Nick Pope’s legs (27’). Grealish got his name on the board all right as well, with a whacker into the back of the net (41’). The Clarets were nowhere. Until the second half, where they finally fought back, throwing everything at Villa. First shot on target = goal, Chris Wood free after some penalty box pinball to head home powerfully from Ashley Westwood's cross. The VAR checked something (don’t ask what) but the goal stood (80’). But it was not to be any more than a consolation goal, Villa holding on to the win to take them out of the relegation zone, fully deserved. It wasn't a good day for Sean Dyche and his men, blown further back and down by this defeat and more injuries, to 15th.

The Foxes came out firing, Jonny Evans walloping the ball off the Magpies keeper Martin Dúbravka in the opening minutes, it echoed through St James’ Park. Ayoze Pérez took advantage of some awful play at the back by Florian Lejeune to give the visitors the lead, finding the back of the net despite being challenged and tumbling in the box (36’). James Maddison doubled their lead with a cracker from the semi-circle into the top right corner (39’). And Kelechi Iheanacho hit the woodwork before the break (43’), the home side scrambling. The struggle got worse after the restart, Steve Bruce had already made all changes when Fabian Schär went down injured and unable to continue, reducing the home side to ten men shortly after the restart (53’). Hamza Choudhury had time and space to take a run up and take the ball in from the semi-circle with a perfect shot to make it 0-3 and three points sealed for Brendan Rodgers' men (88’), keeping them second, ten points behind the league leaders (before their match the following night).

The Saints were so close to opening the scoring after just 17 seconds! It was Danny Ings’ shot that was blocked, and seconds later Cédric Soares wasted another golden opportunity wide (2’). At the other end, Alex McCarthy denied Harry Kane with a super high spring save (6’). Ings with a great run, touch and take through the Spurs defence and past Paulo Gazzaniga, Gascoigne-esque, gave the home side the lead at St Mary’s and made it nine goals in ten games for the former Red (17’). Toby Alderweireld’s handball in the box was checked by the VAR, replays showed yes, handled, but the screen said no pen (52’). I give up understanding this video mess. Kane’s leveller was flagged offside, the VAR confirmed it correctly for a change, I have to say (74’). During that chance, the England striker pulled his hamstring, things going from bad to worse for José Mourinho and his men. 

A giveaway by the Wolves back line, Ismaïla Sarr was gifted the ball by Leandre Dendoncker, to pass it to Gerard Deulofeu on the left side of the box, who made no mistake with a nice low curl around and in to give the home side the lead (30’), Henry-esque. Abdoulaye Doucouré doubled the hosts’ lead after the break, diagonal bang from the centre of the box into the top corner (49’). Pedro Neto pulled one back, an evil but cracking deflection into the top corner, unstoppable (60’). With 19 years and 298 days, he’s the first ever teenager to score a Premier League goal for Wolves. One thing the VAR got right for a change, deeming Christian Kabasele pulling back Diogo Jota, who was running clear on goal, was worth a red, correcting the ref’s yellow (71'). It stayed 2-1. Nigel Pearson is working wonders yet again, seeing the Hornets to their fourth win of the season and move to just two points away from safety. 

Phil Foden’s opener from close range was chalked off by the good old VAR, this time a quite obvious one, provider Riyad Mahrez offside in the buildup (13’). Gabriel Jesus opened the scoring with a cracker that could only curl and bounce in off Jordan Pickford’s glove (51’). The Brazilian doubled the score squeezing the ball in between keeper and near-post (58’). Nice move and take by the Citizens, the Toffees beaten, too soft and easy. Jesus has scored more Premier League goals against Everton (7) than he has against any other team in the competition. Oh Claudio Bravo, messed up totally with the ball in the box, leading to Richarlison netting one back, a lovely cross by Dominic Calvert-Lewin to set him up (71’). Jesus hit the woodwork looking for a hat-trick late on (80’). A nervy finish ended with the fifth consecutive win for the Citizens against the Toffees by an aggregate score of 13-4, but it was the first time Pep Guardiola beat Carlo Ancelotti (their previous meetings as managers - two Real Madrid wins versus Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final of 2014).

The home side took an early lead. Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendía exchanged a couple of passes before a blocked Buendía shot landed into the path of Cantwell, who made no mistake of netting it (4’). Palace had to wait a loooooong time for the VAR to confirm the equaliser, sub Connor Wickham sliding the ball in off Wilfried Zaha’s low cross (85’), ONSIDE, his 50th career goal, but first in the Premier League for 1,138 days since he netted against Manchester City in November 2016 - also assisted by Zaha. This time it ended a goal and point each, keeping Norwich bottom and seven points from safety, whilst Palace remain ninth. 

Mark Noble with the breakthrough, deflecting in the opener for the home side (18’) to make him the first player to score a Premier League goal in each of the 14 years since 2007. A flashy jump and bicycle kick by Sebastien Haller doubled the Hammers’ lead (25’). The skipper won a soft penalty and converted it to make it 3-0 (35’), 6 out of 6 spot kicks for the captain, and perfect start for new boss David Moyes. The last time West Ham scored three goals in a game was on 24 August against Watford in a 3-1 win (week 3). The last time they did that in the opening 36 minutes of a game was in May 2007 against Bolton, Noble also scoring their third that day. Felipe Anderson made it four (67’). The Moyes effect. It didn’t end perfect for the home side though, with Aaron Cresswell sent walking for a silly late and high tackle on Ryan Fraser - for the VAR to revise it to just yellow (77’). Why?! WTF?! It was reckless, dangerous, pointless in the end to argue anything anymore. No sense. VARce!!! The result ended Bournemouth's six-game unbeaten run against West Ham in the Premier League (W3 D3) and sees them drop down to 18th, whilst the Hammers climb up to 16th, two points ahead of their opposition.

Nicolas Pépé was totally unmarked in the centre of the box to net an easy opener (8’). And he hit the woodwork with a low curl shot on to the left post after David de Gea passed the ball to him (38’). The Spanish stopper punched away Alexandre Lacazette’s chance off a corner, onto his own defender who deflected it straight to Sokratis Papastathopoulos who pounced on it and banged it in to double the Gunners’ lead from a couple of yards out (43’), fully deserved. United created more chances in the second half, but Arsenal never looked in grave trouble. The Red Devils stay fifth, the gap between them and the top four is still five points. Arsenal climb up to 10th, nine points away from Chelsea in fourth. The Gunners had not won in their previous seven home games. And it’s their first Premier League win this season against a team currently in the top half of the table (D4 L5). Manchester United have taken 39 points from their last 30 league games. That's fewer than Crystal Palace and Everton and the same amount as Newcastle United. Ole at the whee...

It didn’t even take four minutes for Andy Robertson’s cross from the left to find Mo Salah, who nutmegged Man United loanee keeper Dean Henderson to open the scoring at Anfield. On the break, Sadio Mané did well to find Salah, the Egyptian pulling a world class save out of the United keeper, for his Sengalese team mate to power in the rebound (64’). The controlled victory is their 18th consecutive Premier League win at Anfield and put the Reds 13 points clear at the top with a game in hand. With 19 wins and 1 draw from their first 20 Premier League games, Liverpool have matched Man City's 2017/18 record. They've kept five consecutive clean sheets in the league for the first time in over 12 years (Pepe Reina the last Red stopper to do so in 2007-08). Salah's opening goal was his 50th left-footed strike for the club in the PL - only Robbie Fowler (85) has netted more for the club in the competition. And last but definitely not least, under Jürgen Klopp, Liverpool have won all 12 of their home league games against promoted sides by an aggregate score of 35-4. The league leaders haven't lost a league game at Anfield when they've been winning at half time since 2009 and have now gone unbeaten in the league for a whole calendar year. If they win their next game, it would be the best start to a top flight season... EVER! 

My Predictions - Actual Results 
Brighton 1:2 Chelsea - 1:1
Burnley 1:1 Aston Villa - 1:2
Newcastle 1:2 Leicester - 0:3
Southampton 1:2 Tottenham - 1:0
Watford 1:2 Wolves - 2:1
Man City 2:1 Everton - 2:1
Norwich 1:0 Crystal Palace - 1:1
West Ham 2:1 Bournemouth - 4:0
Arsenal 2:2 Man United - 2:0
Liverpool 2:0 Sheffield United - 2:0

All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match reports, ByTheMinLFC Twitter and RMC Sport coverage.