Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 23
The 23rd week of the Premier League action saw:
33 goals - most by Wolves and Liverpool = 4 each
236 shots - most by Man United = 20
79 on target - most by Liverpool = 9
112 corners - most by Cardiff and Tottenham = 10 each
201 fouls - most by Chelsea = 15
27 bookings - most by Wolves, Leicester and Tottenham = 3 each
1 red card - Milner for Liverpool
1 penalty - 1 scored (Pogba for United)
What a match! The first match of the weekend, the early kick-off on Saturday at the Molineux, was the craziest! Jota scored a hat-trick for Wolves (4’, 64’, 90’+3’), their first in the top flight since 1977, to make it 4-3 to the hosts against Leicester. The 22-year-old is only the second Portuguese player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League after former Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo. Boss Nuno Espírito Santo was sent off for taking part in the celebrations on the pitch after the injury-time winner. Claude Puel was not happy, his side still ending up losers despite their second-half comeback and it looked like captain Wes Morgan had grabbed a late point for the visitors (87'). "Sacked in the morning" chants were directed at the Frenchman after a dire first half, the result seeing the Wanderers overtake the Foxes, the prior rising to eighth, whilst the latter fall to ninth.
What a team! League leaders Liverpool didn’t make it easy for themselves in the Saturday crunch match against their bogey team Crystal Palace at Anfield, but still got there in the end. The Reds were better after the restart, trailing thanks to some poor defending handing Andros Townsend the opener (34’), the first real break ending up in a goal for Roy Hodgson’s men. The second half was absolute madness, the home front trio all on the scoreboard, but the visitors not giving up that easily, it ended up a nerve-wrenching 4-3 home-victory. Mohamed Salah starred with a brace (46’, 75’), calming the nerves shortly after the break, including his 50th Premier League goal. Team mates Roberto Firmino (53’) and Sadio Mané (90’+3’) joined the great Egyptian on the scoreboard to seal the win for the league leaders. James Tomkins (65’) and Max Meyer (95’) found the gaps on the other side, and James Milner was sent walking by his former PE teacher Jon Moss after seeing two yellow for two late and daft tackles (89’). Boss Jürgen Klopp could breath a sigh of relief after the full-time whistle blew, with the rest of the Reds. The German hailed his world-class striker after celebrating the difficult win against the last side to beat his team at home in the league back in April 2017, jumping and punching into the air with the Kop.
Manchester City kept the gap at the top to four points after their comfortable 0-3 win at managerless Huddersfield on Sunday, including their 100th goal of the season already!
What a man! And it’s seven wins out of seven games for Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær - a record maker with six out of six victories in the league! Paul Pogba (pen 27’) and Marcus Rashford (42’) were the match-takers-and-makers again, a penalty and superb goal respectively, sealing the win for the Red Devils against Brighton at Old Trafford. Pascal Groß halved the deficit later on (72’), but Chris Hughton’s side continued their miserable record, making it five defeats in their last eight league matches, keeping them in 13th, whilst United remain in sixth.
Everton’s miserable run on the road continued at Southampton. Wonder-man Ralph Hasenhüttl has won four of his eight games since replacing Mark Hughes (who won three of his 22 matches) at St Mary's. It was a nice opener for James Ward-Prowse (50’), cheeky one for Nathan Redmond - a Lucas Digne own goal in the end actually, the French left-back toe-poking it past his own keeper Jordan Pickford (64’). A Toffee horror show! Gylfi Sigurðsson pulled one back in injury time (90’+1’), but it was too little too late. A tense finish to the fourth victory, the Austrian master taking his team up to 15th, three points clear of the drop zone. Marco Silva on the other hand, is not happy, conceding the Saints deserved three points, his side failing and falling to eleventh.
What a goal! What a run and fine guided goal it was from Fabian Schär, opening the scoring against Cardiff (24’)! It was the Swiss defender’s first goal for Newcastle, helping his side to a crucial win in the relegation battle. And he doubled the lead from close range off a corner (63’). It was the Magpies’ first home win since November, an absolute nightmare for the Welsh visitors. Some brilliant sportsmanship was shown by Ayoze Pérez, kicking out the ball with his side on the attack after defender Joe Bennett looked like he was knocked out cold. The Spanish midfielder tapped in the third in injury time (90’+3’), which sealed the win and points for the home side and a much happier Rafa Benítez with his side climbing out of the drop zone, up to 17th, two points ahead of the Bluebirds.
The late disallowed Burnley goal at Watford, a tap-in by Chris Wood, looked in line = onside! Crucial, cruel - both keepers did well though, Tom Heaton for the visitors and Ben Foster for the hosts, to make sure both sides kept clean sheets and their 2019 unbeaten start intact. Clarets boss Sean Dyche made a good point and his frustration clear on that decision after the match. Still, unbeaten in the last four is not too bad. And only one defeat in eight for the Hornets as well.
It was a deserved victory for the home side at the Vitality stadium after Andy Carroll’s point-blank miss, Callum Wilson’s one-touch smacker (53’) and Joshua King’s tap in (90’+1’), great balls, superb finishes, sealed West Ham’s misery, sweet win and huge points for Eddie Howe, the Hammers falling down to 10th, whilst Bournemouth remain 12th.
What the hell?! Chelsea were below par in the Saturday evening kick-off, no discrediting Arsenal, great result for them to get closer to breaking into the top four. The Gunners fired themselves ahead thanks to Alexandre Lacazette (14’) and on top before the break through captain Laurent Koscielny (39’). The three points keep the East London side in fifth, ahead of United in sixth on goal difference, three points behind the Blues in fourth. It was an extraordinary post-match rant by boss Maurizio Sarri after watching his side struggle and fail to record a single shot on target after the interval - surely, having a go at his team like that, the Italian won’t last much longer?! Reminds me of a certain jobless Portuguese...
Tottenham’s injury-time winner at Fulham, what was the on-loan keeper Sergio Rico thinking?! Taking a short free kick in the box in the dying seconds is asking for trouble, and handed Harry Winks the chance on a golden plate to make it 1-2 at Craven Cottage (90’+3’). Poor Claudio Ranieri, watching his side playing much better, but then still falling and failing to record a point, staying stuck in 19th, seven points from safety. Lucky Spurs. And Mauricio Pochettino couldn’t believe it himself, the win keeping Tottenham in third, five points behind City in second, four points ahead of Chelsea in fourth.
My Predictions - Actual Results
Wolves 0:1 Leicester - 4:3
Bournemouth 1:2 West Ham - 2:0
Liverpool 3:1 Crystal Palace - 4:3
Man United 2:1 Brighton - 2:1
Newcastle 1:1 Cardiff - 3:0
Southampton 2:3 Everton - 2:1
Watford 3:2 Burnley - 0:0
Arsenal 1:2 Chelsea - 2:0
Huddersfield 0:4 Man City - 0:3
Fulham 1:1 Tottenham - 1:2