Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Premier League Notes - Week 13

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 13

The 13th week of the Premier League 2019-2020 season saw:

33 goals - most by Spurs, Burnley, Sheffield and Man United = 3 each
272 shots - most by Southampton = 21
102 on target - most by Leicester = 9
130 corners - most by Aston Villa = 11
211 fouls - most by Southampton = 19
40 bookings - most by Arsenal = 6
1 red card - Simon Francis for Bournemouth
3 penalties - 2 scored (Vardy for Leicester, Barnes for Burnley)

Another Roberto Jiménez nightmare handed Spurs an easy away win, Son Heung-min (36'), Lucas Moura (43') and Harry Kane (49') putting the visitors in command and recording their first victory on the road in over ten months. New boss José Mourinho watched his side give away a couple of sloppy goals to sub Michail Antonio (73') and Angelo Ogbonna (90+6') late on though, making the scoreline not quite reflecting the match. Against any other side the visitors would not have had it so easy, the three points shooting them up from 14th to 6th (before any of the other games were played, they ended 10th by the end of the weekend). The Hammers are sinking big time, down to 17th, only three points separating them from the drop zone, Manuel Pellegrini's days numbered. Countdown.

To the next manager top of the sacking list: Gunners boss Unai Emery saw his defenders just watching as Danny Ings put the visitors ahead early on (8'). But his side were level ten minutes later thanks to Alexandre Lacazette. James Ward-Prowse was a lucky man, after his penalty was well saved by Bernd Leno, the Saints man was on hand to fire home the rebound (71'). Lacazette did nick a point deep into injury time (90+6´), but his brace doesn't hide the fact how dire his side's form and state is = winless in the last five league games (D3 L2) and tumbling down to eighth. Ralph Hasenhüttl will have been gutted his side didn't leave the booing Emirates with all three points, the point taking them off the bottom to 19th, four points from safety. Dire. 

It was all Wolves in the the first half and they thoroughly deserved their two-goal lead. João Moutinho's superbly struck free-kick put the visitors ahead (21'). Raúl Jiménez doubled their lead (32') and then the Cherries' skipper Simon Francis was sent marching off after receiving his second stupid yellow card (37'). Steve Cook pulled one back for the hosts after the break (58'), but Nuno Espírito Santo's men held onto the win, the three points taking their unbeaten run to eight league games, their longest such streak in 35 years, sending them up to fifth. Eddie Howe's side meanwhile drop into the bottom half of the table, having just won one of their last seven league games, scoring only five goals. Contrast.

High-flyer Jamie Vardy provided Ayoze Pérez to complete a textbook breakaway goal (64') and scored from the spot (82') to double the Foxes lead. The star striker's 21 goals in 23 league appearances under boss Brendan Rodgers completed his side's fifth consecutive Premier League win to keep them second, eight points behind Liverpool, one point ahead of City and three points clear of Chelsea in third and fourth respectively. Run.

James Tomkins' header was harshly disallowed by VAR, spotting Jordan Ayew's push on Dejan Lovren a couple of minutes before the break. Sadio Mané's shot found its way over the line after coming off each post and keeper Vicente Guaita's glove and then rolling on and in (49’). Sub Wilfried Zaha had enough time and space in the box to bang in the equaliser (83'). But three minutes later, Roberto Firmino netted the ball after Virgil van Dijk had a couple of takes from close range off a corner blocked by a lot of Palace men squeezed together in the penalty area, trying their best to keep it out, but failing eventually, the clash at Selhurst Park ending 1-2. The result keeps the Reds eight points clear at the top, their unbeaten run extended to 30 league matches (W25 D5), can anything or anyone stop rgen Klopp's men?!

And the sacking odds are getting lower and lower, but how much longer can Marco Silva survive? The boos at Goodison Park after the Canaries' first win on the road this season said it all. Teemu Pukki held off two defenders before poking the ball through to Todd Cantwell who finished comfortably past the onrushing keeper Jordan Pickford to give the visitors their first away goal since the opening day of the season (54'). Dennis Srbeny doubled the lead and sealed the Toffees' misery late on (90+2'), the three points lifting his side off the bottom to 18th, just four points behind Everton in 16th. Another countdown. 

The Clarets took the lead from a corner, nodded into the middle by James Tarkowski for Chris Wood to convert it (53'). Ashley Barnes converted the penalty he won (82') before Tarkowski made it three goals and three points for the visitors at Vicarage Road (88'). The result leaves the home side bottom of the table. The Hornets have picked up just eight points from their 13 Premier League games this season - their lowest return at this stage of a top-flight season, whilst Sean Dyche can be very happy with his side's hard-fought win and display, their first victory on the road taking them up to seventh, level on points with Sheffield United and Arsenal in sixth and eighth respectively. 

Chelsea started quick and on top, N'Golo Kanté slotting the Blues ahead (21'). But the Citizens came back and took over after that, Kevin De Bruyne's deflected equaliser (29') and Riyad Mahrez's fine finish (37') turning the game around at the Etihad. After a manic first half, Pep Guardiola's men banked the win and the three points despite some disappointment with VAR disallowing Raheem Sterling's goal in added time, and Sergio Agüero hobbling off injured. The result sees both sides swap places, City up to third, Chelsea down to fourth, two points between them. 

It was a mad Super Sunday at Bramall Lane! Lys Mousset put the Blades 2-0 ahead (52'), adding to John Fleck's opener (19'), and it looked like they were out of sight with their opponents falling and crumbling all over the place. However, soon after the scorer had to be taken off injured, the Red Devils finally turned up with 19-year-old Brandon Williams waking them up (72'), sub Mason Greenwood levelling (77') and Marcus Rashford (79') giving Ole Gunnar Solskjær's men a shocking lead, all scoring within seven minutes. But the hosts didn't give up and Chris Wilder and co grabbed a point they more than deserved after Oliver McBurnie equalised late on (90'). The result sees Sheffield United drop one place to sixth, whilst Manchester United fall further down to ninth. 

Set pieces were the Magpies' downfall, Conor Hourihane scoring from a free-kick (32'), then using another one to set up Anwar El Ghazi (36'). As much as the visitors tried to come back after the break at Villa Park, the Villans stayed in command, keeper Martin Dúbravka making some top stops to avoid an absolute thrashing. Tom Heaton made a couple of good saves down the other end as well, denying Newcastle boss Steve Bruce any chance of a comeback against his former side. The result takes Dean Smith's men up to 15th, just one place and one point behind their Monday Night Football opponents. 

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

Click here for last week's Premier League Notes.

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

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Premier League Notes - Week 12

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 12

The 12th week of the 2019-2020 Premier League season saw:

28 goals - most by Burnley, Man United and Liverpool = 3 each
285 shots - most by Everton = 24
96 on target - most by Burnley = 12
109 corners - most by Man City = 13
213 fouls - most by Crystal Palace, Burnley and Wolves = 17 each
37 bookings - most by Brighton = 5
1 red card - Kabasele for Watford
0 penalties

Hornets winger Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring after just 76 seconds on Friday night, the second fastest by an away side in the Premier League this season, walking through the Canaries' back line. Sub Andre Gray doubled the lead after the break with a cheeky back-footer (52’). Defender Christian Kabasele’s daft second yellow (65’) didn’t make much off a difference, the visitors stayed in control at Carrow Road, despite the hosts pushing and trying. Quique Sánchez Flores' side climb off the bottom of the table with their first win of the season, Norwich taking their place, nicht gut for their German boss Daniel Farke.

It was a one-sided first half in the lunchtime kickoff at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, all Blues, the Eagles defending well and frustrating the hell out of the hosts. Tammy Abraham broke the deadlock after the break with a fine finish across goal into the bottom right (52’). Christian Pulisic doubled the home side’s lead (78’), relieving the little bit of pressure there was on Frank Lampard’s men and taking them up to third. Comfy three points, sixth consecutive league win, condemning Roy Hodgson’s stubborn side to their fifth defeat of the season, pushing them down to 12th. 

Ashley Barnes’ tap in gave the home side the lead (11’), what happened to defenders marking anyone?! Chris Wood’s thunderous header was disallowed by VAR (36’), but nothing and no one could deny the home side were bossing it - VAR shambles, giving the corner which led to the first goal and disallowing the second goal on unclear and marginal if any evidence. But Wood made sure the Clarets wouldn’t have to moan about that for too long, slotting the ball home totally unmarked to make it 2-0 shortly before the break (44’). And it got even worse for the visitors, keeper Roberto Jiménez topped his dire display by flapping at a corner and adding an own goal to the scoreboard to make it 3-0 (54’), just embarrassing. Seven league and cup games without a win now for the Hammers, and injuries to skipper Mark Noble and Manuel Lanzini won't help Manuel Pellegrini either. An easy win and just what the doctor ordered after three straight league defeats for Sean Dyche’s men. 

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson finished off and fired home a brilliant corner routine (14’), the Magpies just couldn’t deal with it. Set pieces, hey? Their right-back DeAndre Yedlin made up for it and equalised just before the break with a flying header (42’). Another defender, this time Ciaran Clark, bundled one over the line to give the home side the lead (52’), what a turnaround thanks to an American brace. Steve Bruce will be glowing during the international break after their first successive league wins of the season takes them up to 13th. Who needs strikers?!

A totally unmarked Tom Davies headed the Toffees ahead early on (5’), his first for the club in 553 days, Saints defence all over the place, shocking. Again, do they have to Google-search marking?! But the home side were level soon after the break, sub Sofiane Boufal handing former Red Danny Ings an easy poke in to make it 1-1 (50’). But the visitors regained the lead when Richarlison volleyed home the perfect cross by Djibril Sidibé (75’). Marco Silva was in absolute ecstasy after watching his side record their first away win since March, taking them up to 15th, whilst Ralph Hasenhüttl's side slide down to 19th, three points from safety, after losing four consecutive home league games at St Mary's for the very first time. 

United were in control, dominating and making much more of the game at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Spurs being just shadows. But Son Heung-min made the most of the miscommunication between the defenders to give the home side the lead (58’). Seconds later, David McGoldrick levelled the score with a tap-in (60’), but VAR scrubbed it off for offside in the buildup, millimeters, again! For me, the line was even, and if it takes so long to check, it’s NOT offside. Shambles. But George Baldock swept in the deserved equaliser, VAR wasted more time on another offside check, but couldn’t disallow it this time, no matter how many lines were drawn, 1-1 (78’) and game on! It ended a goal and point each, Chris Wilders side will be disappointed as they worked and deserved more from this match but still climb up to fifth, whilst Mauricio Pochettino is left wondering and pondering with no wins since September = in the last five league matches, his side crumbling and tumbling down to 14th. 

Unmarked Jamie Vardy put the home side ahead from inside the box completing a lovely move for the Foxes (67’). James Maddison doubled their lead with a banger, from the edge of the box, you could hear the low shot hit the bottom left of the net (75’). Brendan Rodgers’ men bossed the match in a very rainy King Power Stadium on Saturday evening, climbing up to second with the easy win, downing Unai Emery and his Gunners to yet another defeat, their third of the season, sinking down to sixth, behind Sheffield United in fifth on goal difference.

The Red Devils bossed it, only thanks to Albions keeper Mathew Ryan it wasn’t an absolute thrash in the Sunday early afternoon kickoff at Old Trafford. Andreas Pereira (17’) and Marcus Rashford (66’) scored either side of a Davy Pröpper own goal (19’). Ole Gunnar Solskjær described their biggest home win in the Premier League since August as their best performance of the season, taking them to an unbeaten home run of seven games in all competitions, their best since March 2018 (eight games under José Mourinho), and up to seventh. 

Wanderers’ first top-flight win over the Villans since 1978 was fully deserved. The hosts dominated and carved open the visitors again and again, but didn’t break the deadlock until shortly before the break thanks to Ruben Neves (41’). Raúl Jiménez doubled the hosts' lead to seal the three points late on (84’). Trézéguet with a late consolation goal (90+2’) could not hide the fact how poor the visitors were, manager Dean Smith conceded that much after the match, whilst Nuno Espírito Santo can be very happy, with his side climbing into the top half of the table for the first time since the opening weekend. 

A Fabinho smacker (6’), Mo Salah header off Andrew Robertson's perfect cross (13’) and diving header by Sadio Mané (51’) sealed the deal for the Reds, three points in the bag, at the top, nine points ahead of the champions, Bernardo Silva with the only reply (78’) at loud, shaking, dancing, prancing, glowing, celebrating Anfield. Pep Guardiola's 380th top-flight match as a manager, it was only the fifth time the Spaniard found himself two goals behind at half-time, losing all of them. His outrage against the refs was a bit OTT, (hilarious takes on Twitter) replays showing his players handled and fouled before any of the penalty calls and making the VAR decisions not easy but correct. Remember last season? With or without VAR, Liverpool bossed the champions. There was and always will be close and controversial calls, you either play on to win it (like the Reds did) or moan on and lose it (as the Citizens suffered). Jürgen Klopp meanwhile, can go into the international break smiling, his side in their best home form in 34 years (13 consecutive home league wins) after his ninth career win against Pep. 

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

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

Monday, 4 November 2019

Premier League Notes - Week 11

Sports - Football - Premier League - Week 11

The 11th week of the 2019-2020 Premier League season saw:

26 goals - most by Sheff United and Newcastle = 3 each
261 shots - most by Man City = 26
89 on target - most by Chelsea = 10
119 corners - most by Man City = 17
206 fouls - most by Leicester = 16
34 bookings - most by Bournemouth and Watford = 4
1 red card - Son for Tottenham
1 penalty - 1 scored (Deulofeu for Watford)

Former United trainee Joshua King’s great individual goal, a lovely unmarked take, turn and shot from inside the box, just before the break (45’), was the only action of note and quality in an otherwise frustrating, messy, sloppy, slippery Saturday lunchtime kickoff. Three deserved points for Eddie Howe’s men saw them leapfrog the dire Red Devils after their worst starting run since 1986-87. Ole Gunnar Solskjær's side have lost all six Premier League games in which they had fallen behind. 

The Gunners just cannot keep hold of a lead! Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was standing in for dropped skipper Granit Xhaka and gave the home side the lead with his 50th goal for the club (21’). But Raúl Jiménez headed in the equaliser (76’) denying Unai Emery’s men their first win in three, keeping them in fifth and boos echoing around the Emirates, whilst the Wanderers stretched their unbeaten run to six games, taking them up to 11th, and deservedly so. 

The Reds just never know how to die this season! They looked dead and their unbeaten record buried, gone. But two goals in the last seven-ish minutes turned the game on its head at Villa Park. Andrew Robertson (87’) and from provider to scorer Sadio Mané (90+4’) revived and revelled Jürgen Klopp’s men with two crucial headers late on, after Trézéguet had given the Villans the lead before the break (21’). The game changers kept the gap at the top at a comfortable six points for the league leaders, ahead of their mouthwatering clash with the champions next Sunday.

The Seagulls are flying high under Graham Potter, up to 8th after recording their third consecutive home win in the Premier League, thanks to two second-half goals by substitutes Leandro Trossard (68’) and Shane Duffy (84’). The struggling Canaries meanwhile, who have lost five of their last six games since beating Manchester City at Carrow Road in September, didn’t record a single shot on target, and remain stuck and miserable in 19th, four points from safety.

The champions came back, denying the Saints a surprise win, especially shocking it would have been after last week’s record thrash against Leicester! James Ward-Prowse gave the visitors the lead early on (13’) and frustrated the hell out of Pep Guardiola’s men with some exemplary defending. It wasn’t until the 70th minute, none other than Sergio Agüero equalised with City’s first shot on target, and 16 minutes later from provider to scorer Kyle Walker found the winner. Oh so cruel for the visitors, typical for the champions, never down and out, it’s never over till the final whistle. 

John Lundstram’s brace (17’, 43’) and John Fleck’s first goal of the season (44’), all before the interval, helped United to a comfortable win against the Clarets. The result saw Chris Wilder’s side shoot up to sixth, but Sean Dyche watched his side struggle especially defensively yet again, and after three consecutive defeats with nine goals conceded, they find themselves falling to 14th.

After scoring just once in their last five matches, the Magpies made a smashing start, leading 0-3 at the break, and held on to the lead to bag the three points after the Hammers hit back 2-3. Steve Bruce called it the best half since he’s been boss, pointing out the much-needed support from the fans. The result definitely gives them hope and sees them climb up to 15th, whilst it was difficult to understand for Manuel Pellegrini, his side struggling and sliding down to 13th.

Ben Foster made a bunch of epic saves to keep it just 0-1 to the Blues before the break. And then the stopper was denied a super-late equaliser by his counterpart Kepa Arrizabalaga. Shame. Christian Pulisic had doubled the half-time lead Chelsea enjoyed (55’), adding to Tammy Abraham’s early goal (5’). Gerard Deulofeu pulled one back from the spot thanks to the VAR awarding the penalty (80’), to make it an interesting and tense last 10 minutes plus stoppage time, but Frank Lampard's side still ending up deserved winners. 

The Foxes moved back into third after a quite comfortable victory at Selhurst Park on Sunday, thanks to Çağlar Söyüncü’s header and first goal for the club (57’) and Jamie Vardy sealing the win late on with a fine take (88’). Brendan Rodgers’ side have collected 23 points so far this season, level with Chelsea, but better goal difference, one point better off than at this stage in their title-winning campaign of 2015-16. Can they do the impossible and repeat or even outdo that wonderful season?! 

The Toffees’ later than late equaliser by sub Cenk Tosun (90+7’) and crucial point gained after they had trailed thanks to Dele Alli’s clinical finish (63’), was overshadowed by André Gomes’ horrendous injury. The reaction of the fans and players said it all, Goodison Park was in shock. Post-match discussions continued about some other controversial VAR calls and whether it should have been yellow instead of red for Son Heung-min and/or Serge Aurier as the ankle twisted and leg broke between both tackles/fouls. Both were dangerous challenges, but could not have stopped or changed or avoided the injury. Either way, it’s horrific, all the best to Gomes and his way back from this. Goosebumps. 

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

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