Sports - Football - Premier League Week 20
The 20th week of the 2019-2020 Premier League season saw:
25 goals - most by Watford = 3
249 shots - most by Everton = 22
79 on target - most by Everton = 9
108 corners - most by Southampton = 12
212 fouls - most by Chelsea = 19
43 bookings - most by Arsenal = 5
1 red card - Mariappa for Watford
3 penalties - 2 scored (Deeney for Watford, Kane for Tottenham)
Only three minutes into the early kickoff, Alireza Jahanbakhsh opened his account for the home side with a lovely low finish across into the bottom right. It was end-to-end stuff, no sign of Christmas fatigue early on, the hosts on top. Dan Burn hit a Messi-esque beauty to double the lead (58’), only for the VAR to spoil the show and disallow the goal for one of those annoying offsides (60’), it was not even an inch of an arm, and so much happened after that, ping pong in the box, it’s farcical. Aaron Mooy controlled and smashed it in to make sure his side’s lead was doubled and couldn’t be disallowed (79’). Lovely lovely football and a deserved three points, the Seagulls were all over the falling Cherries. F-£< VAR!
Dominic Calvert-Lewin with the breakthrough at St James’ Park after early Toffee dominance, keeping Martin Dúbravka busy (13’). The Magpies tried their best to hit back, including an offside and handball against Andy Carroll. There were 22 shots in the first half of this game, the second most in the first half of a PL game this season (after 28, Villa at Norwich in Week 8). Fabian Schär finally found the equaliser from close range off Carroll (56’). The number seven provided three assists in his last five Premier League games, as many as he registered in his previous 89 combined. A slide over the line completed the brace for DCL after Carroll lost the ball, and put the visitors back ahead (64’), to make it five goals in his last five appearances in the PL, as many as in previous 28. Over 40 shots between the two, great contest, but only one scorer and winner for the visitors in the end.
The first goal of the season for Max Meyer - was disallowed! Wilfried Zaha was deemed offside by the VAR as he jiggled past two defenders on the left and drilled it low into the box. Meyer was on hand to blast it in and gutted to see it chalked off. By a hair. Or breath as the BBC put it. Pf. James Tomkins headed the visitors ahead off Luka Milivojević’s free kick (50’). Danny Ings equalised for the Saints with their first shot on target, making no mistake of Martin Kelly’s cockup (74’). The point lifts Southampton four points clear of the drop zone, whilst Roy Hodgson's side remain ninth,
Troy Deeney gave the home side the lead just before the break, his low hard hit palmed back by Tom Heaton, the rebound squeezed into the far corner (43’). Adrian Mariappa was sent off, second yellow (59’), despite that the ten men doubled their lead and Deeney doubled his total from the spot (67’). Ismaila Särr finished the tie off with a blast in from close range (71’). Villa were nowhere, Nigel Pearson's side rolling over them, on- and upwards, just three points away from safety.
Four changes each side, the hosts started on top and took a deserved lead thanks to Mario Vrančiç run through and in, side-footing the ball past everything and everyone, Paulo Gazzaniga beaten too easily to his right (18’). The VAR disallowed Teemu Pukki’s controlled finish (33’), replays showing he was onside?! Great cross and counter goal, the defender’s foot ahead of everything - even the arm of the attacker they kept marking and drawing from. What are the officials watching/taking/doing up there?! Christian Eriksen levelled the score after the restart (55'). Harry Kane equalised again from the spot (83’) after Serge Aurier’s own goal had put the home side ahead for a second time, diverting Pukki’s take (61‘). Only Alan Shearer (145) and Sergio Agüero (138) have scored more Premier League goals in their first 200 appearances in the competition than Kane (136). Lucky point for one side, hard one to take for the other, as it should have been a home win, VARcical!
Nine changes for the Foxes after their Boxing Day thrashing against the Reds! A poor penalty from Demarai Gray was easily saved by Łukasz Fabiański, the keeper making up for his foul on Kelech Iheanacho. The Nigerian’s header gave the visitors the lead just before the break, the Hammers’ defence shambolic (40’). Unmarked Pablo Fornals surprised himself with the equaliser, a nice drive into the bottom corner (45’), West Ham’s 151st different goalscorer in the Premier League, more than any other team. A cool clip by Gray finished a breakaway nicely to give Brendan Rodgers’ men the lead (56’) and a comfortable win for the Foxes in the end. The Hammers equal their club Premier League record of four consecutive home defeats, set from November 2005 to January 2006 at Upton Park. Surprise surprise, the late match was still going when Manuel Pellegrini’s departure was announced. More surprising he lasted this long!
The Red Devils dominated, but Burnley coped well and kept solid, including Phil Bardsley’s goal-line clearance (34’). Until Anthony Martial converted an absolute gift (44’), Charlie Taylor giving the ball away needlessly to Andres Pereira who made no mistake of setting up his team mate. Too easy. All hard work undone for Sean Dyche and his men. Marcus Rashford sealed the win in the last seconds (90+5’), Ole Gunnar Solskjær and his men ending up on top of an otherwise dire match, not much else to shout about. The home side looked like they could and should have snatched and grabbed something back, but just weren’t good enough in the end. Not that their opposition was much better. Still, the win sees United up to fifth, just one points separating them from the top four.
After a bright start for the home side, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed the Gunners ahead totally unmarked (13’). The Blues were struggling for the whole first half. The visitors dominated after the restart. Bernd Leno handed Jorginho the equaliser off Mason Mount’s free kick (83’), an easy punch away, but the keeper somehow missed it. The German stopper has made more errors leading to goals than any other player in the Premier League since August 2018 (seven). And Tammy Abraham completed the perfect counter and turnaround through Leno’s legs (87’). Frank Lampard was ecstatic, no wonder, after his side didn’t form much of a threat for most of the match. Mikel Arteta will be gutted after his side bossed it for so long - and should Jorginho have been sent off? This is the first time Arsenal lost against the Blues after being ahead at the break, winning 12 games and drawing three before. And it’s the Gunners’ first defeat after winning all other 68 home Premier League games where they led at half-time. Only one league win since the first weekend of October for the one London side, whilst the other is only three points behind third-placed Manchester City!
The Reds dominated, but didn’t quite click, couldn’t get the final touch right. It took more VAR drama to overrule the officials' judgement of handball against Adam Lallana, setting up an onside Sadio Mané for an easy tap in to give the home side the lead (42’). Pedro Neto squeezed in the equaliser into the bottom left corner to level the score before the break (45+3’) - Nuno Espírito Santo was booked as he was going absolutely mental on the sideline whilst VAR checked and disallowed Neto's equaliser, for offside in the buildup, it was Joao Moutinho’s arm! Replays showed it was the tip of his toe as well actually... 1-0 it stayed and remained at the break, still, madness! Mané is only the second player to be directly involved in 30 Premier League goals during 2019 (24 goals, 6 assists), after Jamie Vardy (34). It ended a tense win for the Reds to put them 13 points clear at the top, with a game in hand.
Lys Mousset thought he had put the visitors ahead in the first half (29’), but not for long as VAR chalked it off for offside - theme of the weekend. Sergio Agüero gave the home side the lead (52’) after the referee got in the way of the United defence trying to clear the ball. Controversial. Kevin De Bruyne doubled the Citizens’ lead with a low finish (82’). Chris Wilders' side's first away defeat of the season (10 games) and they still out-created the champions. Big chances: Man City 1-3 Sheffield United (with Man City’s big chance coming as a result of a refereeing deflection). Phenomenal first half of the season from the Blades, finishing the year in eighth, whilst the Citizens remain third after their first clean sheet since 26 October, 14 points behind the league leaders, six points ahead of Chelsea in fourth.
My Predictions - Actual Results
Brighton 2:2 Bournemouth - 2:0
Newcastle 2:1 Everton - 1:2
Southampton 2:1 Crystal Palace - 1:1
Watford 2:2 Aston Villa - 3:0
Norwich 1:2 Tottenham - 2:2
West Ham 1:3 Leicester - 1:2
Burnley 1:1 Man United - 0:2
Arsenal 2:2 Chelsea - 1:2
Liverpool 2:1 Wolves - 1:0
Man City 1:1 Sheffield United - 2:0
All pictures, facts and stats were taken from the BBC match report and RMC Sport coverage.