Premier League Review - Matchday 25
Spurs 1 Newcastle 0
Newcastle have lost 8 consecutive games played at Wembley since their 1955 FA Cup win. The last two have been against Spurs!
It will come as no surprise that Son won your man of the match vote, and this was for the second consecutive game and the sixth time this season. Those 6 occasions have all come in 17 appearances, starting with the 3-1 home win over Chelsea in November, during which time "Sonny" has scored 11 of his 14 club goals, including all 10 of his Premier league goals this season. You can see the spursometer for this game in full.
Following Liverpool's draw at The London Stadium, and even if Man City win their game tomorrow (Wednesday) at Everton, Spurs are now just five points behind the Premier League leaders, and it has to be said that we are in the title race. Thinking of a trip to the bookmakers? Here is where we stood at the same stage over the last three seasons:-
Points behind leaders after 25 games
17/18 - 20 points - Champions - Man City (Spurs were 5th after 25 games and finished 3rd)
16/17 - 10 points - Champions - Chelsea (Spurs were 3rd after 25 games and finished 2nd)
15/16 - 5 points - Champions - Leicester (Spurs were 2nd after 25 games and finished 3rd)
PS - We've never had as many as 57 points from 25 Premier League games. The highest previous total was achieved with Harry Redknapp at the helm, and incidentally, also after a Newcastle game which Spurs won 5-0
Brighton 0 Watford 0
The scorers were not bothered in this game, which predictably came last on Match of the Day! Foster made a good right-handed save from Locadia's header when he met a cross by Gross, and saved from the same player in the second half. Foster then made a desperate save with his outstretched legs at his right post when Duffy hit an overhead kick across the goal following a Brighton corner.
Lewis Dunk managed some desperate defending in front of his goal to prevent Gray for getting a shot in, even using his head on the floor! Foster came to Watford's rescue again as he advanced to smother Andone's shot.
Brighton certainly looked the more likely winners, but they are slipping perhaps dangerously down the table, and could yet be drawn into the battle for survival.
Burnley 1 Southampton 1
There was a great "Mind your head" welcome sign hanging from a bridge near the Turf Moor ground for 38 year old Peter Crouch who once again has a Premier League contract after Burnley's Sam Vokes went the other way to Stoke. Crouch got some game time too.
Burnley's Ashley Barnes was convinced he should have had a penalty late in the first half when McCarthy brought him down, but both the referee and assistant decreed that Barnes had dived. The Burnley striker was so vehement in his protest that he might have been lucky to only get one yellow card.
Southampton took a 55th minute lead when Redmond scored with a brilliant right footed shot that beat Heaton to his right from 20 yards out. Crouch came on with fifteen minutes left. It was not the first time he has worn claret and blue, counting Aston Villa as one of the 8 clubs he has served. That's not counting a couple of loans either! Barnes nearly scored following Crouch's first meaningful touch too. Barnes then hit the post with an angled right footed effort.
Burnley got a late, late equaliser from a penalty taken by Barnes, and Crouch had been involved in this too. Westwood had crossed from the left; Crouch headed the ball down, but his marker handled the ball, and referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot. The point puts both sides two points above Cardiff.
Chelsea 5 Huddersfield 0
Chelsea recovered their goal difference lost in the shock midweek 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth with a bonus, beating doomed Huddersfield 5-0. 31 year old Gonzalo Higuain, signed on loan from A.C. Milan, scored two goals on his Premier League home debut, and Eden Hazard also scored two.
Barkley went close Chelsea within three minutes, and Aaron Mooy, who had not started a game for two months, headed just over the Chelsea bar. Higuain had gone close once after a ball by Jorginho, but he got his first Chelsea goal in the 16th minute. Kante hit a ball forward from the edge of the area and Higuain scored from the right side of the 6-yard goalkeeper's area. He had another chance when meeting Alonso's cross from the left at the near post, but put the shot just the wrong side of the post.
Hazard got Chelsea's second goal from the penalty spot on the stroke of half-time after the referee awarded the penalty when Azpilicueta had been brought down on the edge of the area. The foul looked as if it had been committed outside the box. Kachunga, who had committed that foul, went down in the Chelsea area in the second half, but referee Paul Tierney was quite rightly not interested.
Hazard made it 3-0 with a shot from the left of goal in the 66th minute after Barkley's pass. Higuain made it 4-0 three minutes later with a cracking right footed shot from just outside the area, after Kante had teed him up. David Luiz completed the rout when heading home a corner in the 86th minute.
The win still left Chelsea seven points behind Spurs.
Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 0
After a rousing comeback at home to Brighton in midweek, you might have expected more from Fulham, but they slumped to a two goal defeat which leaves them seven points from safety.
Benteke got a start thanks to the suspension of Zaha, and Christie conceded a penalty for putting his arm in front of the Palace striker. Palace captain Luka Milivojevic scored his sixth penalty of the season (27 minutes), and has scored 15 of 17 Premier League penalties to date.
Andros Townsend crossed from the right of the area and Benteke hit a spectacular scissor kick which hit the bar.
Palace had several second half chances, but left it till the 87th minute to seal the win when Batshuayi's shot was saved and Schlupp fired home the rebound. Batshuayi is still a Chelsea player but has arrived at Palace on his third loan following spells with Borussia Dortmund and Valencia.
Everton 1 Wolves 3
Apart from the fact that Wolves convincingly beat an Everton side that is once again disappointing their fans, the big story in this game was the eight minutes of added time mostly down to an invasion by a black cat. There were plenty of "Puss in Boots" type puns knocking around on social media, but the result was no laughing matter for the home fans.
Wolves had the lead after 7 minutes when Neves scored a penalty conceded by Everton's veteran left back Leighton Baines, who had allowed Doherty to beat him into the area and basically hit the wing-back from behind. Baines didn't see out the first half. Everton survived a two-pronged attack by Jiminez and Dendoncker with the latter forcing a save from Jordan Pickford.
Gomes did get a cracking equaliser with a right footed shot from the edge of the box after 27 minutes. Just before the break, Jota was fouled by Keane; Moutinho took the free kick and Jiminez headed home for a half-time lead.
Dendoncker made it 3-1 in the 66th minute, after Wolves powered forward when Coleman hit a poor pass. Jiminez and Jota were both involved in the quick-fire move. That was the cue for the cat to invade the pitch, perhaps fetched as an emergency by a desperate Everton fan!
Everton have lost 6 of their last 9 Premier League games. Wolves have a secure hold on seventh place, and are in the hunt for European football.
Cardiff 2 Bournemouth 0
There was high emotion at Cardiff, who were playing their first home game since the tragedy of Emiliano Sala's disappearance on a plane crossing the Channel, and even such a hardened man as Neil Warnock was seen shedding to tears. Perhaps his players were inspired by the sad loss of a player who never had a chance to make a Cardiff debut, because they gave an excellent performance. (Wreckage of the plane has now been found 200 feet beneath the surface. Late on Thursday 7th February, Dorset Police announced that the one body which has been recovered from the wreckage is that of Emiliano Sala)
Cardiff were awarded an early penalty after a handball by Steve Cook, and Bobby Reid made no mistake from the spot after 5 minutes. A shirt featuring a photograph of Sala was held high by the Cardiff players in the celebration.
Surman had a shot pushed onto the bar by Cardiff goalkeeper Etheridge. Bournemouth had been dominating possession but conceded a second goal within 15 seconds of the restart when Reid scored again. The goal directly followed Cardiff's kick-off when Gunnarsson lifted the ball over the Bournemouth defence for Reid to score from inside the area.
Bournemouth had beaten Chelsea 4-0 during the week, and perhaps badly missed midfielder David Brooks, who is out for four weeks now.
Leicester 0 Manchester United 1
United extended their impressive run of form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to 10 games, 9 of which have been won. United have even moved above Arsenal now and sit just two points behind Chelsea in fourth place. The travelling fans were in good voice throughout the game. Their goal came early, after only 9 minutes, when Marcus Rashford collected Pogba's lofted pass to shoot low past Schmeichel.
Leicester had their chances through the likes of Vardy and Maddison, and I am sure they will offer Spurs a good test next Sunday, but De Gea was once again solid in the United goal, and had to make a one-handed save from a Ghezzal free kick in addition to more routine saves.
Sanchez was given a start by Solskjaer but once again failed to make any impact.
Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1
Sergio Aguero scored with 24 seconds at Newcastle last Tuesday and City lost. This week, he scored within 48 seconds and went on to get a hat-trick enabling a convincing win over Arsenal, who have fallen to sixth place and are 10 points behind Spurs. The downside for Spurs fans is that City regained second place, and they are likely to go further ahead when they play Everton on Wednesday in a game brought forward from their Carabao Cup Final weekend.
This was Aguero's 14 City hat-trick, and he has now scored 157 Premier League goals in 227 appearances. All three goals were from close range. The first was a brave low header from Laporte's cross. the second ended a typical City team move just before half-time with Sterling providing the final pass. The third was another assist for Sterling and tinged with controversy because the ball did come off Aguero's arm.
Arsenal had equalised the first goal in the 11th minute following a corner and a final header by Koscielny, but they didn't even muster a shot on target in the second half
West Ham 1 Liverpool 1
Odds of 8/1 were available before this game on a West Ham win. Arnautovic was missing with a foot injury. In addition to the ongoing absences of Gomez and Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool were without the likes of Henderson and Wijnaldum. The "Hammers" desperately needed a performance in front of their fans after an embarrassing cup defeat at Wimbledon, and a beating at Molineux in their last two away matches.
Hernandez had the first chance of the game after only two minutes, but put his shot wide. Liverpool were caught offside once or twice before Cresswell hit a shot just wide after a breakaway attack led by Hernandez, Snodgrass and Antonio.
Hernandez hit another shot which Alisson was required to save, diving to his right. Only a quarter of an hour had gone, and Liverpool had yet to test Fabianski. The "Hammers" were defending well in the middle, in front of their box, where Liverpool wanted to attack.
Firmino and Fabhino did break through that middle after 19 minutes and Firmino hit a shot which was held by Fabianski. Liverpool's quality came through in the 22nd minute. Lallana was on the right wing and displayed clever footwork, passing to Milner, who was offside, which was missed by the assistant referee, as he focused on the play behind him near the touchline. Milner crossed and Mane collected, turned and scored.
West Ham grabbed an equaliser in the 28th minute. A quickly taken free kick was passed forward to Antonio on the right of the area and he beat Alisson with a shot across his right hand. The "Hammers" should have gone ahead after 41 minutes and another free kick, poorly defended by the league leaders. Declan Rice advanced in front of the defensive line but headed over.
Former Spurs lad Ryan Fredericks was making his first Premier a league start since September and was penalised leading to a free kick by Milner, and a header by Mane straight into Fabianski's arms.
Early in the second half, West Ham came close from a corner, before Salah had a shot held by Fabianski. Salah had a second chance after 60 minutes. Milner got to the bye line and passed back for the Egyptian to hit a left footed shot across the goal from the right of the area which Fabianski held.
Lallana was replaced by Shaqiri after 68 minutes. After 72 minutes, Anderson and Snodgrass advanced deep down the left for West Ham. Snodgrass's pass back was touched on by Anderson, but Noble fired over. Jurgen Klopp now replaced Firmino with Origi.
West Ham's substituted players (Noble and Hernandez) were in no hurry to leave, so perhaps energy levels were dropping and the "Hammers" were seeking to hold onto a point. Liverpool certainly had most of the possession and pressure in the latter stages.
After a Liverpool free kick, Salah hit a pass which Van Dijk collected, before hitting a cross/shot from the right which Fabianski held. It was the home fans who were urging the referee to blow the final whistle, but just before he did, Origi spurned a chance in front of goal, when another Liverpool offside had been missed.
The draw opens the door for Man City to overtake Liverpool on goal difference if they win at Everton on Wednesday, but also means that Spurs are just five points behind the leaders now. We are in the title race!
Spurs 1-0 Newcastle
Brighton 0-0 Watford
Burnley 1-1 S'hampton
Chelsea 5-0 Hds'field
C. Palace 2-0 Fulham
Everton 1-3 Wolves
Cardiff 2-0 B'mouth
Leicester 0-1 Man Utd
Man City 3-1 Arsenal
West Ham 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 25 19 5 1 56-15 41 62
2. Man City 25 19 2 4 66-20 46 59
3. Spurs 25 19 0 6 51-24 27 57
4. Chelsea 25 15 5 5 45-23 22 50
5. Man Utd 25 14 6 5 49-35 14 48
6. Arsenal 25 14 5 6 51-36 15 47
7. Wolves 25 11 5 9 33-32 1 38
8. Watford 25 9 7 9 33-34 -1 34
9. Everton 25 9 6 10 36-36 0 33
10. B'mouth 25 10 3 12 37-44 -7 33
11. Leicester 25 9 5 11 30-31 -1 32
12. West Ham 25 9 5 11 31-38 -7 32
13. Brighton 25 7 6 12 27-36 -9 27
14. C. Palace 25 7 5 13 26-33 -7 26
15. Newcastle 25 6 6 13 21-33 -12 24
16. S'hampton 25 5 9 11 27-42 -15 24
17. Burnley 25 6 6 13 26-46 -20 24
18. Cardiff 25 6 4 15 22-46 -24 22
19. Fulham 25 4 5 16 25-55 -30 17
20. H'dsfield 25 2 5 18 13-46 -33 11