Premier League Review – Matchday 31
Saturday 16th March 2019
The Matchday 31 programme was curtailed by the fact this was FA Cup quarter-final weekend. Spurs had been due to play Crystal Palace, but following Palace's FA Cup defeat and Brighton's win, we now know that our first game at the new stadium will be against Palace on Wednesday 3rd April.
There was high drama in all three of Saturday’s games:-
Bournemouth 2 Newcastle 2
The “Cherries” were denied a win by their former player Matt Richie who scored a late, late equaliser for Newcastle. The point puts Rafa Benitez’s men closer to Premier League safety, seven points above Cardiff.
Ryan Fraser nearly gave the home side a lead, brushing the far post with his shot after King’s ball to the left. Salomon Rondon gave Newcastle the lead in the fifth minute of added time at the end of the first half. Almiron had been cynically fouled on the break by Jordan Ibe (who was booked) and Rondon scored directly from the free kick with a right foot shot.
Bournemouth were awarded a penalty early in the second half by referee Mike Dean when Fernandez wrapped his arm around Ake, and King scored from the spot. Newcastle had a close call when Dummett cleared off the line, but Mr. Dean had spotted a Bournemouth infringement in the area anyway. The home side did take the lead after 81 minutes when King advanced, before Solanke nicked the ball off the Newcastle defence, setting up King for a low scoring shot.
That final dramatic goal came in the fourth minute of added time when Yedlin crossed deep from the right, and Ritchie scored with a shot into the roof of the net from 15 yards out. In their celebrations, some of the long-travelling Newcastle fans encroached onto the pitch and had to be restrained by stewards.
Burnley 1 Leicester 2
Burnley are very much back in the relegation mire after this defeat to a Leicester side who were reduced to 10 men after Harry Maguire was sent off after just 4 minutes for a “last man” foul on Burnley’s Gudmundsson. Gudmundsson’s deflected free kick was tipped over by Schmeichel. Wes Morgan cane on for Gray to make up the defensive line.
Despite their disadvantage, Leicester took the lead after 33 minutes. Maddison had been chased around in a semi-circle outside the area before being fouled a yard or so outside the Burnley area, and the former Norwich midfielder scored directly from the free kick with a right footed curler inside the keeper’s right post. Maddison was booked for removing his shirt, thus revealing a special heart-felt message for a young victim of cancer who Maddison knew from his Norwich days. In football, as well as in life, the law is an ass sometimes.
Burnley levelled the scores after 38 minutes through a low left footed shot from 20 yards by 19-year-old Dwight McNeil, who received the ball from Taylor. Burnley were denied a second half penalty by referee Michael Oliver after Taylor went down just inside the box under Ndidi’s challenge. The home side had another penalty appeal when Morgan and substitute Peter Crouch were climbing to reach a cross and the ball appeared to hit Morgan’s arm.
Burnley’s misery was complete when after a corner on the right Tielemans crossed and Morgan rose to head home the dramatic winner. Burnley have a record of conceding late goals this season, and this one could prove more expensive than most.
West Ham 4 Huddersfield 3
Huddersfield scored three goals for the first time this season and had an astounding 3-1 lead but still lost this game. Antonio headed onto the top of the bar for the “Hammers” after an early Lanzini corner was returned to the middle by Declan Rice. West Ham had three penalty appeals and were awarded a spot kick when Huddersfield debutant starter 18-year-old Aaron Rowe fouled Lanzini. Mark Noble scored the penalty and it looked as if West Ham would have a routine win. It was not to be like that!
Firstly, Bacuna scored a powerful headed equaliser from Mooy’s corner, before the “Terriers” took a 30th minute lead through Karlan Grant. Alex Pritchard had sent a free kick to Lowe on the left, whose cross was allowed to reach Grant who turned in quite a soft shot which beat Fabianski to the left. That was only the second time all season Huddersfield had scored twice in a match, and they had already scored their first away goal under manager Siewert.
In the second half Bacuna hit a long shot which Fabianski turned around his left post for a corner. Grant made it 3-1 after 65 minutes with a fine right footed shot from 22 yards. The away fans were in ecstasy!
West Ham’s comeback began after 75 minutes when Cresswell took their first corner of the half and Ogbonna powered a header over the line. Some West Ham fans had left at 3-1 down, but substitute Hernandez headed home an equaliser after 84 minutes when he dived to meet Nasri’s cross from the right beyond the back post. Fabianski was required to make a good save from Kongolo as full time approached, but it was Hernandez who did score the winner in added time as he got a headed touch onto Anderson’s ball, following a corner.
Spurs have yet to play both these sides at home and must fancy their chances against such defences.
Sunday 17th March 2019
Fulham 1 Liverpool 2
Liverpool were seeking to take full advantage of Manchester City's FA Cup involvement this weekend.
Fulham held firm for the first 25 minutes, and there had been not been a definite goal scoring chance at either end until Mane and Firmino broke the "Cottagers'" defence. Mane fed the ball to Firmino who got to the bye-line on the left before he cut it back for Mane to deliver the finish into the middle of the goal.
10 minutes later, Lallana and Robertson opened up the right side of the Fulham defence again, but Robertson's shot from a narrow angle was cleared.
After 51 minutes Robertson crossed from inside the area, but Wijnaldum headed over from close range. The game had long been one-way traffic and after a 56th minute corner and a cross by Wijnaldum, Van Dijk's header was saved then cleared by the Fulham keeper and his defence.
Fulham came to life and had a "goal" disallowed when Fulham had four players offside when Mitrovic headed in Anguissa's shot. The offside decision was correct. Anguissa then had a shot saved by Alisson.
After 72 minutes Mane headed a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner onto the top of the Fulham bar. Fulham did get an equaliser after 74 minutes . Sergio Rico had kicked a long ball; Liverpool substitute skewed a kick backwards which put Van Dijk and Alisson under pressure and indecisive. Former Liverpool man Babel got between them and scored to give the home side hope. That hope disappeared when Salah's shot was saved; but Sergio Rico dragged back Mane as he tried to follow up and Milner scored from the spot.
Liverpool got their wish and took a two-point lead at the top of the table into the International break. Their next game is at home to Spurs. Fulham's next game is at home to Manchester City. Good luck with that!
Everton 2 Chelsea 0
Ross Barkley featured in the Chelsea side and this was his first return to Goodison Park since his transfer last season. Jordan Pickford was required to make an early save at his right post from Hazard's shot inside the area. Hazard then hit the post with another shot and only 6 minutes had gone. A third chance fell to Higuain following Jorginho's cross, but the Everton defence managed to clear.
Barkley was inevitably booed with every touch by the home crowd, although he was cheered when a shot or free kick did not come off for their former midfield star. Everton had failed to test Arrizabalaga in the first half hour. Calvert-Lewin did have one shot go a yard wide of the post.
At last Arrizabalaga was required to make a save, one minute into the second half from Gomes' shot. Seamus Coleman won a corner on the right which was taken by Sigurdsson. Arrizabalaga parried Calvert-Lewin's header and Richarlison followed up to score in the 49th minute, giving the home side the lead.
Higuain threatened the Everton goal with a shot from over 20 yards after he picked up a long ball by David Luiz, but Pickford saved. Alonso had a shot hit the side netting and a Barkley had a goal-bound shot blocked before he was ironically cheered when he was substituted.
Everton were awarded a penalty after 70 minutes when Alonso stuck a foot out and brought down Richarlison. Sigurdsson's penalty was saved by Arrizabalaga, but Gylfi followed up and scored. A Hazard shot after 75 minutes was blocked. Sigurdsson pushed a ball out to Walcott who forced a save from the Chelsea keeper, before Hudson-Odoi had a shot pushed over by Pickford.
In added time David Luiz headed down a corner and Giroud's attempt was blocked. This was Everton's first win against a top six side since they beat Man City 4-0 in January 2017 - and arguably their best result this season. It was a great result for Spurs, leaving Chelsea 4 points behind us, with no game in hand.
B'mouth 2-2 Newcastle
Burnley 1-2 Leicester
West Ham 4-3 Hds'field
Fulham 1-2 Liverpool
Everton 2-0 Chelsea
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 31 23 7 1 70-18 52 76
2. Man City 30 24 2 4 79-21 58 74
3. Spurs 30 20 1 9 57-32 25 61
4. Arsenal 30 18 6 6 63-39 24 60
5. Man Utd 30 17 7 6 58-40 18 58
6. Chelsea 30 17 6 7 50-33 17 57
7. Wolves 30 12 8 10 38-36 2 44
8. Watford 30 12 7 11 42-44 -2 43
9. West Ham 31 12 6 13 41-46 -5 42
10. Leicester 31 12 5 14 40-43 -3 41
11. Everton 31 11 7 13 43-42 1 40
12. B'mouth 31 11 5 15 43-56 -13 38
13. Newcastle 31 9 8 14 31-40 -9 35
14. C. Palace 30 9 6 15 36-41 -5 33
15. Brighton 29 9 6 14 32-42 -10 33
16. S'hampton 30 7 9 14 34-50 -16 30
17. Burnley 31 8 6 17 35-59 -24 30
18. Cardiff 30 8 4 18 27-57 -30 28
19. Fulham 31 4 5 22 29-70 -41 17
20. H'dsfield 31 3 5 22 18-57 -39 14