Premier League Review – Matchday 38
Sunday 26th July, 2020
At the start of the day we knew the Champions and second-placed teams. We also knew that Norwich had been relegated. However, the remaining Champions League and relegation places still had to be decided. Spurs and Wolves were playing for sixth place and a Europa League spot without the fear of Arsenal winning the FA Cup Final. "Taking the knee" has occurred before kick-off in every post-lockdown game.
Arsenal 3 Watford 2
Watford included former Arsenal man Danny Welbeck in their side. Arsenal were awarded a penalty by VAR after Lacazette had been felled by Dawson only a minute into the game. The incident came as Ceballos hit a shot over the bar. Aubameyang converted the penalty (5th minute) and Watford were in deep trouble. Sarr got into the right side of the Arsenal area after 13 minutes and both Doucoure and Pereyra had shots blocked or saved. Tierney made it 2-0 to Arsenal in the 24th minute after Pepe crossed from the right and Aubameyang passed back. Tierney’s shot looked casual, but it was well placed, and Foster was well beaten. It was 3-0 after 33 minutes when a throw from the left the ball reached Aubameyang, who had time to take an overhead kick, scoring almost in slow motion. That was Aubameyang’s 22nd goal of the season and he was chasing the Golden boot.
Arsenal were playing out from the back and got themselves in trouble after 41 minutes with David Luiz bringing down Welbeck. Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Troy Deeney put this one away, also to the left of the keeper. Martinez made a great save at close range from Welbeck after 61 minutes. The ex-Arsenal man did score 5 minutes later though meeting Sarr’s low cross from the right. Watford were battling! Martinez made an even better save after 74 minutes when Welbeck again received from Sarr and hit a clever back-heel towards the right corner. The keeper pushed the ball away from danger with his right arm.
Watford could not score again, and relegation was confirmed with this defeat.
Burnley 1 Brighton 2
Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope (surely in with a chance of becoming England’s number one) was seeking a clean sheet for a share in the “Golden Glove”. He failed in that quest as Brighton got a win that took them above West Ham and gave them their best Premier League points tally. Burnley were also seeking their highest points total but had to settle for matching that 54-point total of two seasons ago.
Rodriguez was denied an early penalty appeal by referee Jon Moss and VAR. Bissouma scored a cracking goal from 25 yards following a corner taken on the left. Bissouma hit a powerful right-footed shot and Pope had been beaten. The “Golden Glove” was lost. It was Bissouma’s first Premier League goal. Four minutes later Lamptey crossed and Maupay headed against the bar. Connolly tried to follow up with an overhead kick but that went wide. Chris Wood got behind the Brighton defence to score from a long ball by left back Pieters a minute before the break.
Aaron Connolly restored Brighton’s lead five minutes into the second half. He raced forward to take on Maupay’s pass down the left flank, before cutting inside all the way into the Burnley area beating Pope’s left hand with a right footed shot to the far corner. That was Connolly’s first goal since he scored twice against Spurs in October. Rodriguez hit the net with a header from a corner after 58 minutes, but that was disallowed by VAR as Matt Ryan was being impeded on the line by Gudmundsson.
Chelsea 2 Wolves 0
Goalkeeper Arrizabalaga was dropped to the bench for this game, fuelling speculation about his future at Chelsea. One of Chelsea’s big money signings Timo Werner was in the stadium. The closest anyone came to scoring in the first half had been when Caballero had to claw away a cross hit deep from the left. Chelsea did take the lead though in the first minute of added time when Alonso went down on the edge of the “D” and Mason Mount scored with a superb free kick inside the keeper’s right post. Giroud scored a second goal, still in added time at the end of this half. Pulisic went down on the left but the ball ran to Mount who fed the ball forward to Giroud firstly running forward then to his left managing to score round his defender with a left footed shot.
Caballero saved comfortably from Jota after 57 minutes. In added time Abraham fired a shot straight at Rui Patricio. Chelsea had secured a Champions League place, whilst Wolves dropped to seventh for the first time in 8 games. They may or may not win a Europa League place, depending on the FA Cup Final. They could yet win the Europa League and win a Champions League place!
Crystal Palace 1 Spurs 1
Goalscorer Harry Kane won our man of the match vote . Harry was not voted our best player over the post-lockdown period of 9 games, but he might have won our player of the season vote. All will be revealed in our forthcoming reviews of June/July and the whole 11-month season. Despite missing 18 games and effectively 6 months of the season Harry (who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday – 28th July) has scored 24 club goals in all competitions including 18 in the Premier League. Oh, he also scored 10 goals for England in the 6 games he played.
Spurs have finished the Premier League campaign in the top six for the 11th consecutive season, after managing to do so just twice in their previous 17 seasons in the competition.
Everton 1 Bournemouth 3
Bournemouth needed to win and also needed both Watford and Villa to lose to have a chance of survival. They certainly did their best in this game. Pickford only prevented Calum Wilson from scoring with an outstretched arm after 9 minutes. Two minutes later the “Cherries” had a penalty after Josh King was fouled outside the area. the free kick was taken, and in the ensuing play in the Everton area, referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot when Richarlison handled the ball with a deliberate forward move of his elbow. VAR confirmed the decision and King beat Pickford inside his left post. (13 mins)
Everton had an equaliser in the 41st minute when Walcott crossed low from the right and Moise Kean scored from close range at the back post. Bournemouth regained the lead in first half added time when Rico swung in a free kick from the left and Pickford was well beaten by Solanke’s powerful header. No doubt the goal was even sweeter at Goodison Park for the former Liverpool player.
In the second half Pickford was embarrassed by Stanislas’s shot which went into the net under the keeper’s body, ten minutes from time. Bournemouth had done their bit, but results did not go their way. As for Everton they managed to finish in their lowest position for 16 years, despite the new manager.
Leicester 0 Manchester United 2
Leicester had been in the top four since September and before lockdown looked firm favourites for a Champions League place. United only need to draw this game. Leicester have to settle for the Europa League, and having lost four of their last seven games will be disappointed with their form, although they have suffered key injuries. Jamie Vardy was looking for his first Golden Boot award.
Iheanacho got away from Pogba midway through the first half, but his shot was not strong enough to beat De Gea. There were not many first half chances and Martial had a shot which was deflected out for a corner in first half added time. This time, Pogba performed good work outside the Leicester box. From the corner, Rashford hit a powerful right footed shot from beyond the back post but fired it straight at Schmeichel.
Leicester had a free kick after 59 minutes, taken by Tielemans and a flicked header by Vardy hit the back post. Choudhury lost the ball 30 yards out and Martial was brought down in the area under the challenge of both Morgan and Evans. The former United man was shown a yellow card and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot. The penalty was confirmed (the 14th of the season for United), and Bruno Fernandes skipped (at the end of his run-up) and scored.
Harvey Barnes scooped a shot into De Gea’s hands after Vardy had fielded a cross from the right. Jonny Evans was shown a straight red in added time for a double challenge on Lingard and McTominay. There were 8 minutes of added time at the end of which Schmeichel gifted the ball to Lingard, who could not miss. United secured third place. Despite not scoring today, Jamie Vardy did secure the Golden Boot with 23 Premier League goals, one ahead of Aubameyang and Danny Ings.
Manchester City 5 Norwich City 0
This was David Silva’s last Premier League appearance for City, and he gave yet another fine performance after 10 years in their service. Norwich’s last Premier League game until their next promotion was yet another painful experience. Beating City at Carrow Road had been one of their season highlights.
Hernandez did have the ball in the net after 8 minutes, but VAR chalked it off for offside. The City goal-fest began three minutes later after Sterling passed to his left inside the area and the ball ran to Jesus who scored. Ederson saved from Pukki’s advance just inside his area. Cantwell’s follow-up was over the bar. De Bruyne scored a corker with his right foot from just outside the area with a right footed shot. (45 +1 min)
Hernandez made a good penetrating run deep into the City area and Ederson was again required to make a good save at a player’s feet. Goal number three for City came in the 79th minute. It was also goal number 100 in the Premier League this season. David Silva passed to de Bruyne on his left. De Bruyne fed Sterling inside the area on the left side, and Sterling completed the job. Three became four, four minutes later. De Bruyne nearly lost the ball moving left to right but battled for and won the ball, teeing up Mahrez to score with his right foot.
David Silva was embraced and applauded as he was replaced by Bernardo Silva. He deserved the adulation of a full stadium. The final goal came from the right foot of De Bruyne from inside the area on the left side after good work by Mahrez, who was trying to find a shot for himself, with the blocked ball running to De Bruyne.
City might have finished 18 points behind Liverpool this season, but they have a better goal difference (+67) and have scored 102 goals. This is the third time in seven seasons they've reached a century of league goals. Ederson has secured the “Golden glove”.
Newcastle 1 Liverpool 3
Jurgen Klopp’s men were given their last guard of honour of the season. Klopp went with a front three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Origi and Minamino. The “Reds” conceded after only 25 seconds (the fastest they’ve conceded all season) when Gayle raced onto Shelvey’s lofted free kick and beat Alisson, despite the keeper getting a touch. Minamino had a good 25-yard shot well saved by Dubravka midway through the first half. Van Dijk scored in the 38th minute with a header from Oxlade-Chamberlain’s short cross from the right of the area. Van Dijk had been forward after a free kick which had been conceded by Danny Rose. Oxlade-Chamberlain went close himself with a right-footer just over the top right corner.
Origi took a short pass on the left of the area from Robertson and surprised Dubravka with a right footed shot inside his left post in the 57th minute. Liverpool had a free kick after 65 minutes, following which Robertson crossed and substitute Salah hit the post with a cracking shot. Mane was another sub and he scored all too easily a minute before time with a right foot shot beating Dubravka well to his left. Liverpool finished with 99 points and equalled City’s record of 32 wins for the season.
Southampton 3 Sheffield United 1
The main interest in this game fell upon Danny Ings, who was in with a chance of the “Golden Boot”. Lundstram put the visitors in front after 26 minutes when Stevens crossed from deep on the left and Lundstram’s shot went through McCarthy’s legs. McCarthy saved well from another Lundstram effort after McBurnie and Sharp had broken forward.
Che Adams equalised five minutes into the second half after a long ball forward by Romeu eventually found its way to his feet. Adams’s shot was very good, just inside the keeper’s left post. Henderson should have done better, being beaten on his narrow side. Romeu made a great tackle on Sharp inside the “Saints”’ area to deny a goal-scoring opportunity. Adams was all set to score again at the other end, but Jack Robinson also made a goal-saving challenge. Adams scored a second goal after 71 minutes when Walker-Peters’ effort was blocked and fell to Adams’ feet. Adams has previously played for “The Blades”.
Danny Ings was awarded a penalty from which he scored after 84 minutes for his 22nd goal of the season, one short of Vardy’s total.
West Ham 1 Aston Villa 1
Villa started the day above Watford after the last round of results, and with a marginally better goal difference only had to match Watford’s result. They did need to keep an eye on Bournemouth though. Antonio put a good chance wide after 10 minutes. Villa had a couple of first half chances through Samatta and Grealish. The Villa “darling” hit a fairly weak shot at Fabianski just before half-time. Villa were holding their own but no doubt sweating on the Bournemouth score, in the knowledge that defeat could send them down.
Villa won a corner 13 minutes from the end, following which Grealish showed skill inside the area but put his right footed shot over the bar. Grealish did score six minutes from time with a left-footed shot (Fabianski got a touch) celebrated wildly by the Villa players who felt that goal would ensure their survival. West Ham bounced back immediately when Yarmolenko’s shot from over 20 yards took a severe and looping deflection which beat Pepe Reina. Villa were sweating again and had to wait for the other results at full time before they could celebrate.
In the first game after lockdown, Villa had survived the breakdown of goal-line technology which denied Sheffield United a good goal at Villa Park. That one incident was ultimately pivotal in Villa’s survival.
Fixtures & Results 26.07.20
Sunday 26th July, 2020
Arsenal 3-2 Watford
Burnley 1-2 Brighton
Chelsea 2-0 Wolves
C. Palace 1-1 Spurs
Everton 1-3 B'mouth
Leicester 0-2 Man Utd
Man City 5-0 Norwich
Newcastle 1-3 Liverpool
S'hampton 3-1 Sheff Utd
West Ham 1-1 A. Villa
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 38 32 3 3 85-33 52 99 C
2. Man City 38 26 3 9 102-35 67 81
3. Man Utd 38 18 12 8 66-36 30 66
4. Chelsea 38 20 6 12 69-54 15 66
5. Leicester 38 18 8 12 67-41 26 62
6. Spurs 38 16 11 11 61-47 14 59
7. Wolves 38 15 14 9 51-40 11 59
8. Arsenal 38 14 14 10 56-48 8 56
9. Sheff Utd 38 14 12 12 39-39 0 54
10. Burnley 38 15 9 14 43-50 -7 54
11. S'hampton 38 15 7 16 51-60 -9 52
12. Everton 38 13 10 15 44-56 -12 49
13. Newcastle 38 11 11 16 38-58 -20 44
14. C. Palace 38 11 10 17 31-50 -19 43
15. Brighton 38 9 14 15 39-54 -15 41
16. West Ham 38 10 9 19 49-62 -13 39
17. A. Villa 38 9 8 21 41-67 -26 35
18. B'mouth 38 9 7 22 40-65 -25 34 R
19. Watford 38 8 10 20 36-64 -28 34 R
20. Norwich 38 5 6 27 26-75 -49 21 R