Premier League Review – Matchday Two
Saturday 19th September, 2020
Everton 5 West Brom 2
Everton were given a nasty early shock by Grady Diangana, but three goals by Calvert-Lewin coupled with a red card shown to Kieran Gibbs just before half-time turned the game and gave Slaven Bilic plenty to think about. He too was shown red by referee Mike Dean for approaching the official on the pitch to protest the Gibbs decision being made without recourse to the pitch-side monitor. In truth there was no need for that as Gibbs clearly put his hand in the face of James Rodriguez, who, being a Latino, made the most of this imposition. Former Spur Jake Livermore captained the “Baggies” side.
Pickford had already had to make one save from Diangana before West Brom scored in the 10th minute. The former West ham youngster made a run from his own half and the Everton players simply retreated in front of him as Diangana ran all the way to the edge of the area before beating Pickford with a left foot shot which maybe the keeper should have reached. Carlo Ancelotti was not happy! Livermore was in space and received a ball from the right before turning and hitting a right-footed shot against Pickford’s right post.
Everton levelled after 31 minutes, but the goal was initially called offside. Coleman had crossed from the right and Richarlison rose for a header, but the ball actually went goalward from a defensive touch by Furlong and although Calvert-Lewin had come back from an offside position, he had been played on when he back-heeled into the net. The goal stood. The “Toffees” took the lead in the 45th minute and it was a good first club goal for Rodriguez. He received a pass from Richarlison and was just outside the area. After one clever touch James hit a well-placed left-footed shot inside Johnstone’s left post. The Gibbs red card followed shortly after with Bilic being sent off as the officials were leaving the pitch at half-time. The manager was not allowed to enter the field of play before full time.
The ten men were level within two minutes of the re-start. Matheus Pereira - West Brom’s player of the year last year, now signed on full terms from Sporting, was fouled outside the area and took the free kick himself, immaculately placed inside Pickford’s left post, having beaten the wall. Everton were back in front in the 54th minute. Digne floated in a free kick from the left. Richarlison’s headed was saved but parried to Michael Keane, who scored for the second week in a row. Calvert-Lewin’s second goal came in the 62nd minute. Richarlison was onto Rodriguez’s pass and hit his shot across the goal, beating the keeper. Calvert-Lewin scored from very close range to claim the goal.
Digne hit the top of the bar with a free kick after Livermore’s foul on Rodriguez. Calvert-Lewin headed home from a 646h minute corner for his first career hat-trick. Everton fans need oxygen. Their team went top of the league!
Leeds 4 Fulham 3
Last season (in June) Leeds won this fixture 3-0 in the Championship during an impressive run of 12 wins in their last 14 games. They won again today and this time, in their second Premier league game of the season, they were on the right side of another 4-3 thriller.
The fun started inside the fifth minute. Phillips took a Leeds corner from the right which reached Helder Costa beyond the back post. The former Wolves man crashed his shot home just beneath the bar. Areola made a good save after another Leeds corner pushing over Koch’s shot. Referee Anthony Taylor gave Fulham a penalty when Koch slid in on Bryan inside the edge of the Leeds area. Mitrovic scored from the spot in the 34th minute. There was a penalty at the other end five minutes later when Bryan gave Bamford a little shove. Klich scored this one inside 41 minutes.
Five minutes into the second half Klich provided the killer pass for Bamford to place a right-footed shot beyond Areola’s left hand. Fulham were looking fragile and seven minutes later Bamford crossed from the left for Helder Costa to score a second goal, again with his left foot.
Fulham made a spirited if somewhat surprising come-back with De Cordova-Reid scoring in the 62nd minute with a right-foot shot from 15 yards. After Costa lost the ball in the Fulham half, the West London side moved forward and got another goal back in the 67th minute when Mitrovic headed in Tete’s cross hit from deep on the right.
Kebano hit the outside of the Leeds post with another shot. Legendary coach Marcelo Bielsa paced inside his technical area like a caged tiger, or sat on his haunches, but he could eventually relax as all three points went to Leeds.
Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 3
Manchester United’s delayed start to the season didn’t do them any favours here. England "bad boy" Mason Greenwood was initially on the bench as was new signing Donny van de Beek, who did make a scoring impact after he came off the bench. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side fell foul of former player Wilfried Zaha’s brace and a twice-taken penalty, the award of which caused plenty of debate.
Andros Townsend gave the home side a nasty seventh minute shock when he received Schlupp’s cross from the left which passed across the goal. Andros made no mistake with his right foot shot! United’s first shot on goal came from Pogba’s right root, comfortably saved inside his right post by Guaita. In first half added time Zaha got forward down the middle and gave Jordan Ayew a chance on the left. De Gea pushed this shot over with a strong hand.
Greenwood came off the bench for the second half and headed wide at the back post from Fosu-Mensah’s cross. Palace were awarded a penalty after VAR Jon Moss recommended Martin Atkinson have a second look at an incident where a shot by Ayew hit Lindelof’s arm. The penalty was awarded, but until recently it would never have been regarded as an offence. Ayew took a poor kick which was easily saved by De Gea, but another VAR review detected the fact that the keeper had moved both feet off his line. This time Zaha took the kick and made no mistake (74 mins)
Van de Beek’s goal came after a lucky rebound off Joel Ward and the Dutch midfielder scored with his right foot. Zaha secured the game and scored his second goal after 85 minutes. He received Mitchell’s low cross from the left, turned and beat De Gea with a right-foot shot just inside the post.
Palace beat United away for a second successive season and won their first two top flight games for the first time too!
Arsenal 2 West Ham 1
However badly West Ham might be performing in the Premier league, they usually manage to make things difficult for the top London opponents and this was no exception, although they did lose again. It took Arsenal 25 minutes to take the lead. The goal came following Saka’s pass to Aubameyang who lifted a cross from the left which was headed home under the bar by Lacazette. Gabriel got away with a handball inside the area when he struck the ball well below the elbow, but VAR was on Arsenal’s side. It was a far more culpable offence than that of Lindelof at Old Trafford. West Ham got an equaliser just before the break when Antonio turned in a Fredericks cross.
Leno made a close range save from another Antonio effort in the second half after a cross by Masuaku. The ball had come off Gabriel’s back. Antonio headed against the bar from another Masuaku cross. The game was won in the 86th minute when substitute Nketiah slotted home from Ceballos’s short pass.
Sunday 20th September, 2020
Southampton 2 Spurs 5
Despite the protestations of his manager and Son himself, the man of the match vote did not go to Harry Kane but to Heung-min Son. Both players gave outstanding performances. Spurs scored 5 away goals for the first time since beating Hull at the end of the 2016-17 season. Kane got three that day and four in the preceding match at Leicester when "Sonny" also scored two. They are quite a combination!
Danny Ings has now scored in three successive Premier League games against Spurs, whilst Harry kane has scored 10 goals in matches against the "Saints".
Newcastle 0 Brighton 3
Despite losing their first game at home to Chelsea, Brighton impressed at times and today they overwhelmed a Newcastle side which had last week beaten West Ham. Steve Bruce didn’t change his side which meant another start for Andy Carroll, but not for the more mobile Almiron.
It all started so badly for the home side as Tariq Lamptey entered the box and was brought down by Saint-Maximin to give referee Kevin Friend an easy decision. Maupay converted the penalty in the fourth minute. Three minutes later Lamptey sent Trossard away down the right. He crossed and Maupay scored again, this time with a glanced shot across goalkeeper Darlow. Newcastle were shell-shocked! The assistant referee had signalled offside, but was overruled by VAR.
Saint-Maximin went off during the first half and was replaced by Ryan Fraser. The impressive Lamptey was a persistent threat at right wing-back and forced a save from Darlow in first half added time. Callum Wilson missed a clear chance with a free header after 62 minutes. Connolly hit the post with a shot, but he had clearly been offside.
Newcastle were being over-run and Trossard also hit the post with a legitimate chance from 22 yards out. With seven minutes remaining Maupay fed the ball to Connolly who was inside the Newcastle area on the left of centre. Connolly beat Darlow with a very well-placed right-footed shot inside the keeper’s left post. Brighton are going to surprise a few teams this season I fancy. Bissouma was sent off (after VAR and pitch-side review) for a dangerously high boot which struck Jamal Lewis in the face.
Chelsea 0 Liverpool 2
The game was naturally promoted as the game of the weekend, but neither team managed to excite in the early stages. Jurgen Klopp played Fabinho at the back, and he did a good job on Werner for most of the game, although the German did squeeze one first half shot just outside the post. The closest Liverpool had come was when Firmino nearly converted a bye-line cross by Salah at the near post. Chelsea were a man down just before the break when Christensen bundled Mane down and after VAR review was sent off for preventing a goal-scoring opportunity. Alexander-Arnold’s free kick missed the target.
Liverpool’s new man Thiago Alcantara came off the bench (for Henderson) in the second half and impressed with the number and quality of passes he made. Frank Lampard sacrificed Havertz for defender Tomori. Five minutes into the half Firmino lifted a cross from the right and Mane headed past Kepa’s right hand. Mane scored again four minutes later but this time he was gifted the goal as he anticipated Kepa Arrizabalaga’s poor attempt at a clearance. The £70 million+ keeper is on borrowed time, surely?
Thiago came across the back of Werner as he ran across the penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. The usually reliable Jorginho (skip and all) added to Chelsea’s woes by failing to score with Alisson anticipating well and diving low to his left to make a decent save. In added time Arrizabalaga did make a good save when a Mane shot was deflected and would otherwise have hit the net. He also saved from Salah, but Wijnaldum failed to take advantage of the rebound.
Leicester 4 Burnley 2
Burnley played their first game of the season and lost to a Leicester side who top the league after two games. Leicester once again played Ndidi at centre-back with Johnny Evans suspended. Sean Dyche was missing both centre-backs and had to make do with Kevin Long and Jimmy Dunne (making his debut).
Chris Wood gave the visitors a tenth minute lead when he received Taylor’s cross from the left, and with strength and poise fired past Schmeichel. 9 minutes later Harvey Barnes started and finished a move after his initial ball to Jamie Vardy, advancing into the area on the right, was fed back to him in time to place his shot inside Pope’s right-hand post. Barnes forced a good save from Pope with another shot after 33 minutes.
Leicester took the lead five minutes into the second half. A good ball by Tielemans reached new signing Castagne. The full back’s cross was intended for Vardy but was deflected into the net by Burnley’s unfortunate Erik Pieters. Leicester’s other full back – Justin – made it 3-1 in the 61st minute with his first Premier League goal. Castagne had started this move too with his cross being moved on by Perez, reaching the grateful Justin off a couple of defenders’ legs.
Rodriguez met a good cross by Taylor and hit a good shot just over at the near post with an outstretched foot. Dunne had a goal on his debut when he got on the end of Dwight McNeil’s free kick floated in from deep on the left. (73 mins) The scoring was completed 11 minutes from time. Barnes advanced down the left channel and passed to Praet who was some 20 yards from goal. Praet scored with a cracking right-foot shot. There was still time for Chris Wood to see his shot rebound clear off the inside of the post with Schmeichel nowhere.
Monday 21st September, 2020
Aston Villa 1 Sheffield United 0
This fixture was a re-run of the first game played after lockdown when “The Blades” were robbed of a win because the goal-line technology failed to pick out what was a good goal. The one point Villa thus gained kept them up at the end of the season.
Sheffield United played in a pink away strip. They were captained by John Egan and included new signing Oliver Burke. Villa included their own new additions - Ollie Watkins up front, Martinez in goal, and Cash at right back. Another new signing - Bertrand Traore from Lyon - was in the stand.
Referee Graham Scott showed Egan a straight red when he wrestled with Ollie Watkins as he raced for a long ball in only the 12th minute. VAR supported the decision which was an early blow to the hopes of "The Blades". The challenge did seem to start a long way from goal for such a decision.
There was plenty of pressure by Villa and a few corners, but no end result. After half an hour Chris Wilder sacrificed striker McGoldrick for new signing - former Chelsea man and defender Ethan Ampadu, who was on loan at Leipzig last season.
Villa were caught out after 32 minutes by the pace of Burke who fed the advancing Basham inside the area. Basham got a nudge from Targett and the referee pointed to the spot. Eventually VAR Mike Dean supported the decision and Lundstram took the kick, which was saved by Martinez, diving to his right. Basham had been moved forward from a three-man defence to midfield by the "Blades" coach, as he adopted a 4-4-1 formation.
Villa finally broke through in the 63rd minute following a corner on the left. Mings flicked the ball on, and his defensive partner Konsa headed home back across Ramsdale. Sheffield United sought an equaliser and Villa were afforded more space with Grealish hitting a shot just the wrong side of the post. Watkins had a good right footed effort go over the far corner of goal from the edge of the area after 77 minutes. Grealish pulled another shot wide.
In added time Watkins fed the ball to Grealish whose shot was deflected over the bar. The 10-man "Blades" had fought valiantly, but Villa took the spoils.
Wolves 1 Manchester City 3
This was City's first game of the new season. Pep Guardiola started with new signing Nathan Ake at the back along with John Stones. Wolves have now lost two of last season’s key men - Doherty to Spurs and Jota to Liverpool. Jota will surely be missed as he had such a good partnership with Raul Jimenez.
City started sharply and referee Andre Marriner had a decision to make after only 90 seconds when Sterling anticipated Coady's challenge inside the box and went to the ground. It was no penalty. Wolves were forced into an early change with new signing Marcal injured. He was replaced by Vinagre after only 7 minutes.
De Bruyne had a dipping free kick pushed away by Rui Patricio after 10 minutes. City did have a penalty after 18 minutes when Foden pushed the ball forward to De Bruyne who was fouled by Saiss just inside the box. De Bruyne made no mistake from the spot (20 mins)
Foden was again involved as City forced their way into the left side of the area. Sterling hit a good shot on target, but Rui Patricio was equal to the attempt. Foden was the beneficiary of Sterling's final pass after another incisive move and the England "bad boy" hit a 32nd minute goal. It was all too familiar by City.
De Bruyne was through after Jesus's lay-off, but Rui Patricio made a good save.
In the second half Traore tried to make his presence felt more, but the first good chance fell to City after 52 minutes when that man De Bruyne sent a perfectly weighted pass to Jesus, whose shot was saved. After a Traore cross, Podence received in the middle, turned, and fired just wide of Ederson's right post. Neto cut the ball back from the right but Podence let the ball run to Neves, whose shot was easy for the goalkeeper.
Moutinho hit a lovely ball to Podence who lifted a shot onto the top of Ederson's net. Next up was Jimenez, pushing Traore's cross wide of the far post. Wolves did get a goal back in the 78th minute. Podence nutmegged De Bruyne on Wolves' right flank before advancing and lifting a cross to Jimenez, who headed home.
It is a compliment to Wolves that once the game reached added time City were trying to run down the clock in the corners. They added to their score after a corner conceded when Rui Patricio saved a Jesus shot. After the corner, De Bruyne was the provider and Jesus drove a low shot past the keeper.
Saturday 19th September, 2020
Everton 5-2 West Brom
Leeds 4-3 Fulham
Man Utd 1-3 C. Palace
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham
Sunday 20th September, 2020
S'hampton 2-5 Spurs
Newcastle 0-3 Brighton
Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool
Leicester 4-2 Burnley
Monday 21st September, 2020
A. Villa 1-0 Sheff Utd
Wolves 1-3 Man City
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Leicester 2 2 0 0 7-2 5 6
2. Everton 2 2 0 0 6-2 4 6
3. Arsenal 2 2 0 0 5-1 4 6
4. Liverpool 2 2 0 0 6-3 3 6
5. C. Palace 2 2 0 0 4-1 3 6
6. Spurs 2 1 0 1 5-3 2 3
7. Man City 1 1 0 0 3-1 2 3
8. Brighton 2 1 0 1 4-3 1 3
9. A. Villa 1 1 0 0 1-0 1 3
10. Leeds 2 1 0 1 7-7 0 3
11. Chelsea 2 1 0 1 3-3 0 3
12. Wolves 2 1 0 1 3-3 0 3
13. Newcastle 2 1 0 1 2-3 -1 3
14. Burnley 1 0 0 1 2-4 -2 0
15. Man Utd 1 0 0 1 1-3 -2 0
16. West Ham 2 0 0 2 1-4 -3 0
17. Sheff Utd 2 0 0 2 0-3 -3 0
18. Fulham 2 0 0 2 3-7 -4 0
19. S'hampton 2 0 0 2 2-6 -4 0
20. West Brom 2 0 0 2 2-8 -6 0