Premier League Review – Matchday 21
Saturday 1st January, 2022
Arsenal 1 Manchester City 2
Arsenal took the lead; conceded a penalty; had a player sent off, and finally suffered an added time loser. What’s not to like for any Spurs fan!
Arteta was absent from the touchline to due to Covid. Odegaard was denied a penalty when challenged by Ederson after 10 minutes, but VAR supported Stuart Attwell’s corner decision. Ederson had got a touch and he got a stamp on his foot for his trouble too. Martinelli took a pass from Partey and, entering the left side of the area, had his shot saved. De Bruyne curled a shot wide of the far corner at the other end.
Arsenal scored in the 31st minute, following a good passing move after White stole the ball off De Bruyne. Tierney made the final pass from the left and Saka finished well with a left foot shot. Martinelli had two shots go wide. The second followed a good run and was a shot across the goalmouth.
City had a penalty eight minutes into the second half when Xhaka challenged Bernardo Silva. Xhaka also had a handful of Silva’s shirt. Mr. Attwell gave nothing but was called to the monitor and pointed to the spot, much to the distress and disdain of Arsenal and their fans. Xhaka was booked and Mahrez scored in the 57th minute, after it had taken four minutes to resolve the issue. Gabriel was booked for scuffing up the penalty spot.
Ake managed to clear a ball off his line, after Laporte had headed over his goalkeeper towards goal. Gabriel was shown a second yellow card when he held up the progress of Gabriel Jesus. (59 minutes) The Arsenal player cynically applauded the fourth official as he walked off – not that Kevin Friend had anything to do with the sending off.
On a day when Arsenal felt the world was against them. Rodri slid home a low shot in the third minute of added time after a cross by De Bruyne had not been properly cleared by substitute Holding. Rodri went in the wrong direction to celebrate, and the City huddle had a bottle and other missiles thrown in their direction. Arsenal might get into more trouble for that. Here’s hoping!
Leicester City v Norwich City (Postponed – Covid)
Watford 0 Spurs 1
Declan Mulcahy wrote our match report, but I can tell you that The Vicarage Road Stand was literally rocking when man of the match Davinson Sanchez scored our added time winner. This was Davinson's second Premier League goal in a month, and only his third in 113 appearances. He certainly seems a much improved player under the guidance of our new manager, which can be said for several other players too. This was also the first time Sanchez has been our man of the match this season.
Antonio Conte is now undefeated in his first 8 league games – a new record for any Spurs manager.
Crystal Palace 2 West Ham United 3
Palace were three down at half-time, but they put up such a fight at the end of the game that some thought they might have got a draw. Patrick Vieira was back in the dugout for Palace. Zaha was available after suspension, but not playing. Rice was back for West Ham and played his 150th Premier League game – the youngest ever to do so for “The Hammers”.
Schlupp hit the post after only a minute when Ayew cut the ball back inside the area. Schlupp should have scored. Guaita made a double save from Antonio, then also managed to push away Benrahma’s follow-up. Benrahma was involved in the first goal after 22 minutes when he crossed from the left and Antonio got onto the end of the cross to strike from close range. Lanzini made it 2-0 three minutes later, taking Rice’s pass, and then controlling the ball with a couple of skilful touches begore hitting his left foot shot high into the net.
Edouard put a ball out to Ayew and took the return pass before hitting the bar with his shot. Fabianski made a reaction save from Benteke’s shot on the turn. In first half added time West Ham were awarded a penalty after Milivojevic handled a ball which bounced awkwardly just inside the edge of his area. Lanzini converted from the spot with a right foot shot inside Guaita’s right post.
Olise replaced Benteke and he provided the cross from the right which enabled Edouard’s close-range finish in the 83rd minute. Olise was fouled by Diop and took the free kick himself, scoring a goal to add to his assist with a left foot shot that made it all the way to the inside of Fabianski’s right post. Palace appealed without success for a back pass inside his area by Dawson when under pressure from Edouard. Substitute Mateta had an overhead kick pass just outside the post in a dramatic finish to the game.
Sunday 2nd January, 2022
Brentford 2 Aston Villa 1
Brentford overtook Villa with this welcome win. Danny Ings was in the Villa attack, which was missing former Brentford man Ollie Watkins. Tyrone Mings was serving a one match suspension. Ings gave Villa the lead in the 16th minute with a fine left foot finish from Buendia’s pass. Ings hit the net with a shot across the Brentford keeper.
Wissa was again partnering Toney, and he (Wissa) scored a cracking equaliser three minutes before half-time, receiving the ball from the right from Roerslev before hitting a super left foot shot inside the keeper’s right post. It was “The Bees” first crack at goal.
Villa keeper Martinez made a good save to push Onyeka’s second half shot off the outside of his left post. Brentford scored a winner in the 83rd minute after determination by Baptiste inside the area and a pass to Roerslev, whose first shot was saved, but the second hit the net. Fernandez saved from Ings to preserve Brentford’s lead.
Everton 2 Brighton 3
Rafa Benitez’s woes continue, despite the fact he was able to call upon Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the first time since 28th August. Calvert-Lewin had a chance to score from the penalty spot but missed.
Brighton had a great start, taking the lead inside three minutes. Veltman crossed from the right. Maupay headed into the path of MacAllister who scored past Pickford at the bewildered Gwladys Street End. Dan Burn scored a second goal for the visitors in the 21st minute. Bissouma had a shot deflected for a corner on the left which was headed on by Mwepu and headed in at the back post by the tall Brighton defender.
The award of a penalty to Everton followed a barge by Mwepu in the back of Gordon. This had been initially ignored by referee John Brooks, who was making a rare Premier League appearance. He changed his mind at the monitor. Up stepped Calvert-Lewin, but his kick went out of play off the top of the bar. Lallana hit a shot from some 25 yards which Pickford pushed around his right post.
Lallana’s unintentional deflection had his goalkeeper beaten in the 53rd minute thus allowing Everton back into the game. The goal was credited to 20-year-old Anthony Gordon. Sanchez got fingers to a long range shot by Allan.
Brighton went two goals into the lead again on the 71st minute at the end of a concerted attack in which Maupay had been denied by a good tackle by Holgate. However, Brighton held possession and the Argentinean player hit a rocket shot from 20 yards. Gordon gave the home fans hope though, with a second goal in the 76th minute when he made no mistake from Kenny’s cross. Gordon even hoped for a hat-trick two minutes from time, after receiving from substitute Rondon, but he was denied by Burn and Sanchez.
Leeds United 3 Burnley 1
This was a much-needed win for Leeds, who hadn’t played for two weeks against Burnley, who had played once in three weeks. Aaron Lennon was given another outing by Sean Dyche.
Raphinha hit an audacious 40-yard shot after 18 minutes which just tipped the top of Hennessy’s bar. Harrison had one shot saved by Hennessy, but the rebound fell straight to the feet of the Leeds number 22, who made no mistake from his second opportunity. (39 mins) In first half added time, former Leeds man Chris Wood had a good chance in front of his former fans, sweeping Taylor’s cross goalward with his left foot, but just off target.
Cornet was fouled by Llorente in the second half. He took and scored the free kick himself from 25 yards. (54 mins) He was another player who celebrated in front of the wrong fans, one of whom threw a bottle in the direction of the Burnley pack. Matt Lowton was the victim and needed treatment.
Leeds missed several chances. Roberts missed two in the first half and Raphinha missed the target after 72 minutes. Five minutes later , following a corner on the right, Hennessy was left standing when Stuart Dallas scored inside the keeper’s right post with a shot from 20 yards. Leeds added to their score in the second minute of added time. After skill in midfield by Klich, and a deep cross by Gelhardt, Daniel James scored with a downward header which Hennessy failed to hold and the ball went over the line into the goal.
Southampton v Newcastle United (Postponed – Covid & Injuries in Newcastle squad)
Chelsea 2 Liverpool 2
All the goals were scored in the first half of this classic encounter. The only winners were Manchester City, who are now 10 points above Chelsea and 11 above Liverpool. Romelu Lukaku was left out of the squad after an interview with the Italian press which indicated he was not enjoying life under Thomas Tuchel’s managership. The Chelsea bench included a couple of young midfielders – Hall and Vale – neither of whom have appeared in The Premier League. Reece James had been added to an injury list which already includes Ben Chilwell. The latter is likely to miss the rest of the season. Liverpool were missing their manager, plus Alisson, Matip and Firmino, all due to Covid.
Sadio Mane was shown a yellow card after only 15 seconds when Azpilicueta took an elbow in the face in an aerial challenge. Mane escaped further sanction. Kelleher came to the rescue when Alexander-Arnold gifted the ball to Pulisic inside the area. The keeper saved from the player’s legs. Mane punished Chelsea when Chalobah made the wrong decision to stoop and try to head clear. The man who might have been sent off took control of the ball and scored with a left foot shot inside 9 minutes. It was 2-0 after 26 minutes after Salah collected Alexander-Arnold’s ball, and from the right of goal, scored inside Mendy’s narrow side at the near post. It was Salah’s 16th league goal of the season. The closest player to him is his team-mate Jota, who has 10 goals. Liverpool are going to be without their goalscorers today, who in January will be engaged in the African Cup of Nations.
There was plenty of edge to the game. VAR reviewed an incident when Mason Mount seemed to leave a foot in after a tangle with Tsimikas, but no further action was taken. Salah seemed to have the goal at his mercy, but Chalobah came to the rescue with a good clearing tackle. Chelsea had a free kick after 40 minutes when Havertz was halted not once, but twice by Milner’s body charge. Alonso took the kick which was punched out by Kelleher. The ball fell to Kovacic just outside the edge of the area, and he scored with a volley which dipped and hit the net off the inside of the keeper’s left post. Chelsea were level in first half added time when Pulisic was onto Kante’s pass into the Liverpool area and scored with a shot lifted across the goalkeeper into the net. Stamford Bridge went crazy with delight.
Mendy made a terrific diving save in the second half when Jota slipped a ball to Salah who hit a shot from 25 yards. Mendy had to save again from Mane. Kelleher made a terrific reaction save from Pulisic at the other end. The Liverpool number two keeper also got behind a shot by Mason Mount after a Chelsea free kick.
Monday 3rd January, 2022
Manchester United 0 Wolves 1
The big news was the fact that Phil Jones started for United for the first time in 777 days. He and Varane replaced Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly. Fernandes was on the bench.
The first half was goal-less. Podence had a shot palmed away by De Gea. After the corner, the keeper was required to make another good save from Neves' shot. Wolves were having the better of the play, and United had just one first half shot (by Ronaldo) on target. That was blocked. Jones had a very respectable first half.
Fernandes replaced Greenwood after an hour. United had been enjoying more possession but made no headway. Wolves had their eighth corner after 64 minutes when Shaw had to make a clearing header to prevent Jimenez getting on the end of Podence's cross. United had yet to win a corner.
Adama Traore came off the bench for Wolves, replacing Trincao. Fernandes should have scored from Matic's cross but rattled the bar. Ronaldo had the ball in the net from a free kick but had been offside. His next chance was a shot from the left which passed wide across the goal.
Wolves had a free kick after Traore's run was cynically ended just outside the area by Matic. Saiss took the free kick and also hit the bar. Jimenez was replaced by Fabio Silva with 9 minutes plus stoppage time remaining. In the 82nd minute after a cross by Traore, the ball was cleared only to the feet of Moutinho, who scored from 20 yards with a well-placed right foot shot inside De Gea's right post. This was Moutinho's first Premier League goal of the season. He averages one per season for Wolves.
Wolves were bossing the game in the closing stages and their fans celebrated their lead wildly. There might have been a last kick equaliser after Fabio Silva’s high kick gave United a free kick on the edge of the box. Fernandes took the kick. Sa made a spectacular dive to his right to save.
Fixtures and results - 01-03.01.22
Saturday 1st January, 2022
Arsenal 1-2 Man City
Leicester P Norwich
Watford 0-1 Spurs
C. Palace 2-3 West Ham
Sunday 2nd January, 2022
Brentford 2-1 A. Villa
Everton 2-3 Brighton
Leeds 3-1 Burnley
S'hampton P Newcastle
Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool
Monday 3rd January, 2022
Man Utd 0-1 Wolves
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Man City 21 17 2 2 53-13 40 53
2. Chelsea 21 12 7 2 45-16 29 43
3. Liverpool 20 12 6 2 52-18 34 42
4. Arsenal 20 11 2 7 33-25 8 35
5. West Ham 21 11 4 6 39-27 12 37
6. Spurs 18 10 3 5 23-20 3 33
7. Man Utd 19 9 4 6 30-27 3 31
8. Wolves 19 8 4 7 14-14 0 28
9. Brighton 19 6 9 4 20-20 0 27
10. Leicester 18 7 4 7 31-33 -2 25
11. C. Palace 20 5 8 7 29-30 -1 23
12. Brentford 19 6 5 8 23-26 -3 23
13. A. Villa 19 7 1 11 25-30 -5 22
14. S'hampton 19 4 9 6 20-29 -9 21
15. Everton 18 5 4 9 23-32 -9 19
16. Leeds 19 4 7 8 21-37 -16 19
17. Watford 18 4 1 13 22-36 -14 13
18. Burnley 17 1 8 8 16-27 -11 11
19. Newcastle 19 1 8 10 19-42 -23 11
20. Norwich 19 2 4 13 8-42 -34 10