Premier League 20/21 – Week Ten – Saturday’s Review

Week Ten of the Premier League continued on Saturday with four more match ups, and it started with the lunchtime kick off on the South Coast as Brighton & Hove Albion welcomed current champions Liverpool to the Amex…

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Liverpool 1

Albion came into this one off the back of their first Premier League victory in seven attempts last weekend with a good win at Villa, and they were vying to win consecutive league wins for the first time in more than a year in this one, and failure to win in this contest would see the hosts set an outright club record of nine successive top-flight home matches with a win, ouch.

But it has not been plain sailing for the visitors either, well not by their standards anyway, as if they failed to win at the Amex they would go four straight Premier League away games without a win for the first time since early 2017, but knew if they avoided defeat today they would go top of the league for a day at least.

Well the hosts had a great chance to go in front after twenty minutes when they were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Neco Williams on Aaron Connelly, but Neal Maupay stepped up and although he sent Alisson the wrong way, he stuck he spot kick a foot past the post, whoops!!! Maupay ended up going off injured after that miss, not a good few minutes for him or the hosts.  And with ten minutes of the half to go and against the run of play Liverpool took the lead when Mo Salah was sent in behind the Brighton defence and made no mistake with the finish, but no, VAR intervened and ruled that Salah was in fact offside, so the goal was taken away from the visitors and the game remained goalless, it was so so tight but his his toe nail was adjudged to have been offside, wow.

VAR and those lines eh, killing football if you ask me, but there you go, it is what it is, and the half ended goalless but plenty of drama had already taken place.  On the hour mark though, a brilliant opener, and this time the visitors had taken the lead as Salah found Diogo Jota inside the box and he cut inside one, past another, before finding the bottom corner and in eight starts for his new club he had netted nine goals, what form he is in right now.

With six minutes to go the Reds looked to have sealed the points with a second goal after Sadio Mane found the net, but VAR correctly ruled that Mane had moved to early and was clearly offside when he nodded Andy Robertson’s free-kick into the net, and they were made to pay for this when Brighton won a penalty, courtesy of VAR once again, as Robertson took an almighty swing to try and clear and missed the ball and caught Danny Welbeck two minutes into added on time.

It was a second penalty of the game for the hosts, and this time they made no mistake as Pascal Gross fired the kick down the middle, VAR was certainly not Liverpool’s friend today!!! So, it ended all square at the Amex, and no doubt VAR would be the main talking point in this one…

Onto the Saturday afternoon contest now, and it came from The Etihad, as Manchester City hosted Burnley in what was a bottom half table clash…

Manchester City 5 Burnley 0

The hosts were by their standards of recent years having a poor start, sitting in the bottom half of the Premier League at kick off, whilst the visitors were also having a pretty tough start to their campaign although they may have turned the corner with their first win of the season last time out at home to Crystal Palace, which saw them leap out of the bottom three.

It didn’t start well for the visitors though as City got into their stride early on and lead after just five minutes when after James Tarkowski had given the ball away, the hosts swept forward and saw Riyad Mahrez show real quality to bend an effort beyond Bailey Peacock-Farrell and punish the mistake to the maximum.  Man City looked like they meant business and doubled their lead after 21 minutes when another lapse in concentration in the visitors defence saw Mahrez punish to the full again, firing beyond Peacock-Farrell brilliantly for a terrific solo goal, and Burnley who came into this one 15-0 behind after their last three games here, probably feared the worst at this stage.

City had the ball in the net again soon after but this one was ruled out after Ilkay Gundogan’s header went against Ferran Torres before looping in off the post, but it was offside, so relief for Burnley who were being outplayed so far as the hosts looked comfortable. Two did become three though, with five minutes of the first half to go as City increased their lead after Benjamin Mendy hammered a volley home following a lovely pass from Kevin de Bruyne as City continued to play some superb football, the visitors had been blown away in the opening half and were looking rather deflated.

Burnley did come out livelier after the break and did have a couple of efforts, however, midway through the second period City added a fourth goal after magnificent work from Kyle Walker saw Torres get on the end of a Gabriel Jesus lay off, and then two minutes later it was five when Torres replacement Phil Foden’s first touch of the game was a cross into the box to find the head of Mahrez who completed his hat-trick and become only the second African after Yaya Toure to score a treble for the club.

There were till twenty or so minutes left, it was now a case of how many City would get, and with just over fifteen minutes remaining it was six and three goals in eight minutes as a ball fizzed in by de Bruyne seem to come off keeper Peacock-Farrell for an own goal, but guess what, after a lengthy intervention by good old VAR, the goal was ruled out for an offside so the game remained just 5-0.  De Bruyne, who had been off the planet and back to his best today, struck the woodwork late on, and although City had to settle for just five, this performance was the best they had put in for some time, and sadly for Burnley, it was them to feel the force yet again at The Etihad, that’s a fourth straight 5-0 defeat here for them now…

Onto the early evening kick off now and staying in the North West, as Everton hosted Leeds United at Goodison…

Everton 0 Leeds United 1

The Toffees ended a run of four straight defeats last weekend with a victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage, and back to back wins would see them climb into third, whilst for Leeds they were held by ten-man Arsenal last time out at Elland Road, despite creating numerous chances to see of The Gunners, so would they have their shooting boots on here on one side of Stanley Park?  Well, we were about to find out.

Both teams certainly had attacking intent in the early exchanges, but it was Leeds who were again passing up some good opportunities, so initially no they had not found their shooting boots, and they then almost fell behind after twenty-five minutes when James Rodriguez had the ball in the net after converting Richarlison’s deep cross, but he was offside so the goal did not stand.

Leeds though were largely dominant but just like last weekend’s game they could not provide a finishing touch, and the worry was Everton had enough quality to punish the visitor’s wastefulness in front of goal, but five minutes before the break VAR checked for a handball from Alex Iwobi inside his on box, but although he did handle it, VAR concurred that it wasn’t enough to warrant a penalty, to be honest, what is a handball anymore, nobody knows do they?

Richarlison then headed home a corner but Ben Godfrey was in an offside position in front of the keeper meaning the hosts saw a second goal ruled out, and then Leeds again fluffed another chance when Jack Harrison rose to plant a header against the post, and somehow the game reached the break goalless. The second half didn’t relent, as the half began in an end to end the contest, but still, neither team could find that cutting edge, and then it was the visitors turn to have a goal chalked off after Patrick Bamford poked home but the flag had gone up against Alioski, who had provided the cross.

Finally though after 79 minutes someone managed to find a goal, and it went to Leeds, as Harrison found Raphinha on the edge of the box and his low shot found the bottom corner, his first goal for the club, and a very timely one too, and Leeds had just over ten minutes to see out. And see it out they did to pick up a superb three points in what was an entertaining game at Goodison and hand Everton a fourth defeat in five matches…

Onto Saturday’s final game then, and it took us to the midlands and the Baggies Hawthorn’s ground, which saw hosts West Brom take on Sheffield United as the bottom two did battle…

West Bromwich Albion 1 Sheffield United 0

Neither of these sides had won this season, the hosts had three draws in nine Premier League matches whilst The Blades were far from sharp this season, with only one draw from their nine games, so this was already quite a big game so early on in the season.

West Brom knew a win would see them climb out of the bottom three whilst a first win for the visitors could see them climb above both their opponents and third-bottom Fulham and pull to a point off Burnley just above the bottom four.

Both teams were struggling for goals, so this wasn’t expected to be a high scoring classic that was for sure, but after a fairly decent start to the contest, it was West Brom who grabbed a 12th minute lead when a corner found Conor Gallagher on the edge of the box and he hit a first time effort through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner with Aaron Ramsdale unsighted and unable to keep the ball from finding the net.

It was Gallagher’s first Premier League goal and it proved the difference too in the opening half although it had not been a bad contest so far with plenty of goalmouth action, but just the one goal to show for it, as predicted before the game.

The Baggies though were on course for their first win of the season and as it stood were climbing out the bottom three, whilst The Blades had work to do if they were to get something from the game. Both sides had chances to find the in the second period, with the visitors looking much better than they did in the opening forty-five minutes.

Seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game would have made Baggies fans nervous as they held on to their slender lead, and they so nearly saw their opponents net in the 96th minute when Lys Mousset poked over from just five yards out when the ball had bounced off Branislav Ivanovic, it was a shocker of a miss and summed up The Blades in front of goal this season.  It meant West Brom did hold on for their first win of the season and bag three huge points, whilst United have just one point from ten games and are in trouble as it stands…

Here is how the Premier League table looks after Saturday’s Week 10 results…

Capture 3

Brighton’s late point sees them five clear of the drop zone in 16th, whilst Liverpool’s point does see them go into top spot for a few hours at least.  Man City’s thrashing of Burnley saw them go from 14th to 8th and are now just six points off the leaders with a game in hand, whilst Burnley drop back into the bottom three after a difficult afternoon and West Brom’s win, which in turn saw The Baggies leap out of the bottom three.

Sheffield United remain rock bottom and with a lot of soul searching to do after a ninth defeat in ten and another game without a goal or a clean sheet, whilst Leeds win at Everton sees them up to 11th and in a pack of teams within earshot of the European places.  Everton remains sixth but have now lost four of their last five and need to find some form very soon if they want to remain in the top half, let alone the top six.

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