So the first round of Premier League games have come to an end along with the games in hand. Some will be more happier than others whilst others may wish it never returned.
Arsenal fans were left frustrated on their return as injuries they were hit by two first and the calamitous David Luiz sent them to a 3-0 defeat against Man City. Luiz not only managed to contribute towards a City goal, but found himself getting his marching orders.
Technology failure in the game between Aston Villa and Sheffield United saw relief and frustration. Villa fans breathed a sigh of relief when goal line technology failure came to their aid and the Blades saw their team denied by technology that for once wasn’t VAR. Oliver Norwood’s free kick had crossed the Aston Villa goal line despite the failed attempt by the Villa keeper Orjan Nyland. Referee Michael Oliver had advised players that he had no notification that the ball had crossed the line. Had the goal been given, it would have seen Sheffield United move level on points with Man Utd
Friday saw two games with one in Norwich and one in London. Southampton strolled to three points and a hunt for a top ten spot as they beat bottom of the table Norwich City at Carrow Road. Three second half goals including one from England hopeful Danny Ings sent their opponents closer to certain relegation. Norwich now find themselves six points off safety and and next a home game against Everton. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the Canaries.
Friday night also saw Tottenham host Man Utd in a tight game that wasn’t short of entertainment, for possibly the wrong reason. Man Utd’s first half performance and defensive capabilities or lack of them brought a half time rant from form United midfielder Roy Keane. He didn’t mince any words and suggested that De Gea and Maguire be made to stay off the coach back home. United levelled in the second half, but will be hoping that they don’t have half time analysis from the Irishman anytime soon.
It’s probably a good job there were no fans at Vicarage Road on Saturday, as any who might have made and early departure would have missed two goals. Struggling Watford hosted Leicester City, but the team under Nigel Pearson had a good home record recently and looked like they might get something out the game until Chilwell scored in the 90th minute. A win for Leicester would have put them ten points ahead of Man Utd in fifth place and Champions League football more secure. Watford though decided they weren’t giving up and three minutes into injury time Dawson levelled.
Arsenal’s woes continued as they went down 2-1 as away to Brighton . They lost Leno to injury five minutes before half time, a third player in two games. Things did look like they might look up when Nicolas Pepe gave them hope with a goal in the 68th minute. The lead lasted about five minutes though when Dunk levelled for Brighton 5 minutes later and the likelihood of taking a solitary point. Hopes of a point were snatched from them in the dying seconds as Maupay grabbed a fifth minute injury time winner. Two games and two defeats left Arsenal fans probably wishing the season has been null and voided.
Wolves maintained their chase for European football as they won 2-0 at West Ham. it also saw Raul Jimenez set a record for most goals from a Wolves player. it was a good second half performance from substitute Adama Traore, who had been involved in the setting up of both goals. He has been linked with a move to Liverpool.
For West Ham it was a disappointing performance from the home side as their season continues to sag and relegation look ever more likely. The poor performance highlighted by the fact the first shot on target didn’t come till the second half. The Hammers now sits above the relegation zone on a slightly superior goal difference.
Sunday saw three games that kicked off with Newcastle United at home to Sheffield United. On paper it seemed that the points would head the way of the visitors, especially after being robbed against Villa.
The two sides went in level at half time but that all changed just five minutes into the second half when Egan got a second yellow card and his marching orders having brought down Newcastle’s Joelinton. Another five minutes later Allan Saint-Maximin broke the deadlock as the hosts slowly started to pick up as they made use of the extra man.
It would become 2-0 a quarter of an hour later when Ritchie beat Man Utd’s on loan keeper Dean Henderson with an unstoppable shot. When Joelinton bagged the third goal there was no coming back for Sheffield United. It was also Joelinton’s second goal of the season. His first being netted right back in August.
The result meant that Sheffield United missed the chance to move up to fifth whilst the Toon are now in 13th place and 11 points from the relegation zone.
Aston Villa hosted Chelsea as they looked to escape the relegation zone. It was always going to be difficult for Dean Smith’s team but the relegation threatened team took the lead in the first half. Could they do it? Could they defend the lead and climb out the relegation zone? The answer to that was no. Chelsea of course are chasing Champions League football and would look to close the gap on third place Leicester City whilst increasing the gap away from Man Utd.
Chelsea bagged two goals in two minutes around the hour as Pulisic scored five minutes after coming on and Frenchman Olivier Giroud bagged his third goal in the ten appearances this season.
League Leaders Liverpool made the short journey across Stanley Park to face Merseyside rivals Everton. A win for the reds would move them three points closer to their nineteenth league title and first in the Premier League era. The game was a slow affair as both sides looked to shake off the rust from the long break. Liverpool without Robertson and Salah only fit for the bench, barely made an impact and the reds had goalkeeper Alison to thank for keeping another clean sheet. The Brazilian kept his cool to keep his 11th clean sheet of the season tied with Dean Henderson at Sheffield United.
The draw slowed down the Reds chase for the title which could be made easier if Burnley could prevent a win against Man City. That though was always going to be tricky given that the two previous games against City saw them ship 5 goals in both games. It would be strike three and another 5 goals shipped.
Young midfielder Phil Foden bagged two goals with one in each half to make it three in two games. Mahrez bagged two in two minutes just before half time to make it 3-0 at half time. Mahrez first goal was quite something. The second was a penalty that came following a tackle that seemed innocuous against on Aguero. Unfortunately it saw the end of the striker’s match participation, with possibility of it bringing an abrupt end to the season. Two more goals in the second half completed the 5-0 thrashing.
Unfortunately the game was overshadowed by a plane flying over with White Lives Matter, bringing criticism from both Man City and Burnley.