Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Week 7 Review: Liverpool Takes the Lead; Leicester Outfoxes Leeds; Gareth Bales Out Spurs; Toffees Looking Toothless; Bedeviled at Old Trafford; Burnley Hits Bottom


Top of the Table

Liverpool  – Liverpool returned to a familiar league leading position as Klopp’s heroes overcame their injuries on defense and used a Mohamed Salah penalty kick and a late goal from super sub Diogo Jota to craft a 2-1 win over West Ham.  Jota’s goal, assisted by fellow substitute Xherdan Shaqiri, was his third in five appearances for Liverpool.  Nathaniel Philips made his Premier League debut at the revolving center back position in Liverpool’s back line.

Leicester – The Foxes move to second in the table with their decisive 4-1 win at Leeds. Leicester was content to sit deep and use a devastating counterattack to register their fourth straight away win.  Youri Tielemans had a brace for Leicester while Jamie Vardy scored his seventh goal of the season and assisted Harvey Barnes on the game’s opening goal. Cengiz Under, who assisted on Vardy’s goal, and James Maddison impressed as second half midfield substitutions.

Tottenham Hotspur  Gareth Bale scored his first goal for Spurs in seven years to deliver a 2-1 victory over Brighton.  Bale’s well-placed header came off a perfect cross from fellow Real Madrid alumni Sergio Reguilon.  Harry Kane’s first half penalty kick, his sixth goal of the season, moved him into the top ten of all time Premier League scorers.  Spurs’ third victory in four games moves them to within two points of league leader Liverpool. 

Everton – Everton’s reign at the top ended with a second consecutive loss, the first time manager Carlo Ancelotti has lost consecutive league games since 2014 with Real Madrid.  Ancelotti did not help his injury ravaged team in the 2-1 loss to Newcastle when he fielded an odd line-up of essentially five central midfielders lacking speed and creativity.  Calvert-Lewin’s injury time eighth goal of the season opportunistically came off a deflected cross in the box.  Robin Olson was solid in goal for the Toffees, substituting for the dropped Jordan Pickford.

Southampton – It was an All Saints Day for Southampton at Aston Villa right up until an eighty-fifth-minute injury to Danny Ings.  Up 4-1 at the time, the Saints held on for a 4-3 victory.  James Ward-Prowse contributed two free kick goals for a Southampton team which has now won four of its last five matches.  The Saints prayers were seemingly answered on Monday as initial scans of Ings’ knee appeared to show no major structural damage. 

Wolverhampton Wanderers  Wolves defeated Crystal Palace 2-0, scoring multiple goals for the first time this season.  The two first half goals also marked the first time since their season opening match that the Wolves scored in a first half of play.  Nineteen-year-old wing back Rayan Ait-Nouri scored in his first Premier League start before Daniel Podence doubled the Wolves first half margin.  Wolves move to sixth in the table with their third win in four matches.  

Mid Table

Chelsea – Chelsea had little trouble in dispensing with Burnley 3-0.  Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy’s third Premier League clean sheet was his fifth in all competitions since his October acquisition by the Blues.  Hakim Ziyech, making his first Premier League start, provided yet another gear for the Chelsea offensive engine, delivering a goal and an assist. Christian Pulisic was injured during warm-ups.  His replacement, Timo Werner, scored his third goal of the season.  Defender Kurt Zouma’s goal was also his third to date.

Aston Villa – Aston Villa falls all the way to eighth in the table with their second straight loss, a 4-3 defeat by Southampton.  Two injury time goals to narrow the final margin perhaps provide something to build on for next week as the Villans attempt to regain their early season form.  Jack Grealish was involved in all three of Villa’s scores.  The Villa captain had a goal of his own, assisted on a goal by Tyrone Mings and drew the penalty kick scored by Ollie Watkins.

Arsenal – Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat of Manchester United, featuring a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang second half penalty kick, was the Gunners’ first win at Old Trafford in fourteen years.  Center back Gabriel and midfielders Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny led a dominant defensive effort for an Arsenal team which continues to struggle in attack. 

Manchester City – Manchester City defeated Sheffield United 1-0.  Fullback Kenny Walker, in his 100th Premier League appearance, provided the winner for the Citizens.  Despite the win, City continued recent struggles to convert chances in large part due to the injury absence of their two front line strikers.  City scored but one goal for a fourth consecutive time. They are undefeated during that same stretch.

Newcastle – Callum Wilson scored his fifth and sixth goals of the season to lead Newcastle to a 2-1 victory over Everton.  Manager Steve Bruce’s three center back formation, instituted after the Manchester United loss, worked well for a second consecutive game.  The pace of Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin is helping to facilitate the Magpie counterattack.

Leeds – Leeds was overrun by the Foxes in a 4-1 home defeat which sees them fall all the way to twelfth in the table.  The Whites may see more games like this as teams better acclimate to their frenetic style which leaves space behind for counterattacking opponents.  Then again, they will not be facing Jamie Vardy every week.

Crystal Palace – Crystal Palace is not offensively poised to respond well to a 2-0 deficit.  Once falling behind two goals, the Eagles nest was made.  Right back Nathaniel Clyne struggled to dance with the Wolves left side attackers.  In one of the Premier League’s weirder stats, Crystal Palace has never won a Friday night game in 13 tries.

West Ham - West Ham saw a four-game unbeaten run end with a 2-1 loss to Liverpool. Injured striker Michail Antonio's energy and athleticism were sorely missed as West Ham found it difficult to mount a threat from manager David Moyes' conservatively aligned formation. Moyes remains winless at Anfield. The loss puts the Hammers down to 14th in the table.

Bottom of the Table

Manchester United – A 1-0 home loss to Arsenal means the Red Devils have failed to win any of their first four home games for the first time since the 1972/73 season.  United’s seven points from their first six games equals the performance of the 2013 David Moyes team.  Paul Pogba was victimized on the penalty call which handed the game to the Gunners.  A stagnant attack was in sharp contrast to the 5-0 Champions League win over Leipzig earlier in the week.   

Brighton & Hove Albion – Brighton extended their winless streak to five games with a 2-1 loss to Spurs which leaves the Seagulls just two points from the relegation places.  Defender Tariq Lamptey delivered the goal for Brighton.  Striker Neal Maupay, scorer of four goals in the team’s first six games, was absent versus Spurs for rumored disciplinary reasons.  

Fulham – Fulham’s 2-0 defeat of West Brom was their first win of the season, lifting them from the relegation places.  US National Team player Antonee Robinson delivered the cross which Aleksander Mitrovic nodded to goal scorer Bobby De Cordova-Reid for the Cottagers opening salvo.  Defender Ola Aina provided the insurance goal with Mitrovic earning a second assist.

West Bromwich Albion – West Brom descended into the relegation places with a 2-0 loss to previously winless Fulham.  The still winless Baggies managed just one shot on goal in the game. Manager Slaven Bilic is now firmly planted in the hot seat and is drawing fire for tactical decisions such as playing midfielder Matheus Pereira in an unaccustomed wide position.

Sheffield United – Sheffield United failed to add to its three goal haul this season in a 1-0 loss to Manchester City. The Blades have scored only one goal from open play this season and desperately hope to see some return on their investment in former Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster who made his second start against the Citizens.

Burnley - Burnley was uncompetitive in a 3-0 defeat versus Chelsea, managing no shots on target. The Clarets now occupy the league cellar with but one point and only three goals on the season. While still early in the league season, Burnley must be thinking their five-year run at the top level is slipping away.

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