Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Match Week 14: Carnage at Selhurst; Spurs Slide; Foxes Rejoin the Hunt; Devils Should Receive their Due; Seagulls Endangered

Top of the Table

Liverpool - Liverpool put an exclamation point on its top of the table status with a 7-0 demolition of Crystal Palace.  The seven goals were the most Liverpool has scored in a Premier League game and included braces from Bobby Firmino and second half substitute Mohamed Salah.  Firmino’s three goals in a three-day span matches his goal output for his previous twenty-seven matches.  Salah leads the league with thirteen goals.  Midfielder Takumi Minamino had his first Liverpool goal while Henderson and Mane rounded out the onslaught

Leicester – With a 2-0 defeat of Spurs, Leicester has now won three of four matches to climb to second in the table behind Liverpool.  The Foxes are second to Liverpool entering Christmas for a second consecutive year.  Leicester Manager Brendan Rogers recorded his first victory over a Jose Mourinho managed club in the win at Spurs.  Jamie Vardy’s first half penalty score was his nineteenth goal in his past nineteen Premier League away matches.

Manchester United – A startling brace by defensive midfielder Scott McTominay in the first three minutes helped propel Manchester United to a 6-2 victory in their Derby of the Roses with Leeds.  The Red Devils should receive accolades for a run of form that has witnessed six victories and a draw in a seven-match run which has moved United from fifteenth to third in the table.  United also hold a match in hand over those clubs residing above them.

Everton – Everton moved back into the top four after a six-week absence with their 2-1 victory over Arsenal helping to celebrate Manager Carlo Ancelotti’s one-year anniversary with the club. Everton has conceded only a single goal over a three-match winning run which has helped restore optimism for Toffee supporters.  Yerry Mina’s header decided Saturday’s match.


Chelsea – Chelsea’s 3-0 victory in its London Derby versus West Ham snapped a two-match losing streak and has them sitting fifth in a highly congested field behind Liverpool at the top of the table.  Tammy Abraham scored two late goals to help put down the Hammers.  Abraham’s five goals lead a Blues’ attack which has seen thirteen different players score this season.

Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs, league leaders prior to last week’s loss to Liverpool, have fallen all the way to sixth following a 2-0 loss to Leicester.  Jose Mourinho will not be happy with his team having conceded both a penalty and an own goal in a lackluster performance versus the Foxes.  Title hopes have now turned to discussion of top four credentials for Spurs.

Southampton – Southampton lost for only the second time in their past twelve matches when falling 1-0 to visiting Manchester City.  The Saints played well in defeat but must be concerned at yet another Danny Ings injury suffered late in the second half.  The goalless performance was the first time the Saints had failed to score since the season’s opening weekend.

Manchester City – Manchester City posted a fourth clean sheet in their last five matches with the 1-0 victory over Southampton.  Raheem Sterling scored the winner as the Citizens moved to eighth in the table, just three points behind third place Manchester United.  John Stones has played well in tandem with Ruben Dias at center back for the impressive City defense.

Aston Villa – Aston Villa was little troubled by West Brom in cruising to a 3-0 victory over a  Baggies team playing with ten men after thirty-seven minutes.  With the win, Villa equaled their best start of a Premier League season after twelve matches. The Villans have posted a league best seven clean sheets despite playing fewer matches than all but four clubs. 

Mid Table

West Ham – A header conceded to Thiago Silva in West Ham’s 3-0 loss to Chelsea was the first set piece goal of the season conceded by the Hammers. Manager David Moyes extended his winless streak at Stamford Bridge to sixteen games as the Hammers failed to score in an away match for the first time this season.  West Ham fall to tenth in the table.

Wolves – Wolves continue to appear defanged, a 2-1 defeat to Burnley marking the third loss in four matches since the loss to injury of star striker Raul Jimenez.  An 89th minute penalty kick by Fabio Silva accounted for the lone Wolves goal versus the Clarets.  Frustration is mounting as Manager Nuno Espirito Santo uncharacteristically lashed out at the referee following the game.

Newcastle - Newcastle were fortunate to grab a point from a 1-1 draw against Fulham when a controversial red card led to Callum Wilson converting from the spot for his eighth goal of the season. The Magpies otherwise showed little sign of life versus a Fulham side playing with ten men after a 62nd minute red card. Newcastle manager Steve Bruce will be grateful for the point, believing his squad to still be feeling the effects of its recent COVID breakout.

Crystal Palace – Crystal Palace conceded seven goals at home in a shocking defeat for the Eagles.  While no shame to lose to Liverpool, the seven goals were embarrassing for a club which survives in the league with a normally dogged defense.

Leeds – Leeds was done in by defensive lapses beginning with the opening minutes of a 6-2 loss to Manchester United.  The Whites’ open style of play is high risk and high reward and the former prevailed against the Red Devils.


Bottom of the Table

Arsenal – Arsenal lost for a fourth time in their last five matches as Manager Mikel Arteta continues to struggle for answers.  It has been ten matches since Arsenal scored more than a goal.  The Gunner have won just once in those ten matches and are just four points from relegation.  An own goal by defender Rob Holding in the 2-1 loss to Everton was a second own goal in three matches for the Gunners, offsetting the two goals of their own during that stretch.

Burnley – Burnley are now three points above the relegation zone after their 2-1 defeat of Wolves.  The center back tandem of James Tarkowski and Ben Mees has formed the foundation for what is now a four-match unbeaten streak for the Clarets.  Ashley Barnes had his first goal in more than a year against Wolves while Chris Wood tallied his third of the season.

Brighton & Hove Albion – Brighton was mired in sixteenth position for ten consecutive weeks before dropping yet another spot this weekend.  Dropping points in their draw with Sheffield United was a worrying sign that the trap door awaits if the Seagulls continue their winless ways.  Brighton has won just twice this season and is only two points removed from relegation.  Improved play from Burnley and Fulham and Big Sam taking over West Brom could make for some stormy seas for the Gulls.

Fulham – Fulham continues to hint at better things to come, determinedly earning a point at Newcastle despite a one-man disadvantage for much of the second half.  The Cottagers have earned a point in each of their last three matches.

West Bromwich Albion – The task of new West Brom Manager Sam Allardyce was made more difficult when the Baggies went down to ten men in the first half of their 3-0 loss to Aston Villa. No team with fewer than eight points after fourteen matches has gone on to survive.  West Brom has seven points.  The Baggies failed to score in a match for the seventh time this season.

Sheffield United - The misery which is Sheffield United's season deepened when an 87th minute goal by Brighton's Danny Welbeck denied a ten-man Blade side of its first victory of the season. Sheffield United now has two points after fourteen matches, a performance unmatched in Premier League history.

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