Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Week 11 Review: Spurs Rule London and the League; Liverpool Slays Toothless Wolves; Leeds Fall Off at Bridge; Eagles Soar

Top of the Table

Tottenham Hotspur – Spurs again combined the league’s stingiest defense with an elite attacking duo to defeat north London rival Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday.  Heung-min Son and Harry Kane each had a goal and an assist in the win and have now combined on eleven league goals this season.  The clean sheet was a joint league leading fifth for a defense which has conceded only 9 goals in 11 league matches, two fewer than any other club. Midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg continued his outstanding play in executing Mourinho’s defensive scheme.

Liverpool - Liverpool were dominant in a 4-0 victory over Wolves, remaining level on points with Spurs.  The win at Anfield extended Liverpool’s home unbeaten streak to sixty-five games.  In their last two home games, versus Leicester and Wolves, the surging Reds have won by an aggregate 7-0 while allowing only seven shots.  Liverpool has allowed only four league goals in six games since the Virgil van Dijk injury.  Mohamed Salah scored his ninth goal of the season while adding an assist versus Wolves.

Chelsea - Chelsea are two points behind the league leaders following a 3-1 defeat of Leeds. Chelsea’s attacking depth was again on display as Olivier Giroud scored in his first Premier League start of the season and Christian Pulisic scored his first goal since October in relief of an injured Hakim Ziyech.  Chelsea are now unbeaten in nine consecutive matches, the league’s longest unbeaten run.  The goal by Leeds was only the second Chelsea has conceded in its last six matches.  Timo Werner and Defender Kurt Zouma each scored a fourth goal of the season.

Leicester - Leicester stayed fourth in the table, defeating Sheffield United 2-1 on a 90th minute goal from Jamie Vardy, his ninth of the season.  Forward Ayoze Perez scored his first goal of the season for Leicester’s opening tally.  With the win over Sheffield United, Leicester now has more away victories during Manager Brendan Rogers time in charge than any clubs but Liverpool and Manchester City.  The win breaks a two-match losing slide for the Foxes.

Southampton - Southampton striker Danny Ings made a triumphant return from injury, burying the winning penalty kick as the Saints defeated Brighton 2-1.  Defender Jannik Vestergaard scored his third goal of the season on a header from a corner kick for Southampton’s opening tally.  The Saints are just one point behind fourth place Leicester. 

Manchester United - The 3-1 win over West Ham was a fourth consecutive victory for a Manchester United team which is now up to sixth in the table, five points from the league leaders with a game in hand.  Bruno Fernandes’ second half substitution seemed to ignite the Red Devils who overcame a 1-0 first half deficit.  Fernandes assisted on Paul Pogba’s first goal of the season for Manchester United’s first score of the match.  Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford also scored in the Red Devil’s ninth consecutive league away win. 

Manchester City - Raheem Sterling scored a goal and drew the penalty leading to Manchester City’s 2-0 victory over Fulham.  Kevin De Bruyne’s assist on the Sterling goal was his sixth of the season, second only to Harry Kane in the league.  De Bruyne’s penalty kick was his second goal of the season.  Manchester City has now beaten Fulham ten consecutive times in all competitions. The Citizens, holding a game in hand, move to seventh in the table with a second consecutive clean sheet victory. 

Mid Table

West Ham - West Ham relinquished a first half lead to surrender all three Manchester United goals in the second half of a 3-1 defeat. West Ham have dropped more points from winning positions than any other league team in 2020.  The loss ended a three-match winning streak for the Hammers who tumble three places in the table to eighth.

Everton - Everton received excellent play from sometimes maligned goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in escaping with a point in a 1-1 draw at Burnley.  Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s league leading eleventh goal provided the Everton score.  Everton were a bit improved on recent weeks in creating chances but were repeatedly foiled by Pickford’s fellow English goalkeeper Nick Pope.  Everton fall yet another spot to ninth in the table.

Wolves - Wolves rarely threatened in a 4-0 loss at Liverpool as the absence of injured striker Raul Jimenez was keenly evident.  Wolves were also among the top four defensive clubs in the league before allowing a quartet against the defending champions. Wolves have now lost eight consecutive league matches to Liverpool.  Though now tenth in the table, Wolves are but three points below fifth place Southampton. 

Crystal Palace - The Eagles soared four places up the table with a 5-1 defeat of West Brom.  Wilfried Zaha scored twice in his return from a two-week absence.  Christian Benteke scored his first two goals of the 2020/21 campaign after not scoring more than three goals in a season since 2016/17.  The Eagles took full advantage of a man advantage from a first half West Brom red card to embarrass the Baggies and end a two-match losing streak.

Aston Villa - Twelfth place Villa have two matches in hand after postponement of its match with Newcastle. 

Newcastle - Newcastle was sidelined by a COVID-19 outbreak.

Leeds - Leeds took an early lead on a Patrick Bamford goal versus his former team only to see Chelsea sail by them in a 3-1 defeat for the Whites at Stamford Bridge.  Only the efforts of Goalkeeper Illan Meslier avoided a heavier defeat.  Chelsea’s twenty-three shots were the joint highest Leeds has faced this year.  Leeds drops two places to fourteenth with the loss.

Arsenal - Arsenal’s scoring drought continued in its 2-0 defeat to rival Spurs.  Heung-min Son’s tenth goal for Spurs put him level with the entire Arsenal goal output this season.  The Gunners have fired blanks in five of their eleven matches this season and their ten goals are less than all clubs but for the three teams in the relegation zone.

Bottom of the Table

Brighton & Hove Albion - Brighton fell to Southampton 2-1 on a late VAR determined penalty.  Brighton had opened the scoring on their own penalty kick before Southampton’s Jannik Vestergaard tied matters with a header from a Saints corner kick. The Seagulls’ six goals allowed from set pieces are more than conceded by any club but Leicester this season.  Brighton remains sixteenth in the table for a seventh consecutive week.  

Fulham - The Cottagers did well to concede only two goals to Manchester City in a 2-0 defeat at the Etihad.  Fulham has conceded more goals than any team in the league this season and have now lost their last ten matches to City by an aggregate score of 29-3.

Burnley - Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Everton was earned at Turf Moor by the goalkeeping of Nick Pope and a goal from Striker Chris Wood.  Burnley have now suffered just one defeat in their last four matches.  A less encouraging view would be that Burnley have won just once in their last eleven league matches.  The Clarets sit one point below currently safe Fulham in the table. 

West Bromwich Albion - West Brom was unfortunate in being victimized by an own goal and a highly questionable red card in its first half versus Crystal Palace.  The Baggies, however, can only blame themselves for the embarrassing 5-1 final in which they allowed the Eagles four second half goals.  Manager Slaven Bilic’s seat has become much warmer.  

Sheffield United - Sheffield United’s misery continued with a sixth consecutive loss as the Blades fell 2-1 to Leicester on a late Jamie Vardy goal.  The Blades remain on one point yet still are but six points from Fulham. 


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