Friday, February 19, 2021

European and Midweek League Results: Liverpool Play Like Champions; Devils and Spurs Stroll; Leicester Stymied; City Dispatches Everton; Fulham Wastes Chance

Liverpool reasserted its status as an elite power in European football with a 2-0 defeat of RB Leipzig. Recent struggles in the Premier League were left behind as the Reds dominated a quality German side in the first leg of their Champions League Round of Sixteen matchup. 

Europa League action, meanwhile, saw varying levels of success for the four remaining Premier League teams. Manchester United and Spurs cruised to comfortable 4-0 and 4-1 victories, respectively. Manchester United was dominant against a Real Sociedad side that fielded some familiar faces in former Red Devil Adnan Januzaj and Manchester City legend David Silva. Bruno Fernandes had a brace for the winners who also received goals from Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

Gareth Bale scored one goal and created another in an easy Spurs win over Wolfsberger. Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura, and Carlos Vinicius also scored for a Spurs team playing without Harry Kane. Dele Alli escaped Jose Mourinho’s doghouse to start for Spurs. Arsenal were fortunate to secure an away goal in a 1-1 draw with Benfica. Bukayo Saka scored for the Gunners two minutes after Benfica had taken the lead on a penalty for a called handball. Leicester’s task will be more difficult for the second leg of their tie as they failed to capture an away goal in a scoreless duel with Slavia Prague. Leicester’s Czech opponent remained unbeaten at home in Europa play this season. Despite missing torrid goal scorer Ilkay Gundogan due to injury, Manchester City had little trouble dispatching Everton, 3-1, in their Premier League matchup for a 17 th consecutive win across all competitions. Pep Guardiola’s team becomes the first club in Premier League history to win the first 10 league matches of a calendar year. Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva had goals for City. Everton, playing without injured striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, saw Richarlison score his third goal of the season. Fulham frustrated supporters with yet another draw in a 1-1 final in their rescheduled Premier League match at Burnley. The Cottagers conceded a tying goal with poor defensive play just minutes after they had taken the lead. Fulham now has 10 draws this season and only three victories in league play. With the point, the Cottagers trailed Newcastle by six points in their race to survival.

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