Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Matchweek 24 Results: Man United Drop Points Again; City Punishes Spurs; Reds Fall To Foxes; Chelsea Crash Top Four; Hope For Fulham?

Manchester United dropped points for a second consecutive league match in a 1-1 draw with West Brom. A third draw in four matches for the Red Devils leaves them seven points behind Manchester City which has also played one less match than their cross-town rivals. A stoppage time save by West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone which deflected Harry Maguire’s header off the post enabled the Baggies to hold an opponent to less than two goals for the first time in 9 of those matches. Bruno Fernandes scored his 14th league goal of the season for Manchester United. Mbaye Diagne had his first goal for the Baggies.

Manchester City continued to pile the misery on Jose Mourinho and a Spurs team which lost for a fourth time in five matches in their 3-0 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side. City won an 11th consecutive league match to take further command of the title chase and extend their English record win streak in all competitions to 15 matches. The league leaders have conceded but 2 goals in their 11-match league win streak, posting clean sheets in 9 matches.  Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson leads the league with 14 clean sheets and recorded an assist against Spurs on one of two goals by Ilkay Gundogan. Gundogan continued his superlative form with a second consecutive brace and has now scored 9 goals in 9 2021 appearance for City.  

Leicester moved level on points with second place Manchester United following a 3-1 win over Liverpool which saw the Foxes score all three goals of their goals in a seven-minute span beginning with the 8th minute. James Maddison’s goal tied the game after Liverpool had taken an early lead on Mohamed Salah’s 17th goal of the season. Liverpool goalkeeper Allisson was guilty of a howler leading to Jamie Vardy’s 12th goal on the season before Harvey Barnes finished the scoring for the Foxes. Maddison has four goals and four assists in his last nine appearances for the Foxes.  Leicester Manager Brendan Rodgers defeated Liverpool for the first time since his 2015 sacking by the Reds. Liverpool’s 5th loss in their last 7 league matches prompted Manager Jurgen Klopp to concede the Reds were out of the title race following the defeat at Leicester.  

Chelsea moved into the top four and remained undefeated after 5 matches under manager Thomas Tuchel as the Blues defeated Newcastle 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Timo Werner scored his first goal in 100 days for Chelsea while also assisting on Olivier Giroud’s goal in the Blues’ 4th consecutive victory which saw Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga register his first clean sheet since July 2020. Steve Bruce’s Magpies, losing for a 6th time in their last 7 away league matches, are 17th in the table amid rising relegation concerns.

West Ham moved to 5th in the table, 2 points above Liverpool, with a 3-0 defeat of Sheffield United.  Midfielder Declan Rice and defenders Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks all scored their first Premier League goals of the season for the  Hammers who were without injured striker Michail Antonio. As surprising contenders for a spot in European play next season, the Hammers have accumulated more points in the 2021 calendar year than any Premier League club other than Manchester City. Sheffield United were scoreless for a 12th league game this season, joint highest with Burnley. 

Everton failed to win for a fourth time in their last five matches in losing 2-0 at home to Fulham. Goodison Park has not been friendly for the Toffees this season as they have lost five of 11 league home matches, winning only 4 times. Newly acquired Fulham striker Josh Maja scored a brace in the Cottagers’ first victory since November. Maja may provide some hope for Fulham which is 7 points from safety behind a Newcastle team which is looking vulnerable and which will be without striker Callum Wilson for a lengthy stretch.  

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emilio Martinez notched his 12th clean sheet to preserve a draw with Brighton. The Seagulls took 26 shots, 9 on goal, but were unable to beat the Villa goalkeeper. Brighton dominated play as Aston Villa managed just 4 shots of its own, of which only 1 was on target. Brighton increased its league leading number of draws to 11 while extending its current unbeaten run to 6 matches.  

Arsenal experienced a rare offensive explosion in a 4-2 victory at the Emirates over Leeds. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang delivered a hat trick for the Gunners who had scored but one goal in a three-match winless run entering the match versus Leeds. The wide-open game saw Leeds reduce a four goal first half deficit with two goals of their own in second half action. Arsenal moved past Leeds into 10th position in the table with the win. Leeds has now won but once in their last 24 league visits to London based clubs.  

Southampton lost a 6th consecutive match for the first time in club history in a 2-1 defeat at home versus Wolves. A first half Saints lead on Danny Ings’ 12th goal of the season was quickly under attack by Wolves in the second half. Ruben Neves converted a tying penalty kick before Pedro Neto curled in the winner to capture all three points at Saint Mary’s for Wolves.  

Crystal Place conceded a goal within the first 3 minutes for a 3rd consecutive game in a 3-0 loss to Burnley at Selhurst Park. The Eagles have conceded the second highest goal total in the league this season behind West Brom. Johann Gudmundsson scored for a second consecutive match for the Clarets who are 8 points clear of relegation. 

European competition dominates the mid-week but for two re-scheduled Premier League matches. Wednesday will see Fulham travel to Turf Moor to take on Burnley while Everton will host league leading Manchester City at Goodison Park.

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