Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Matchweek 27 Results: City's Streaks Crumble In Derby Loss to United; Reds Lose Again; Havertz Hums For Chelsea

Manchester City’s 28 game unbeaten run and streak of 21 consecutive wins in all competitions were ended in a 2-0 defeat at home to cross-town rival Manchester United. An early penalty kick by Bruno Fernandes, his 16th goal of the season, gave the Red Devils a lead just 2 minutes into the game after Gabriel Jesus interfered with Anthony Martial in the box. A second half goal by full back Luke Shaw, who impressed both in defense and going forward, cemented the victory for United who extended their away winning streak to 22 matches.  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer becomes the first Manchester United manager to win his first three away matches versus Manchester City and is the only active manager to have a winning record versus Pep Guardiola after more than three contests against the City manager. Manchester City, despite the loss, retains an 11 point lead on the Red Devils in the title race. 

Liverpool lost for a 6th consecutive time at Anfield in a 1-0 defeat to Fulham as the Reds have now failed to score from open play in all 7 of their 2021 home matches. Jurgen Klopp made 7 changes to his starting line-up in a futile attempt to end a slide which has now seen his team lose as many games this season as the prior 3 campaigns combined. Liverpool has lost 6 of its last 7 league matches, the sole victory coming over cellar dwelling Sheffield United. Fulham received a first half goal from Mario Lemina and employed dogged defense to win for a third time in a six-match streak in which they have lost only once. The Cottagers, winners at Anfield for the first time since 2012, drew level on points with 17th place Brighton but remain in the relegation zone on an inferior goal differential to the Seagulls.  

Leicester won for a first time in three matches with a 2-1 come from behind victory over a Brighton team suffering its third consecutive confounding defeat. The Seagulls took a first half lead on a goal by Allan Lallana who played perhaps his best game for the club since his arrival from Liverpool. Kelechi Iheanacho knotted matters for the Foxes in the 62nd minute. Disaster then struck in the 87th minute for Brighton goalkeeper Roberto Sanchez as the Seagull could only flap at a Marc Albrighton corner ball which found the head of the Foxes’ Daniel Amartey before settling in the net for the winner. Leicester won for a 10th consecutive away match. Brighton falls level on points with 18th place Fulham as the Seagulls have deposited themselves squarely in the relegation battle.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel became the first Premier League manager to have his club post clean sheets in his first five home matches as Chelsea defeated Everton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.  Kai Havertz was the latest hero for Chelsea as the German made a rare start and was integral to both Chelsea goals. It was Havertz’ touch that deflected off an Everton defender for Chelsea’s opening tally. Chelsea’s final score came on a second half penalty kick by Jorginho after Havertz was taken down in the Everton box. Jorginho has scored all 6 of his penalty tries this season. Chelsea, currently 2 points ahead of West Ham for the final Champions League slot, have yet to lose in 11 matches across all competitions under Tuchel. Everton’s defeat ended a nine-match unbeaten run in away matches for the Toffees who sit 6th in the table, 4 points behind Chelsea. Everton failed to win for a 26th consecutive time at Chelsea. 

Jesse Lingard put in the rebound of his own missed penalty and defender Craig Dawson added an insurance goal in West Ham’s 2-0 defeat of Leeds. Lingard has scored 4 goals for the Hammers since coming over on loan from Manchester United during the winter transfer window. Dawson’s goal was also his fourth of the season for the Hammers.  West Ham have climbed from 10th in the table entering 2021 to their current 5th position by accumulating more points than all but Manchester City in the new calendar year.  

North London was a cut above south London as the talent of Spurs overwhelmed Crystal Place, 4-1, in their London derby. Gareth Bale scored an opening brace while Harry Kane added two goals of his own, in addition to assisting on both Bale goals, to help keep hopes of Champions League qualification alive for Jose Mourinho’s club. Tottenham moved to within a point of 6th place Everton and are 5 points away from the top four. Christian Benteke scored his fifth goal of the season for Crystal Palace on the Eagle’s only shot on target in the match.  

Aston Villa was unable to put a shot on target until stoppage time and Wolves managed only two shot on target of their own as the two clubs played to a scoreless draw in their West Midlands derby. Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez posted his 14th clean sheet of the season, just 1 short of the league lead of Manchester City’s Ederson. Villa are 6 points removed from European qualification in a season that started with great promise but is quickly wilting in the absence of the injured Jack Grealish. Villa have not won a home match in either the Premier League or Championship without Grealish since April 2019. Wolves have won just 1 of their last 10 Premier league away matches.  

It was a match to forget for Arsenal as the Gunners diminishing hopes for European qualification were further damaged in a 1-1 draw at Burnley. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka played a billiards shot off Burnley’s Chris Wood into the Gunners’ goal to provide the Clarets with their only score. Burnley survived two second half potential handball assessments, both incidents involving the Clarets’ Erik Pieters on balls struck by the Gunners Nicolas Pepe. One might say the Clarets were handed the point Saturday. 

Southampton won for a first time in 10 matches with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The Saints’ Nathan Tella tormented the Blades all evening with his pace and was taken down by the Blades Ethan Ampadu to give Southampton a first half penalty which was converted by the Saints’ spot kick specialist James Ward-Prowse. The insurance goal was provided by Che Adams for the Saints who received mixed blessings on the day as striker Danny Ings was injured once again. Sheffield United lost for a 22nd time this season as the dull Blades attack failed to score for a 4th time in their last 5 matches. 

Newcastle battled to a goalless draw with West Brom at The Hawthorns. A point versus the 19th place team in the table would not normally be a point of satisfaction but Magpies manager Steve Bruce was happy with the result as the Magpies played without their injured top three attackers and were coming off a week where a training ground dust-up between the manager and winger Matt Ritchie dominated media coverage. The draw for West Brom was the club’s third in the last five matches as the Baggies try to avoid manager Sam Allardyce’s first relegation from the Premier League. The Baggies have scored but twice in those 5 matches. The only mid-week league match is Southampton’s visit to Manchester City as the focus this week shifts to Europe.

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