Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Premier League Match Week 6 Results: Liverpool Survives Bee Sting To Lead Table; Manchester City Breaks Chelsea Hex; Aston Villa Shocks Manchester United; All Hail Arsenal; Seagulls Swoop Late; Foxes Falling Out of Hunt

Brentford continues to create a buzz as the Bees came back twice to match Liverpool in a 2-2 draw at Brentford Community Stadium. The newly promoted club sits in the top half of the table after adding a third draw to two victories already this season. In a wildly entertaining match, the Bees would send four players swarming into the box to twice score in response to Liverpool second half goals after a 1-1 halftime deadlock.

Despite dropping points, Liverpool moved to the top of the table as a result of Chelsea’s loss to Manchester City as Jurgen Klopp’s Reds are the only remaining undefeated side. Mohamed Salah scored his fifth goal of the Premier League season, marking his 100th tally for Liverpool as he became the fastest Red to the century mark, surpassing club legend Steven Gerrard.

Manchester City ended its three-match losing run to Chelsea in a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge, with a goal by City’s Gabriel Jesus inflicting the first loss of the season on the Champions of Europe and toppling Chelsea Blues from the top of the league table. City dominated play against a Chelsea squad which offered little attacking threat, reviving questions regarding striker Romelu Lukaku’s performance in big games which date to his first Premier League tour of duty. The victory moves Manchester City all the way to second in the table after their view from outside the top four entering the match.

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes shockingly missed a 93rd minute penalty, depriving his club of a late chance to salvage a point in a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa. Villa’ Kortney Hause was at the center of late game action as the center back’s goal in the 88th minute gave Aston Villa the lead before his stoppage time handball in the box provided Fernandes with United’s missed opportunity. Manchester United’s season has hit a rough patch these past two weeks as they have lost to Young Boys in Champions League group play, West Ham in the Carabao Cup, and have now handed Aston Villa their first victory at Old Trafford in 12 years.

Despite missing the gifted late penalty opportunity on Saturday, Ole Gunner Solskjaer embarrassingly spoke to United’s problems of recent weeks in terms of poor officiating. The Red Devils will need to pick it up as they return to Champions League competition this coming week.

Arsenal, meanwhile, appear remarkably improved as the Gunners romped over rival Tottenham Hotspur in a 3-1 win at the Emirates, marking a third consecutive win for a club which was blanked in terms of both goals and points in their opening three matches. Young guns Emile Smith-Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard were instrumental in Arsenal’s victory which also saw captain Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang score in the victory. Mikel Arteta’s squad moved past their north London rival and into the top half of the table with Sunday’s win. Tottenham Hotspur’s season opening three match run of victories has now been followed by three weeks of defeat with opponents racking up three goals in each of the three matches. With the defense collapsing and Harry Kane still goalless, Spurs Manager Nuno Espirito Santo is finding his new seat to be getting increasingly warmer.

Leicester manager Brendan Rogers is currently not the most popular manager either as his talented Foxes struggle to remain in the hunt this season. Leicester has won just two of their six matches following a 2-2 draw with Burnley over the weekend. Rogers continues to stubbornly refuse to adjust his tactics to incorporate the benched goal scorer Kelechi Iheanacho in his starting lineup along with the now fit Harvey Barnes. Resultantly, the club is even more dependent on the ageless Jamie Vardy to carry the attack. Vardy had a hybrid hat trick on Saturday, scoring a brace for the Foxes while also netting an own goal to the benefit of the Clarets. Burnley remains relegation bound despite the point. Worse yet, the positive energy from the away draw to a more talented opponent and the first Premier League goal by newly acquired striker Maxwel Cornet was dampened when Cornet was forced to leave the match with a hamstring injury.

Patrick Vieira’s young Crystal Palace team hopefully learned a valuable lesson in properly finishing out a match when the Eagles sacrificed hard earned points with a late lapse in a 1-1 final with rival Brighton. The fat lady had not yet sung when the Eagles switched off and conceded Brighton’s equalizer with three seconds left in stoppage time. Normally solid goalkeeper Vicente Guaita directed a goal kick to the wrong side of the field from where his defenders were positioned. Said defenders were slow to react. Brighton striker Neal Maupay suddenly found himself unencumbered as he bore down on Guaita and banked his fourth goal of the season as an unexpected gift. Wilfried Zaha’s fifth goal in eight topflight matches against Brighton was ably defended by Crystal Palace through a well-played second half until the Eagles’ bald error which led to Maupay’s goal. Fortunately, crowd control was maintained at Selhurst Park when Brighton’s volatile French striker taunted the dumbfounded Eagle faithful after his fateful goal.

Michail Antonio’s joint league leading fifth goal of the season, scored in the 90th minute, was the difference in West Ham’s 2-1 defeat of Leeds. The Hammers sit seventh in the early table while Leeds fall into the relegation places at 18th as they continue to search for a first win of the season.

Norwich’s sad march to a second relegation in three years continued with a 2-0 loss to Everton. The Toffees found a way despite the injury related absence of their top two offensive threats in Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison. Everton manager Rafa Benitez has led his charges to four victories in their opening six league matches as Saturday’s victory marked the first time since the 1989/90 season that the Toffees have won the opening three home matches of a topflight season. Unheralded Everton transfer acquisition Andros Townsend scored his fourth goal of the season in the win over the Canaries, doubling the total goal production of his last two seasons at Crystal Palace. Everton moved to fifth in the table with the victory while hapless Norwich fell to a 16th consecutive topflight defeat under manager Daniel Farke.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce was once again subjected to derisive chants from Newcastle supporters during a 1-1 draw at Watford. Saturday’s criticism seemed a bit unfair as an away point was captured by a Magpies side which created more chances than their hosts and notched the point despite the absence of star striker Callum Wilson. The Hornets’ Ismaila Sarr scored his fourth goal of the season to tie the match for newly promoted Watford, now 12th in the table. Newcastle moved out of the relegation places on goal differential. Australian Jarred Gillett handed out seven yellow cards in the match as he became the first overseas official to referee a Premier League match.

Southampton failed to score for a third consecutive match as the Saints fell at home 1-0 to Wolves. Wolves have had their own scoring issues this season as Sunday marked only the second match in which they have scored this season, both resulting in victories. Striker Raul Jimenez scored his first of the season for manager Bruno Lage’s side.

Premier League in Europe

Champions League

Champions League group play resumes on Tuesday with Manchester City traveling to PSG and Liverpool visiting Porto. Manchester City were dominant in a 6-3 demolition of RB Leipzig in their opening match and face a French side which shockingly drew with Club Brugge in their opener and have Lionel Messi nursing a bruised knee. Liverpool secured a home win over AC Milan in their opener while Porto impressively managed a goalless draw with Atletico Madrid. Manchester United is already facing pressure when they host Villareal on Wednesday. The Red Devils have lost three of their last four matches across all competitions, including their opening Champions League group stage defeat to Young Boys of Switzerland. United is also facing in Villareal the club which defeated them in the Europa League final last season. Villareal drew with Atalanta in their opening group stage match. Chelsea plays at Juventus which will be without injured attackers Alvaro Morata and Paolo Dybala. Chelsea and Juventus were victors in opening group matches against Zenit and Malmo, respectively. 

Europa League

Leicester City travel to Legia Warsaw for their Europa League match. The Foxes drew with Napoli, winners of all six of their Serie A matches this season, in their group stage opener while Thursday’s Polish opponents were 1-0 winners over Spartak Moscow. West Ham, 2-0 winners over Dinamo Zagreb in their first group game, host Rapid Wien. The Austrian side fell 1-0 to Genk in their last Europa outing. The Europa Conference League schedule, meanwhile, will see Tottenham Hotspur play the Slovenian side NS Mur. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

Premier League Preview Match Week 6: Chelsea v Manchester City; North London Derby; Villa Hopes For Better at Old Trafford; Seagulls Visit Eagle’s Nest; Salah Enjoys London; Chance for Norwich?

The marquee game of the weekend takes place at Stamford Bridge when reigning Champions League titlist Chelsea hosts reigning Premier League champion Manchester City. Chelsea defeated the Citizens in last year’s Champions League final and has won the last three meetings between the clubs. A win on Saturday would make Chelsea the first team to defeat a Pep Guardiola side in four consecutive matches while Guardiola’s eight defeats to Chelsea are already more than he has suffered at the hands of any other club.

Chelsea and Manchester City have each allowed only one league goal to opponents this season, the goal conceded by City leading to their opening week defeat to Spurs. Manchester City’s attack has been inconsistent with two five goal outbursts and only one goal from their three other matches. Chelsea’s twelve goals have been scored by ten different players. Edouard Mendy remains questionable to return in goal for Chelsea.

Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur face off in a north London derby meaning little but local bragging rights. Spurs sit seventh in the table after losing two consecutive matches after three narrow victories to open the season. Arsenal is on a more positive trajectory, winning their past two league matches, but have achieved their success against two squads currently residing in the relegation places. The 13th place Gunners have scored only two goals this season but are improving defensively with midfielder Thomas Partey’s return to action providing additional protection in front of a back four which has been bolstered by the return of Gabriel at center back. Spurs have failed to score in their last two matches as Harry Kane, the leading scorer in north London derby history, continues to chase his first goal of the season.

No Premier League club has accumulated more wins against an individual opponent than Manchester United has versus Aston Villa. The Red Devils hope to continue their torture of the Villans as Aston Villa visits Old Trafford hoping to win for only the second time in their last 35 visits there across all competitions. Aston Villa are far from road warriors, with only Southampton having suffered more 2021 away defeats. Villa will be without the injured Leon Bailey while on loan defender Axel Tuanzebe is also unavailable to play against his parent cub. Manchester United will hope to quickly rid itself of the taste of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup loss to West Ham. Jesse Lingard, who scored versus West Ham in a league victory last weekend, is looking to score in a third consecutive Premier League match. The Red Devils lead the league in goals scored this season with 13.

Brighton and Hove Albion are currently enjoying the rarefied air of a top four position in the table. The Seagulls, winners of four of their five matches, travel to London Monday for an M23 derby with rival Crystal Palace. The two clubs have a rabid dislike for each other despite the lack of any geographic proximity. While the Seagulls have been flying high, Crystal Palace has avoided the early season disaster many predicted as the club has captured five points from as many matches while incorporating eight new players and a more aggressive playing style under new manager Patrick Vieira.

Former Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard could receive his first Premier League start in front of the home fans at Selhurst Park.

Brentford will hope to draw on the energy of its home fans when the Bees play host to visiting Liverpool. The promoted side has surprised many observers with early success in the league, conceding only two goals in losing just one of their five matches. No Premier League club has been relegated after taking eight points from their first five matches, as Brentford has done, in a promotion season. Liverpool will be facing the Bees in a topflight match for the first time since 1947. The undefeated Reds are currently second in the table to Chelsea despite growing concerns in their midfield. Following the gruesome injury of Harvey Elliot earlier this season, Liverpool will also be without midfielders Thiago and Naby Keita due to injury for Saturday’s match. Mohamed Salah will attempt to match Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool record of 13 Premier League goals scored in London when he visits the Bees.

Leicester hopes to shake its early season doldrums when Burnley pays a visit to King Power Stadium. The Foxes have lost three of five as questions arise over manager Brendan Rogers’s relegation of last year’s scoring sensation, Kelechi Iheanacho, to bench duty. Defense has also been subpar for the Foxes who are hoping Jonny Evans will be healthy enough to make his first start of the season against Burnley. The Clarets seem an opportunity for the Foxes to get back on track. Winless Burnley are next to bottom in the table, above only poor Norwich. The threadbare roster of manager Sean Dyche has forced the manager to use the fewest players in the league this season. Combined with the oldest average player age in the league, Dyche could be seeing the end of Burnley’s Premier League run.

Leeds is also looking for their first win of the season and will be without striker Patrick Bamford when the Whites host West Ham. Opponents have launched a league leading 35 shots against a porous Leeds defense which has contributed to manager Marcelo Bielsa’s failure to win in five consecutive league matches for the first time in his Leeds tenure. Michail Antonio returns from suspension for the Hammers, hoping to score his first goal versus Leeds after nine scoreless efforts. West Ham is looking to end a current three match league winless streak.

Southampton welcomes Wolves to the south coast. The Saints have been decent, though not heavenly, so far this season, picking up a point in each of their last four matches. Southampton manager Ralph Hazenhuttl is once again receiving plaudits for the Saints’ play as the club adjusts to the transfer window loss of star striker Danny Ings. Wolves, meanwhile, have lost all their matches but for a defeat of newly promoted Watford. Worse yet, the Wolves have been toothless with just one goal from open play. It has been a particularly frustrating welcome to the Premier League for new Wolves manager Bruno Lage whose club has tasted little success despite conceding the second fewest shots and taking the third highest number of shots in the league.

Newcastle travels to Watford as the Magpies search for their first win of the season and first ever win at the Hornets’ Vicarage Road home. Newcastle’s chances of emerging from the relegation places this weekend will be hurt by the absence of injured striker Callum Wilson and midfielder Joe Willock. Watford, winners in 13 of their last 15 league (Premier and Championship) games at home, already have won two matches this season as they fight to survive in their promotion season.

Norwich travels to Everton with a chance to earn the Canaries’ first victory of the season as Everton is crippled with injury. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are missing in attack and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and defender Seamus Coleman are similarly absent at the other end of the pitch for the Evertonians. Norwich manager Daniel Farke is also returning to the site of his only Premier League away victory. Unfortunately, the Canaries are still terrible as they are amidst the second longest losing run in English topflight history. 

Carabao Cup

The Premier League owns 12 of the final 16 berths remaining in England’s Carabao Cup competition. This week’s third round results matching Premier League squads saw Manchester United eliminated by West Ham, Norwich suffer defeat to Liverpool, Wolves go out on penalties to Spurs, and Aston Villa similarly be eliminated on penalties versus Chelsea. More embarrassing losses to clubs from lower divisions were incurred by Watford, which was eliminated by Stoke, and Everton, which fell in penalties to Queens Park Rangers. Winning against lower division foes were Manchester City, Burnley, Leeds, Brentford, Leicester, Arsenal, Southampton, and Brighton. In addition to Stoke and QPR, Preston and Sunderland join the remaining Premier League clubs in the next round with the Round of 16 matches slated for October 26th. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Premier League Match Week 5 Results: Lingard Redeemed in United Win; Chelsea Smothers Spurs; Manchester City Held By Southampton; Mane Torments Eagles; Saar Brace Downs Sorry Canaries

This week was both the worst of times and best of times for Jesse Lingard. On Tuesday, Lingard’s gaffe gave Young Boys the victory in a Champions League loss by Manchester United. Sunday Lingard was the hero as he scored the winner in a 2-1 Manchester United defeat of West Ham. Lingard, a favorite at London Stadium during a successful loan spell with the Hammers last season, substituted on against his old mates in the 73rd minute and scored the decisive goal at the 89-minute mark.

The match’s drama did not end with Lingard’s goal though as West Ham’s Mark Noble was substituted on to miss a penalty kick after a Luke Shaw handball provided the Hammers with stoppage time hope. Manchester United extended its away unbeaten streak to 29 matches in a contest which saw Cristiano Ronaldo scored his third league goal of the season. Said Benrahma gave the Hammers a short-lived lead with own third goal of the league season before Ronaldo’s tying volley.

Chelsea posted a fourth league clean sheet in defeating Spurs 3-0 as backup goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga filled in ably for the injured Edouard Mendy. Chelsea was stifled in a scoreless first half before becoming energized after the break. The halftime substitution of N’Golo Kante seemed to energize the Blues who launched all ten of their shots on target in the second half. The barrage on net was the most in a match by any Premier League club this season. Kante contributed a goal after Thiago Silva opened Chelsea’s second half scoring. Antonio Rudiger closed out the scoring with a stoppage time goal. The result was worrying for Spurs which lost by a 3-0 score line for a second consecutive week despite the return of Son Heung-min from injury. The north London side has scored only once from open play this season as Harry Kane has yet to find the net.

Manchester City may yet rue not procuring a striker as the Citizens were held to a scoreless draw by a determined Southampton squad who allowed City’s only shot on target in the match’s 90th minute. Pep Guardiola deflected the striker narrative in post-match comments where he blamed his defense for failing to get the ball forward to feed the Citizen attack. The Saints, drawing a fourth consecutive match, were deprived a chance at victory when VAR overruled a penalty kick initially awarded to Southampton’s Adam Armstrong.

Liverpool downed Crystal Palace 3-0 as Sadio Mane’s 100th goal in a Liverpool shirt made him the first Premier League player to score in nine consecutive matches against an opponent. Mane’s 13 career goals against Crystal Palace are the most by an opposing player versus the Eagles.

The Eagles were performing well at Anfield before Mane’s goal just minutes before halftime. Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita added second half goals for the Reds. Palace striker Odsonne Edouard missed on a second half chance to close the gap to a single goal before Keita’s injury time strike flattered the final Liverpool margin.

In a relegation battle at the bottom of the table, Ismaila Saar scored a brace as Watford added to Norwich’s misery in a 3-1 victory for the Hornets. With the Canary defeat, Norwich manager Daniel Farke earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first manager to lose 15 consecutive matches in the English topflight. Norwich’s Teemu Pukki and Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis exchanged first half goals before Saar’s second half brace.

Promoted Brentford won for a second time this season and the first time away from home in a 2-0 defeat of Wolves at Molineux Stadium. Strikers Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo scored first half goals for the Bees while Wolves failed to register a single shot on target for the match. Wolves have lost four of five league matches while scoring just once from open play as new  manger Bruno Lage has little to show yet from his Premier League debut season. Newcastle and Leeds are both still seeking a first league win after the clubs drew 1-1 at St. James Park on Friday. Allan Saint-Maximin and Rafinha negated each other with first half goals as the two clubs could not find a decider despite an aggregate 16 shots on target for the match. Newcastle goalkeeper Karl Darlow made a welcome and impressive return from his recent Covid 19 bout as he was challenged on multiple occasions by the swarming Leeds attack.

Aston Villa waltzed to a 3-0 win over a toothless Everton squad missing both Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison from the Toffees’ front line. Matty Cash and Leon Bailey scored for the Villans who also benefitted from an own goal courtesy of Everton’s Lucas Digne. The loss dropped Everton from the ranks of the unbeaten as Aston Villa won for a second time this season.

Brighton and Hove Albion won for a fourth time this season as the Seagulls soared to a 2-1 win over struggling Leicester. Neal Maupay and Danny Welbeck scored for Graham Parker’s side while Jamie Vardy scored his third goal of the season in a losing effort for the Foxes. Vardy was making a club record 250th appearance for Leicester which has now lost three of its past five matches.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Premier League Preview: Week 5

Manchester United will want to quickly put Tuesday’s Champions League loss behind them when they travel to West Ham this weekend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer received criticism for some of his personnel decisions in the loss to Young Boys and the manager will need to play his best line-up against a strong Hammer squad and one-time Red Devil manager David Moyes. Jesse Lingard, responsible for a critical error in Tuesday’s loss, would love to redeem himself with a good showing against the West Ham squad he played so well for last season. While remaining undefeated, the Hammers will have been disappointed in grabbing just a point from each of their last two matches with Crystal Palace and Southampton. Moyes though will be without the Hammers’ all-time leading Premier League scorer, Michail Antonio, due to a red card suspension.

Spurs play host to Chelsea in a London derby which will be telling for manager Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.

Previously unbeaten Spurs looked highly vulnerable in last week’s defeat to Crystal Palace but, in fairness, the club might well have been undone by missing players to injury, quarantine and suspension. The availability of Son Heung-min, who was injured over international break, remains a huge doubt for the match against Chelsea. The Spurs attack was listless in the Korean’s absence last week as Harry Kane was deprived of a touch in the opponent’s box last week for the first time in his Premier league career. Even with Son, Spurs will be challenged to penetrate a daunting Chelsea defense which has yet to concede a goal from open play this season across all competitions.

Undefeated Liverpool returns home to Anfield to take on a reinvigorated Crystal Palace team. A potentially thin Liverpool midfield will be without the seriously injured Harvey Elliott. Goods news was received this week that Elliott’s ankle surgery went well, and he could yet return this season.

The Eagles have been energized by Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher and newly acquired striker Odsonne Edouard. The Eagles were flying last week in their takedown of an undermanned Spurs team, but the challenge will be much tougher against Jurgen Klopp’s side. Liverpool have won eight straight league matches against the Eagles.

Southampton is winless this season, despite encouraging play by some of its new players, and the Saints’ prayers are unlikely to be answered when they visit the Etihad to face Manchester City this weekend. Manchester City is seeking a fourth straight league victory and comes off a dominant midweek Champions League performance. Will the revamped Saints defense be able to avoid the type of merciless losses Southampton has often suffered at the hands of top clubs in the past few years?

Brighton have won three of four as they host Leicester hoping to notch their first Premier League win over the Foxes. More known for their entertaining style of play, the Seagulls defense is perhaps under rated as the club has allowed fewer goals in the 2021 calendar year than all Premier League clubs but for Manchester City and Chelsea. Leicester have had an indifferent start to their own season, with two wins and two losses, despite a close loss to Manchester City last time out. Kelechi Iheanacho, so vital in a scoring role late last season for the Foxes, has been largely reduced to a substitute role in favor of Harvey Barnes this season.

Aston Villa faces Everton at Villa Park as Dean Smith’s side hopes to regroup after a poor effort at Chelsea. Everton, meanwhile, shocked Burnley last week with a second half goal explosion despite missing Dominic Calvert-Lewin to toe and quad injuries. Aston Villa should have Emi Martinez back in goal and Wil Buendia in midfield as the two players complete quarantine requirements from their international travels for Argentina. Meanwhile, the whereabouts and intent of another south American player, Everton’s James Rodriguez, remains unclear for Toffee fans who are likely becoming less interested in the wayward Colombian’s saga.

Arsenal visits Burnley as the schedule is again kind to them following their first win of the season last week against struggling Norwich. Burnley were poor in a second half collapse at Everton last week as they search for their own first victory of the season. Arsenal’s attack remains a work in progress, but the defense is improved with center backs Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White back in the lineup and an impressive debut by new right back Takehiro Tomiyasu last week. There was even a Thomas Partey sighting during last week’s second half. Burnley were blindsided last week by an Everton flurry of second half goals as the Clarets lost for a third time in their four matches.

Brentford travels to Wolves for a match between two clubs who have struggled for goals. Brentford has one goal in its last three matches while Wolves scored their first goal of the season last weekend. Both clubs have created chances but have had difficulty in finishing. Ivan Toney, scoring leader in the Championship last season, is finding it tougher going with the step up in class. Wolves’ Raul Jimenez, meanwhile, is still looking for his first goal following his return from the serious head injury he incurred last season.

Leeds travels to Newcastle for a clash of contrasting styles. Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa will pit his wide-open style of play against counterpart Steve Bruce’s normally conservative set up which has frustrated Newcastle supporters. The availability of striker Callum Wilson, recovering from a thigh injury, could be critical for the Magpies to find success on Friday. Newcastle lost both matches to Leeds last season as Leeds scored seven times in aggregate. Karl Darlow could return in goal for the Magpies after his bout with coronavirus. Leeds center back Pascal Struijk is suspended after his red card last week.

Norwich hosts Watford at Carrow Road in a meeting between newly promoted clubs who already look ready for a return trip to the Championship. Saturday’s contest could represent one of the few matches in which Norwich may hope to be competitive. The Canaries lost 14 consecutive Premier League starts dating to their last visit to the topflight, a losing streak exceeded by only one other club, Sunderland, in the history of the Premier League. Watford, meanwhile, showed promise in an opening win over Aston Villa but have disappointed with three consecutive losses in which they have failed to score.  

Premier League In Europe

The more things change, the more they remain the same for Manchester United. Following the elation of Ronaldo’s opening weekend in the Premier League and a goal by the Portuguese striker to open scoring in Tuesday’s match, the Red Devils repeated miscues of the past in falling to Young Boys 2-1 in Switzerland. Aaron Wan-Bissaka drew a red card at the 35-minute mark. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made curious substitutions. Jesse Lingard handed the Swiss side the victory with an errant back pass in match stoppage time. Manchester United suffered a similarly shocking to Istanbul Basaksehir in last year’s Champions League when they failed to advance from the Group stage.
Following closer to script, Chelsea fared better as the Blues took care of business at Stamford Bridge against Zenit. Romelu Lukaku scored his first Champions League goal for the Blues and Chelsea’s defense was again smothering in a 1-0 victory over the Russians.

Manchester City was dominant at home to RB Leipzig. The Citizens posted six goals by six different players in defeating the German squad by a 6-3 final. RB Leipzig, sitting in the bottom half of their domestic table, do not look good under American manager Jesse Marsch.

Liverpool defeated AC Milan 3-2 in a match where the home Reds controlled play for much of the contest and yet had to overcome a first half deficit. AC Milan scored their two goals inside a two-minute span in the last five minutes of the first half after conceding an early own goal to their hosts. Jordan Hendersen ultimately scored the winner for Liverpool after Mohamed Salah had tied matters early in the second half with an acrobatic airborne goal off the side of his foot.
Thursday’s Europa League play saw West Ham emerge a 2-0 winner at Dinamo Zagreb as Michail Antonio and Declan Rice scored for the Hammers. Antonio’s goal was his fifth across all competitions this season as West Ham posted its first group stage European win since 1999.
Leicester squandered a two-goal lead at King Power stadium in a 2-2 final with Napoli. Napoli’s Victor Osimhen scored the 87th minute winner, his second goal of the match. Ayoze Perez and Harvey Barnes had the goals for the disappointed Foxes in a match which dissolved into conflict between supporters at its end with stewards and police intervening.

Injury riddled Spurs also drew 2-2 in their Europa Conference League battle with Rennes. Frustrated Spurs manager Nuno Espirito Santo saw forwards Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn forced to leave the match with injuries as attack options for Saturday’s Premier League match with Chelsea become even more limited for the north London side.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Premier League Match Week 4 Results: Ronaldo Shines In Return; Lukau Lights Up Bridge; Salah Reaches Century Mark; Edouard Holds Key To Palace; Goal and Point to Arsenal; Citizens Foil Foxes; Bees Stung By Brighton

The stars were out in the Premier League Saturday over the weekend. Cristiano Ronaldo was triumphant, scoring twice in his return to Old Trafford while Romelu Lukaku scored his first two goals at Stamford Bridge. Mohamed Salah reached a Premier League milestone and Odsonne Edouard wasted little time in proclaiming himself the answer to Crystal Palace’s striker problem.

Ronaldo, retuning to Old Trafford after a 12-year absence, opened scoring in first half stoppage time against Newcastle United and added a second half goal in a 4-1 Manchester United home win. Ronaldo’s second goal came after Newcastle’s Javier Manquillo had tied the match in the 56th minute. Later goals by Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard helped bolster the score line for the Red Devils. United’s Paul Pogba assisted on the Fernandes and Lingard goals to bring his league leading assists total to seven after four matches.

While difficult to outshine the return of Ronaldo, Romelu Lukaku again justified Chelsea’s transfer window outlay as the Belgian striker delivered his first goal ever at Stamford Bridge before matching Ronaldo’s brace in a 3-0 Chelsea romp over Aston Villa. Lukaku’s two goals sandwiched an opportunistic score by Mateo Kovacic’s on a poor back pass from Villa’s Tyrone Mings. Chelsea’s defense stifled the Villa attack as the Blues posted their third clean sheet in four matches.

Mohamed Salah scored his 100th Premier League goal in a 3-0  Liverpool win at Leeds. Salah became the fifth fastest Premier League player to achieve the century mark as he continues to build leverage in negotiations for a new Liverpool contract or potential move to a freer spending club such as PSG. Fabinho scored Liverpool’s second goal before Sadio Mane completed the scoring in stoppage time. Marring the action was a horrific injury at the 60-minute mark to Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott on a reckless tackle by Leeds’s Pascal Struijk. The resulting red card forced Leeds to play out the match with 10 men. Elliott, who has been filling the void left by the departed Georginio Wijnaldum, will be sorely missed in midfield for the Reds. Leeds remained winless after incurring their second loss of the season following draws in their most recent two matches.

New striker Odsonne Edouard scored 28 seconds into his Crystal Palace debut and added a second goal in stoppage time to emphatically announce his arrival in the Eagles’ 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park. Spurs defender Japhet Tanganga was ejected just before the hour mark after two successive yellow cards, reducing Spurs to ten men. Tanganga’s exit further depleted the Spurs’ ranks of defenders as Eric Deir was injured earlier in the match and Christian Romero and Davinson Sanchez were both quarantining after their recent international exploits. A Wilfried Zaha penalty kick at the 76-minute mark was the first goal of the season conceded by Spurs who had opened league play with three consecutive victories. Playing without injured forward Son Heung-min, Spurs managed just one shot on target against the Eagles.

Arsenal scored for the first time in capturing its first points of the season in a 1-0 win over Norwich as Arsenal  striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored for a fifth time in his last three matches against the Canaries. Arsenal moved out of the relegation zone with the three points while Norwich takes possession of the Premier League cellar after scoring just one goal against 11 conceded in its opening 4 matches. While facing a low bar in the low flying Canaries, Arsenal fans could not help but be encouraged by the win. Five new signings featured in manager Mikel Arteta’s starting line-up as the club took a small step forward in its painful transformation. Newly signed goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale posted the clean sheet in his first start for the Gunners as Norwich cooperated by taking just one shot on target.

Bernardo Silva became the ninth different Manchester City player to score this season as his goal was the difference in a 1-0 win over Leicester. Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson posted a third consecutive clean sheet in as many victories for the Citizens. Ederson and fellow Brazilian teammate Gabriel Jesus were only allowed to play in the match after a late agreement was reached with Brazilian football authorities regarding potential suspensions after the two players were not released for national duty over the recent international break. Leicester lost for a second time in four matches this season.

Brentford fell from the ranks of the unbeaten as the Bees were stung at home in a 1-0 loss to Brighton. A 90th minute strike by the Seagulls Leandro Trossard was the difference in a tightly played match which saw the Bees waste first half opportunities by forwards Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo. The Seagulls won for a third time this season as they responded impressively to a disappointing home loss to Everton in their last outing.

Southampton remained winless on the season after the Saints battled West Ham to a goalless draw at St Mary’s. Encouraging for the Saints, however, was the performance of 20-year-old striker Armando Broja, on loan from Chelsea, who came close to capturing the points with two late chances after his 74th minute introduction. West Ham, while frustrated with a second consecutive league draw, remains undefeated after four Premier League matches for only the second time in club history. Hammer striker Michail Antonio will miss West Ham’s next match after incurring a red card in stoppage time following his second yellow card offense of the match.

Wolves scratched out their first victory of the season with a 2-0 win at Watford. Manger Bruno Lage’s side benefited from a Watford own goal  in the 74th minute before Wolves transfer singing Hee-Chan Hwang sealed matters with his first goal in Old Gold. Watford have failed to score in three consecutive losses since an opening weekend win over Aston Villa.

Everton overcame an early second half deficit to explode for three goals in six minutes to defeat Burnley 3-1. Burnley defender Ben Mee’s opening score was negated by an aerial goal from Everton defender Michael Keane at the 60-minute mark. Five minutes later, Everton’s Andros Townsend was successful with a 25-yard strike, only to be followed one minute later by a goal from the Toffees’ Demarai Gray. The lightning turnaround kept Everton undefeated this season while Burnley continues to search for its first win.  

Premier League In Europe

Group stage matches begin for both Champions League and Europa League this week. Manchester United travels to Young Boys for a Tuesday Champions League match while Chelsea hosts Zenit that same day. Wednesday sees Liverpool host AC Milan while Manchester City faces RB Leipzig and American manager Jesse Marsch at the Etihad. Thursday’s Europa League action sees West Ham travel to Dynamo Zagreb while Leicester plays host to Napoli. Tottenham Hotspur also plays a Europa Conference league match at French side Rennes on Thursday.