Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Premier League Results Match Week 12: Ole Out; Chelsea Foils Foxes; Liverpool Pop Gunners; Citizens Chew Toffees; Wolves Nip West Ham; Gerrard Returns A Winner; Canaries Sing Under New Manager

The Premier League’s league top three clubs all won by three goal margins on a weekend which saw the curtain close on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s reign as Manchester United manager.

Solskjaer and the Red Devils parted company after a devastating 4-1 loss at Watford which made it five losses in seven league matches for struggling United. The Hornets scored twice in stoppage time to complete the humiliation of the Red Devils who saw captain Harry Maguire ushered off in the second half with a second yellow card. Poor results ultimately forced Manchester United to an unwanted decision as they scramble now to piece together a workable management scenario for the balance of the season. Michael Carrick will be the “temporary interim” manager pending the appointment of someone to complete the rest of the season. A permanent appointment is expected after the season with PSG’s Mauricio Pochettino and Ajax’s Erik ten Hag rumored frontrunners. The uncertainty and perception of abandoning the balance of this season will do nothing to improve supporters’ dim views of club ownership.

Clubs experiencing better times were Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. The top three clubs in the table look a clear level above the competition and waltzed to easy victories. Chelsea was too much for Leicester, unsurprisingly opening the scoring with an Antonio Rudiger header, the Foxes having been unable to defend against aerial attacks all season. Following a score by former Fox N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic closed things out with his first goal since opening weekend.

Leicester’s fifth loss of the season was their second in the last three matches, tarnishing Brendan Rogers’ one-time rumored candidacy for Solskjaer’s former position at Manchester United.

Manchester City, meanwhile, were little troubled by an Everton side which lost for a fourth time in their last five outings. Manchester City dominated with 77% possession and limited the Toffees to only one attempt on goal. The Citizens remain three points behind league leading Chelsea. Everton are 11th in the table.

Liverpool kept pace with the top two clubs in a 4-1 romp over previously surging Arsenal. Mohamed Salah increased his league leading goal tally to 11 while line-mate Sadio Mane scored for a seventh time this season, moving into a tie for second among the league’s goal leaders. Arsenal, which had won three consecutive matches entering the match, witnessed what an elite club is capable of as the Gunners were smoked by the dynamic Reds’ attack. The contest was a mismatch with Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale being the losers’ best performer despite conceding four goals.

Fourth place West Ham lost at Wolves as Raul Jimenz scored the winner for manger Bruno Lage’s sixth place side. The Hammers fell for the first time following four consecutive wins which had put them in the ranks of the Champions League qualifiers.

Steven Gerrard made a triumphant return to the Premier League as Aston Villa provided their new manager with a 2-0 win over Brighton. Ollie Watkins and Tyone Mings scored late goals in the final six minutes to secure the win for the Villans. The Seagulls, meanwhile, continue to lose altitude as they failed to win for a seventh consecutive match, falling from fourth to ninth in the table over that stretch.

Former Villa and current Norwich manager Dean Smith enjoyed a 2-1 victory over Southampton in his first match in charge of the Canaries. Smith avenged a loss he suffered to the Saints while managing Aston Villa two weeks ago.

New Newcastle manager Eddie Howe was sidelined by coronavirus as his Magpies grabbed a point in an entertaining 3-3 draw with Brentford. Allan Saint-Maximin showed Howe with a 75th minute equalizer.

Another 3-3 shootout occurred at Turf Moor where Burnley transfer Maxwell Cornet scored his fifth goal of the season for the final equalizer in a back-and-forth contest. Christian Benteke scored a brace for Crystal Palace which extended their current unbeaten run to seven matches.

Burnley, meanwhile, moved within two points of clearing the relegation line after Leeds fell 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur as Antonio Conte notched his first league win as Spurs manger. Harry Kane remained on one goal for the season as the Spurs’ scoring was provided by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon. Spurs moved to seventh in the table with the win, just four points off West Ham’s fourth place perch.

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