Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Premier League Review Match Week 11: Up The Hammers; Manchester City Dominates Derby; Chelsea Drops Points; Arsenal Defeats Angry Hornets; Eagles Dance Over Wolves; Canaries Win, Fire Manager; Villans Lose, Fire Manager

West Ham inflicted the first defeat of the season on Liverpool and, in so doing, leapfrogged their opponent into third place in the table standings.

The Hammers were clinical in attacking spaces in the Liverpool defense and in expertly executing their set pieces in a 3-2 win over the formerly invincible Reds. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson had a rare poor outing for a Jurgen Klopp side which tumbled to fourth in the table, just two points ahead of surging Arsenal. 

Manchester City outclassed their cross-town rivals with a 2-0 win in the Manchester Derby. The Citizens controlled 67% of the possession and limited the Red Devils to a single shot on goal. Manchester United defenders, meanwhile, challenged their own goalkeeper with two errant volleys, one of which resulted in an own goal by Eric Bailly for the game’s opening score. Manchester City’s strong response to last week’s loss to Crystal Palace moved the Citizens to second in the table, three points behind Chelsea. Manchester United, meanwhile, lost for a fourth time in their last six league matches under embattled manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. 

Burnley ended Chelsea’s four match win streak in the league as the Clarets took a point at the home of the league leaders. Burnley has lost just once in its past six matches to claw within two points of escaping the relegation zone. Frustrated Chelsea remains top of the table, three points ahead of Manchester City. 

Arsenal extended their unbeaten run in the league to eight matches with a third consecutive victory in a 1-0 win over Watford.

Circumstances of the Gunners goal by Emile Smith-Rowe were contentious as Arsenal violated sportsmanlike practice by not returning the ball to the Hornets who had intentionally put the ball out so an injured player could be attended to. Further maddening the Hornets was a claimed foul in the build up to the Arsenal goal. Last in the table after their first three pointless matches, Arsenal now enjoy the league’s longest unbeaten run. 

Crystal Palace claimed another pelt, defeating Wolves 2-0 at Selhurst Park as long-time star Wilfried Zaha and exciting newcomer Conor Gallagher provided the goals in a second consecutive win for Crystal Palace. The Eagles, who moved to 10th in the table with the win, remained undefeated in front of home fans, Liverpool being the only other club that can make such a claim this season. The defeat of Wolverhampton ended a five-match undefeated run for Wolves. 

Norwich City won for the first time this season in a 2-1 victory at Brentford, but it was already too late for manager Daniel Farke. The Canary manager was ironically sacked after his only taste of success this season. The win for Norwich ended a 20-match winless run which included 18 losses. The winning margin Saturday came down to a penalty kick by Teemu Pukki as the Canaries scored two goals for the first time in 29 Premier League games. A loss to the league’s bottom dweller and a fourth consecutive league defeat ratchets up concern for Brentford and Manager Thomas Frank as they fall to 14th in the table.

A 1-0 loss by Aston Villa to Southampton was a fifth consecutive loss by the Villans and the final match as Villa manager for Dean Smith. Smith, who had overseen Aston Villa’s promotion to the Premier League during his three-year run, was sacked after the club fell within two points of the relegation zone. Southampton, meanwhile, won for a third time in an unbeaten four-match run which has removed them, for the moment, from relegation concerns. 

Brighton’s winless run was extended to six matches in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle. Remarkably, the indecisive Seagulls have now drawn five of six matches. Brighton has scored more than a goal only once since their last win in mid-September. Newcastle remained winless but were grateful for a point in advance of regrouping after break under new manager Eddie Howe. 

Tottenham Hotspur and Everton battled to a scoreless tie in Antonio Conte’s return to the Premier League. There was little to separate the two clubs who are separated by a point in the table. Spurs worked hard but failed to produce a goal in their manager’s debut. Everton were unable to win for a fifth consecutive match. 

Leicester’s lackluster season continued with a 1-1 draw at struggling Leeds. The Foxes under Manager Brendan Rodgers are currently 12th in the table after threatening to crack the Top Four in each of the last two seasons. Leeds, meanwhile, is just three points clear of the relegation zone. As the Premier League now goes on international break, the races for table position have taken some dramatic turns in recent weeks. West Ham’s surge into the Top Four to join Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool has displaced a dysfunctional Manchester United team which has fallen to sixth with six different teams within two points of the Red Devils and a Europa League berth. Arsenal, once left for dead, is but two points removed from the Top Four. Four of the five bottommost teams have already replaced their manager. Including Spurs’ sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo, the total of five managerial changes to date exceeds that of the entirety of last season. And…Crystal Palace is on a six-match unbeaten run which includes inflicting one of defending champion Manchester City’s two losses this season.



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