Friday, December 3, 2021

Premier League Results Match Week 14: Ronaldo Reaches 800 in United Win; Liverpool Dominate Merseyside Derby As Everton Crisis Grows; Chelsea Stays Top With Win Over Hornets; Citizens Defeat Villans; Canaries and Newcastle Fail To Determine Who’s Worse; Toothless Wolves

It was Cristiano Ronaldo once again to the rescue as Manchester United overcame an early deficit to defeat Arsenal 3-2. Ronaldo’s first of his two goals in the match gave him 800 for his illustrious career.

United’s “temporary interim” manager Michael Carrick finished his stint in charge undefeated before announcing he would leave after the game. New interim boss Ralf Rangnick takes over next for the Red Devils. The loss for Arsenal once again highlighted the dichotomy present in Manager Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal current squad as young stars Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka provide hope for Gunner fans while highly paid veterans such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Thomas Partey and bench bound Nicolas Pepe contribute little. The jury remains out on Martin Odegaard, still only 22 years old, who scored against the Red Devils but also committed an egregious penalty resulting in Ronaldo’s winning penalty kick. An oddity occurred in the game at Old Trafford when Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea was stepped on by teammate Fred, crumpled to the ground, and made no attempt to stop a goal by Smith Rowe.

Manager Thomas Tuchel characterized Chelsea as lucky to have survived a scare from Watford and remain atop the Premier League table with a 2-1 victory over the Hornets. Mason Mount was one of the few Chelsea players operating at an accustomed peak level as the English international scored the opening goal and assisted on the winner by Hakim Ziyech. Chelsea injury concerns increased with the loss of wingback Trevoh Chelobah to a hamstring injury. Fellow wingback Ben Chilwell is out indefinitely while Reece James can hopefully return to active status for the weekend. Saul Niguez, who played some wingback at Atletico Madrid, was abysmal in his second Premier League start for Chelsea and was yanked at halftime for a second time. Watford put up a commendable fight at home but continues to court danger with a fifth loss in seven matches under Ranieri.

Liverpool inflicted an embarrassing 4-1 derby loss on Everton in their Merseyside derby as the Toffees continued their death spiral. Mohamed Salah scored twice to increase his league leading goal total to 13 on the season while Diogo Jota scored his fourth goal in his last three league matches for the Reds. In scoring four goals for a fourth consecutive league match, Liverpool have now scored the most league goals this season of any club in the top five leagues of Europe.

Everton’s uncompetitive loss to their rivals caps a winless run which has caused increased fan displeasure not just with unpopular manager Rafa Benitz but also with the Everton board, owner, and chairman. There were reports of an emergency board meeting to be held at Everton in the coming days. Everton are currently one of three clubs deadlocked at 14th position in the table.

Manchester City made it four straight wins to stay a point behind league leading Chelsea. The Citizens also handed Steven Gerrard his first loss as a Premier League manager in a 2-1 Manchester City win at Aston Villa. The victory marked the 150th Premier League win for Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola who set a league record by achieving that milestone in only 204 matches. Jack Grealish, the former Aston Villa star who has underperformed with his new team, was a late substitute for Manchester City and received a mixed welcome from Villa supporters.

A Neal Maupay goal in the 89th minute stole a late point for Brighton in a 1-1 draw at West Ham. The Hammers had led the match since a fifth minute header from Tomas Soucek. Maupay’s equalizer came on a brilliant overhead kick and was the striker’s fifth goal of the season.

The disappointed Hammers retained their fourth-place position in the table while Brighton remained ninth.

In a bottom of the table basement derby, Norwich extended its unbeaten run to four matches in a 1-1 draw at Newcastle. The Canaries needed to come from behind to grab the point despite playing with a man advantage after a Newcastle red card in the ninth minute. After Callum Wilson put shorthanded Newcastle ahead on the Magpies’ only shot on target, the Canaries’ Teemu Pukki notched his fifth goal of the season for a Norwich side which has seen no other squad member score more than once. Winless Newcastle remains bottom of the league with seven points while Norwich is 19th with ten points and a staggering goal differential of negative 20.

Only Norwich has scored fewer goals than Wolverhampton this season so its goalless draw versus 18th place Burnley is not particularly surprising. A second consecutive goalless outing against clubs in the relegation places, however, must be dispiriting for a Wolves side which tumbled from sixth to eighth place in the table after the weekend’s results. Burnley have now lost only one of their last eight matches after losing four of their first five. Only one of those last eight matches was a win, however, which explains why the Clarets remain 18th in the table, three points off the deteriorating situation at Watford.

Leicester remains mired in 10th position in the league after grabbing just a point in a 2-2 draw at Southampton. The Foxes secured the point on an early second half tying goal by James Maddison, his fourth in six matches across all competitions. The point for Southampton ended a two-match losing run and leaves the Saints five points clear of the relegation zone and tied for 14th in the table with Leeds and Everton.

Brentford proved just the remedy to provide a boost for Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur team. Spurs moved into sixth place in the table with a 2-0 victory which saw an early Bees’ own goal and a clinching tally by Spurs’ Son Heung-min. Brentford suffered a fifth defeat in their last seven matches and lost whatever good feeling emanated from the Bees’ win over hopeless Everton the week before.

Crystal Palace lost a second consecutive match when the Eagles fell to Leeds 1-0 in a driving rain at Elland Road. The Leeds winner came on a stoppage time penalty kick following two missed goal opportunities by Crystal Palace’s star-crossed striker Christian Benteke in regulation. A third win of the season gives Leeds five points of breathing room from the relegation zone

Match Week 15 Preview

Premier League clubs barely have time to catch their breath before taking the pitch again this weekend. A London derby, as Chelsea pays a visit to West Ham, is among the feature matches which also include Ralf Rangnick making his interim manager debut when Manchester United hosts Crystal Palace. Steven Gerrard will face his former Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers when Aston Villa plays host to Leicester. Claudi Ranieri’s painful tenure at Watford is likely to see another loss when the Hornets head to in-form Manchester City while similarly suffering managerial compatriot Rafa Benitez will hear it once again from the Goodison faithful when his Everton side host Arsenal. Wolves, scoreless in two matches, must face juggernaut Liverpool, scorers of 12 goals in their last three matches. A matchup with relegation implications plays out when cellar dwelling and winless Newcastle hosts a Burnley side which has not lost in weeks and is eager to claw its way from its present relegation position. A south coast derby will feature a visit by Brighton to Southampton. Norwich, beginning to show signs of life, will try to remain undefeated under new manager Dean Smith when the Canaries fly to north London to face Spurs. Brentford, meanwhile, visits Leeds for a match between two clubs hoping to stay above the relegation fray.

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