Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Premier League Results

FA Cup Storylines

Arsenal suffered an embarrassing 1-0 loss to Championship club Nottingham Forest in the third round of the FA Cup, highlighting some immediate needs to be pondered with the transfer window now open. The Gunners failed to put a single shot on target as a threadbare central midfield and a lack of finishing led to the Gunners exiting early from a tournament they have won more times than any club in English football. Arsenal departed in the third round of the competition for only the second time in the last quarter century with both losses curiously coming at the hands of Nottingham Forest in the last four years. Despite a recent run of good form, the FA Cup loss highlighted some current problems facing the north London side. Central midfield for Arsenal is threadbare in the near term due to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny departing for the Africa Cup of Nations, Granit Xhaka testing positive for Covid and Ainsley Maitland-Niles departing on loan to Roma. The midfield versus Nottingham Forest featured 18-year-old Charlie Patino, forced into his first senior starting gig, starting alongside seldom used Sambi Lukonga. Eddie Nketiah was ineffective up front for the Gunners who are reportedly seeking a striker in the transfer window as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains in exile.

Newcastle United was another Premier League club which flubbed its lines in a 1-0 loss to Cambridge United, a club newly promoted to League One this season. More than 50,00 fans witnessed the embarrassment at St. James Park. Adding to Newcastle’s misery was Manager Eddie Howe’s announcement that striker Callum Wilson will be out for eight weeks with a calf injury.

Tottenham Hotspur experienced a scare in its match with League One side Morecambe but overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to prevail 3-1 in north London. Manager Antonio Conte substituted Harry Kane and Lucas Moura late into the match and the two attackers delivered goals to secure the win after Harry Winks had equalized in the 74th minute.

Substituted Spur Tanguy Ndombele exhibited less than professional behavior when he sauntered about before exiting the pitch, was booed off by supporters, refused to acknowledge his manager and stormed down the tunnel. Ndombele has been an unhappy camper dating to Jose Mourinho’s reign at Spurs and may be edging closer to the exit door.

Crystal Palace came from behind to defeat Championship division Millwall 2-1 in a hotly contested south London derby. Michael Olise scored the equalizer for the Eagles before assisting on the winner by Jean-Philippe Mateta. Millwall’s stadium, The Den, proved an inhospitable venue for the visiting Eagles. Olise was hit in the head by a bottle, Crystal Palace midfielder Conor Gallagher was subjected to homophobic taunts by Millwall supporters, and Palace players were booed while taking a knee in support of anti-racism efforts before the match.

A 2-1 Burnley loss to Championship side Huddersfield was not surprising as the Terriers are playing well this season and may well be promoted to replace the Clarets in the Premier League next season. Sean Dyche’s Burnley side have won but one Premier League match all season. Manchester United completed the third round on Monday with a less than inspiring 1-0 victory over Aston Villa. Scott McTominay scored early for the Red Devils who then held on as the Villans had two second half goals disallowed.

The FA Cup resumes in February with its fourth round.

Midweek Premier League Matches

A pair of rescheduled matches from Week 18 will be made up midweek when Brentford visits  Southampton and West Ham plays host to Norwich. The Saints have drawn six of nine home matches this season, losing just once at home. James Ward-Prowse will be looking to score in a fourth consecutive Premier League match for Southampton which trails Brentford by two points in the table as the two clubs meet in the topflight for the first time. West Ham can move past Arsenal into the top four with a Hammers’ win over Norwich. The relegation bound Canaries have failed to win in their last eight league visits to West Ham. 

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