Monday, January 16, 2023

Matchweek 20 Results: Gunners Pull Away From Pack; Rashford Keys Manchester United Win; Newcastle Edges Fulham; Seagulls Embarrass Liverpool; Turmoil at Everton; Wolves Consign Hammers To Drop Zone

Arsenal put further distance between the Gunners and their Premier League pursuers with a win at rival Spurs while Manchester City were defeated at Manchester United. Manger Mikel Arteta saw his club extend its lead in the table to eight points over Manchester City with a 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Gunners’ first league win at the home of their rivals since 2014. Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was a gracious host as his own goal upon fumbling a cross by Bukayo Saka handed Arsenal the early lead in the 15th minute. Lloris, who recently retired from international football for France, was also slow to react on Martin Odegaard’s strike later in the first half which gave the Gunner’s their 2-0 final margin. Arsenal won for a 15th time in 18 Premier League matches this season.

Tottenham Hotspur lost further ground in its bid for the top four, falling five points behind Manchester United after the Red Devils’ conquest in the Manchester Derby over rival City.

Manchester City lost ground in its pursuit of Arsenal partly due to a controversial call in a 2-1 Manchester United win. Marcus Rashford, in an offside position, created confusion for Manchester City defenders but did not touch a ball, just inches from his own feet, which teammate Bruno Fernandes fired into the Manchester City net. Fernandes’s 78th minute goal leveled a match which the Red Devils went on to win when Rashford scored less than five minutes later. Rashford’s goal marked a ninth consecutive match at Old Trafford where the in-form forward has found the net, equaling a 64-year-old club record. Rashford has now scored in all seven matches he’s played across all competitions since the World Cup.

The victory pulled his team within one point of their crosstown rivals and positions the Red Devils to make a run at Arsenal. Manchester United can move to within six points of the Gunners should Rashford and friends defeat Crystal Palace on Wednesday. United will then visit Arsenal next weekend with a chance to present their title credentials. Manchester City fell for a second consecutive outing after being eliminated from the Carabao Cup by Southampton earlier in the week.

Newcastle remains level on points with Manchester United in the top four mix after the Magpies defeated Fulham 1-0 at St. James Park. Aleksander Isak returned to Premier League action to score the winner in the 89th minute for Newcastle. Fulham had an earlier chance to take the lead on a penalty chance by Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian striker’s penalty kick found the net but was disallowed as Mitrovic touched the ball twice as he slipped in approaching his penalty kick. The disallowed goal marked the third time this season that Mitrovic has missed from the penalty spot. The defeat ended a four-match winning run for the Cottagers. Newcastle remained one of two clubs, along with first place Arsenal, to be undefeated at home this season.

Brighton moved to within a point of sixth place Fulham with a convincing 3-0 defeat of Liverpool. The benching of leading scorer and malcontent Leandro Trossard did nothing to deter a Seagull attack which has scored 12 goals in its last four league matches. Solly March scored twice early in the second half and Danny Welbeck contributed a stylish goal in the 81st minute for Brighton’s fifth win its last seven matches under Manager Roberto De Zerbe. Liverpool fell to ninth place in the table after a poor performance which had manager Jurgen Klopp apologizing to his away fans after the match.

Brentford, as well as Brighton, moved past Liverpool in the table as the Bees defeated woeful Bournemouth 2-0.  Ivan Toney’s penalty kick was his fourth goal in his last five league matches for Brentford. Bournemouth, meanwhile, lost for an eighth time in their last nine matches as they appear to be taking the express train to relegation. The Cherries are one point above the drop zone.

Wolverhampton pulled itself out of the relegation places with a 1-0 win over West Ham which dropped the Hammers into the bottom three. Daniel Podence scored for a third time in Wolverhampton last four league matches to secure the win. West Ham lost for a sixth time in its last seven matches as the pressure ratchets up on manager David Moyes.

Another under fire manager is Everton’s Frank Lampard as the Toffees lost for a fifth time in six outings in a 2-1 home loss to bottom of the table Southampton. Things are spiraling out of control on Merseyside as Everton board members were instructed not to attend the match at Goodison due to concerns regarding their personal safety. A post-game sit-in was conducted by some protesting fans while others confronted Everton players such as Yerry Mina outside the stadium in potentially dangerous circumstances. Southampton, meanwhile, is showing signs of life as the Saints won for a third consecutive time across all competitions. Two cup victories and now a win in the league has markedly improved the perceptions held of new manager Nathan Jones. 

Chelsea Manager Graham Potter enjoyed a reprieve from the incessant criticism which has circled his troubled side as the Blues squeaked out a 1-0 victory over goal challenged Crystal Palace. Kai Havertz had the winner at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea moved into a tie for ninth place with Liverpool as two league powers of recent years stumble through difficult years. Crystal Palace remains 12th in the table despite losing for a fourth time in their last five league matches. The Eagles failed to score for a fourth time in their last five matches as Chelsea were able to capitalize on facing a squad which is having even more problems scoring than the goal challenged Blues.

Aston Villa, wedged between Chelsea and Crystal Place in the table, won for a fourth time in six league matches under Manager Unai Emery as the Villans downed Leeds 2-1 at Villa Park. Leeds Manager Jesse Marsch strangely claimed his side’s performance was the best in his 11-month managerial tenure with the club. That tenure could be tenuous as the Whites remain only two points above the drop zone.

Nottingham Forest continued its improved form in a 2-0 win over Leicester. Forest won a second consecutive league outing and for a third time in its last five matches as manager Steve Cooper’s squad, once given up for dead after 13 weeks in the relegation zone, moved to 13th in the table. Leicester, meanwhile, lost a fourth straight match as the Foxes continue to dig a hole.

The Premier League has two rescheduled matches mid-week as  both Manchester clubs, currently a point apart in the table, are in action. Manchester United travels to Crystal Palace on Wednesday before Manchester City hosts Tottenham Hotspur the following day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment: