Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Premier League Results Matchweek 22: Everton Shocks Arsenal; Spurs Spoil Manchester City Chance To Close Gap; Citizens Face More Financial Allegations; Manchester United Wins Brawl at Selhurst; Newcastle Draws Again; Liverpool Sinks Further; New Players, No New Goals For Chelsea; Marsch Sacked At Leeds

Arsenal fell victim to a new manager bounce as Sean Dyche led a much better organized Everton to the largest upset of the season in defeating the league leaders 1-0. Even with his short time working with the side, the tactical discipline preached by Dyche was already evident in the Toffees’ play. Ironically, the former Burnley manager saw two of his former Burnley players, Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski, combine for the winning goal. Arsenal was unable to mark the physical Tarkowski in the Everton box as he headed in McNeil’s 60th minute corner kick. Last place Everton thus inflicted only the second Premier League loss of the season on the top of the table Gunners.

The defeat wasn’t a complete anomaly however, as the Gunners also lost by a 1-0 margin to Manchester City in the FA Cup last week. The free-flowing Arsenal attack appears to have hit a wall of late. The victory for the Toffees lifts Everton from the bottom of the table with only goal differential separating the club from safety. The Gunners, meanwhile, suffer the embarrassment of losing to a club that had begun the day in the table’s basement. The last time that happened to Arsenal was versus a Burnley club managed by none other than Sean Dyche.

Everton moved level on points with Leeds in the battle for the final survival place in the Premier League as the Jesse Marsch led Whites failed to win for a seventh consecutive league match in a 1-0 loss to Nottingham Forest. Marsch paid the price on Monday as he became the seventh Premier League manager to be sacked this season. Marsch was hired to replace Marcelo Bielsa last February and succeeded in keeping the club up by the slimmest of margins last season but again had the club sinking into the relegation muck. Conversely, Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper has presided over striking improvement in his club’s recent performances. Forest has won three and drawn two during a five-match unbeaten run which has seen the club escape the relegation zone and rise all the way to 13th in the Premier League table. Recently acquired goalkeeper Keylor Navas posted a clean sheet in his Premier League debut. Twenty-one year-old Brennan Johnson scored the winner against Leeds with his fifth Premier League goal of the season. Only Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli among players 21 years old or under have scored more goals this season than Johnson.

Manchester City failed to capitalize on Arsenal’s shocking loss when Tottenham Hotspur rode a Harry Kane goal to a 1-0 home win over the Citizens. Kane’s 267th goal for Spurs moved him past Jimmy Greaves as the club’s all-time goal scoring leader.

The win for Spurs moves them to within a point of fourth place Newcastle. Manchester City, meanwhile, missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on Arsenal as Pep Guardiola’s side lost for a second time in their last four league matches. More bad news followed on Monday for Manchester City as an investigation of the club for over 100 alleged financial improprieties was announced. The Citizens were able to overturn charges of financial fair play breaches in 2020. Failure to beat the current charges could not only result in penalties to the club but also the departure of manager Pep Guardiola who has previously tied his continued employment with the club to assurances received that the club was innocent of improprieties.

Manchester United are now just three points back of their crosstown rivals after a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. A Bruno Fernandes penalty kick and Marcus Rashford’s 11th goal since returning from Qatar provided the scoring  for the Red Devils The win was costly, however, as Casemiro was given a straight red card for placing his hands around the neck of Crystal Palace midfielder Will Hughes during a 70th minute brawl between the two sides. Casemiro will miss the next three league matches as a result. The win over Crystal Palace moved Manchester United past Newcastle into third place in the table. The Red Devils host Leeds on Wednesday.

Newcastle drew for the fourth time in its last five matches as the Magpies were held to a 1-1 decision at home versus West Ham. Manager Eddie Howe’s side have somehow managed to stay in the top four despite scoring only two goals in those five matches. Meanwhile, every point is critical for a West Ham club which remains in a relegation dogfight.

Chelsea could be the next club after Manchester City to face charges of financial fair play violations after its staggering amount of spending in each of the last two transfer windows. The money spent has failed to buy goals and victories, however, as ninth place Chelsea was again held scoreless in a goalless London derby versus Fulham. Manager Graham Potter’s squad has now scored only seven goals in its last 12 matches as it’s won just twice during that stretch. The club quizzically spent none of its substantial investment dollars on a striker during the January window. The poor performances of striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, meanwhile, has now led to his exclusion from the club’s Champions League roster. Fulham is suffering a current goal drought as well as the Cottagers failed to score for a third consecutive league match.

Liverpool has also failed to score in its last three Premier League contests after a 3-0 defeat to Wolverhampton. Jurgen Klopp’s men are still hunting for their first 2023 win. Wolves, meanwhile, have won two of their last three matches to claw their way out of the relegation zone under new manager Julen Lopetegui.

Brentford extended its current unbeaten run in the league to nine matches with its 3-0 win over Southampton, the longest such run in the topflight for the Bees in 87 years. Bryan Mbeumo scored his fifth league goal of the season in the Brentford win. The unbeaten streak has put the Bees in the European places at seventh in the table as manager Thomas Frank’s squad moved past Fulham. Southampton manager Nathan Jones, meanwhile, is off to a miserable start with the Saints. A strange appointment at the time, Jones had found previous success only at Luton and has currently won just one match with the Saints since his November hiring. Jones launched into a strange tirade after the loss to Brentford where he tossed his players and even the Southampton fans under the bus while referring to himself as one of the best managers in Europe last season.

Brighton stayed one point ahead of surging Brentford in the table as the Seagulls nipped Bournemouth 1-0. Kaoru Mitoma scored in the 87th minute to claim the points and register his sixth goal in his last nine appearances for Brighton. Moises Caicedo was again kept out of the starting line-up after trying to force his way out of the club during the transfer window. The Ecuadoran midfielder appeared as a substitute and was well received by supporters. Bournemouth lost for the ninth time its last 11 matches as the Cherries are above only the sad Saints in the table.

Leicester won for the first time since November in a 4-2 victory at Aston Villa. Manager Brendan Rogers and Leicester teammates were ebullient in their praise of new loan signing Tete who shone throughout his Premier League debut and nicked one of the Foxes’ four goals. The Brazilian, on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk, took over the right-wing position and allowed James Maddison to play a preferred number ten position and make the overall Fox attack far more dangerous. Longer term Leicester player Kelech Iheanacho was also instrumental in the victory, assisting Tete’s goal five minutes after tying the match with his own strike at 2-2. An error filled performance by Aston Villa was surprising as the club had accumulated more points since the World Cup break than any Premier League side but for Arsenal. Villa Manager Unai Emery will be more than happy to quickly put this one behind him.

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