Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Premier League Results Matchweek 28: Spurs Lose, Conte Rants; Newcastle Closes On Top Four With Win At Forest; Gunners Defeat Crystal Palace After Vieira Sacking; Everton Grabs Point At Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur squandered a two-goal advantage and manager Antonio Conte erupted into a scathing rant about everything wrong with his club after a 3-3 draw at Southampton. Up 3-1 after an Ivan Perisic 74th minute goal, Spurs conceded the final two goals of the match with a James Ward-Prowse penalty kick securing a much-needed point for the Saints in their relegation battle. Tottenham Hotspur manager Conte was irate after the match, blasting his players, ownership and the culture surrounding the north London club. Incredibly, Conte seemed to take no responsibility for the failings of his team. The Italian manager’s contract is up at the end of this season, and it now appears he may well depart in advance of that date. Southampton are two points away from safety in a crowded lower half of the Premier League table where nine teams are separated by no more than four points.

Crystal Palace is in 12th place but only three points removed from the drop zone. Fearful of relegation after a 10 year stay in the Premier League, The Eagles axed manager Patrick Vieira Friday after 20 months with the south London team.

Vieira’s club had not won in twelve matches and remains the only Premier League club not to have won a league match this calendar year. Interim Crystal Palace manager Paddy McCarthy inherited the unenviable task of visiting the Premier League leaders Sunday. The Eagles were crushed by Arsenal 4-1. Former manager Roy Hodgson, who Vieira had replaced, was recalled on Tuesday to keep the Eagles safe as he had throughout his previous tenure for the Eagles. The now 75-year-old manager failed to save Watford, however, when handed an identical mandate last season. Arsenal, meanwhile, received a brace from Bukayo Saka as the Gunners moved eight points ahead of Manchester City in the Premier League title chase. Gabriel Martinelli scored his sixth goal in his last six league appearances. Martinelli’s 13th league goal of the season leads the Gunners who also have double digit goal scorers in Saka and Martin Odegaard. Saka, meanwhile, assisted on Martinelli’s goal to become the only Premier League player this season with 10 or more assists and goals.

Newcastle United got two goals from Alexander Isak to engineer a come from behind win for the first time this season in a 2-1 victory at Nottingham Forest. Isak’s penalty kick in stoppage time secured a second consecutive league victory for the Magpies who moved within two points of Spurs and automatic Champions League qualification. Newcastle also has two matches in hand versus the troubled north London club. Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, is but a slender two points from the relegation zone after losing for a third time in their last four matches.

Everton is now ahead of 16th place Forest on goal differential after the Toffees salvaged a point in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The Toffees were behind twice in the match before securing the point with an 89th minute strike from Ellis Simms. The 22-year-old Simms has recently gained playing time under new manager Sean Dyche and Saturday’s goal marked Simms’s first in the Premier League.

The dropped points at home by Chelsea was disappointing for a club which had been performing better in recent weeks. Squandering two leads to the joint lowest scoring club in the Premier League was not a good look in front of home supporters.

Leeds escaped the drop zone and is now locked on the same point total as Everton and Nottingham Forest after a 4-2 win at Wolverhampton. The much needed three points moved Leeds up five places in the crowded bottom half of the Premier League table. Homestanding Wolves had closed an early three goal deficit to pull within a goal of the visitors on a Jonny score in the 65th minute. Jonny, however, would later receive a red card and Wolves were unable to equalize before Leeds sealed the deal with a 97th minute Rodrigo goal. Wolverhampton, level on points with 12th place Crystal Palace, is a precarious three points from the drop.

Leicester moved a point ahead of West Ham for the final safe spot in the table with a 1-1 draw at Brentford. Harvey Barnes struck the equalizer in the 52nd minute to offset a first half goal by the Bees’ Mathias Jensen and put an end to a four-match losing run for Leicester. The dropped points by the Bees, meanwhile, prevented Brentford from moving past Brighton and Liverpool into sixth place in the table. Brighton was playing in the FA Cup quarterfinals this weekend while Liverpool’s match with FA Cup quarterfinalist Fulham was also postponed.

Bournemouth was swatted 3-0 at Aston Villa, ensuring the Cherries remained in the relegation zone. Bournemouth is joined there by Southampton and an idle West Ham which replaced Leeds in the bottom three. Aston Villa put further distance between itself and the relegation scramble, climbing to 38 points after its win on Saturday. The 11th place Villans are 11 points clear of 12th place Crystal Palace and the nine teams currently in the relegation scramble. 

FA Cup

Citizens and Seagulls Roll; Madness at Old Trafford

Erling Haaland had a hat trick as Manchester City rolled to a 6-0 win over Burnley and manager Vincent Company in their FA Cup quarter final match. Haaland thus found the net eight times and Manchester City scored 13 goals in cup victories over Burnley and Borussia Dortmund inside of a week.

Brighton and Hove Albion had a similarly one sided scoreline in a 5-0 victory over Grimsby Town. Eighteen year old Irish international Evan Ferguson led the scoring for Brighton with two goals against the fourth tier Mariners.

In a contest of Premier League clubs, Fulham imploded in a 3-1 loss to Manchester United. The Cottagers took an early lead on a goal by Aleksandar Mitrovic, but all would unravel in 60 seconds of madness during which Fulham would receive three red cards, one of which went to manager Marco Silva. The controversy began with VAR adjudging that Fulham’s Willian had used his hand in clearing a Manchester United shot off the line. The denial of a scoring opportunity resulted in a red card to Willian. Marco Silva’s protests over the call then earned the manager a red card. The final blow for Fulham came when an enraged Mitrovic pushed the referee and earned Fulham’s third red card, reducing the Cottagers to nine men. Bruno Fernandes converted the kick on Willian’s penalty for Manchester United. Marcel Sabitzer then put United ahead two minutes later and Fernandes added his second goal, Manchester United’s third, in stoppage time. The Red Devils move on to face Brighton in the semifinals.

Sheffield United scored in the 92st minute to cap a 3-2 victory over championship rival Blackburn Rovers in the most competitive match of the FA Cup weekend. Unfortunately, the Blades draw Manchester City in the semifinal.

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