Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Premier League Results Match Week 14: Spurs Strike Back; Gunners Escape Wolves; Liverpool Outguns Cottagers; Chelsea Survive Seagulls; Heckingbottom Out, Wilder In After Latest Sheffield United Defeat

Tottenham Hotspur ended its run of three consecutive losses by capturing an unexpected point at Manchester City. Manager Ange Postecoglou refused to back off his aggressive style of play as his club went toe to toe with the Citizens, refusing to play the type of bunkered defense that Manchester City often sees from opponents visiting the Etihad. The result was a wild scoring affair starting with two goals from Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-min, one for his own side to open the scoring and then an own goal to equalize matters at one apiece. Manchester City would then twice take the lead only for Spurs to strike back, the final goal of the match coming in the 90th minute by Spurs forward Dejan Kulusevski. A final attempt by City to take all three points was thwarted when the referee failed to play advantage when Manchester City’s  Erling Haaland was fouled. A Haaland pass had already sent Jack Grealish in on goal when the play was called back.

Manchester City lost ground to table leading Arsenal and were overtaken by Liverpool when both those clubs won over the weekend, Liverpool in the more exciting fashion. Fulham put up a good fight at Anfield but ultimately fell victim to the long-range marksmanship of the home side. Fulham, to their credit, fought back twice to level after the home side took first half leads. The Cottagers would then go ahead in the 80th minute on a Bobby De Cordova-Reid goal. The match then turned, and a major upset went by the boards when Liverpool defenders Wataru Endo and Trent-Alexander-Arnold delivered long range strikes in the 80th and 87th minutes, respectively, to secure the Reds’ seventh victory in seven home matches this season.

The Reds stayed two points behind Arsenal which finished off Wolves 2-1 at the Emirates. The Gunners took a two-goal lead on scores by Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard in the first fifteen minutes of the match. Things got quiet after that until some late nerves were created when Wolves’ Matheus Cunha found the net in the 86th minute. It was too little too late for Wolves, however, as Arsenal stays top of the table, two points ahead of Liverpool.

Aston Villa remains fourth in the Premier League, two points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur and three points ahead of Newcastle after a draw at Bournemouth. An Ollie Watkins goal in the 90th minute was required to salvage the point on the south coast for the Villans against a Cherries side that continues to surprise. The Cherries have lost only one of their last five matches, winning three, to move six points north of the relegation zone.

Newcastle leapfrogged Manchester United into sixth position in the table with a 1-0 victory over the Red Devils at St. James Park. A Kieran Trippier cross found the Magpies’ Anthony Gordon at the far post for the match’s only score. Gordon now has five goals and two assists in his last eight Premier League appearances. The industry of the 22-year-old Gordon and 21-year-old Tino Livramento for Newcastle provided a stark contrast to a lethargic Manchester United side. Attitude issues seem a continuing problem for Eric ten Hag’s squad. A petulant Marcus Rashford made news with his body language when lifted from the match by ten Hag. Rashford was poor, as he has been for much of the season, and many are calling for him to be dropped from his starting role. Newcastle, while celebrating the three points, came away from the match with more injury problems. Goalkeeper Nick Pope injured his shoulder and will be out for a lengthy period after already undergoing surgery this week.

Chelsea’s young side showed impressive grit on Sunday as the Blues overcame some ill-advised aggression by Conor Gallagher to defeat Brighton at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea went down to 10 men after Gallagher’s second yellow card in the 45th minute. Ahead 2-1 when going down a man, Chelsea preserved for a 3-2 victory. Mikhailo Mudryk made a rare contribution for Chelsea when the speedy Ukrainian was cut down in the penalty box and Enso Fernandez converted a second half penalty for Chelsea. Fernandez’s second goal of the match proved the margin of victory when Joao Pedro scored for Brighton in stoppage time. The loss for Brighton ended a four-match unbeaten run for the eighth place Seagulls. Chelsea is tenth, two points behind West Ham.

The Hammers drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace as old school managers David Moyes and Roy Hodgson presided over a predictably drab slog at London Stadium.

Sheffield United Manager Paul Heckingbottom was sacked following the Blades embarrassing 5-0 defeat at Burnley. Former Sheffield United Manager Chris Wilder has been appointed to retake command over the bumbling Blades who fell into last place with the loss to the now 19th place Clarets.

The relegation battle is on as Everton, victims of a ten-point deduction which landed them in the doom zone, began their climb back with a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest. Dwight McNeil’s goal secured the win which moved the Toffees within two points of safety. The team immediately in their sights is currently safe Luton Town, 3-1 losers to Brentford on Saturday. 

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