Crystal Palace (Palace) 0 – Fulham (Cottagers) 0
The first Premier League fixture of the day was in London, as Crystal Palace held on to a goalless draw against The Cottagers, with the latter perplexed as to how they couldn’t score after dominating with 60% possession and 16 shots.
Following a dull first half of Premier League football, The Cottagers’ best chances of the game all came in the second half. Josh Maja had a huge opportunity to score with a header from six-yards out in the 67th minute, but fine keeping by Palace’s Vicente Guaita denied him. Palace defender Gary Cahill then made a goal-saving block a minute later, denying Joachim Andersen’s close-range effort.
Ben Bloom from The Telegraph says that “this must go down as a missed opportunity for Fulham” and he’s not wrong. It’s all well and good dominating possession and not letting your opponent get a real chance at goal, but at the end of the day, goals win you games, not possession.
For Palace, they would have been relieved to somehow get a point from this game. Although they dramatically beat Brighton on Monday, they must be highly anticipating the return of star man Wilfried Zaha, who is still out with an injury.
Leicester City (Foxes) 1 – Arsenal (Gunners) 3
The second Premier League fixture of the day was The Foxes hosting The Gunners. Despite Youri Tielemans putting the Foxes ahead in the 6th minute thanks to some shoddy Arsenal defending, Arsenal scored 3 in 17 minutes to earn a great win at the King Power Stadium.
Arsenal’s first came in the 39th minute after David Luiz’s header found the net from a Willian free-kick. The Gunners’ second goal came in stoppage time in the first half from an Alexandre Lacazette penalty after Wilfred Ndidi handled the ball inside the box. Arsenal’s third then came on minute 52, after nice build-up play eventually found an open Nicolas Pépé who had no problem finishing from close-range.
Whilst fans of the Gunners will be impressed with this away win to a tough Leicester side, one thing they’ll be, surprisingly, happy about is Willian’s contribution of 2 assists in the game – making it 3 assists in his last 2 games for Arsenal.
After the match, Mikel Arteta was asked about Willian’s improvement, to which he said “He is revealing himself, not accepting the situation”. Whilst he did play well this game, let’s not get carried away here. We have to remember, this is the same Willian that didn’t score or assist in over 15 games for the Gunners earlier this season. The same way you can’t judge a player from one bad game, you can’t judge them from one good game either.
Tottenham Hotspur 4 – Burnley 0
Gareth Bale’s brace helped his Tottenham side thump Burnley by 4 goals to nil in this 2PM Premier League kick-off. The first of which came in the 2nd minute, after a Heung-Min Son cross found Bale from 6-yards out for an easy tap-in. The second came from Harry Kane in the 15th minute, whose strike got a slight deflection over Nick Pope by James Tarkowski.
The third was scored by Lucas Moura in the 31st minute when he rifled his shot into the bottom corner following Sergio Reguilón’s cross. The final goal, and Bale’s second, came in the 55th minute, when a wide-open Bale was found by Son at the edge of the box, before the Welshman buried his shot into the bottom corner off the post.
Tottenham looked dangerous throughout the game and could’ve scored more. As Nick Ames from The Guardian says “when harnessed properly, they have attacking power capable of blowing opponents away”. With Kane’s 13 goals and 11 assists, along with Son’s 13 goals and 6 assists, those two alone are enough to put fear in any defender.
Then, when you add Lucas Moura, who is a constant threat, as well as the Gareth Bale we saw today – that’s scary. However, Ames’s use of “when harnessed properly” is spot on. After a poor run of form in the Premier League prior to this game, it really is all about consistency if Tottenham want to finish in the top 4 this season.
Chelsea 0 – Manchester United 0
When I saw this Premier League result, why wasn’t I surprised? Despite both sides having over 10 shots each, neither team managed to break the deadlock. The draw means Thomas Tuchel still remains undefeated since getting the managerial role at Chelsea.
United had a penalty shout denied by VAR early on in the game after the ball hit Callum Hudson-Odoi’s arm in the box, but under new rules in the Premier League, the penalty was not given. Hakim Ziyech had a great chance to score for the hosts from inside the box, but a strong arm from David De Gea denied him. Scott McTominay came close for United, with his vicious shot from the edge of the box forcing a good save from Édouard Mendy.
But despite these chances, nobody could provide that one clinical moment to give their side the 3 points. My lack of surprise at this scoreline is backed by The Independent’s Miguel Delaney, who mentions how this 0-0 for United makes it their fifth 0-0 against a ‘big six’ side this season.
Therefore, something to take away from this game surely must be how United play against ‘big six’ sides. Whilst you can look at the clean sheets and think that’s impressive, like mentioned earlier in this article, goals win you games, and those wins against ‘big six’ sides are crucial if you want to challenge for the Premier League title. Is this a sign that United need to sign a world-class striker in the summer if they want to contend for that top spot?
Sheffield United 0 – Liverpool 2
Liverpool will be hugely relieved to finally get a win in the Premier League after a dreadful run of form by the current champions. Second half goals from Curtis Jones as well as a Kean Bryan own goal see Liverpool move to within 2 points of the top 4.
Jones’s goal came in the 48th minute after Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cut back from the right side eventually found Jones in the box, who smashed it in. Bryan’s own goal happened in the 65th minute, after Roberto Firmino’s shot cruelly deflected off the leg of Bryan, looping over Aaron Ramsdale to double Liverpool’s lead.
This win for Liverpool was crucial. Not only in terms of ending that bad run of form, but in terms of keeping up with the top 4 – something I didn’t think I would be saying about Liverpool at the start of the season.
Klopp said it himself, saying “We needed the points to get in contact with the teams above us so it was very important”. Whilst a top 4 finish for Liverpool is most likely going to happen, if they have another 4 or 5 game stretch where they don’t win a game, it could well be a possibility that they may not finish in a Champions League spot. Imagine that?
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