Article by Samuel Hodgkiss @SamuelHodgkiss
In a week where we saw the 1st first team relegated from the Premier League, a managerial appointment and incredible drama in the Title Race, there is lots to discuss in this week’s Premier League Weekly Roundup.
Action after the International Break began with Fulham hosting Manchester City in the early kick-off on Saturday afternoon. This was a game between high-flying City and struggling Fulham, and that proved to be the narrative at full-time as City strolled to a 2-0 thanks to nicely taken goals from Bernardo Silva and Sergio Aguero before half-time.
Onto the 3pm kick-offs and we start with the game down at Selhurst Park where Crystal Palace beat woeful Huddersfield Town 2-0. This result saw Huddersfield become the 1st team in the league to be relegated, and to be quite honest it will come to no surprise to anybody, as they have only collected 14 points so far this season. Elsewhere, Manchester United under newly appointed permanent manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer beat Watford 2-1 at Old Trafford to continue the pressure on the rest in the race for a Champions League spot. Goals from both wings were the difference, as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial bagged the goals.
Good news for Watford however was that Wolves did not extend a gap between the two teams in 7th and 8th place as they were defeated at Turf Moor 2-0, thanks to a Conor Coady O.G and Dwight McNeil goal. Other teams in the race for 7th also played on Saturday, as Leicester City beat Bournemouth 2-0 and Everton also got a 2-0 win away at the London Stadium against West Ham United. This leaves 7th place and a potential Europa League spot wide open, as Wolves remain in 7th with 4 points, but Bournemouth sit just 6 point behind, all be it placing 12th in the league.
Down at the bottom, Southampton won an impressive 1-0 away at Brighton, a place notorious for being not an easy away game. This leaves the Saints on level point with Brighton on 33 points, and going into Friday’s game against Liverpool on very god form.
Sunday’s action saw plenty of controversy, as the first game saw Cardiff host Chelsea. Cardiff took the lead after the break thanks to a goal from Victor Camarasa, but 2 late goals from Cesar Azpilicueta and Ruben Loftus-Cheek gifted Chelsea with all 3 points. It was Chelsea’s first goal however which caused controversy as Azpilicueta looked in a seemingly clear offside position, although officials did not see it. At this level and this stage of the season, decisions like this can in Cardiff’s case be the difference between staying in the Premier League and not. Therefore, this decision obviously infuriated Cardiff manager Neil Warnock, who on the pitch showed his clear anger towards the officials with a somewhat childish meltdown, and after the game had this to say: “The biggest and best league in the world but probably the worst officials at the minute.”
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The other game on Sunday was at Anfield as Liverpool looked to regain top spot in the Premier League as they hosted Spurs. The Reds took the lead after dominating the game thanks to Spurs’ poor tactics, after an Andy Roberston cross was met beautifully by Bobby Firmino to head us into the lead.
After this, Spurs changed their shape to a 4 man defence and began to play some very good football, ending the half strong. Into the second half and Spurs looked very dangerous, and got their breakthrough through Lucas Moura after some god build-up play, including an exquisite pass by Harry Kane. Moussa Sissoko could have settled the game late on, only for some fantastic defending by Virgil Van Dijk to stop the threat from Heung-Min Son, allowing Sissoko to go through on his weaker foot and blaze the ball into row z of the Anfield Road End.
Then in dramatic fashion, Liverpool have a corner cleared but a cross by Trent Alexander-Arnold was met by Mo Salah, who headed the ball into Hugo Lloris’ arms, who fumbled the ball which then hit Toby Alderwiereld’s leg and trickled into the goal, giving Liverpool a massive 3 points, and regaining top spot from City. For Spurs, who deserved more from the game, well they are now further slipping back and allowing the rest of the pack to catch up in the battle for 4th, and now potentially 3rd spot!
As for the rest of the pack, Arsenal host Newcastle tonight as they will look to capitalise on Spurs’ misfortune.
Next week’s run of fixtures kick-off on Friday evening as Liverpool travel to Southampton, and the FA Cup returns with the Semi-Finals as City play Brighton and Wolves play Watford.
Article by Samuel Hodgkiss @SamuelHodgkiss