Matchweek 24 Premier League Round Up

Newcastle 3 – 1 Everton

Anyone who thought the possibility of Everton being relegated from the Premier League was unrealistic, may want to have a re-think after Tuesday night’s result.

Despite only being in February, this could be described as a 6 pointer, with both teams dangerously near the bottom three.

After spending over £90 million in the January transfer window, many have predicted that Newcastle’s second half of the season will be dramatically better than their first, and that has proved true already.

The deadlock was broken by Newcastle defender Lascelles, unfortunately for him, it was in his own net. Moments later, Everton defender Holgate also fancied himself a goal… again, in his own net. Two own goals in one minute was the only difference between the two sides.

Into the second half, there was definitely a feeling of optimism and positivity around St.James’ Park, something that has been lacking for a while. The feeling only increased when Ryan Fraser fired Newcastle into the lead in the 56th minute.

The win was sealed by a phenomenal Kieran Tripper free-kick, making every England fan reminisce back to the 2018 World Cup semi-final.

A harsh reality check for Frank Lampard’s team who were confident after beating Brentford 4-1 in the FA cup. Do his players have the grit and capability to survive a relegation battle?

Trippier’s magnificent free-kick

Burnley 1 – 1 Manchester United

Manchester United fans were left frustrated after seeing their team slip out of the top four following a disappointing performance against bottom placed Burnley. VAR was once again at the centre of all the drama.

Varane’s headed goal was ruled out after Harry Maguire blocked off a Burnley defender from an offside position. United continued to mount on the pressure, and were rewarded thanks to Paul Pogba’s excellent strike.

Man United thought they had a second when Brownhill turned the ball into his own net. Much to his relief, the goal was chalked off as the linesman had spotted a foul by Pogba on Pieters in the build-up.

Not for the first time this season, United found themselves struggling to kill the game off. As the second half started, Burnley came out the blocks quickly and sensed they had a chance to get back into the game. They were soon rewarded as Jay Rodriguez found the back of the net in the 47th minute.

Both goalkeepers played a big role, with both teams creating good goalscoring opportunities. Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been benched following his penalty miss against Middlesbrough, was subbed on in the 68th minute but couldn’t make an impact.

Rodriguez levels the score against Manchester United

West Ham 1 – 0 Watford

West ham kept their top four hopes alive by capitalizing on Manchester United dropping points against Burnley with a win over Watford. Jarred Bowen continued his fine form by scoring the only goal of the game.

This puts Watford fans in a worrying place after seeing their relegation rivals Newcastle and Burnley both pick up very good results.

The game itself was covered in controversy before a ball had even been kicked. On Tuesday morning, footage had circulated on social media of West Ham defender Kurt Zouma kicking, chasing, and hitting his pet cat.

This sparked outrage amongst everyone involved in football. So, it was a huge surprise when the team sheet was announced, with Kurt Zouma’s name in the starting XI.

Some have said it was a “brave decision” from David Moyes, however, many pundits and ex-footballers have said they were “shocked and appalled” by Moyes’ choice to start the defender, with Gary Lineker describing it as a “tone deaf decision”.

Moyes defended himself and Zouma by saying “He is one of our better players”. Not a plausible defence considering the despicable nature of Zouma’s crime. Are we telling footballers that their talent means they can get away with whatever they want?

Kurt Zouma controversially started for West Ham

Tottenham 2 – 3 Southampton

Tottenham forfeited the lead twice in a display that’s uncharacteristic of any Conte team. Despite Son finding the net twice, Tottenham played as if they weren’t bothered about finishing in the top four.

After seeing Manchester United drop points against Burnley, this was the perfect opportunity for them to push on and become favourites for that 4th spot.

Credit must be given to Southampton, who thoroughly deserved their victory. James Ward-Prowse was instrumental in their win, providing two world class assists within minutes of each other, sending Tottenham fans home early.

Manchester City 2 – 0 Brentford

Manchester City went into this game as strong favourites, but Brentford were seemingly putting up a good defensive display for the first 38 minutes. However, all their work was undone by a ridiculous challenge by Roerslev on Sterling inside the box.

Mahrez converted from the spot, and no-one really believed there would be a way back for Brentford.

With 76% possession, Man City controlled the entire game the way they normally do. De Bruyne sealed the victory with a strike in 69th minute.

Roerslev lets his team down with a poor challenge in the penalty box

Norwich 1 – 1 Crystal Palace

Both sides will most likely be feeling disappointed with the draw, however it was probably a fair result.

It was important for Norwich to continue their momentum by accumulating much needed points, although they are still strong favourites to be relegated. However, recent performances will have given Dean Smith’s side a lot of hope for their survival chances.

Wilfred Zaha went from hero to zero, scoring a sensational strike, cutting in from the left wing and striking it into the top right-hand corner. Moments later, Palace were awarded a penalty. Zaha stepped up and produced one of the worst penalty kicks the Premier League has seen in a long time. He looked at the turf as if to alleviate blame, but everyone watching knew he only had himself to blame.

Zaha drags his penalty wide

Aston Villa 3 – 3 Leeds

Without doubt, one of the games of the season (so far). Unsurprisingly, it involved Leeds, who always treat us to a goal feast no matter who they play against. Dan James’ cool finish put his team ahead, before Coutinho went down the other end and scored a very similar goal.

With the score level, Coutinho and Ramsey stepped up their game, Coutinho twice providing an assist for Ramsey, giving Villa a seemingly comfortable lead.

However, the Villa fans were wrong to start thinking the game had been won. Moments before the half-time whistle, James’ found the net for a 2nd time and gave hope to the travelling fans. Into the 2nd half and it was clear Leeds were the team with all the confidence.

Llorente capitalized on Tyrone Mings’ poor clearance to make it 3-3. As the 80th minute approached, players were pulling up with cramps and injuries. Every player had given it their all, and understandingly, started to accept sharing the points at Villa Park.

Coutinho scored one and assisted two

Liverpool 2 – 0 Leicester

Jurgen Klopp went into this game saying it was the strongest squad he has ever had. Salah returned from the AFCON and made up a very strong bench, demonstrating how Liverpool’s squad depth is improving.

Brendan Rodger’s couldn’t say the same. Leicester were without a recognised centre-back as well as other first team players.

Liverpool controlled the game and had 11 shots on target throughout the match. Schmeichel made some great saves to keep the score line respectable. However, he couldn’t keep out the Diogo Jota’s two strikes, putting himself on 12 goals for the season, second only behind Mo Salah (16).

Diogo Jota’s team mates celebrate his second goal

Wolves 0 – 1 Arsenal

In Wolves’ previous 21 matches they had disappointingly only scored 19 goals. However, they had impressively only conceded 17.

For the reason, nobody expected a high scoring game, meaning there was a good chance whoever scored the first goal would win. That’s exactly what happened when Gabriel scored a tap-in in the 25th minute.

There was also more red card controversy surrounding Arsenal. Martinelli was given two yellow cards for two fouls only seconds apart in the same passage of play, a very rare occurrence.

Arteta seemed shocked by the decision, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Arsenal have now picked up 15 red cards since he took charge in December 2019. Fortunately for them, they managed to see out the game and pick up a vital 3 points, capitalizing on Manchester United and Tottenham’s poor results.

Gabriel scores the game’s only goal to secure the win for Arsenal

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