Good day everyone,
I hope you are all well and enjoyed the Premier League action over the weekend. Welcome to Cryptogod-1's blog on all things sport. With some big matches including Gerrard facing up against his old Merseyside rivals, a relegation six pointer, and Spurs getting another chance against Chelsea, this was certainly an exciting weekend of football. If you want to check out my Preview on this round of games, you can find a link to it here: English Premier League Match Day 23 Preview
Weekend Predictions & Final Results
So in terms of the predicted scores, I only got 1/10 correct scores this weekend. In terms of match-winner/loser, I managed to predict 4/10 correctly in this round of games.
Predicted: Watford 1-0 Norwich
Result: Watford 0-3 Norwich
Sargent x2, Kucka OG
This match really did live up to the billing of a scrap between two relegation candidates. The first has was really quite the dull affair devoid of any real chances of note. The second half was a completely different contest though. Six minutes into it and Norwich opened the scoring via Sargent, who scored what can only be described as a beautiful and delicately finished goal. As the ball came into the box from Pukki, Sargent had to readjust his feet and managed to flick the ball towards goal with his heel. It crashed against the underside of the bar and the keeper got his hands on it, but the referees watch signalled a goal and VAR confirmed it. The game had to be stopped due to technical issues with the floodlights, but after an eleven minute delay, the action resumed. In the seventy-fourth minute Sargent leapt highest and planted the ball in the bottom corner of the net after Rashica played a ball in from the left to double Norwich's lead. Things went from bad to worse for Watford as Dennis got a second yellow card four minutes later. With fifteen minutes of injury time due to the delay, in the second minute of it the game was settled. Initially Watford thought they had a lifeline, only for Sissoko to see his goal ruled out for offside. Moments later Idah saw his cross deflected into the net via substitute Kucka to condemn Watford to defeat. The victory moved Norwich above Watford and out of the bottom three, while giving renewed momentum to their survival bid. Watford meanwhile slipped into the bottom three and are on a run of nine games in all competitions without a victory. Add to that the fact they have now gone thirty league games without a clean sheet and the pressure is beginning to mount on Ranieri.
Predicted: Everton 1-3 Aston Villa
Result: Everton 0-1 Aston Villa
More misery for the Toffees on Merseyside, but Gerrard will be delighted to have gotten one over his old local rivals. Everton experienced the sort of atmosphere not seen at Goodison Park since long before Rafa had arrived last summer. The fans were very much up for this and so were the players, looking to draw on the inspiration from caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson. Everton rode their luck in the first half, with Villa missing chances through Watkins and Buendia. During stoppage time in the first half that all changed, as Buendia made a late run to the near post and sent his looping header over Pickford. Digne, the former Everton man, had sent in a beautiful corner for Argentine to score from. Everton started the second half with renewed determination and had two chances to score before Mings had to head Godfrey's goal-bound effort off the line on the hour mark. Mina and Calvert-Lewin both wasted excellent headed chances and the Toffees will rue their missed chances. The result means Everton are on a run of nine loses from their last twelve league games, leaving them only four points above the relegation zone. The performance of Buendia alongside Coutinho certainly showed manager Steven Gerrard that both are capable of playing together in this Villa side.
Predicted: Brentford 1-2 Wolves
Result: Brentford 1-2 Wolves
Toney - Moutinho, Neves
This game will be remembered for two long stoppages which impacted the game. The first happened when Henry and Jensen clashed heads going for the same ball, and both had to be replaced as a precaution against concussion after the collision. The second pause happened from much more unusual circumstances, when referee Bankes directed the players off the pitch for 19 minutes during the first half because of an unofficial drone flying overhead. The first half didnt have much action of note, until after the restart from the drone incident, Moutinho latched onto Semedo's pass and slotted the ball into the fat corner of Lossl's net with his right foot. Wloves defender Tito received a red card, only for VAR to instruct referee Bankes to consult the pitch side monitor and then he changed it to a yellow. Brentford scored for the ensuing free-kick, with Mbuemo finding Toney in the box and he finished with a volley into the corner of Sa's net. Seven minutes later another Portuguese star made a difference, as Semedo crossed the ball into Ait-Nouri's path, who laid it off for Moutinho to play it into Neves for a precise finish into the far corner. That was the third time Moutinho set up Neves for a goal in open play, while Brentford's Toney has scored twice as many league goals as any of his teammates in the league this season with six.
Predicted: Leeds 2-0 Newcastle
Result: Leeds 0-1 Newcastle
The Geordies must be ecstatic, having finally picked up their second win of the season. Leeds had been on a good run of form going into this game and would have hoped to get their third win in a row to put further daylight between themselves and the drop. The first half saw a mix of chances for both sides, with James denied early on thanks to an excellent reflex save from Dubravka in the Newcastle nets. Harrison continued his excellent recent showing and was lively throughout the contest, but with just fifteen minutes to go Shelvey finally broke the deadlock. Having seen a volley saved in the first half, he made no mistakes this time around. A free-kick on the left edge of the area somehow got past Meslier's grasp in the Leeds goal as Shelvey put a beautiful low curl on it. Newcastle threatened to double their lead but Leeds held firm, and the win has moved Newcastle up to eighteenth in the table, only one point off safety. Leeds have now lost two of their previous three league games at Elland Road and will need to improve that form to keep clear of a relegation battle. Newcastle ran themselves into the ground to protect their lead but unfortunately saw Joelinton, Dummett and Lascelles take knocks. They will hope to overcome them during the break over the next fortnight.
Predicted: Man Utd 2-3 West Ham
Result: Man Utd 1-0 West Ham
What a finish at Old Trafford, as Man United had four strikers on the field and all four of them combined to get Rashford a tap in for the last kick of the game. It what was a huge contest in the race for top-four, the game looked settled for a draw before the stoppage time winner. West Ham started well but United got their foot on the gas and took control of the game soon after. The stand out point in the first half was Ronaldo going down in the box after a challenge from Zouma but the referee waved away the appeal. Neither side managed a shot on target in the opening forty-five minutes, but Fred managed the first early in the second half. Bowen and Varane both had chances but failed to capitalise, before Rangnick made the decision to bring on Rashford, Cavani and Martial. Soucek headed agonisingly wide for the Hammers, before the quartet combined for United to steal the win. Moyes continues his unwanted record of fifteen away games against United without a win. West Ham have also lost three of their previous four away games, with an awful run of form on the road. Rangnick has managed to secure seventeen points from his first eight league games as the Red Devils boss, and United are real contenders for a top-four finish now.
Predicted: Southampton 0-3 Man City
Result: Southampton 1-1 Man City
Walker-Peters - Laporte
It seems Man City are not unstoppable after all as Southampton stopped their winning run of twelves games. Walker-Peters scored for the Saints in the seventh minute after a neat one-two with Redmond to confuse the City defence, allowing him the space to strike a delicious half-volley past Ederson into the far corner of the goal. It took City twenty-seven minutes to register a shot on target when Cancelo took a speculative effort. The first half performance was not the usual from City, and the second started the same. Bednarek headed from close range only for Ederson to save, before Broja saw his header from a James Ward-Prowse corner rebound back off the post. Bednarek had the chance to finish from the rebound, but he hit it over the bar. On the sixty-fifth minute a De Bruyne set-piece floated towards the back post where Laporte was waiting to head the ball into the goal. Both De Bruyne and Jesus hit the post after that, and City kept pushing but Hasenhuttl's side held firm. City remain at the top of the table, while the Saints are in twelfth. That was also the eleventh headed goal Southampton have conceded at home this season, the worst in the league.
Predicted: Arsenal 2-0 Burnley
Result: Arsenal 0-0 Burnley
In a game where Arsenal attempted twenty shots and had seventy-six per cent of the possession, they let the opportunity to gain pace in the race for top-four slip by them. Arsenal couldnt convert their possession into any real clear cut chances, and when they did manage to they were very wasteful in their finishing. Lacazette wasted their best chance when he sent an Emile Smith Rowe cut-back wide with the goal gaping. Odegaard and Smith Rowe were also denied by the impressive Nick Pope, while Saka sent a great chance wide just before half-time. Burnley rarely threatened, although had good chances at the beginning of both halves to take a shock lead. Arsenal have now failed to score in four games in a row for the first time since December 2005. They have also failed to win any of their games so far in this calendar year, with cup defeats to Liverpool and Nottingham Forrest along with their poor league form. They have dropped to sixth, while Burnley are now bottom of the table and four points off safety with four games in hand on Norwich.
Predicted: Crystal Palace 0-3 Liverpool
Result: Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool
Edourard - Van Djik, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho
The Reds managed to survive their final league game without Mané and Salah up front, scoring early and surviving a Palace comeback. On eight minutes Liverpool took the lead, as Van Djik was unmarked in the box and rose highest to head in a Robertson header. The second again came from Robertson just after the half-hour mark, this time crossing across the box for Oxlade-Chamberlain to control and smash the ball into the back of the net. Palace had the biggest chances in the game but their finishing lacked, with Edouard nearly scoring a cheeky back heel only for Allison to save. When they did score in the second half it was a beautiful flowing move ten minutes after the break. Schlupp split the Liverpool defence open, and Mateta got in behind for a one-on-one with Allison. He squared the ball beautifully for Edouard to his left hand side who camly knocked the ball into the empty net. When it seemed Palace might push on and find an equalizer, as Alexander-Arnold sent a long ball to Jota, who controlled and then collided with Palace keeper Guaita in the area. After a VAR check and referee Kevin Friend consulting the pitchside monitor, a penalty was awarded. Fabinho stepped up and sealed the win for the Reds. Virgil van Dijk's scored his tenth headed goal in the league for Liverpool, while Robertson registered his forty-second and forty-third league assists. This was also the first time Palace lost two league games at home in a row this season.
Predicted: Leicester 2-2 Brighton
Result: Leicester 1-1 Brighton
Daka - Welbeck
Another game for Brighton, another draw. Graham Potter was absent from the touchline as he had a positive coronavirus test. The seagulls were their usual selves, as they gave the ball away far too easily and were generally were second best until the hour mark when they brough on Welbeck and Lamptey. Up till then Leicester had the better chances and a bright first half which saw Maddison and Lookman have efforts saved by the feet of Sanchez. They took the lead early in the second half as Daka finished a rebound effort after after Sanchez had kept out Harvey Barnes' toe-poked effort. The game changed with the Brighton subs, with Welbeck's movement causing Leicester defensive headaches while he was always looking to get on the end of balls into the box. He had a decent header saved by Schmeichel, before Maupay sent in a cross with ten mnutes to go and Welbeck getting his head on it. Brighton have only lost one of their eleven away games in the league, while Daka's goal on 45 minutes and 26 seconds was the quickest goal scored in the second half of a Premier League game since February 2020.
Predicted: Chelsea 0-1 Tottenham
Result: Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham
The London Derby certainly lived up to its billing. Thomas Tuchel's side ended a four-game winless run in the league by recording their fourth victory of the season, and third of this month, over Tottenham. Spurs were on the back foot for the majority of the first half but thought they had taken the lead through Kane, only for the referee to rule it out controversially after a soft foul on Silva in the build-up. Chelsea wasted good opportunities during the first half, but Ziyech changed that early in the second half. He took an audacious effort from outside the box, sending it curling up high only for it to nestle in the top corner while Lloris was left stranded. Silva scored a header in the fifty-fifth minute to finish the game off. Tottenham were far from their best although had some bright periods, but have now failed to score in each of their last six meeting with Chelsea. This was also Conte's first defeat in the league since he became manager of Tottenham after six wins and three draws before this.
Table After Match Day 23
A look at the top half of the table, and after Man City dropped points Liverpool have closed the gap to nine points with a game in hand. Man United have moved into fourth in the exciting race for fourth, with Arsenal and Spurs loosing ground in that race.
As for the bottom half, there were massive changes in the make up of the bottom three. Watford have slipped down to 19th, while Norwich have climbed out and Newcastle are only one point from safety. Leeds and Everton will be looking over their shoulders as they are 4 and 7 points above 18th place now.
Top Goalscorers After Match Day 23
1 - M. Salah - Liverpool - 16 Goals
2 - D. Jota - Liverpool - 10 Goals
3 - J. Vardy - Leicester - 9 Goals
4 - Raphina - Leeds - 8 Goals
5 - E. Smith-Rowe - Arsenal - 8 Goals
6 - C. Ronaldo - Man Utd - 8 Goals
7 - E. Dennis - Watford - 8 Goals
8 - Son - Tottenham - 8 Goals
9 - M. Antonio - West Ham - 8 Goals
10 - S. Mané - Liverpool - 8 Goals
+ 6 players on 7 goals
I hope you found some enjoyment in my post and managed to see the matches over the weekend. We have the midseason break taking place now, with teams not returning to league action until the weekend of the 5th of February when Burnley host Watford in a rearranged game. The midweek of the 8th, 9th, and 10th then sees the remainder of the league teams back in action.
Have a great day.
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