A matchday of highs and lows for teams around the Premier League. Highs included Manchester City putting a 13-point distance on Chelsea, Norwich City moving up from the bottom of the table, Philippe Coutinho making a dream debut with the claret and blue, and Jack Harrison’s first league hat-trick against West Ham. The lows were Everton continuing their losing streak and sacking their manager, Newcastle seeing their second win fade away in the last three minutes of the match, and United finishing in a draw after having a two goal lead.
Brighton (1) vs. Crystal Palace (1)
An odd series of events occurred in the 33rd minute, Brighton was taking a corner kick from the left side of the pitch. During the ensuing set play, Will Hughes pulled down Joël Veltman in the box. The VAR official called down to the on-field referee to have another look at the play. A penalty was called and it was saved by Jack Butland. Another corner kick was granted to Brighton, it was crossed to the middle of the box and headed towards goal. The keeper and Neal Maupay seem to have gotten to the ball at the same time and Maupay was victorious in the challenge giving Brighton their lead. But, the VAR official called the referee again to have a second look. On further review, Jack Butland had the ball in both hands before Maupay made his run into the keeper. Therefore, the goal was disallowed and a free kick was awarded to Palace. In the 69th minute, Connor Gallagher scored for Palace after a keep-in attempt by Jeffrey Schlupp came right back to him and he hammered it in past the defender and the keeper. An own goal by Palace brought Brighton back in the game and it finished in a draw.
Manchester City (1) vs. Chelsea (0)
A match between the top two teams in the table meant a matchup between two Goliaths. But, City showed why they are at the top of the table. They dominated the first half putting three shots on target to Chelsea’s none. Romelu Lukaku had a great chance to put Chelsea out front early in the second half but Ederson was way out of his goal to meet Lukaku and made a brilliant save. Chelsea wouldn’t have another shot on target for the remainder of the match. Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne capitalized on a beautiful run in the middle of the field with an equally beautiful strike into the right corner of the goal. City now has a 13-point lead in the PL and look to have secured their second consecutive title with four months to go.
Norwich City (2) vs. Everton (1)
Everton’s woes continued despite a positive result in the FA Cup. Everton has failed to get a victory in over a month in the PL. Their last victory was to Arsenal on December 6th. Norwich went up by two quickly by an own goal and a first goal in the PL by Adam Idah. Everton had to instantly play catch up. They could only manage a single goal in the 60th minute by Richarlison. A disappointing defeat to a relegation zone team that will lead to questions about the job status of their manager, Rafa Benitez. In fact, a day later, the club sack their manager.
Wolves (3) vs. Southampton (1)
Wolves, on the other hand, have been putting a string of positive results. They have been victorious in three of their last four matches. Which have slowly allowed them to climb up the table, six points away from the top four. Wolves scored once in the first half and set the tone in the second half with their second goal. The Saints answered with a goal by James Ward-Prowse in the 84th minute but a goal in extra time by the Wolves put the game out of reach.
Newcastle (1) vs. Watford (1)
Newcastle had their second victory of the season in their grasp but Watford had other plans. In the second half, Allan Saint-Maximin scored his fifth goal of the season to put Newcastle up front. Watford found their equalizer in the 87th minute. A victory for Newcastle would have put them outside of the relegation zone jumping ahead of Watford. The draw results in both teams maintaining their positions in the table.
Aston Villa (2) vs. Manchester United (2)
United’s positive effort in the match was derailed in the last thirteen minutes of the game by an outstanding debut for Philippe Coutinho. Bruno Fernandes seemed to have found this scoring touch after not having scored a goal in over a month. He scored both goals for United. A substitution a minute after Fernandes’ second goal turned the tide of the match. Philippe Coutinho made an impact in his Villa debut. After his substitution into the match, he assisted on Jacob Ramsey’s goal and scored his own goal in the 81st minute. The draw hurt the Red Devil’s chances of moving up in the table.
Liverpool (3) vs. Brentford (0)
Liverpool found their offence that they seemed to have gone missing in the Carabao Cup semis on Thursday. It took them until the second half to get going but once they started they couldn’t stop. The Reds scored three goals in the second half leading to a three-nil defeat over Brentford. The victory propelled Liverpool over Chelsea for second in the table and reduced the advantage of City to 11 points.
West Ham (2) vs. Leeds (3)
Jack Harrison had his coming-out match at London Stadium. He scored his first professional football hat-trick propelling Leeds to a victory over West Ham. The scoring went back and forth throughout the match and was nearly tied in extra time by Jarrod Bowen but the deflection off his chest went high.
- Burnley vs. Leicester City
- Tottenham vs. Arsenal