BurnFM Premier League Weekly
Hello and welcome to BurnFM Sport’s new weekly segment on all things Premier League! Join us as we delve into the weekend’s action, exploring headlines and highlights across all league fixtures, before previewing the week to come! Settle down, grab a cuppa and let the football enthusiasts of BurnFM’s Sports team walk you through England’s top-tier this week.
Tight at the Top
After another thrilling weekend of Premier League action, league leaders Tottenham remain tied at the top of the table with Liverpool on 21 points, with just 6 points separating the top ten! Spurs were disappointing this weekend, grinding out a dull 0-0 draw with rivals Chelsea, who sit 3rd in the standings. With just four shots on total, this highly anticipated fixture won’t live long in the memory, although Frank Lampard’s side were at least able to bring an end to Spurs’ four match winning run.
Elsewhere, Manchester United returned to form this Sunday with an impressive 3-2 comeback win over Southampton. Saints were 2-0 up at half time, but the introduction of Edinson Cavani after the break proved the hosts undoing. The former PSG striker set up Bruno Fernandes before scoring a late brace to complete a stunning turnaround victory for United. A poor result for the in-form Saints, which brings an end to their 7 game unbeaten run.
Manchester City also gained three points this weekend, but far more easily than their local rivals United. Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to a 5-0 win over Burnley, Riyad Mahrez scoring his first hat trick for City and Benjamin Mendy his first ever goal for the club in the process. It was a stylish victory for the hosts, but another crushing defeat for Burnley, who incredibly have been trounced 5-0 in their last 4 fixtures against City! Sean Dyche’s side have won just one game this season, losing 7 out of the last 10 league games, meaning they slipped back into the relegation zone this weekend.
Despite three more points on the board, Man City remain adrift in 11th although just 6 points off leaders Spurs in a ridiculously tight top ten. Champions Liverpool were unable to take advantage of Tottenham dropping points against Chelsea, as Klopp’s side were held to a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium. Jota continued his rich vein of form, slotting in his 9th goal for the club to help the Reds take the lead, but a controversial late penalty awarded by VAR allowed Pascal Gross to equalise in added time. Liverpool will be frustrated after having two goals of their own disallowed by VAR, but Brighton fought well and undoubtedly deserved the draw.
Toffees Stuck Again
Both Leicester and Everton dropped points in the title race this week too. The Foxes were stunned by Fulham on Monday night, as Scott Parker’s side earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the hosts. City’s attack were frustrated all evening, whereas Fulham were clinical and the important result lifted the Cottagers out of the relegation zone by a single point. Everton similarly struggled in attack, registering 15 shots and 8 on target, but the Toffees weren’t able to score against a determined Leeds side. Bielsa’s team managed 23 shots on target in an open and exciting game, with Raphina’s late, long range strike earning them their first win in 4 games. Everton’s poor turn of form continues after a blistering start to the season, with Ancelotti’s side suffering their 4th defeat in 5 games. The Merseyside club haven’t kept a clean sheet since the opening weekend, and their defensive frailties need sorting out if the Toffees hope to maintain a title challenge.
As it stands, Everton have slipped to 8th and West Ham have leapfrogged both them and Southampton into 5th place after defeating Aston Villa 2-1 on Monday. The Hammers have now accrued their highest points total after 10 games in nine years, and David Moyes’ side looked sharp across the pitch. Villa fought valiantly, with Grealish scoring a wonderful long range, curling effort and Watkins equalising at the death, but the latter’s late goal was disallowed by VAR for a harsh offside. Dean Smith’s side remain an unpredictable outfit this season, and will be hoping to find some form of consistency in their performances moving forward.
Wolves also staked their claim this week, rising to 7th in the table after edging past Arsenal 2-1 in a game that was overshadowed by the horrific clash of heads between David Luiz and Raul Jimenez. Luiz was able to carry on, but Jimenez was rushed to hospital with a fractured skull. He is reportedly doing well after surgery, but the incident has reignited concerns over football’s head injury protocols. Luiz’s head was bandaged and he played the last 30 minutes of the first half before his head wound forced him off at half time, but critics argue that clubs should be allowed to make temporary substitutions to enable the medical teams to analyse players for concussion and bodily damage. Many other sports have implemented important changes to head injury protocols, such as Rugby’s RFU and even the NFL, so it is mystifying that football still hasn’t caught up. Hopefully this weekend’s incident will highlight the need for such change, and quicken its implementation.
Battle at the Bottom
Down in the bottom half of the table, Newcastle bested Crystal Palace 2-0 on Friday evening as Joelinton and Callum Wilson combined to assist each other for two late goals. Palace felt the absence of COVID-stricken Wilfried Zaha, a familiar sight as Hodgson’s side have only won 2 of their last 17 fixtures without the star striker. Callum Wilson is proving to be Newcastle’s signing of the summer, having now been directly involved in 9 goals in 9 PL appearances (7 goals, 2 assists). Bruce will hope to keep him fit if his side want to break through into the top half of the table.
The last fixture of the weekend was a critical one in the relegation battle at the bottom, as West Brom narrowly beat fellow strugglers Sheffield United 1-0 at home to temporarily lift them out of the drop zone. It was the first win of the season for Slaven Bilic’s men, and the form of goalkeeper Johnstone was key to this vital victory. Sheffield United are increasingly looking like relegation favourites, as they are now the only side in the league yet to win a game, gaining just one point in 10 games, 9 of those ending in defeat. Now 5 points adrift, Chris Wilder will need to either make serious tactical changes or bring in strategic signings in January if he hopes to keep his team in the Premier League next season.
North London Nerves – Matchweek 11 Preview
Looking ahead to the weekend, the standout fixture is undoubtedly the famous North London derby. Tottenham and Arsenal clash once again, but the arch rivals’ seasons’ have differed wildly this year – Mourinho’s men lead the table, level on points with Liverpool after a strong start to the season, whilst Mikel Arteta’s side have experienced their worst start to a league season since 1981, with the Gunners dwelling in 14th having suffered 4 losses in their opening 10 games. Spurs will be looking to make a statement after dropping points against Chelsea this week, so expect to see Son, Kane and Bale flourishing in attack. Arteta by contrast is surely looking to stop the rot at this point, with his job potentially in jeopardy after such a sorry start to 2020-21.
Everton too will be eager to return to form, and where better to achieve this than against struggling Burnley? City should hold the advantage over their opponents Fulham, but Parker’s huge victory over Arsenal might inspire his side to test the hosts. Man United take on in-form West Ham and Liverpool face Wolves in the two fixtures that I would argue are most difficult to predict. Should United start Cavani then the Red Devils might be able to turn on the style, but they’ll be wary about underestimating David Moyes’ team. Liverpool v Wolves sounds like a mouth-watering attacking display on paper, I just hope it can live up to the hype.
Leicester and Southampton will be looking to bounce back from defeats this weekend, against Sheffield United and Brighton respectively. Chelsea against Leeds could go either way, given Leeds’ erratic form of late. Aston Villa vs Newcastle and West Brom against Crystal Palace round off next weekend’s fixtures as we enter December.
Stats of the Week
- 43% of West Brom’s PL goals this season have been scored from outside the box – the highest ratio of any side in the division
- James Ward-Prowse scored his 9th PL free kick goal, going level with Nolberto Solano, Jamie Redknapp and Frank Lampard
- Manchester United have become the first side in PL history to win 4 consecutive away games despite trailing in each
- Tottenham failed to score for the first time in the league since the opening weekend
- Jan Bednarek has scored 3 PL goals for Southampton – each time, it has been in a 3-2 loss at St Mary’s