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.
Spurs Go Marching On
It was another successful week for league leaders Tottenham, as they comfortably vanquished bitter rivals Arsenal 2-0 in the North London derby on Sunday. In a pulsating encounter, Son and Kane combined in the usual fashion to assist one another and set the score before the break. The deadly duo have now combined for 31 goals, only five behind the record holding partnership of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard. Arsenal looked flat by contrast, dominating possession but rarely threatening as Aubameyang spent another frustrating afternoon anonymous in attack. Arteta became just the second Arsenal manager to lose their first two North London derbies since Bertie Mee in 1966-67, and with his side dwelling down in 15th place the Gunners’ gaffer will be looking to improve his squad in the coming transfer window to change their fortunes.
Spurs ended up seeing out the game comfortably and returned to the summit of the Premier League, but Liverpool are snapping at their heels. The Reds demolished Wolves 4-0 at Anfield as fans were allowed back in to the stadium for the first time since they became PL Champions, and the atmosphere was electric. Klopp hailed the impact of the 2,000 spectators on Sunday, as his side stretched their unbeaten run at Anfield to 32 league games in spectacular style. Narrowly behind on goal difference, little separates Liverpool and Tottenham at the top of the league as we enter a clustered Christmas footballing schedule.
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea sit third after coming back to defeat Leeds 3-1, with Giroud making his first league start this season following his four goal rout in the Champions League midweek. The Frenchman wasted no time repaying his manager with a classy touch to equalise after Patrick Bamford snatched an early lead on his return to Stamford Bridge. From there it was plain sailing for the Blues, who are now unbeaten in 9 top flight games and are looking like strong contenders for the title if they can maintain this current form.
Saints and Foxes Back To Winning Ways
Southampton recovered from a chastening 3-2 defeat to Manchester United last week to edge Brighton 2-1 on Monday evening. Saints were boosted by the return of talisman Danny Ings from injury, who slotted the winning penalty after coming on as a substitute at half time. Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side came back from 1-0 down to seal the win which lifted them back into 5th just four points off the top. Brighton will rue their missed opportunities in a winnable fixture, as Graham Potter’s side remain 16th but only four points clear of the drop.
Leicester City also suffered a painful loss last time out against Fulham, thus were looking to rectify their form going into December. They did so in dramatic style, as Jamie Vardy scored a 90th minute winner from a counter-attack to edge Sheffield United 2-1 on Sunday. The boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan celebrated with passion and clattered the corner flag as his side rose to 4th in the league, but it was a crushing blow for Sheffield United who remain rock bottom of the table with just one point. Chris Wilder’s side are well and truly experiencing the infamous ‘Second season syndrome’ and have become only the third side in top flight history to lose ten or more of their first 11 league matches of the season. The Blades will take hope from the fact that they have been tough to break down this season, having only lost by more than one goal twice in eleven fixtures, but Wilder will be desperate to strengthen his squad come January.
After rocky starts to their respective seasons, both Manchester United and Manchester City are slowly creeping up on the top four. Man United left it late to come back against a strong West Ham side and win 3-1 in the Olympic Stadium, despite playing poorly for the majority of the game once again. In the first Premier League fixture to have fans back since March, Pogba, Greenwood and Rashford blitzed the Hammers to score three in thirteen minutes and secure United’s fourth straight league victory. This result came after midweek’s disappointing 3-1 defeat to PSG and was a similar Jekyll and Hyde performance that we have come to associate with the Red Devils in recent times. OGS will hope to shore up his defence in January, and with Pogba’s agent stirring up trouble it seems the midfielder’s days at the club may be numbered. Changes may be on the horizon for United, but for now the win took them up to 6th in the league.
Local rivals Manchester City also enjoyed a fruitful weekend in the Premier League. Pep Guardiola’s team eased past Fulham 2-0 thanks to an inspired Kevin De Bruyne performance. For Pep, the real positive will be the fact that this was the first time in the current campaign that City have achieved back-to-back victories, a consistency which will be crucial if they hope to contest Liverpool and Spurs for the title. Fulham by contrast have now conceded more goals than any other PL side this season, with 21 goals scored against them and a dreadful record of 8 defeats in 11 fixtures. The Cottagers are just one point above the relegation zone, but were never really expected to come away from the Etihad with anything.
Exciting Everton Can’t Find A Win
Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, previously tipped as potential title contenders after a blistering start to 2020-21, again failed to return to winning ways this week as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Burnley. Top scorer Calvert-Lewin slotted his eleventh of the campaign just before half-time to equalise and set up a thrilling second half, but England keepers Pope and Pickford were resolute between the sticks and refused to be beaten again in front of on-looking England manager Gareth Southgate. Richarlison’s return to the team has certainly been a catalyst for stronger performances, but Ancelotti’s side should be achieving much more with the talented players in their ranks. This their fourth defeat in six games, the Toffees might need to change their tactics if they hope to fight their way back up the table. As it stands, the Merseyside team sit 9th, whilst Burnley remain in the relegation zone just one point behind Fulham.
Fellow relegation strugglers West Brom were battered 5-1 by Palace in the weekend’s final fixture, as Zaha announced his return from COVID with two goals and an assist in a stellar display. Level at half time, the sides seemed evenly matched, however Costa Pereira’s sending off near the end of the first half proved the catalyst for Palace to run rampant. Christian Benteke also scored a brace, but it was Zaha who proved how indispensable he is for Roy Hodgson as the striker has now scored or assisted 10 of Palace’s 16 goals this season. For Bilic’s West Brom, having now conceded a league high 23 goals so far this campaign the Baggies will need to focus on shoring up their defence if they hope to avoid the drop at the end of the season.
A United City Divided – Matchweek 12 Preview
So looking ahead, what does next weekend have to offer in terms of football? Well the Manchester Derby returns in all its glory on Saturday evening, a feisty affair which is sure to send sparks flying. City and United sit 7th and 6th respectively and are just a few points off leaders Spurs, so a victory for either side would help bring them into title contention as Christmas looms. Everton play Chelsea that same evening in another promising clash, one which could go either way depending which side turns up on the day. League leaders Spurs head to Crystal Palace, who could pose a threat given their 5-1 demolition this week and the return of in-form Zaha, whilst arch-rivals Arsenal will be taking on Burnley as Arteta looks to get the Gunners’ rocky season back on track at the home of the relegation strugglers.
Liverpool face Fulham in a game which could run away from the Cottagers if they aren’t prepared for the Reds attacking onslaught. Leicester will play Brighton at home the same afternoon, a game the Foxes will be expected to win given their current electric form. Elsewhere Southampton are firm favourites in their match-up against bottom side Sheffield United and with the return of Saints top-scorer Danny Ings, Chris Wilder’s men are likely going to struggle.
There’s a West Midlands derby to look forward to at Saturday lunch-time as Aston Villa take on Wolves in their first game in two weeks after Villa’s fixture against Newcastle was cancelled amidst COVID-19 concerns. Similarly well-rested Newcastle are at home against West Brom that same day, and Steve Bruce’s men are undoubtedly favourites in that game. The Friday night game this week will see West Ham travel to Leeds, the in-form Hammers looking to bounce back after the defeat to Man United against a Leeds side slipping down the table.
Stats of the Week
- West Ham have dropped more points from winning positions in 2020 than any other team in the Premier League (19)
- Sheffield United are only the third team in top flight history to lose 10 or more of their first 11 league matches and the first since Newcastle in 1977-78
- Harry Kane scored his 250th goal for club and country in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Arsenal
- Wolves’ 4-0 defeat to Liverpool is their joint-highest margin of defeat in a PL game (they also lost 4-0 to West Ham in September)
- Southampton won a Monday PL game for the first time in 15 attempts (D7 L7)