EPL

Premier League Review: Salah at the double, Fleck fires brace for Blades

By Sports Desk December 14, 2019

Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet of the Premier League season in a 2-0 win over Watford as Mohamed Salah's double rescued the off-key Reds.

The manner in which Jurgen Klopp's men can win when out of sorts must be hard to swallow for second-placed Leicester, who drew 1-1 at home to Norwich City, and third-placed Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal on Sunday.

Chelsea failed to put pressure on the top three as they succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat to Bournemouth, but Sheffield United moved up to fifth after brushing Aston Villa aside in a 2-0 win.

Chris Wood's goal was enough to bring Burnley's three-match losing streak to an end and condemn Newcastle United to a first defeat in four league outings.

 

Watford make Reds work for 16th straight home win

New manager Nigel Pearson left Anfield with every reason to be proud of his Watford side's performance on an afternoon when the Hornets had enough chances to claim a shock victory against the Premier League leaders.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue were guilty of wasteful finishing that let Liverpool off the hook and Salah made Watford pay in spectacular style.

The Egypt international curled a spectacular opener into the top corner after 38 minutes and then wrapped up a hard-fought win with a cheeky tap-in in the last minute.

The satisfaction Jurgen Klopp took from an ugly win was dulled by an injury to Georginio Wijnaldum, who suffered a muscle strain that looks set to rule him out of Liverpool's trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup.

Liverpool have now won 16 straight home Premier League games, with their lead up to 10 points.

Four defeats in five for Lampard's Blues

Bournemouth arrived at Stamford Bridge in the midst of a five-game Premier League losing streak but emerged with all three points after Dan Gosling's late goal clinched a surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea.

Any hopes the Blues had of a return to strong domestic form following their 2-1 midweek victory over Lille began to fade as chances went begging while Bournemouth grew in confidence.

As the Cherries piled forward, Jefferson Lerma's looping header into the box six minutes from time found Gosling unmarked and he lifted the ball over Kepa Arrizabalaga and over the line.

Chelsea had 18 shots at goal throughout the match but failed to force an equaliser and Frank Lampard's men trudged off the field with a record of one win and four defeats in their last five Premier League outings.

Foxes come up short as winning streak ends

Teemu Pukki's third goal in four Premier League matches gave Norwich City the lead at King Power Stadium, where Leicester City's eight-match Premier League winning streak came grinding to a halt.

The Finland international fired Norwich ahead after 26 minutes, but their advantage did not last long, with Tim Krul palming Jamie Vardy's header into his own net seven minutes before half-time.

Daniel Farke's Norwich fought hard for their share of the points in a second half that saw Leicester heap pressure on their goal, attempting 12 shots on goal.

Ben Chilwell's cross forced a late corner from which substitute Harvey Barnes fired agonisingly wide for the hosts, who remain second in the table.

Blades up to fifth after victory over Villa

Any doubts over which of this season's promoted sides has the best chance of a top-half finish appeared to be resolved at Bramall Lane, where Fleck scored both of Sheffield United's goals in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

Chris Wilder's men have proved themselves extremely tough to beat and Villa's hopes of inflicting what would have been only United's second defeat in 10 league games suffered a blow when Scotland international Fleck finished a neat passing move with a goal after 50 minutes.

Fleck coolly slotted home his second 23 minutes later before Jack Grealish hit the crossbar with a penalty, leaving Villa winless in four Premier League matches and in trouble towards the foot of the table.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund Coronavirus: Premier League stars announce #PlayersTogether charity fund

    Premier League stars have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement on Tuesday.

    The announcement comes after UK health secretary Matt Hancock had urged the highest-paid footballers in the country to "play their part" in helping key services during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Those comments attracted criticism from some in the sport, including United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said it was unfair to paint players as an easy target while discussions about contributions to health services and charities were ongoing.

    The statement said: "Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it's needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need. This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.

    "We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.

    "NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion, and support the NHS' official charities. NHSCT are the official charity partner of the NHS nationally.

    "The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.

    "#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.

    "Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this."

  • Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes: I'm the new Veron! Man Utd star Bruno Fernandes: I'm the new Veron!

    Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes joked he is the new Juan Sebastian Veron after sporting a goatee while isolating during the coronavirus pandemic.

    While a number of players have shaved their heads due to social distancing policies during the coronavirus pandemic making it tricky to get a professional trim, Fernandes has only taken the razor to his facial hair.

    United team-mate Diogo Dalot teased him by tweeting that he now looked like a character in Netflix drama Narcos.

    However, Fernandes believes his new look shared greater similarities with a former United player.

    "We've found the new Juan Sebastian Veron! But the hair, the hair needs to stay," he told MUTV.

    Fernandes has quickly become a key figure since arriving at United from Sporting CP in January in a deal worth £67.6million (€80m).

    The Portugal international is yet to taste defeat in his nine appearances for the club and has contributed three goals and four assists.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's backing has been important to him since he arrived at Old Trafford, but he says he would have been ready to give "200 per cent" to force himself into the manager's plans in different circumstances.

    "For me, the most important was obviously the confidence of the coach. I need to know I am backed from the coach, because sometimes when you change club, not every time the coach wants you," said Fernandes.

    "Not like I need to come because the coach wants me to play, no, not like this, but I want to feel the confidence from the coach: 'You come, you are a choice for me and you come. I need you, I want you.'

    "It's not like you come and I ask, 'But I will play?' No, this for me is not the point. For me, the point is the confidence he has in me. If he has confidence in me, then the rest is working."

    He continued: "I feel the confidence from the club and I feel also the confidence from the coach, Ole, and also if maybe the choice was not from the coach, I come.

    "I come and I will show to the coach I can play, I can be a choice for him, because sometimes you need to press yourself to be better and give more.

    "Maybe if I come and I am not the choice for the coach, I will know I need to give not 100 per cent, 200 per cent, because the coach needs to see, he needs to see me, he needs to understand that I need to play, I want to play more than the others.

    "In your mind, you want to play more than the others, but the others are thinking the same way with you.

    "This is the confidence we need to have to keep improving, to keep training more and the healthy battles you need in the team. You are competing with someone, this one, this one and this one.

    "You need to give more than him and he will be thinking the same way with me and then, if you're thinking the same way, you can be much better. Me and him.

    "It doesn't matter who plays, you will train better, I will train better and so the team will be better."

  • Opta Woe: The worst discipline stats in Europe's top five leagues in 2019-20 Opta Woe: The worst discipline stats in Europe's top five leagues in 2019-20

    The resumption of football in Europe's top five leagues still appears some way off due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving players with plenty of time to analyse their performances this season.

    Using Opta data, we have already examined some of the worst attacking, passing, defending and goalkeeping numbers from 2019-20, but who has been letting the side down with shoddy discipline.

    We have analysed five metrics for players now operating under the increasing scrutiny of VAR across the elite divisions.

    These include the worst offenders in terms of fouls conceded, penalties conceded, offsides, yellow cards and red cards.

    Check out our list of shame below, which is not the who's who of hotheads you might expect, while a lack of minutes on the field does not necessarily mean a player cannot irritate the officials.

    THE WORST FOUL STATS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

    BUNDESLIGA:

    Most fouls conceded: Robert Andrich (52) 
    Most penalties conceded: Dedryck Boyata (3)
    Most offsides: Timo Werner (35)
    Most yellow cards: Klaus Gjasula (12)
    Most red cards: Leon Bailey (2)

    LALIGA:

    Most fouls conceded: Jaime Mata (67)
    Most penalties conceded: Ruben Duarte (4)
    Most offsides: Alvaro Morata (28)
    Most yellow cards: Gerard Pique (12)
    Most red cards: Facundo Roncaglia, Zouhair Feddal, Clement Lenglet (all 2)

    LIGUE 1:

    Most fouls conceded: Andy Delort (69)
    Most penalties conceded: Mathieu Debuchy (3)
    Most offsides: Victor Osimhen (33)
    Most yellow cards: Nicolas Pallois (10)
    Most red cards: Ruben Aguilar, Racine Coly, Steven Moreira, Boubakary Soumare, Marcal, Anthony Briancon, Jacques-Alaixys Romao (all 2)

    PREMIER LEAGUE:

    Most fouls conceded: Etienne Capoue (47)
    Most penalties conceded: David Luiz (3)
    Most offsides: Chris Wood (31)
    Most yellow cards: Jorginho (10)
    Most red cards: Christian Kabasele (2)

    SERIE A:

    Most fouls conceded: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (52)
    Most penalties conceded: Koray Gunter (3)
    Most offsides: Cristiano Ronaldo, Rodrigo Palacio (both 21)
    Most yellow cards: Ismael Bennacer (12)
    Most red cards: Bremer, Federico Marchetti, Pawel Dawidowicz, Armando Izzo, Davide Calabria (all 2)

    AND THE TOP FIVE:

    Most fouls conceded: Andy Delort (69)
    Most penalties conceded: Ruben Duarte (4)
    Most offsides: Timo Werner (35)
    Most yellow cards: Ismael Bennacer (12 in 1,620 minutes played)
    Most red cards: Federico Marchetti (2 despite not playing a single minute of Lazio's Serie A season!)

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.