Ben Mee

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Liverpool all class in dispatch of Burnley

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Liverpool doesn’t need help to score goals, so Burnley’s decision to give them the ball in dangerous place didn’t help matters in a 3-0 win for the Premier League leaders on Saturday at Turf Moor.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Roberto Firmino had a goal and an assist, Sadio Mane scored, to join a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross that turned into a Chris Wood own goal.

The Reds enter the international break as the PL’s lone perfect team, finally collecting a clean sheet in the process. They’ve won 13-straight league games and are unbeaten in 21.

Burnley isn’t usually as easy to beat as this, and Sean Dyche will have a word for his men after a loss that was far too straight-forward for the Reds.


Three things

  1. The high press kills even when it’s not pressing hard — Burnley’s awful giveaways gave the Reds chance after chance, and Firmino’s cool feed of Mane for an even cooler finish was birthed by the Liverpool attack’s positioning high up the pitch. Yeah, Firmino is a center forward and will normally be in a position in any formation, but the goal is simply our example of a phenomenon which could’ve seen the Reds up several after 45 minutes
  2. Firmino the straw that stirs the drink — Mohamed Salah is the irreplaceable part of the Liverpool trident and Sadio Mane perhaps the fan’s favorite, but its Brazilian center forward is a special part of the club’s force. Firmino became the first Brazilian player to score 50 Premier League goals when he belted a shot through a Burnley defender’s legs to make it 3-0 in the 81st. Goal, assist, win.
  3. Fabinho is a special wrecker — When the Brazilian arrived from Monaco, there were some worries about his yellow card record. Fabinho has proven to be far more than a hatchet man, and looks even calmer now that Klopp has made him a mainstay in the XI.

Man of the Match: Fabinho


Both sides had chances in the first five minutes, with Chris Wood unable to convert for Burnley and keeper Nick Pope touching Mohamed Salah’s smash off the post at the other end.

Lively Salah thought he had Pope beaten when Jordan Henderson picked out the Egyptian with a gorgeous ball from the right, but the ball popped just wide of the far post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Liverpool fooled Pope when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s accidental goal took a big turn off Chris Wood’s back and looped over the keeper. The expert crosser watched his would be cross fly over a flailing Pope to nestle into the top corner.

Mane made it 2-0 when Ben Mee gave the ball away to Roberto Firmino, who spotted the Senegalese star for a super cool finish.

Premier League Numbers Nerd: Week 1

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Small sample sizes can make for terrible science, but they’re delightful for stat hounds and simple amusements.

For example, the Premier League’s opening weekend saw a hat trick for Raheem Sterling and braces for Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Ashley Barnes.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]

Who was the top dog of the week in terms of match rating, though? Man City’s Riyad Mahrez, who was nearly perfect with two assists, 83.3 percent passing despite his placement in low success areas of the pitch, four tackles, two interceptions, and four key passes.

Here are our favorite numbers, notes, and names from Week 1 (Stats via WhoScored):

Two (2) assists is the current top total in the league. It won’t surprise you to see Mahrez and Paul Pogba on that figure, but the third player to do it is… Burnley’s Erik Pieters!

Four (4) players won eight or more aerial duels: League-leader Christian Benteke (9) of Crystal Palace, as well as Newcastle’s Joelinton, Burnley’s Ben Mee, and Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

Under five: Three players in the Premier League played 90 minutes and couldn’t register higher than a 5.0 on WhoScored’s rating system. Kurt Zouma of Chelsea (4.86) could not come close to replicating his stalwart play with Everton last season and conceded a penalty and four goals. West Ham star Issa Diop (4.93) had the sort of statistical day a lot of players do against Man City, and two of his back line teammates joined him in the Bottom Six. And Grant Hanley of Norwich City posted a 4.99, dinged largely by an own goal despite completing 92.3 percent of his passes against Liverpool.

Five (5) –> Villa fans will want this to be six, as Tyrone Mings couldn’t stop Tanguy Ndombele‘s equalizer, but no player in the Premier League blocked as many shots as the former Bournemouth man. And we’re not done with him yet.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Five is also the league-best number of key passes recorded, by Chelsea’s Pedro. Perhaps Frank Lampard‘s feeling about his team’s play in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United will make sense over time.

And five is also the most fouls drawn by anyone in Week 1, with Villa’s Jack Grealish and Palace’s Jordan Ayew needing some time in an ice bath.

Finally, five is the number of players who completed more than 80 passes on Opening Day. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell led the way with 85, followed by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Toby Alderweireld (Spurs), Harry Winks (Spurs), and Jonny Evans (Leicester).

Seven (7) interceptions were made by Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, the most in the league. Seven is also the amount of fouls committed by Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic against Everton, three more than anyone else (Yes, he saw yellow).

Eight (8): The amount of shots taken by Harry Kane, double the amount of anyone else in the Premier League.

Eight is also the most successful tackles won by a single player this weekend, done by Liverpool’s Fabinho and Aston Villa’s John McGinn?

Seventeen (17): This would also be more appropriately read as “Seven-(expletive)-teen!” Aston Villa’s Mings cleared danger 17 times against Spurs, almost double the No. 2 man, Palace’s Martin Kelly.

100%: Only one field player in the league played more than a half-hour and completed all of his passes, and that was… Christian Pulisic of Chelsea and these United States of America. He was 12-for-12, but here’s the bad news: That came as part of a statistically miserable 6.09 showing.

Burnley hammer sorry Southampton

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Burnley smashed Southampton 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday as a wonderful 12-minute spell from the Clarets in the second half destroyed Saints.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ashley Barnes scored twice and Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored another as Burnley caught Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side cold on the opening day of the season.

Sean Dyche will be a very, very happy man.


Three things we learned

1. Saints’ need new signing Danso to shine at CB, with Vestergaard and Stephens having a rough outing. Defensive solidity has been Saints’ problem for a long time now.

2. Ashley Barnes led the line superbly and he is the kind of player who never gets the credit he deserves. In the driving rain he pushed Burnley on and he looked hungry for the start of the season.

3. Burnley back to being solid at the back, clinical in attack, and after their wobble last season (many will say due to Europa League action) the duo of Mee and Tarkowski at center back epitomize their steady

Man of the Match: Ashley Barnes – Clinical to finish his two chances in the second half and bullied the Southampton defense.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Saints started the better of the two teams but Burnley looked dangerous on the break, as a real moment of controversy arrived.

With the rain pouring down at Turf Moor, a slip in Saints’ defense from Jack Stephens saw Burnley go on to score, but the flag was raised, correctly, for offside and VAR confirmed the goal was disallowed.

Burnley were a nuisance as the game wore on as Johann Berg Gudmundsson went close

VAR was then used as Che Adams clattered into Ben Mee but no red card was awarded as Saints’ new striker remained on the pitch.

At the end of the first half Nathan Redmond cut inside and smashed a superb effort on goal which Nick Pope tipped just over. Barnes then made a hash of a glorious chance with the Clarets in the ascendancy.

In the second half Saints worked their way back into the game and were inches away from taking the lead, as Ryan Bertrand whipped a free kick just over from the edge of the box.

One long ball then led to the opening goal, as Jannik Vestergaard horribly misjudged the flight of the ball and Barnes latched onto it and slammed home to make it 1-0.

Barnes then sealed all three points as Erik Pieters‘ cross from the left found him in the center of the box and he volleyed home calmly for his and Burnley’s second.

And soon after it got even better as Gudmundsson cut in from the left and curled home a delicious strike for Burnley’s third goal in 12 minutes.

Aubameyang double helps Arsenal down Burnley (video)

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A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double saw Arsenal finish the Premier League season on a winning note, and the Gabon international draw level with the Premier League top scorers as Arsenal topped Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor on the final day of the season.

Aubameyang started the day off strong, hitting the bar in the opening minutes. A free kick from a lateral angle swung in to the near post and the Arsenal striker clattered the crossbar with a chested ball. Tom Heaton was also forced into action in the early going, with Aubameyang again coming close minutes later.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Arsenal was nearly broken down past the half-hour mark on a scrum in the box but a critical tackle from Mateo Guendouzi kept Burnley off the board. Just before the break, James Tarkowski got his head to a corner, but it fired just wide.

The Gunners had a familiar sight when Konstantinos Movrapanos went off injured past the half-hour mark, with Laurent Koscielny coming on in his place. The back line for the Gunners this season has been a revolving door with injuries dotting the landscape, and now with the Europa League final on the horizon, they will have to deal with another.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Burnley finally broke thanks to a poor back-pass from Jack Cork, leaving Ben Mee in trouble. Aubameyang snatched the wayward ball, and he finished cooly through on goal for the opener 52 minutes in, his 21st goal of the season.

The second came 10 minutes later with Aubameyang on the double, smashing home a looped cross from Alex Iwobi to the far post. The goal was notable in the Golden Boot race, but Burnley made sure the celebration was short-lived as a header from Ashley Barnes pegged the Gunners back.

Aubameyang had a glorious chance to not only seal his hat-trick but also to win the Golden Boot, and he somehow missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s pinpoint cross came right to a sliding Aubameyang at the doorstep, but he managed to put it wide with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

19-year-old Eddie Nketiah finished off the scoreline with the final kick of the game as he scored from an absurdly tight angle, squeaking it through a defender’s legs right on the end line and into the far corner. The goal was somewhat noteworthy given that Aubameyang was wide open at the penalty spot calling for the ball, and another goal for him would have sealed not only the hat-trick but the Golden Boot outright. Instead, Nketiah took it himself and wrapped up the game.

With the win, Arsenal finished the season in fifth, just a point off the Champions League places with 70, inches behind rival Tottenham’s 71-point haul. Burnley ends up in 15th, right on the magical 40-point mark.

Everton make light work of Burnley, keep European hopes alive

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  • Own goal, Coleman tap-in seal Everton’s victory
  • Toffees climb to 8th, keep European hopes alive
  • Burnley fail to go 13th, remain 15th

Everton completed an emphatic double over Burnley with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Goodison Park on Friday, bringing the two sides’ aggregate score to 7-1 on the season.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The result and accompanying three points went a long way toward keeping the Toffees, who now trail Wolverhampton Wanderers by just a single point, in the race for seventh — to be able to call themselves the best of “the rest” of the Premier League. Wolves will draw level on game played, and could go four points ahead of Everton again, when they host 19th-place and already-relegated Fulham on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com). Finishing seventh will result in Europa League qualification for next season if Manchester City beat Watford, who are in the race for seventh themselves, in the FA Cup final.

Whether his side finishes seventh or 10th — all places which are still mathematically in play — Marco Silva‘s first season at Everton will realize a higher point total (53 with one game still to play) than last season prior to his arrival (49).

Burnley, on the other hand, are mathematically safe from relegation but could still wind up finishing in 17th, possibly as few as three points above 18th.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Friday’s encounter was very typical of games involving Burnley, as Sean Dyche‘s men held just 38 percent of possession — their average of 43.4 percent on the season ranks third from the bottom in the PL — and they were made to pay for it early. Everton were on the front foot from the very beginning and took the lead in the 17th minute. Originally credited to Richarlison for his effort from 25 yards out, the goal was ultimately given as an own goal against Ben Mee for a severe deflection with the shot going well wide of goal.

It was 1-0 for just three minutes, thanks to Seamus Coleman‘s second goal of the season. Lucas Digne fired a shot from a spot very near to where Richarlison’s originated, though the Frenchman’s was on target and very much a problem for goalkeeper Tom Heaton. He made the save, but spilled the ball directly in front of goal, where Coleman was anxiously awaiting his free header.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Everton will visit Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season, while Burnley will play host to Arsenal. The north London sides sit third and fifth, respectively, ahead of the weekend’s games.