Dwight McNeil

Aston Villa secure huge win at Burnley

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Aston Villa beat Burnley 2-1 at Turf Moor on New Year’s Day as Dean Smith‘s side put in a battling display to grab a crucial three points.

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First half goals from Wesley and the superb Jack Grealish were enough to win it for Villa, who had Wesley and goalkeeper Tom Heaton stretchered off late in the game. Chris Wood pulled one back for Burnley but it wasn’t enough as Villa secured their second win in their last three Premier League games.

With the win Villa move on to 21 points as the relegation scrap is now wild, as Burnley sit just three points above them on 24.


3 things we learned

1. Grealish is the real deal: He led by example with a superb goal and assist but it was the other stuff which was almost as important. Grealish ran his socks off and Villa needed him big time. The skipper was superb and his extra quality is capable of keeping Villa up.

2. Injuries pile up for Villa: Wesley and Heaton are big players for Villa and even though Smith will be delighted to get a win it came at a big cost. Just as Tyrone Mings returned from injury he has now lost his best striker and goalkeeper. Let’s see how Villa cope with this.

3. Sluggish Burnley slumping: Three defeats on the spin over the festive season suddenly has Burnley in a proper relegation scrap. A few weeks ago it looked like they would finish in the top 10 but things change very quickly and a sluggish first half cost Sean Dyche‘s side dear.

Man of the Match: Jack Grealish – He was everywhere. Set up the first, scored the second and when Villa needed him in the second half he ran with the ball to try and take the pressure off.


In a tough battle Grealish took an early whack from Jack Cork in midfield as Villa dug deep early on.

From a corner Burnley could only have clear and Konsa crossed for Grealish to head home but VAR intervened to first check a foul and then offside in the build up, as Wesley’s heel (half of it) was offside and the goal was ruled out.

Grealish then played in Wesley who was denied by Nick Pope and Burnley’s goalkeeper kept out Douglas Luiz‘s effort on the rebound.

Dwight McNeil and Chris Wood were off target for Burnley as the hosts struggled to impose themselves on the game.

Villa got the goal their dominance deserved as Grealish and Wesley combined to see the latter squeeze an effort past Pope and in to make it 1-0 and score his first PL goal in almost three months.

Before half time Grealish scored a stunner to double Villa’s lead as their star man cut inside and smashed home to delight the away fans at Turf Moor.

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Villa should have wrapped up the win at the start of the second half but Luiz shot straight at Pope, as Burnley brought on Jay Rodriguez at the break to try and get things going in attack.

Rodriguez had a shot deflected wide from a corner then somehow knocked James Tarkowski‘s cross over from close range.

Burnley dominated and peppered the Villa goal as Heaton flapped at a cross which flew just wide.

Kortney Hause couldn’t make the most of a glorious effort at one end then Chris Wood fired wide at the other and Tyrone Mings then stopped him going clean through as the game opened up.

Wesley was carried off on a stretcher late on after suffering a nasty injury in a huge blow for Villa.

Then it got worse as Wood got his goal late on with a fine header to set up a tense finale.

Former Burnley goalkeeper Heaton was then carried off on a stretcher as he was struggling with a leg injury throughout but Villa held on for a huge win despite late pressure from Burnley.

Wood goal helps Burnley beat Newcastle, end mini-skid

Chris Wood Burnley
Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images
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Burnley got a little bit of luck and a finish from its big striker in a 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday at Turf Moorr, ending a three-match losing streak in the process.

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Chris Wood scored after a controversially-awarded corner, as the Clarets moved 12th on 21 points. That’s a point behind their Saturday visitors.


Three things we learned

1. Lucky Clarets cash in: Those who hate VAR and like a good old fashioned ref error that can’t be fixed by review will be loving this one. Burnley had little-to-nothing going for nearly an hour, but were given a corner when Federico Fernandez was shoved on the touch line and no whistle arrived to aid the center back. Ashley Westwood swept a corner over a sea of players and Kiwi star Wood rose to plant the ball in the goal at the back post.

2. Newcastle’s luck runs out: The Magpies entered this match on a 4-1-1 run and were beginning to entertain Top Seven ideas, but advanced stats said they had been quite lucky all season long. The misfortune of a call against Fernandez won’t sit well with Geordies, but perhaps there’s some comfort in knowing most calls had been going for Steve Bruce‘s men.

3. Gayle miss shows lack of depth: An injury to Allan Saint-Maximin was always going to be a problem for Steve Bruce, but minor injuries kept red-hot Jonjo Shelvey and lively-but-unconfident Miguel Almiron out of the team as well. Christian Atsu and Joelinton were far from clinical out wide, and Bruce turned to Dwight Gayle and Yoshinori Muto off the bench. Gayle had one on a plate from Joelinton but fired wide on a chance which really should’ve provided a deserved point.

Man of the Match: James Tarkowski — The center back had his hands full and feet sore with the physical duo of Andy Carroll and Joelinton, but held firm in helping Burnley keep another zero on the board.


Andy Carroll captained the team and had the game’s first chance when he headed an inviting corner just wide of the frame.

Burnley’s Dwight McNeil forced Martin Dubravka into a save and a lively Isaac Hayden tore into a shot from 30 yards that sailed over the Clarets’ bar.

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Burnley went ahead on a corner that should’ve been a goal kick, but that doesn’t excuse an error from usually strong Martin Dubravka that allowed Wood to prod home at the back post.

Dubravka made amends when Sean Longstaff gave the ball to Cork in the middle of the park and dribbled himself into a 1v1 with the keeper.

Substitute Gayle butchered a chance to make it 1-1 when Joelinton bodied up Erik Pieters off a through ball from Carroll and sent the Englishman to the top of the six.

Rodri, Jesus lead Man City to easy win

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Gabriel Jesus got Manchester City back in the win column ahead of a weekend derby, as the reigning champions scored a professional 4-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday.

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Riyad Mahrez scored his 50th Premier League goal and Rodri also scored for City, who became the third team to break the 30-point marker and joins Leicester City on 32. Man City hosts Manchester United at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday.

Robbie Brady scored in the 89th minute to ruin the clean sheet. Burnley dips into 11th with 18 points, six clear of the Bottom Three. The Clarets visit Spurs on Saturday.


Three things

1. Gabby goes good: Manchester City’s second league match without Sergio Aguero went much better than the first, and the 22-year-old Jesus deserves all the credit. Both of his goals were clinical finishes, the first a beauty from just inside the 18 and the second a thumping, leaping volley of a Bernardo Silva pass. His fourth and fifth goals helped City ease to the win ahead of an intense weekend derby.

2. Rodri’s pile pildriver seals the deal: The Spaniard’s second Premier League was a scorcher of the hottest quality. David Silva‘s shot was blocked onto the path of Rodri, who hit a volley past a flying, splayed Pope. We’re not sure his hand would’ve held up to the pressure of this incredible rip.

3. Feast of famine Clarets fail to give it a go: Sean Dyche set up negatively and mostly limited damage, but the home crowd will have been hoping for something more from a side which has either been strong or miserable for the better part of a month. Burnley’s last five fixtures have ended multiple goals to nil: 3-0 losses to City and Sheffield United, a 2-0 defeat versus Palace, and 3-0 beatings of Watford and West Ham.

Man of the Match: Rodri — Aside from the blazing goal, Rodri completed 90 of 99 passes while winning four aerials and three tackles.


It comes as little surprise that City controlled the early stages, and had the ball in the goal only to see a flag rightly raised when an offside Gabriel Jesus redirected an Angelino drive past Nick Pope.

Jesus would break through in the 24th minute, swirling a shot around Pope which looked an awful lot like Jack Grealish‘s marvelous goal versus Manchester United this weekend.

Pope continues to shine at Turf Moor, and made a strong leg save to deny Bernardo Silva before halftime, one of several interventions in the frame.

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Jesus again got the better of Pope when Kevin De Bruyne played Bernardo on the right of the box. The Portuguese sent a cross to the back post that a leaping Jesus smashed into the goal for 2-0.

Dwight McNeil ripped a free kick on frame that Ederson collected in the 61st minute.

Rodri’s rocket goal was joining by a savvy strike from Mahrez in the 87th minute, Phil Foden laying off to the Algerian for a dribble to the top of 18 and drive past Pope.

Brady denied City its clean sheet when he ran onto a loose ball at the back post in the 89th.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings see plenty of players remaining in the upper echelons.

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Matchweek 12 was wild, with players from Liverpool, Chelsea and Leicester City continuing to dominate our top 20. The likes of Ciaran Clark, John Lundstram and Dwight McNeil were so close to cracking the top 20…

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


1.  Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Up 2
2. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Up 2
3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 2
4. Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – Down 2
5. Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester) – New entry
6. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Up 1
7.  Fabinho (Liverpool) – New entry
8. Andy Robertson (Liverpool) – Down 2
9. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Up 6
10. Willian (Chelsea) – Up 6
11. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – New entry
12. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 7
13. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Even
14. Youri Tielemans (Leicester) – Even
15. James Maddison (Leicester) – New entry
16. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Down 4
17. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) – Up 2
18. Fernandinho (Man City) – New entry
19. Matteo Kovacic (Chelsea) – New entry
20. Richarlison (Everton) – New entry

Burnley batter sorry West Ham

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Burnley beat West Ham United 3-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday, as the Clarets battered the Hammers to move above them in the table.

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Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood set them on their way in the first half, while an own goal from West Ham goalkeeper Roberto summed up an awful defensive display from the Hammers.

With the win Burnley now have 15 points, while West Ham remain on 13.


3 things we learned

1. Roberto continues to struggle: Lukasz Fabianski was the best goalkeeper in the PL early in the season. His injury have hit the Hammers hard. Roberto, in his debut PL season, is struggling and he was at fault for two of Burnley’s three goals.

2. Burnley show best version of themselves: This display was peak Burnley, as they whipped in dangerous crosses and Barnes and Wood bullied the West Ham defense. Burnley have quietly gone about their business this season and this was another example of them keeping the game simple. They sit in ninth place and when Barnes and Wood.

3. Pellegrini under pressure: West Ham have now lost five of their last seven games in all competitions and they are without a win since they beat Man United 2-0 on Sept. 22. It’s not just the defeats for the Hammers, but the nature of them as they’ve conceded six goals in their last two games. After another summer of big spending, the pressure is on Pellegrini.

Man of the Match: Dwight McNeil – His deliveries caused West Ham problems all game long, and he should have had three assists if Wood didn’t have a goal ruled out via VAR. The England U21 winger has matured superbly and is much more consistent in the final third.


Robert Snodgrass headed just wide as West Ham started well on the road.

But Roberto then punched a harmless effort out, via a deflection from Barnes which should have been a goal kick, but it was given as a corner and that’s how West Ham fell behind.

From the resulting corner Burnley went 1-0 up, Dwight McNeil’s cross found James Tarkowski who nodded it to Barnes who celebrated his new contract with a goal.

Andriy Yarmolenko had to replace the injured Mark Noble as West Ham tried to get back in the game.

Burnley thought they had gone 2-0 up as McNeil’s fine cross found Wood who headed home, but VAR ruled out the goal due the Burnley striker being just offside.

Wood did make it 2-0 just before half time, as Valbuena gave the ball away and McNeil crossed for Wood to smash home. The New Zealand striker then celebrated by putting his finger to his ear and mimicking a VAR check…

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Yarmolenko curled a shot on target at the start of the second half as the Hammers improved, but then they shot themselves in the foot. Again.

A corner from McNeil was punched into his own net by Roberto as Burnley sealed the win.

Aaron Cresswell should have scored but Nick Pope denied him, while at the other end Roberto did save well to keep out Phil Bardsley‘s long-range effort, then to deny Wood and Jeff Hendrick.

Overall, the Hammers put in a poor display and Burnley ran out deserved winners and it got even worse for the away side late on as substitute Manuel Lanzini suffered a serious looking shoulder injury.