Burnley and Newcastle both progressed as the early Saturday slate of FA Cup third round games provided plenty of morning action.
Jay Rodriguez struck a brace as Burnley pounded League One side Peterborough United 4-2. The lead was never really in question, only conceding via a bad mistake at the back by defender Matthew Lowton in the first half and a messy set-piece chance in the second half. Otherwise, it was all Sean Dyche‘s side who also got goals from Erik Pieters and Jeff Hendrick, the latter coming via a massive deflection.
Newcastle United was often put under pressure by League One side Rochdale, Miguel Almiron’s early goal was not enough as the hosts equalized with 11 minutes to go to force a replay. Rochdale was the better side in the second half, but Ian Henderson hit the post with a tight-angle shot from point-blank range, and Martin Dubravka made a stunning save on Oliver Rathbone in the 74th minute. 40-year-old Aaron Wilbraham took advantage of some hideous Newcastle defending to level the scoreline late. Rathbone should have won it for Rochdale in the 90th minute but stunningly scuffed his chance with the goal gaping. There was good news for U.S. National Team fans, as DeAndre Yedlin surprisingly proved fit despite a hand injury and played well throughout.
Rotherham fell a man down just 24 minutes in after an ugly high challenge by Adam Thompson, and they blew a 2-1 second-half lead, falling late to Hull City 3-2. Tom Eaves was the man of the hour, with his 66th minute equalizer providing the stepping stone, and he picked up his hat-trick to win it in the 92nd minute. Hull nearly blew it moments later, with Rotherham hitting the post, but it was Eaves’ day at the final whistle.
Millwall hammered Newport County 3-0, going ahead inside the opening 10 minutes through former Fulham striker Matt Smith, before Connor Mahoney and Tom Bradshaw put the game away in the second half. Millwall, sitting seventh in the Championship table, was an attacking threat throughout and dominated play against their League Two opposition.
Birmingham City survived to force a replay despite falling a man down with a half-hour to play, finishing level at 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers. Bristol City and Shrewsbury Town will also need a replay after finishing level 1-1, with goals by Famara Diedhiou and Sean Goss cancelling each other out.
Coming up in the next set of games, Brighton & Hove Albion hosts Sheffield Wednesday,
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.
Jeff Hendrick‘s volley was the difference as Burnley made the most of their one man advantage as Seamus Coleman was shown two yellow cards and sent off early in the second half.
With the win Burnley now have 12 points, while Everton are on seven points and sit one point and one place above the relegation zone.
3 things we learned
1. Everton their own worst enemies: Marco Silva‘s side went down to 10 men and a lack of focus cost them dear at Burnley. They have now lost four-straight Premier League games and they continue to do the basics poorly. Going forward they barely created any clear-cut chances and that is a familiar story. They have gone backwards since last season and they are beating themselves.
2. Burnley’s set pieces the difference: In the first half Burnley found Hendrick at the back post but his shot was cleared away. They were inventive with their set pieces and in the second half found Hendrick in a near identical situation and he delivered the game-winner. Sean Dyche does not complicate things and Burnley play to their strengths. They aren’t pretty to watch, but they have 12 points on the board this season and are primed for a top 10 finish. Not many people expected that after their struggles last season.
3. Pressure piles on Silva: The Toffees boss doesn’t appear to have an answer to their poor form and he’s been given a fair crack of the whip, and plenty of cash, since arriving at Everton. In their next five games they face West Ham, Brighton, Southampton, Tottenham and Norwich. Anything other than three wins from those five will see Silva fired. Simple.
Man of the Match: Jeff Hendrick – Delivered the key moment and although Burnley’s defense played really well, he kept popping up in dangerous positions. Hendrick’s extra bit of quality was the difference.
Erik Pieters‘ cross found Johann-Berg Gudmundsson in the box but his header was saved by Jordan Pickford, while Everton were causing Burnley some issues out wide.
Alex Iwobi had an effort blocked and Everton were building their way into the game.
Burnley, as they always are, were dangerous from set pieces situations and continued to cause Everton plenty of problems with crosses into the box.
A shot from Jeff Hendrick across goal caused some problems, but the Toffees defense stood tall in a tight first half. At the other end Dwight McNeil cleared off the line and James Tarkowski blocked as Richarlison troubled Burnley’s defense.
Villa outshot the Clarets, had 60 percent of the ball, and passed it well, too, but Burnley dealt with Dean Smith‘s tactics of sending 27 crosses into the fray.
Jay Rodriguez scored Burnley’s other goal, with Sean Dyche‘s club up to 10th with nine points, while John McGinn and Anwar El Ghazi struck as Villa collected a point to sit 18th with five points.
Three things we learned
1. Fine margins again for Villa: Dean Smith’s men have out-performed their meager point total, as Villa’s five points are still Bottom Three. While the late disappointment against Crystal Palace as not their fault, this one was self-inflicted as the Villans lost sight of giant Chris Wood, who might as well have “This is our tactical approach” pressed onto his name plate. Not okay.
2. Dyche’s men never quit: Okay, we knew this. Everyone knows this, but Sean Dyche’s men make you look foolish every time you’re ready to doom Burnley into a relegation race. You keep thinking their Fortune will run out, that graft won’t win the day, and then Wood somehow powers his way to a late equalizer. The Clarets won’t tempt a European place this season, but we’d be silly to think of them as anything other than safe. Sorry in advance for the jinx, Burnley faithful.
3. Burnley’s backs bail out everyone else: Besides Wood’s finish, which didn’t exactly cap an outstanding day, the Clarets again put their back line under the gun. Keeping James Tarkowski is proving to be an outstanding bit of non-business for Burnley, who also got good performances out of fullbacks Matt Lowton and Erik Pieters. Both had assists, including the ex-Villa man Lowton on Wood’s equalizer.
Man of the Match: John McGinn was denied the opening goal when Conor Hourihane was spotted offside by VAR, but the soon-to-be 25-year-old Scot wouldn’t stay off the score sheet in scooping up his third Premier League goal.
McGinn thought he had his third goal early, with Hourihane ruled offside by VAR, but Villa would find the lead when El Ghazi used a cute touch of a Frederic Guibert cross to make it 1-0.
Half of the Premier League’s teams — yes, 10 of them — have 1-1-1 records after three match days, though not all are created equal.
For example, baffling VAR decisions. Manchester United can feel righteously aggrieved to not have at least six points. Spurs got huge VAR help to draw Man City but could’ve snared a point from Newcastle (yeah, that happened) should a penalty decision have went their way.
Sheffield United and Bournemouth drew each other and beat poor sides at home.
And what in the world do you make of Wolves, who have three draws but have been clobbered by early season qualifying rounds of the Europa League.
Green: New season-high ranking Red: New season-low
20. Watford — The Pozzo family doesn’t mind changing bosses and, fair or not (it isn’t), Javi Gracia may find himself unemployed without a win at Newcastle next week. Fortunately, they are playing Newcastle. Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-3 v. West Ham
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle United
19. Newcastle United — Beat Tottenham and only move up one spot? Unfortunately, while the Magpies were gritty against Spurs and the win should not be discounted entirely, they hemorrhaged possession aside from the 15-pass sequence that led to Joelinton‘s first goal for the Toon. A fine moment for embattled Steve Bruce, but still so much work to do. Last week: 20
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Spurs
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Watford
18. Crystal Palace — Credit that wonderful play at the end of the match for a remarkable and historic win over Manchester United, but Palace is still getting little out of WilfriedZaha and probably should’ve lost by 3 or 4 goals before David De Gea fumbled away a point for the hosts. And we can’t jump them above a Sheffield United side which dominated them in Week 2. Last week: 18 Season high: 18
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at Manchester United
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Aston Villa
17. Bournemouth — Probably better than their 17th place status, but the Cherries have a draw against Sheffield United and a win over Aston Villa in which they were controlled after a wobbly opening. Too good to stay this low, but justifiably 17th. Last week: 14
Season high: 14 Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 3-1 v. Man City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Leicester City
16. Sheffield United — The scrappy Blades are following the Sean Dyche at Burnley model, and weren’t able to get a point at home despite a brave effort against Leicester. Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Leicester City
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Chelsea
15. Norwich City — Daniel Farke‘s men are going to bring us entertainment, and we’ll get another clue of their place in the league when they visit dangerous but another dangerous attack in West Ham. Last week: 12
Season high: 12
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 2-3 v. Chelsea
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at West Ham United
14. Brighton and Hove Albion — We gave the Seagulls a mulligan for the West Ham draw, but cannot look past this week’s loss to Southampton. Saints are a good side, but a 2-0 loss at home and a reckless red card do not make friends amongst the power rankers. Last week: 6
Season high: 5 Season low: 14 Last match: Lost 0-2 v. Southampton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City
13. Southampton — A Danny Ings flick away from giving us 11 teams with a 1-1-1-1 record, Saints earned this week’s win and will relish it coming via a nice showing from Moussa Djenepo. Last week: 16 Season high: 13 Season low: 19 Last match: Won 2-0 at Brighton Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Manchester United
12. West Ham United — Sebastien Haller looked every bit the versatile star center forward, able to set-up, hold-up, and finish. We already knew Felipe Anderson was the truth. Now can Manuel Pellegrini find consistency in this bunch? Last week: 17 Season high: 12 Season low: 18 Last match: Won 3-1 at Watford Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Norwich City
11. Everton — The performance at Villa is the kind that has been taking Everton out of the Top Six discussion during the Marco Silva era (and well before it, really). Huge test Sunday before an international break which could find Silva feeling plenty hot under the collar. Last week: 8
Season high: 8 Season low: 11 Last match: Lost 0-2 at Aston Villa Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves
10. Aston Villa — The Villans are looking more like a side which never left the Premier League than a newly-promoted one. Dean Smith deserves PL Manager of the Month honors if he’s able to get a result at Palace and skate into the break at a mid table pace. Last week: 15
Season high: 8 Season low: 15 Last match: Won 2-0 v. Everton Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday at Crystal Palace
9. Chelsea — Just not buying it yet, are we? Mason Mount looks a legit force, Tammy Abraham is showing flashes, and Christian Pulisic is doing well enough, but who is the star that will consistently make the difference, let alone against the big boys? Last week: 12 Season high: 9 Season low: 12 Last match: Won 3-2 at Norwich City Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United
8. Wolves — Three draws from three matches, and just barely got a point off of Burnley, but the performances have come while waylaid with Europa League duties including an unfriendly match against Torino on Thursday (Who they absolutely handled). Nuno’s got it simmering. Last week: 7
Season high: 7 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Burnley Up next: 9 a.m. ET Sunday at Everton
7. Spurs — Dominant again against Newcastle despite an injury to key man Tanguy Ndombele, and simply unfortunate to not get a point, but there are so many questions for Mauricio Pochettino. If you’re going to risk Christian Eriksen, why not start him? If you don’t have an answer at right back, why not play a back three instead of keeping Jan flipping Vertonghen on the bench? Last week: 2
Season high: 2 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 0-1 v. Newcastle United Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday at Arsenal
6. Man Utd — We watched the Palace loss, and still can’t quite believe our eyes. The Red Devils are so much better than 1-1-1, but that and a friendly pour at the pub will give you a headache and a 1-1-1 record. Now start Juan Mata over Jesse Lingard and thank me later. Last week: 5
Season high: 2 Season low: 6 Last match: Lost 1-2 v. Crystal Palace Up next: 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Southampton
5. Burnley — They aren’t doing this again, are they? The Clarets struggled last season with Europa League schedule congestion, but finished in the Top Seven the last time they only had to focus on the league. A silly Erik Pieters challenge away from third place in our rankings. Last week: 9 Season high: 5 Season low: 9 Last match: Drew 1-1 at Wolves Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Liverpool
4. Arsenal — Don’t give them too much credit for producing three terrific chances against Liverpool — that’s what’s keeping Liverpool out of 1st this week. The questions about the defense remain real, but Nicolas Pepe is going to be a delight once he finds his finishing boots. Last week: 4
Season high: 4 Season low: 7 Last match: Lost 1-3 at Liverpool Up next: 11:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Tottenham
3. Leicester City — There’s a bit of “by default” to this ranking, but the Foxes have drawn Wolves and picked up a point away to Chelsea. The win at Sheffield United wasn’t a ballot-box stuffer by any means, but Brendan Rodgers‘ men did what Manchester United sand Spurs could not this weekend in beating a probable relegation scrapper.
Last week: 10 Season high: 3 Season low: 10 Last match: Won 2-1 at Sheffield United Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Bournemouth
2. Liverpool — The Reds are 3-0, champions of Europe, and a pleasure for the eyes. Their defense remains a problem, and Jurgen Klopp‘s crew has given up more big chances from open play than anyone would deem functional for a title squad. Last week: 3
Season high: 2 Season low: 3 Last match: Won 3-1 v. Arsenal Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Burnley
Manchester City — The only way to score on City is through set pieces, and the only way to stop them is locking them out of the stadium. Last week: 1
Season high: 1 Season low: 1 Last match: Won 3-1 at Bournemouth Up next: 10 a.m. ET Saturday v. Brighton