Jack Cork

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.

Ancelotti wins on Everton debut

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Carlo Ancelotti got off to a winning start as Everton’s manager as they ground out a 1-0 win against Burnley on Boxing Day.

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the winner late on in a tight, physical battled at Goodison Park as both teams went close early but the Toffees just about deserved to take all three points.

With the win Everton move up to 13th on 22 points, while Burnley have 24 points and sit one place ahead of them.


3 things we learned

1. Ancelotti expectant on sidelines: Whenever the camera panned to Carlo Ancelotti, in the dugout for the first time as Everton’s manager, he didn’t look happy. That level of expectancy drove his side on as the Toffees clicked through the gears late on and finally scored to get the win they deserved. He has so much experience and has won so many trophies and with that comes a level of performance he will expect. That should help get Everton out of a relegation scrap this season and then kick on next season.

2. Toffees continue to improve defensively: It started under Duncan Ferguson during his spell as interim boss and Everton have now conceded just twice in their last four games, as they’ve won two and drawn two. Mason Holgate has come back in and helped shore things up and playing with three center backs certainly helped them out. Everton have enough attacking weapons to win games, as long as they keep solid at the back.

3. Burnley dig deep ahead of tough stretch: The Clarets dug deep, as they always do, and were denied by some brilliant Everton defending in the first half. Sean Dyche‘s side didn’t force the issue enough and they now have a daunting run of games coming up as they play Man United (twice), Chelsea, Arsenal and Leicester City in their next six PL games. The Clarets are only six points above the drop zone, so they know they have to beat some of the big boys at home in the coming weeks. Turf Moor, especially at this time of the season, will be key in deciding how their season goes.

Man of the Match: Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Ran himself into the ground up top and scored the winner. He is still so young and has all of the tools to succeed in the Premier League.


Burnley almost took the lead early on as Yerry Mina headed Chris Wood‘s header off his own line and Jack Cork then went close from the resulting corner.

At the other end Mason Holgate should have given Everton the lead from a set piece situation but Nick Pope saved superbly.

Lucas Digne had a free kick deflected wide as the home side grabbed a foothold in the game in the first half.

Richarlison had an effort before half time which caused Burnley problems but the visitors held their own.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Bernard had a shot deflected wide in the second half as the Toffees clicked through the gears going forward. Djibril Sidibe almost bundled home after powering into the box as it was all Everton in the closing stages but Burnley remained a threat on the break.

Seamus Coleman flashed a shot just over from distance as the Toffees pushed for the opener but were frustrated by a stubborn Burnley defense.

Jordan Pickford then handled the ball outside the box but Burnley couldn’t make the most of a dangerous free kick.

Newcastle’s Bruce rips debutant referee after controversial call

Steve Bruce angry Newcastle
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Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce is enraged after an apparent referee error helped cost his men a point.

Referee Tim Robinson gave Burnley a corner kick after Federico Fernandez was shoved over and prodded the ball over his own end line upon hitting the turf.

[ RECAP: Burnley 1-0 Newcastle ]

The Clarets scored off the ensuing corner, Chris Wood heading home at the back post off an Ashley Westwood corner.

“The referee, it was his first game, and unfortunately it looked like it,” Bruce said. “He’s yards away, we thought he blew for a foul. Unfortunately I think he’s found it difficult today from the very first whistle.

“It’s a foul. It’s a push in the back and it’s decided the game. If it decides the game it’s a big call. There were too many mistakes and he’s made a rod for his own back.”

Newcastle missed a chance to make it 1-1 when substitute Dwight Gayle couldn’t turn a Joelinton cross on goal, and Andy Carroll couldn’t turn an early header on frame.

Of course, Burnley also missed a big chance when Sean Longstaff gave the ball to Jack Cork.

The Clarets were the better side in terms of expected goals, but that’s almost Newcastle’s par for the course this season. Their luck, or whatever, just wasn’t there on Saturday.

Zaha leads Crystal Palace to victory at Burnley

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Crystal Palace continued their fine start to the season as they beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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Goals in each half from Wilfried Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp set the Eagles on their way as Burnley huffed and puffed but Vicente Guaita was on hand to deny them

With the win Palace move up to 10th on 18 points, while Burnley remain on 18 points.


3 things we learned

1. Zaha back to his best: For much of this season Zaha has been a shadow of himself after a tumultuous summer but he was superb against Burnley. His goal right on half time swung the game in Palace’s favor and he dug deep to secure a vital win for the Eagles.

2. Away day specialists deliver again: Zaha’s pace on the break was key in this game, as Jordan Ayew and Andros Townsend also caused Burnley plenty of problems. Palace have now picked up three of their five wins this season away from home and with a favorable run of games coming up, now is the time for them to take advantage of picking up points on the road.

3. Burnley stutter in attack: Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood peppered the Palace goal late on but it was too little too late for Burnley. They looked sluggish in attack and Nike Pope will be very disappointed with the two goals he conceded.

Man of the Match: Wilfried Zaha – A menace all game long, the only way Burnley could stop him was by kicking him and that almost got Phil Bardsley sent off. What a display from Palace’s talisman.


In a tight game in the first half Palace looked dangerous on the counter attack as Wilfried Zaha and Jordan Ayew were causing plenty of problems.

Burnley did have the best chance of the first half as the ball was played in to Ashley Barnes but his first touch let him down at the crucial moment as a golden opportunity came and went.

Palace then thought they had taken the lead after scoring a comical goal as Cheikhou Kouyate, Patrick Van Aanholt and finally Jordan Ayew all had a goal but PVA was offside when he played it to Ayew to score.

However, Palace did take the lead right on half time as Zaha scored his second goal in as many games (and of the season) as he cut in from the left and drilled a low shot past Nick Pope at his near post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half Phil Bardsley clashed with Zaha and VAR was used to determine if a red card should be given, but it was waved away.

Palace then sealed the win as after a mistake from Ben Mes, Schlupp controlled and finished at the near post, with Pope again at fault.

Chris Wood skied an effort over the bar and then almost bundled the ball home but Palace survived as Burnley cranked up the pressure late on. Vicente Guaita denied Wood and Jack Cork fired the rebound over, as it just wasn’t Burnley’s day.

Pulisic in ‘strong contention’ to start at Burnley

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Frank Lampard says Christian Pulisic is “in strong contention” for a start at Burnley after a pair of game-changing sub performances for Chelsea (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

American star Pulisic stole the ball that led to Chelsea’s winner last weekend versus Newcastle, and assisted Michy Batshuayi‘s decisive goal in the Champions League at Ajax.

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Now to Turf Moor, where the bruises are as plentiful as the possession. Will Pulisic get into the XI?

“The way he’s played he deserves a starting place regularly in the last few weeks but so do others and that’s what I keep saying, it’s a nice problem that I have,” Lampard said. “It’s brilliant that he’s coming on and making the impact that he’s making and of course he’ll get his starts. It’s the reason he’s here.

“But we’ve got Callum Hudson-Odoi who’s top class against Newcastle last week at home. In terms of creation, Willian I think I kinda declared him our best player in the great patch that we had over four or five games. They are good options for me and Christian is getting stronger and more in the groove, and you keep seeing it with players, some you have to give them a bit of time, the young players. But he’s playing well so he’s certainly in strong contention.”

There could be a place for Michy Batshuayi or Reece James in the Starting XI as Lampard eyes rotation for the Blues’ third match in just over a week.

The Blues have taken advantage of a promising run of fixtures to climb into the Top Four on 17 points, and that run continues with Burnley, Watford, and Crystal Palace. Cup fixtures with Manchester United and Ajax are mixed in, so Saturday may present a prime chance to start Pulisic in a PL match and use his favored vets at midweek.

Burnley, meanwhile, saw a four-match unbeaten run end at Leicester City. The scrappy top-half Clarets are 1W-2D-1L in their last four trips to Stamford Bridge.


Injuries/suspensions

Burnley: OUT —  Danny Drinkwater, Johann Berg Gudmundsson. QUESTIONABLE — Chris Wood. PROBABLE —Ashley Barnes, Jack Cork.

Chelsea: OUT — Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Antonio Rudiger, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Andreas Christensen. QUESTIONABLE — None.


Probable lineups

Burnley: Pope, Pieters, Mee, Tarkowski, Lowton, Brady, Westwood, Hendrick, McNeil, Wood, Barnes.

Chelsea: Arrizabalaga, Alonso, Tomori, Zouma, Azpilicueta, Jorginho, Kovacic, Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Pulisic, Batshuayi.


What they’re saying

Sean Dyche on Lampard’s performance at Chelsea: “A lot is made of the young players and they are doing really well but there is some really good players around them. If you look at that squad on paper. It is not like he went into a group of novice hurdlers, but he is adding to that and adding his own way as to how he wants the team to perform. You could see the pressing lines and the energy and the sharpness.”

Lampard on the Turf Moor challenge: “It’s a tough place to go. They have a strong way of playing, they are well drilled. They can give you big problems. It is a tough match. You have to respect the teams you play, it will be a physical battle.”


Prediction

Another tough, contested, but ultimately victorious days for the in-form Blues. There will be a scare at some point, but Chelsea finds a 2-1 win at Turf Moor.