Maya Yoshida

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Analyzing a day of VAR drama in the Premier League

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VAR had its most eventful day in the Premier League, so far, as the new technology introduced for this season is still settling in.

My word, the VAR control center at Stockley Park close to Heathrow Airport was busy on Saturday.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Multiple PL games had game-changing moments reviewed by VAR, and there are plenty of players, managers and fans feeling aggrieved, or lucky, as they head home.

Below we take a look at the key moments which shaped the outcome of the Premier League action.


Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Southampton – RECAP

This clash at Molineux had the most VAR decisions of the day, as Raul Jimenez had two goals chalked off in the first half. Both of those decisions were correct, as the first was a handball by Jimenez and the second saw Patrick Cutrone in an offside position. So, VAR was working well. But after Southampton had gone 1-0 up a huge moment arrived and cost them three points. Matt Doherty danced into the box and as he was off balance trying to get his shot off, he fell over with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Maya Yoshida close by. A penalty kick was awarded by the referee on the pitch, Peter Bankes, but the decision then went to VAR with many expecting it to not be awarded. But it was and Jimenez scored to secure a 1-1 draw for Wolves. Southampton were not happy at all with the decision, and you can understand why.


Aston Villa v. Brighton – RECAP

In the end, Aston Villa beat 10-man Brighton 2-1 in stoppage time so this may be forgotten about quickly. But Dean Smith was livid after the game as Conor Hourihane‘s fine strike was ruled out in the first half. With Wesley challenging for the ball in front of the goal, Brighton’s goalkeeper Mat Ryan seemed to run into him when trying to catch the ball. Played went on and after Hourihane’s goal was scored and Villa Park had celebrated, VAR ruled that Wesley had fouled Ryan and the goal was chalked off. It was a baffling decision checked and checked again with a long delay. It was a huge shock that this goal wasn’t allowed to stand after being reviewed.


Tottenham Hotspur v. Watford – RECAP

Okay, this was wildddddddd. In the first half, with Watford 1-0 up, Gerard Deulofeu dribbled into the box and with Jan Vertonghen sliding in, the Spurs defender clearly made contact with Deulofeu. No penalty was awarded by referee Chris Kavanagh but VAR reviewed the supposed foul and gave nothing. How was that not a “clear and obvious error” as contact was clearly made? Spurs got away with another VAR call late on too, as Dele Alli looked to have handled in the box before scoring the equalizer. VAR reviewed the goal and although the referee signalled the goal was fine to stand, which in itself was shocking as the replays showed the ball hitting the top of Alli’s arm, on the big screens at Spurs’ stadium a “No Goal” signal flashed up. It has since been stated that it was a mistake in the system for the screen to show that message, but there was so much confusion and Watford’s players and manager Quique Sanchez Flores were upset the goal stood. Dele Alli was sheepish when asked about the goal after the game, as VAR got two out of two huge goals incorrect in Spurs’ draw with Watford.


Leicester City v. Burnley – RECAP

Now, describing Sean Dyche as being apoplectic with rage is something we do quite often during a PL season. But he and his staff were beyond that as Burnley’s late goal was ruled out at Leicester. Chris Wood thought he had made it 2-2 after bundling home his second of the game, but VAR ruled out the goal for a slight touch on Johnny Evans by Wood. It was a faint clip and coming together between the Burnley striker and Leicester defender with the ball already going in, and the Foxes knew they had got away with one. Dyche was trying to be as diplomatic as he could be after the game but this was a harsh call against Burnley who should have grabbed a point.

Premier League Club Power Rankings: Week 8

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Maybe it was mid-week European action — don’t tell Wolves — but a wild weekend of results have shook up our Premier League Club Power Rankings.

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low


20. Watford — On an 189-minute league goal drought after managing just two shots on target against Sheffield United. Still fourth in the league in shots-per-game and mid-table in passing and possession, but the moral victories are almost meaningless after eight weeks

Last week: 19
Season high: 19
Season low: 20
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Sheffield United
Up next: Oct. 19 at Spurs

19. Norwich City — Now allowing a league-worst 17.9 shots per match after allowing Villa to put 12 of its 22 attempts on frame in a 5-1 loss that could’ve easily been 7-2.

Last week: 17
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 5-1 at Aston Villa
Up next: Oct. 19 at Bournemouth

18. Southampton — Are long-time servants Maya Yoshida and Ryan Bertrand pull out of early season slumps? Stats say Yoshida may, but that Bertrand’s decline has been steady.

Last week: 13
Season high: 13
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-1 v. Chelsea
Up next: Oct. 19 at Wolves

17. Brighton and Hove Albion — Lewis Dunk gets all the plaudits, but Dan Burn has been very good alongside him and is keeping Shane Duffy on the bench (which is wild, considering the quality of the Irishman).

Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 3-0 v. Spurs
Up next: Oct. 19 at Aston Villa

Also, allow us to get excited about 19-year-old Aaron Connolly, who took his first Premier League start and looked the real thing.

16. Manchester United — I say this without reservation: This is the worst edition of Manchester United I have ever seen. Forget the injuries for a moment, they had no plan to deal with a struggling Newcastle and were bossed by a center midfield pair with a combined age of 40. Additionally, Allan Saint-Maximin is a wonderful dribbler, but the Red Devils’ bids to stop him will have pretty much anyone on Liverpool licking their chops. Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba are needed so badly, and one of them would be thrilled to skip town.

It’s difficult to put them below Newcastle, but hey, a result is a result. Next time head it home, Harry.

That said, as much as I wouldn’t bet anything on the Red Devils to get a result versus Liverpool, you wouldn’t be stunned if Pogba pulled one of his world-beater games out at Old Trafford against the best team in the league now, would you?

Last week: 9
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Newcastle United
Up next: Oct. 20 v. Liverpool

15. Newcastle United — This team looks far too wide open to stay above the line for too long, but let’s be real: The Longstaff brothers’ day against Manchester United was the best example of why we follow sports. A club which has been buried in controversy for the better part of a decade sees a 19-year-old hometown kid star in his first PL appearance next to his brother, aged just 21, and returning hometown star Andy Carroll. And that post-match presser? Brilliant.

Plus, if we told you before the season, in a vacuum, that the Magpies would beat Spurs and Man Utd in the first 8 matches of the season while hanging with Liverpool? Also, that they’d do it with 37.6 season possession? What a weird side.

Last week: 19
Season high: 15
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Manchester United
Up next: Oct. 19 at Chelsea

14. Everton — How did the Toffees respond to their promising show against Man City? By going right back to their disappointing ways. Seemingly, Everton can only be bothered to get up for the high visibility games. Fortunately for their supporters, a visit from West Ham gets the 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday treatment coming out of the international break.

Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 14
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Burnley
Up next: Oct. 19 v. West Ham

13. Tottenham Hotspur — What a mess. Mauricio Pochettino needs to be doing better with this bunch, but let’s be clear about something: The fault likes with the players and in the board room far more than the boss. I heard someone compare this Spurs’ team to Jurgen Klopp‘s last season at Borussia Dortmund and that’s ringing pretty true.

Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 13
Last match: Lost 3-0 at Brighton
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Watford

12. Sheffield United — Someone tell the Blades they were just promoted. A week after a hard-luck 1-0 loss to Liverpool, Chris Wilder‘s men couldn’t get the job done but held 61 percent possession on the road and really should’ve scored an easy away win to Watford. Arsenal and West Ham are next, and you fear that this “should be” three points counting as a mere one could sting for a few weeks.

Last week: 10
Season high: 10
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Watford
Up next: Oct. 21 v. Arsenal

11. Aston Villa — Dean Smith‘s men had been so much better than their record indicates, so it felt good to see them deliver a 5-star showing against Norwich City. Stacking another three points from Brighton’s impending visit is imperative, with Man City, Liverpool, and Wolves next on the PL docket.

Last week: 15
Season high: 8
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 5-1 v. Norwich City
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Brighton

10. Burnley — If Sean Dyche‘s teams were a vehicle, they’d be a pair of tractor trailers on a two-lane highway. It doesn’t really matter what you’re driving if they won’t get out of the way. Burnley is 7th on the table and unbeaten in four matches despite completing an absolutely putrid 64.4 percent of their passes. That’s as bad as it gets, and they are 7th. If I ever have an inoperable and fatal disease, I’m going to shrug, call Sean Dyche, and start planning my next decade on Earth.

Last week: 12
Season high: 5
Season low: 15
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Everton
Up next: Oct. 19 at Leicester City

9. West Ham United — Vicente Guaita was very good for Palace, but it still feels like Manuel Pellegrini‘s men should be a step above taking one point from Bournemouth and the Eagles. Instead, they feel stuck in the same rut they’ve been for ages.

Last week: 5
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 v. Crystal Palace
Up next: Oct. 19 at Everton

8. Bournemouth — Respectable score lines against West Ham and Arsenal, to be sure, but Eddie Howe and Co. will feel aggrieved not to take advantage of the wide open table with a banner result or two. There’s a good chance to stack points in the next four outings: Norwich, Watford, Man Utd, and Newcastle, but here’s a worry: Half of their 12 goals have come off set pieces. Obviously that’s a nice thing, but is it even half-sustainable?

Last week: 6
Season high: 6
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Arsenal
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Norwich City

7. Wolves — The rest of the perceived contenders’ inability to rise to the occasion means Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men are just two points back of a Top Seven place after back-to-back defeats of Watford and Man City.

Last week: 16
Season high: 7
Season low: 17
Last match: Won 2-0 at Man City.
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Saints

6. Crystal Palace — Roy Hodgson should get a knighthood. Is he knighted already? How do these things work? Anyway, the Eagles have bounced back from a moribund performance at Spurs to claim seven of nine points. Given the status of the league, getting to the January window with a mid-table place and sight of the Top Seven would given decent reason to dream of something special.

Last week: 10
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 2-1 at West Ham
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Man City

5. Leicester City — Yes, Sadio Mane’s embellishment was embarrassing and, yes, the Foxes came within a breath of a point at Anfield, but it’s alarming how statistically bossed Leicester City was by a Liverpool team who played at midweek. Kasper Schmeichel was outstanding as the Foxes were out-attempted 18-2 and gave away a number of dangerous free kicks. That’ll happen against Liverpool, but we expected better from Brendan Rodgers in his return to Anfield.

Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 10
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Burnley

4. Arsenal — The clean sheet against Bournemouth was a very nice thing, and Unai Emery will love that some of his bad actors from early in the season — namely David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos — were very steady at the Emirates Stadium. Calum Chambers at right back and Matteo Guendouzi at center mid were fantastic. It’s not implausible to peg either Arsenal or Chelsea as the third-best team in the league.

Last week: 7
Season high: 4
Season low: 7
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Bournemouth
Up next: Oct. 21 at Sheffield United

3. Manchester City — Failed to channel any semblance of last season’s SDB — sans de Bruyne — form in a loss to Wolves. And, with the wisdom of last season in his noggin, why didn’t Pep Guardiola start Bernardo Silva? Still a wonderful team by the numbers, it’s Palace away, Villa home, Southampton home before a trip to Anfield. Nine points are necessary, even if Palace has been a challenging side for Guardiola through the years.

Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Lost 2-0 v. Wolves
Up next: Oct. 19 at Crystal Palace

2. Chelsea — Frank Lampard is able to bring Christian Pulisic and Michy Batshuayi off the bench, and has not even been able to deploy Ruben Loftus-Cheek yet. The Blues will be favored to win almost every league match between now and then end of the UCL group stage, and the Nov. 23 visit to Man City carries intrigue given Chelsea deserved a point at Liverpool and we’re pretty sure that Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi may be ground into dust from overuse.

Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-1 at Southampton
Up next: Oct. 19 v. Newcastle United

1. Liverpool — Look: Liverpool has to win the league this year. Almost everyone else is performing at a substandard level while the Reds sit eight points clear despite not really finding their top gear yet. If Virgil Van Dijk stays healthy for most of the year and Liverpool doesn’t end its drought well, maybe there’s some sort of curse at play here.

Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Leicester City
Up next: Oct. 20 at Manchester United

Chelsea breeze past Southampton

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SOUTHAMPTON — Chelsea beat Southampton 4-1 at St Mary’s on Sunday, as Frank Lampard‘s side moved up the fifth in the Premier League table.

[ MORE: How did Pulisic perform? ]

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and N’Golo Kante all scored in the first half to set the Blues on their way and even though Danny Ings pulled a goal back, Michy Batshuayi‘s late goal did the damage.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With the win Chelsea now have 14 points, while Saints remain on seven points.


3 things we learned

1. Jorginho, Kante run the show: The attacking duo of Mount and Abraham will get plenty of the plaudits, but Kante and Jorginho were sublime in midfield. Kante scored, via a deflection, and Jorginho was at the heart of everything good Chelsea did going forward, as well as clearing an effort off the line and doing the dirty work. The two defensive midfielders set the tone for this Chelsea win and their intelligence on the ball and in terms of positioning gave them a platform to win this game.

2. Chelsea’s defensive fragilities on show: Even though it was a fairly routine win in the end, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have only kept one clean sheet in their opening eight games of the season. Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori looked a a little shaky in possession, as a better team would have scored three of four times. Addressing the top-heavy nature of this Chelsea side is a must if they’re going to finish in the top four.

3. Saints’ tough season gets tougher: Once again Southampton were their own worst enemies as three big defensive errors led to goals in the first half. James Ward-Prowse, Jan Bednarek and Jan Valery were all at fault, as only two PL teams have conceded more goals than Saints so far this season. With games against Wolves, Man City, Everton, Leicester and Arsenal coming up, Saints will likely be in the bottom three when December rolls around.

Man of the Match: Callum Hudson-Odoi – The winger played a perfect ball over the top for the opening goal and was lively throughout. The 18-year-old oozed quality on the ball and made superb runs inside all game long.


Saints started brightly as Nathan Redmond fired over and their high-pressing caused Chelsea’s defense some issues.

At the other end Abraham fired a shot on target which Angus Gunn saved and some hefty challenges started to fly in as Shane Long put himself about.

Chelsea then took the lead with their first big chance of the game as after a poor giveaway in midfield, Callum Hudson-Odoi dinked the ball over the top and Abraham lobbed home a wonderful finish.

The Blues doubled their lead after another Saints mistake, as Jan Bednarek’s header was short and Jorginho picked out Mount to fire home.

Mount then missed the target twice and just when it looked like Chelsea would run away with it, Saints pulled one back. Yan Valery went on a mazy run past four Chelsea players and into the box, and his cut-back found Ings as the ball went in off him and Kurt Zouma to make it 2-1.

Before half time Chelsea restored their half time lead as Marcos Alonso was allowed plenty of time and space on the left and his pass found Kante, who’s shot deflected off Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and in.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Gunn denied Hudson-Odoi at the start of the second half as the Blues dominate possession and Saints barely threatened.

Alonso’s cross was almost knocked into his own net by Maya Yoshida as Chelsea click through the gears in the final stages.

Ings headed wide as Southampton tried to push for a way back into the game, but Chelsea sealed the win in style.

USMNT star Christian Pulisic jumped off the bench and cracked Saints’ defense open with a lovely pass as fellow sub Batshuayi slammed home to make it 4-1.

AT HALF: Chelsea, Arsenal lead; Wolves holding Man City

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We’ve got goals in two of three 9 a.m. ET kickoffs in the Premier League, as David Luiz and Mason Mount goals have Arsenal and Chelsea leading at the break.

[ STREAM: Man City-Wolves ]

[ STREAM: Arsenal-Bournemouth ]

[ STREAM: Southampton-Chelsea ]

Man City still waits for a breakthrough, and honestly Wolves have looked closer to scoring at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.


Man City 0-0 Wolves

The best chances have been produced by City… for Wolves. A bad Riyad Mahrez giveaway forced a double stop from Fernandinho at the back. Man City settled into possession over the half’s final 30 minutes or so, but no goals yet at the Etihad.

Arsenal 1-0 Bournemouth

David Luiz turned a near-post corner kick from Nicolas Pepe back across goal and inside the far post to give the Gunners their lead.

Southampton 1-3 Chelsea

Tammy Abraham collected a Callum Hudson-Odoi long ball and chipped Angus Gunn after working Maya Yoshida 1v1. Pretty stuff, and Jan Bednarek of Saints helped the Blues to another with a flubbed clearance to help Willian feed Mason Mount for 2-0.

Danny Ings has pulled a goal back for the hosts, but N’Golo Kante restored the 2-goal advantage before the break.

Kane volley helps 10-man Spurs outlast Saints

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Hugo Lloris was terrible and game-saving in North London as 10-man Spurs beat Southampton 2-1 on Saturday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Lloris made an awful gaffe for Spurs to allow Danny Ings to score Saints’ only goal, but was tremendous in the second half.

Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele scored Tottenham’s goals, as Spurs rise fourth with 11 points and Saints dip 14th with seven points.


Three things we learned

1. Lloris quite resilient after eye-popping error: Tottenham’s backstop made about as poor a move as you’ll see from a goalkeeper in possession. He sensed a charging Danny Ings and, while inside of his goal mouth, tried to turn the Saints striker with a playground cutback. Problem is he missed the ball, and Ings is well at home in the box.

But Lloris showed resolve and was outstanding in the second half as Spurs held onto its Kane-inspired lead. His stop on Maya Yoshida‘s header was especially lovely.

2. Ings scores in another big game: The former Saints academy man has four goals this season. The first came with pressure on Adrian as Saints scared Liverpool, the next two in the emphatic south coast derby defeat of Portsmouth at midweek, and the latest via his relentless pursuit of Lloris. After all of his injuries, it feels good to see the poacher out there poaching.

3. Ndombele the difference: He’s our Man of the Match, belting home Spurs opener and just commanding the midfield in a way that made it look like the game was still 11v11 after Aurier’s red card. He won 13 of 17 duels and drew six fouls out of Southampton. Along with Kane, Ndombele will be key to everything Spurs want to do this season.

Man of the Match: Ndombele


Spurs were just a bit off, as they’ve been for some time, with Harry Lane missing a bid for a second-straight week with an acrobatic goal, and Heung-Min Son‘s cut back for Tanguy Ndombele send a bit behind the big midfielder.

Ndombele gave Spurs its lead with a near mirror image chance, Son laying off for the Frenchman to belt past Angus Gunn. The goalkeeper will regret not making a better play on the ball.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

That’s when Aurier was sent off for a needless second yellow card, and Lloris’ error followed suit.

The French goalkeeper, in his goal mouth, tried to dribble his way past a pressing Ings and instead missed the ball and left the striker with an empty cage.

Fortunately for him, he’d make up for the error and then some. More fortunately for him, Spurs answered quickly through a combination of Son, Eriksen, and Kane’s ability to make up for a poor first touch and lash past Gunn.

Back to Lloris, he turned his game up after halftime to stop a James Ward-Prowse free kick and a point-blank Maya Yoshida header.