Patrick Cutrone

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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.

Wolves run past off-kilter Man City

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Manchester City just couldn’t catch Adama Traore.

The speedster finished twice on the break off Raul Jimenez assists, as Wolves collected a surprising 2-0 win over Man City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves had two fewer days’ rest than their hosts, but flummoxed City with stifling defense and flair on the counter.

City is eight points back of leaders Liverpool, while Wolves are up to 11th with 10 points. This is the first time City has seen Liverpool’s lead stretch beyond the six points they’ll due for later this season.


Three things we learned

1. Furious Pep has no answers: Wolves keeper Rui Patricio had a fine day between the sticks, but City rarely sent true trouble the way of the visitors’ goal. David Silva cranked a free kick off the bar, but City looked like the team on a day’s shorter rest. Visibly angry, Guardiola couldn’t conjure up production without Kevin De Bruyne.

2. Traore does his job after Wolves miss early chance: The visitors were easily the better side in the first 15 minutes, catching City off guard, but Patrick Cutrone and Raul Jimenez each failed in bids to make it 1-0 to Wolves.

Jimenez, however, answered the bell on an 80th minute counter attack with strong dribbling and a pass to Traore, who waited patiently for his chance to poke past Ederson. Traore added another off a slick Jimenez pass, but had a lot more work to do in beating Ederson. Remarkable.

3. Frustrated City lives in the book: The two-time reigning Premier League champions were shown five yellow cards on the day, as Wolves tactics helped the visitors live in the heads of the heavily-favored hosts.

Man of the Match: Traore


[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Patrick Cutrone couldn’t chip a fine opportunity on goal as Wolves earned a surprise chance in the first five minutes.

An injury to Romain Saiss caused an early delay and the 13th minute introduction of Ryan Bennett.

Riyad Mahrez made a miserable giveaway from the attacking third, sending Cutrone on a long break toward goal.  But Fernandinho slid to block a first shot then bravely stopped the rebound with his head to keep it 0-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Kyle Walker tried his luck from distance before halftime, and Rui Patricio collected the ball rather than risk it sneak off the post and into the goal.

David Silva curled a free kick off the bar soon after the match entered its final half hour.

Wolves patiently waited for their chance and got it via counter attack, as Mexican star Jimenez did a lot of work to set up patient Traore for a 1-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to go in Manchester.

Jimenez’s outside-of-the-boot pass to spring Traore for the comforting second goal was delightful, and the Spaniard had plenty to do on a 50-yard run toward his brace.

Mexicans Abroad: Vela equals MLS record, Lozano left on Napoli bench

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Carlos Vela equalled the MLS single-season goalscoring mark of 31 and can break the record next time out in the season’s final match. Otherwise, it was mostly a struggle for Mexican players overseas, many of whom were left to the substitutes’ bench.

While Lozano rode the bench, Raul Jimenez was starting but failed to find the back of the net for the third straight match, while Chicharito, Hector Herrera, Andres Guardado, and Diego Lainez were all also left among the substitutes, and only Lainez of the bunch even saw the field.

Serie A

Hirving “Chucky” Lozano, Napoli — For the first time since making his Napoli debut, Chucky Lozano was left on the bench as Napoli topped Brescia 2-1. Dries Mertens scored a goal and Fernando Llorente started up front as Carlo Ancelotti went with a flat 4-4-2 with Piotr Zilinski starting on the left flank.

Premier League

Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers — Jimenez’s stunning summer form seems to be waning. He played 80 minutes and did not score as Wolves topped struggling Watford 2-0 on Saturday. He was withdrawn in favor of Patrick Cutrone for the final 10 minutes and has not played a full 90 minutes since he last scored against Everton on September 1. He was rested for the League Cup match midweek which Wolves won on penalties over Reading. Wolves returns to Europa League group stage action with a big match against Besiktas on the road.

La Liga

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Sevilla — Chicharito was left on the bench for the second straight match as Sevilla topped in-form Real Sociedad 3-2. Luuk De Jong was favored over the Mexican as the lone striker this time, although he did not score in the game. Nolito and Lucas Ocampos provided the early goals while Franco Vazquez came off the bench to score the eventual winner. Fellow striker Munir El Haddidi was once again not in the squad, so Chicharito can at least say he’s ahead of the 24-year-old in the pecking order.

Hector Herrera, Atletico Madrid — The defender was left on the bench as an unused substitute for the fifth time in six league matches this season, with Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic preferred in central defense as the Madrid derby ended 0-0.

Andres Guardado and Diego Lainez, Real Betis —  Guardado was also left on the bench as an unused substitute, and Real Betis fell to a heavy 5-1 defeat at Villareal. Betis instead started William Carvalho and Sergio Canales in midfield, leaving Guardado left out of action for the third time this season. Betis has seven points in four matches with Guardado on the field, and does not have a win in three without him. Lainez was also left on the bench, but came on for the final 10 minutes for his third appearance of the season, all as a substitute.

Nestor Araujo, Celta Vigo — The central defender has started every league match for Celta Vigo thus far, and he again completed the full 90 minutes as his side fell 2-0 at Eibar. He has partnered with Joseph Aidoo for most games this season and while the club has just one win, the defense hasn’t really been the issue, conceding just six goals in six games, while the attack has scored just three goals in that span.

Eredivisie

Erick Gutierrez, PSV Eindhoven — Gutierrez made his first appearance since September 1, coming off the bench for the final 11 minutes of a 4-0 win over PEC Zwolle. He picked up a goal during his short stint on the field, scoring the final goal of the match. It is a promising return for Gutierrez who had been in the starting lineup for the first four games of the year before falling out of the side. PSV remains unbeaten in league play this season.

Edson Alvarez, Ajax — The 21-year-old was left as an unused substitute as Ajax beat FC Groningen 2-0. Donny van de Beek partnered with 21-year-old Argentine Lisandro Martinez in midfield, leaving Alvarez and Razvan Marin as the odd men out.

Primeira Liga

Jesus “Tecatito” Corona, FC Porto — Tecatito continued as Porto’s starting right-back, making it 60 minutes in the 1-0 win over Rio Ave. Moussa Marega headed Porto in front 12 minutes in and that was all they needed. Corona was yanked after an hour in favor of Wilson Manafa, marking the third time this season in seven starts that Corona did not complete the 90 minutes.

MLS

Carlos Vela, LAFC – Vela bagged the all important 31st goal of the season on the road against Minnesota United, and while the hosts equalized five minutes later to earn a 1-1 draw, it didn’t matter with LAFC already locked in to the #1 seed in the Western Conference. The goal tied Vela for the MLS single-season lead, and can break the record in the season’s final match against the Colorado Rapids next weekend.

Carlos Fierro, San Jose Earthquakes – Fierro came off the bench for the final 10 minutes, but was not able to turn San Jose’s Fortune as the Quakes were stunned by a Jordan Morris winner deep in stoppage time to keep them from moving into a playoff position ahead of Deadline Day. Fierro has started just twice since joining the Earthquakes, otherwise planted on the bench for late substitute appearances. The club has lost six matches in a row.

Jonathan Dos Santos and Uriel Antuna, LA Galaxy – JDS completed his third full 90 minute performance in a row and Antuna started on the wing, but the Galaxy were beaten in a wild match 4-3 by the Vancouver Whitecaps. Dos Santos picked up an assist in the game, feeding Antuna who scored the club’s second goal. The teams traded goals the whole way through, with Vancouver having the last laugh with a 93rd minute winner.

Elsewhere around the globe:

Omar Govea, Zulte Waregem — The 23-year-old completed 59 minutes as Zulte Waregem drew 2-2 with Mouscron to remain eighth in the Belgian league. He played at the bottom of a diamond midfield, withdrawn just before the hour mark for young Abdoulaye Sissako with the club down 2-0, and they completed the comeback without his presence on the field.

Hector Moreno, Al Gharafa   Moreno continues to start for the Qatari side in central defense, but they were downed by visiting Al Sailiya 3-1. After scoring just six minutes in to go in front, Al Gharafa capitulated to the tune of three goals, including two after halftime with the score level at the break. They sit fourth in the Qatar Stars League table.

Juan Gerardo Ramirez Alosno, Roda JC — Alonso was left as an unused substitute for the fifth match in a row as Roda drew with De Graafschap 2-2. It seems Alonso is second fiddle to 28-year-old Timothy Durwael in the left-back position despite having started the first three games of the Dutch second tier season.

UEL, LIVE — Man Utd, Wolves face Kazakh, Portuguese opposition

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The Europa League group stage begins play on Thursday, with Arsenal in Germany and taking care of 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt.

A younger Arsenal took the lead on a deflected shot from Man of the Match candidate Joe Willock, before Bukayo Saka took the MOTM mantle with a late goal and assist.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Manchester United and Wolves are set to kick-off their respective matches against Astana and Braga at 3 p.m. ET.

Lineups are out for both sides. United will be very young against Kazakh side Astana ahead of a Sunday visit to West Ham United, while Wolves start Raul Jimenez and Patrick Cutrone up top versus Braga.

Full slate

12:55 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Lazio
LASK v. Rosenborg
Getafe v. Trabzonspor
PSV Eindhoven v. Sporting Lisbon
Basel v. Krasnodar
APOEL Nicosia v. Dudelange
Copenhagen v. Lugano
Standard Liege v. Vitoria SC
Qarabag v. Sevilla
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Arsenal
Rennes v. Celtic
Dynamo Kiev v. Malmo

3 p.m. ET
Wolfsburg v. Oleksandriya
Espanyol v. Ferencvaros
Rangers v. Feyenoord
Porto v. Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava v. Besiktas
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Wolfsberg
Partizan v. AZ Alkmaar
AS Roma v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Gent v. Saint-Etienne
Manchester United v. Astana
Wolves v. Braga
Ludogorets Razgrad v. CSKA Moscow

Abraham scores hat trick, Chelsea hammer Wolves

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Tammy Abraham scored a hat trick for Chelsea as they battered Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 at Molineux on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays

Chelsea were 3-0 up at the break thanks to a fine strike from Fikayo Tomori, while Abraham grabbed three either side of half time to put the game beyond doubt.

Roman Saiss’ header was knocked in off Abraham to pull one back and Patrick Cutrone made it 4-2 late on, but Chelsea addd a fifth through Mason Mount as he cut inside and curled home.

Chelsea now have their second victory of the season and sit on eight points. Wolves have yet to win any of their five Premier League games.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 formation works well for Chelsea: Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea had been leaking too many goals early in the season and they looked solid and reliable with a three-man central defense. It looks like the switch will stick, for now, and away form home against a very good Wolves team this formation totally nullified the threat of Wolves’ wide players and also supplied Abraham with more support centrally.

2. Wolves’ defensive issues a real concern: Wolves have now conceded seven goals in their last two PL games and the usually dependable Coady and Patricio have been far from solid. Is this a Europa League qualifying hangover? That could be the simple answer here, but Wolves just don’t look as solid and dynamic as they did last season. Nuno Espirito Santo won’t be overly concerned, yet the longer Wolves go without a win, a little pressure will start to build.

3. Abraham taking his chance; Pulisic left out as Englishman lead the way: Abraham has scored seven goals in his last three games and he looks perfect for this Chelsea attack. Mount and Tomori scored the other goals as all 10 of Chelsea’s goals have been scored by Englishman this season. USMNT star Christian Pulisic was an unused sub and after his lackluster displays, he may be out of the starting lineup for a while given this new formation for Chelsea.

Man of the Match: Tammy Abraham – A hat trick says it all, and he has now scored seven goals in his last three Premier League games. That is a wonderful return and Abraham is so sharp in the box and strong in the air, plus his runs behind caused Wolves so many issues. He is getting regular minutes and service, and he has proven he can finish. The youngster has taken his chance.


After a slow start to the game it sprung into life on the half hour mark.

A short corner worked its way to Tomori 35 yards out and the young Chelsea center back curled home a wonderful shot into the top corner to break the deadlock in style.

Moments later Chelsea were 2-0 up as Mount then worked his way into the box and was brought down in the box, but play was waved on and Abraham stroked home to double Chelsea’s lead.

Diogo Jota should have pulled one back for Wolves but then the game was all over.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Abraham nodded Marcos Alonso‘s superb cross home to score his second of the game and make it 3-0 at the break.

At the start of the second half Chelsea put the game beyond doubt as Abraham wrapped up his hat trick in style. The Chelsea youngster turned Conor Coady inside out and smashed home across goal.

Patrick Cutrone almost pulled one back for Wolves but as he slid in he just couldn’t convert Diogo Jota‘s cross into the net.

Saiss then nodded home a corner to make it 4-1, as his header was saved by Kepa but bounced off Abraham and in.

Cutrone then scored his first Premier League goal to make it 4-2, but Chelsea left Wolves with all three points as Mount curled home in stoppage time to seal the win in style.