Premier League 2019-20 game recaps

Liverpool smacks Man City, puts both hands on title fate

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Liverpool put both of its hands around the Premier League title race in dismissing sloppy Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

The win boosts the Reds eight points clear of the field and nine points ahead of fourth place City, the two-time reigning Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fabinho and Mohamed Salah scored first half goals for the Premier League leaders, and Sadio Mane salted away the result early in the second half.

Bernardo Silva scored a late goal for City, providing some drama for the final dozen minutes


Three stars, three duds

Star No. 1: Fabinho was an absolute monster in every third, scorching the match-opening goal and making life miserable for the City attackers and midfielders alike in the heart of the pitch. He may be the MVP of the title campaign so far.

Star No. 2: Mohamed Salah was electric in the first half, timing his run perfectly to send the Reds ahead by two and making himself a menace in the decisive first half.

Star No. 3: The goalkeeper didn’t have to make too many saves, and Alisson Becker certainly cannot be blamed for Bernardo’s vicious, unmarked back post lash to make it 3-1. Alisson was calm in collecting the ball and commanded his area.

Dud No. 1: VAR and/or referee Michael Oliver. Liverpool deserved this win, make no mistake about it, but the non-call on Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s handball moments before the Reds took a 1-0 lead was a tough one to take for anyone other than Liverpool and its fans.

Duds Nos. 2 and 3: Raheem Sterling was shook in his old home, booed at every turn and simply miserable in possession. His frustration got the best of him, his body language betraying him. Credit to the Englishman for continuing to fight for goals well after Sergio Aguero was withdrawn, the Argentine just not anywhere near his best and missing multiple chances to get on the board.

Bonus Dud: City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had a difficult job to do, and he did it poorly, making just one key positive play while allowing a trio of Reds goals.


Liverpool scored with its only moment of the first 7 minutes, which came after Trent Alexander-Arnold went unwhistled for a handball in the box.

The moment was electric; Fabinho smashed a shot past Claudio Bravo for 1-0.

City was still all over Liverpool, with Raheem Sterling nodding wide and John Stones failing to get on the end of Kevin De Bruyne‘s 12th minute free kick.

Bravo was beaten again when Salah got on the end of a cross through the box and headed past the Chilean keeper.

Alisson made a fine two-handed parry on Sergio Aguero in the 25th. Angelino saw a deflected strike hit the post when he lost Jordan Henderson but couldn’t beat Van Dijk for a clean strike in the 29th.

Bravo parried a Firmino drive in the 38th minute, Liverpool continuing to thrive on the counter.

Kyle Walker tore a shot well wide in the 39th, and Aguero dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 42nd.

Salah came close with a distance effort in the 45th minute, but Bravo made an outstanding save.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half started with more for City, a deflected shot earning a corner that was played short and wound up with Alisson.

Mane to put the match to bed out of nothing, Liverpool’s first meaningful attack of the second half defying Bravo. Jordan Henderson’s cross caught him out, and Mane’s header was pushed into the side panel by the Chilean.

Man City tried to answer through Sterling, whose shot was blocked by Dejan Lovren for a corner which again came to nothing.

Bernardo grabbed one back in the 78th, and Sterling had Gabriel Jesus cued up for a second in the 80th but it caught the Brazilian off balance.

Walker missed a back post bid from the influential Angelino, and City couldn’t break through Liverpool’s set-in side.

Wolves unbeaten in 7 after sinking Aston Villa

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Wolves ran their Premier League unbeaten streak to seven with a 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa at the Molineux on Sunday.

Ruben Neves and Raul Jimenez supplied the goals, a clean sheet spoiled by Trezeguet’s stoppage time tally.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Wolves now sit eighth with 16 points, five more than 17th place Aston Villa.


Three things we learned

1. Wolves again ready to threaten the Top Six: A slow start to the season, rife with Europa League congestion, had Nuno Espirito Santo‘s Wolves wallowing in the Bottom Three. No more. Wolves’ only loss since September was a League Cup defeat against Villa, who fought hard but didn’t have the hosts’ level of class on Sunday. Look out (again) for Nuno’s men.

2. Stop us if you’ve read this one before: The old, worn-out maxim that “(Player X) only scores bangers” comes very close to being true when it comes to Ruben Neves. The 22-year-old hasn’t met a shot from distance he doesn’t love, but this one off the training ground was the right call at the right time. And the seeing-eye quality of it all…

3. El Tri’s target man keeps firing: Raul Jimenez’s finished off the scoring with his 13th goal in 22 matches across all competitions, many of them coming late in matches. The Mexican forward also has three assists, and he continues to deliver for Nuno Espirito Santo in tight affairs.

Man of the Match: Adama Traore — The recent Spain call-up was all over the field as usual, hitting the woodwork with a shot and grabbing an assist. Credited with an absurd nine successful dribbles, his development under Nuno has been nothing short of sensational.


Wolves had the first two corners of the match, and Villa was soon forced into a change when second choice keeper Jed Steer — filling in for injured Tom Heaton — suffered a leg injury and limped off the pitch.

He was replaced by Norwegian international Orjan Nyland, who arrived from Ingolstadt in 2018 and played 23 times in the Villa’s promotion campaign.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Diogo Jota misread a 3v2 break, then headed to Nyland under pressure.

Then a short free kick routine set up Ruben Neves in his office, and he delivered with typical aplomb.

Jota‘s second half bid to make it 2-0 was well-saved by Nyland.

Martial’s Manchester United eases past Brighton

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Anthony Martial had two assists and Manchester United eased past Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford and Andreas Pereira were joined on the score sheet by a Davy Propper own goal, with Lewis Dunk‘s second half header the only Brighton moment.

Influential midfielder Scott McTominay needed help to get off the pitch after a stoppage time injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

United moves seventh with 16 points, one back of fifth but nine behind fourth place Man City.

Brighton drops into 11th with its 15 points.


Three things we learned

1. Martial the maestro: We suspected that Martial’s absence from the United lineup was just as detrimental as Paul Pogba‘s, and the Frenchman has shown his worth. Another two assists today, including one of monster work on United’s  goal to reestablish the two-goal advantage. Still just 23, Martial has five goals and three assists in 10 matches across all competitions. United went 1-2-2 in the league while he was out.

2. Red Devils go to the greasy places: Manchester United, for as long as its been a club of influence, was capable of the sublime individual or team goals, but this unit has to make sure it puts its nose into the grimy, seedy parts of the pitch. It did that to get its second goal, and was sure to play that way early. Yet they also rose to the occasion once Brighton was forced to open up, more than tripling the Seagulls shot output. Well done on the whole for a needed simple win.

3. Socceroo shining: Mathew Ryan is a fine Premier League goalkeeper, and we were reminded of that Sunday when the Australian was credited with nine saves in a match which could’ve looked much worse than 3-1.

Man of the Match: Martial.


Marcus Rashford put Mat Ryan into an early bit of work, though there wasn’t much danger in their fourth minute encounter.

United took the lead in the 17th minute, as Pereira lost the ball but saw it roll to Martial. The Frenchman cut it back, and Pereira’s shot took a wicked deflection to beat Ryan.

It was 2-0 within minutes, McTominay crashing the goal and forcing Davy Propper to bundle an own goal over the line after Harry Maguire nodded a Fred free kick toward the line.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Pereira stung a shot at Ryan in the 57th minute, the match really lacking luster.

United’s Brendan Williams was shown a yellow card for a kick to the chest of Steven Alzate.

Fred forced Ryan into a save after the hour mark, and Brighton just missed a bid to make it interesting when Neal Maupay couldn’t get a foot on a loose ball in the six.

Then Graham Potter‘s men got their pull back, with Dunk getting free from Pereira to nod a corner kick home.

But United restored the two-goal advantage through Rashford, who was set up by the wonderful work of Martial. A proper goal for the Red Devils’ third.

Rashford then missed an absolute sitter following a delightful set-up from Daniel James.

Leicester City punishes sorry Arsenal

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Leicester City continued its fine home cooking with a straight-forward 2-0 defeat of unorganized Arsenal at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Foxes go second in the table with 26 points, a point more than Man City before the defending champs visit Liverpool on Sunday.

Arsenal is now eight points back of fourth place, sinking below fifth place Sheffield United on goal differential.


Three things we learned

1. Unai Emery‘s race is run: Yeah, it’s dangerous to make judgments on a week-to-week basis, but the Spaniard’s work at Arsenal has been tremendously disappointing. Opting for a 3-5-2 with Rob Holding, David Luiz, and Calum Chambers at the back, he demanded plenty from his midfield; Lucas Torreira and the usually strong Matteo Guendouzi failed to impress behind Mesut Ozil. He has no firm idea how to best deploy his talent, and again left Nicolas Pepe to rot on the bench while Leicester rang up a 2-0 lead.

2. Leicester onto something special, especially at home: There’s been luck along the way, but the Foxes have now taken 16 of 18 points at home during an unbeaten start to the season at King Power Stadium. Their proverbial tails are up and the style, freedom, and confidence of the opening goal tells you all you need to know about the vibe at KP this season. In the words of Arlo White… “Barnes… Tielemans… VARDY!!”

3. Leicester City built for style: If Rodgers’ Foxes are given room in the midfield, they are going to run through most teams. Arsenal opted to try and match the Foxes in fluidity and possession, and were unable to do so. Outdone in possession (52-48) and shots (19-8), Arsenal rarely looked prepared to challenge despite a couple early chances for Lacazette.

Man of the Match: Maddison will be the easy shout here, but Tielemans and Wilfred Ndidi were magnificent in the center of the park. Any of the three works for us.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Alexandre Lacazette missed an early chance for Arsenal, while James Maddison won a dangerous free kick for the Foxes. It came to nothing, bounding past the far post.

Lacazette stabbed wide after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cried for a handball off a prone Wilfred Ndidi.

James Maddison skimmed a free kick off the top of the bar in the 42nd minute, as a rain-soaked pitch saw increasing moments of opportunity.

Vardy sliced Leicester into a 68th minute lead with his 11th goal of the season, the clinical end of a clever bit of passing from Youri Tielemans and Harvey Barnes to set up the veteran Englishman.

Bernd Leno stopped a Vardy rocket moments later, but Maddison gave Leicester a cushion when he drilled a low shot through the legs of Bellerin for 2-0 in the 75th.

Magpies come back to sour Cherries at St. James

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DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark scored to lead Newcastle United back from an early deficit, as the Magpies collected a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Magpies are now unbeaten in three and sit 11th with 15 points, one behind seventh place Bournemouth.

The Cherries goal came via Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson off a delightful training ground corner kick.


Three things we learned

1. Magpies defenders are attackers (again): Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle has seen seven of its last nine goals come courtesy of backs, and today it was Clark and Yedlin rewarded for following the ball to goal. Clark scored for the second-straight match while his American teammate joined Federico Fernandez, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, and Jetro Willems on the score sheets this season. In game rife with harsh tackles and seedy moves, perhaps its fitting the backs made the difference.

2. Saint-Maximin a difference maker (also, again): Newcastle’s French wing wizard was again perplexing for a Premier League defense. While he still hasn’t found the required goals of his position, his passing, dribbling, and use of space remains upper echelon in the league. If he starts firing home, look out.

3. King butchers late chance: There should’ve been a late point for the visitors, but the Cherries long time finisher didn’t finish his chance. Joshua King was at the back ahead of Dubravka, who was a bit suspect all day, but couldn’t turn his header inside the far post with mere seconds to go in stoppage time.

Man of the Match: 


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The Cherries were very lively from the jump, and Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was called into action several times before the opener.

That’s when a clever short corner routine ended with Wilson’s goal, as the Liverpool loanee darted free of Jetro Willems to side-foot a shot inside the near post.

Newcastle took a second hit when captain Jamaal Lascelles was forced off with an injury.

The Magpies, oddly enough, then found the run of play and both Jonjo Shelvey and Joelinton came close. Allan Saint-Maximin set up both players.

Saint-Maximin cooked Steve Cook to beat Aaron Ramsdale but smashed off the cross bar as the match approached the first half’s final five minutes.

That’s when the American beat the Bournemouth back line and VAR, Yedlin heading Saint-Maximin’s cross into a yawning cage from a back post position.

[ WATCH: Yedlin’s equalizer ]

Newcastle took its first lead when Willems’ back post cross was knocked down by Fernandez into the path of Clark, who just poked past Ramsdale for 2-1.

Ramsdale bailed out his backs on a 78th minute Saint-Maximin chance, catching the ball and watching Almiron miss the empty cage under duress.

The Cherries did good work to find an equalizer, but King’s late miss was a symptom of their sickness.