Premier League 2019-20 game recaps

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Leicester City wallops Aston Villa

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Harvey Barnes led Leicester City to a 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the King Power Stadium on Monday, snapping a four-match Premier League winless run.

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Barnes scored and played a role in Leicester City’s other two goals as Jamie Vardy bagged his first two goals of 2020 in the win. Marc Albrighton assisted both the Foxes’ goals.

Leicester now has 58 points to hold an eight-point advantage on fifth place, 10 over sixth.

Villa’s 25 points are two behind a trio of teams. The Villans have lost four-straight in league play and sit 19th. They next face Chelsea, Newcastle, Wolves, and Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Vardy’s 2020 finally begins: Leicester City star Jamie Vardy had 17 goals on the Premier League season entering Monday’s action, but had not found the back of the goal since a 3-1 loss to Man City on Dec. 21. The goal moves Vardy back ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Boot. More important, however, is the idea that Vardy could help Leicester firm up its top four credentials.

2. Villa architects of own demise (and VAR didn’t help): There’s no question that Leicester was the better team on the day, but their breakthroughs both came from Villa errors. Reina’s race to meet Albrighton’s delightful long ball to Barnes was ill-conceived and Mings’ unlucky lunge cost Villa any hopes of a comeback. Should it have been a penalty? Probably not, but it’s a low-percentage defensive move anyway.

3. Barnes an easy Man Of The Match: The 22-year-old scored his fifth and sixth league goals to go with six assists, and served the ball that led to Vardy’s penalty while also helping negotiate the counter for Vardy’s second. Barnes also is a willing combatant in his own end, winning the lion’s share of his duels while being credited with three tackles and an interception.


The visitors stormed out of the gates, and an early free kick was slid wide of the goal by Mbwana Samatta.

Leicester responded, with Kelechi Iheanacho missing wide before Pepe Reina made a great save on a Jonny Evans header.

Villa defender Frederic Guibert’s well-timed tackle earned penalty shouts from the Leicester faithful in the 23rd minute.

The Foxes kept coming, and Iheanacho missed wide with a promising header attempt 10 minutes later.

Barnes put Leicester City ahead in the 41st, as Albrighton sprung him down the wing. Barnes pushed the ball around an onrushing Reina and slotted into the empty goal.

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Reina denied a breaking Iheanacho in the 47th minute as Leicester kept coming forward.

It continued to be all-Leicester, and Dean Smith prepared some subs in the hopes of injecting life into his side.

Mings was whistled for a penalty before that could happen, his shoulder striking the ball in a lunge to block Barnes’ cross. Vardy beat Reina to make it 2-0 with 28 minutes to play.

Evans made two tackles to spring a counter for Leicester’s third, Barnes waiting to play Vardy down the left.

Burnley, Spurs split spoils at Turf Moor

Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur recap and video highlights
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Chris Wood and Dele Alli scored as Burnley and Tottenham Hotspur split the points at Turf Moor on Saturday.

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Burnley is now unbeaten in seven Premier League outings and sits 10th on 39 points.

Spurs are two points clear of Burnley, but will finish the weekend at least four points back of the top four.

Tottenham gets its first result in five outings with the draw.


Three things we learned

1. Lo Celso changes the game: Tottenham was absolutely dreadful in the first half, and Burnley’s lead was well-earned. Jose Mourinho took out a pair of center midfielders and introduced Giovani Lo Celso, who was very good from Moment No. 1 and drove the play that led to Spurs’ penalty.

2. Burnley bolsters UEL hopes: The Clarets have a point or better in seven-straight league matches. While they failed in a bid to leapfrog Spurs, Sean Dyche‘s men are three points back of the top seven. Could tiny Burnley really make two European runs in three seasons?

3. Lucky Dele: Jose Mourinho again deployed Dele Alli as a center forward, and the player struggled in the first 45 minutes. Dele’s pass completion rate was barely above 50 percent and he lost all of his nine duels. His penalty finish was cool, though, and may jumpstart his stagnant month ahead of Bayern Munich.

Man of the Match: Burnley’s Dwight McNeil was consistent and thrilling on the wing, producing the match’s lone assist.


Chris Wood rocketed a 17-yard shot over the bar early to send a warning to Hugo Lloris and Co.

A Jay Rodriguez header off from the back post led to an unholy scramble in the box minutes later, but Spurs again cleared the danger.

It was all foreshadowing; Burnley went ahead when Dwight McNeil got two chances to send in a cross that bounded to Rodriguez. His laser was saved by Lloris but Wood pounced on the rebound for 1-0.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Spurs got a chance to level the score as Lo Celso paid immediate dividends. The Spanish midfielder stole the ball and played a wonderful ball to Lamela, who was cut down by Ben Mee inside the edge of the box.

Dele Alli strode to the spot and stroked the ball past Nick Pope for his 50th Premier League goal.

Burnley had a strong chance when Matej Vydra was slid into the box, but Eric Dier intervened to push the ball away from danger.

Lo Celso then led a 60-yard charge upfield that fell apart when Dele couldn’t get the ball through traffic.

Wood then thumped a shot to Lloris, who was wise to the bounce. Vydra then knocked down a ball for Wood that the Kiwi hit to Lloris in the 81st.

Lo Celso came close to bending a shot inside the far corner a minute later.

A funny bounce forced Lloris to make a prime save of Vydra after the latter’s shot took a turn off the bottom of Toby Alderweireld‘s boot.

Henderson, Sharp help Blades past Norwich City

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Someone old and someone (relatively) new led Sheffield United past Norwich City 1-0 on Saturday at Bramall Lane.

Veteran Billy Sharp scored a first-half goal and young loanee Dean Henderson made key saves as Blades rose sixth with 43 points.

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Norwich City couldn’t make it two wins on the bounce, and the Canaries sit six points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. Henderson stands tall (even while stooping low): The Manchester United loanee made four saves, all of them inside the box in laying further claim to an England spot. He’s also raising his price tag and perhaps forcing his parent club to consider his future. Look at this late work on Saturday.

2. Canaries a bit better, but missing edge: Norwich came close to a result, even managing five shots on target to the hosts’ four. They took 12 shots to United’s 10 and has 59 percent of the ball, though there will be few moral victories this close to relegation and the end of the season.

3. Sharp edge to the hosts: The Blades’ 34-year-old striker snared another big goal. He only has three this season, but two provided wins after the first was an point-earning marker in United’s first match back in the top flight. He knows his way around the box, with 243 senior goals.

Man of the Match: Henderson


Max Aarons was injured early for the Canaries.

Teemu Pukki smashed a chance off the back post on an early Norwich corner.

Blades had the first two shots on target of the match including Sharp’s goal, the 34-year-old scoring for the third time in four matches across all competitions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

John Lundstram collected the assist, another strong step in reclaiming his midfield place following the signing of Sander Berge.

Blades defender Chris Basham came closest to making it 2-0 in the second half, and Henderson’s double save was the other flash point of the second frame.

Wolves, Brighton frustrated by scoreless draw

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Wolves and Brighton will both be salty after a 0-0 draw at the Molineux on Saturday.

The two sides had aims of improving their stock but combined for just two shots on target.

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Wolves fail to move into fourth and have 43 points after the draw, while Brighton moves two points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a frightening run of fixtures.


Three things we learned

1. Seagulls running out of time: Graham Potter‘s men have been difficult to beat and picked up five draws, but their lack of wins during a seven-match lull in their schedule is alarming given what lies ahead. Brighton meets five top teams in its next six matches.

2. Wolves lack sharpness against lower-half: There have been too many draws against lower-half sides for a Wolves side capable of Champions League-caliber football. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have now drawn Brighton and Newcastle twice, Saints and Burnley once. Throw in a pair of draws with Leicester City, and you can see where the lack of full points have deprived the UEL contenders of a top four place.

3. Center backs stand out: There were five center backs between the two sides, and not one struggled at the Molineux. Connor Coady and Willy Boly performed exceptionally well for Wolves, especially the latter, while Lewis Dunk was his usual stalwart self for the Seagulls.

Man of the Match: Tie goes to the runner, er, visitor. Dunk.


It was a slow start at the Molineux, 20 minutes played before Rui Patricio made a comfortable save on Davy Propper.

Wolves grew into the game, with Raul Jimenez smashing the post and Ruben Neves missing high.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were able to work into open field as they like at times, but the Seagulls limited the danger.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The manager introduced Adama Traore in the 64th minute.

The next chance went to Brighton, but Solly March slipped as he tried to get the ball on target.

Traore led a foray into the box that ended with a deflected Jimenez shot to Mathew Ryan.

Saint-Maximin magic leads Newcastle past 10-man Saints

Southampton v. Newcastle United recap and video highlights
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Allan Saint-Maximin‘s second-half solo goal helped Newcastle United find a way past 10-man Southampton 1-0 at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

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Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy was brilliant in the loss, but sas his side slip a point and a place behind the Magpies.

Newcastle United now has 35 points and sits 13th. That’s good for eight points clear of the drop zone.


Three things we learned

1. VAR a big help for Newcastle: Southampton was down a man for more than an hour thanks to VAR, which asked referee Graham Banks to review his yellow card decision for a Djenepo stamp on Isaac Hayden. The referee saw fit to send off the Malian.

Newcastle would’ve been felt indebted to VAR when it spotted a clear handball in the box from Sofiane Boufal, but Matt Ritchie‘s penalty was well-saved by Alex McCarthy. Speaking of the keeper.

2. McCarthy keeps Saints alive: A fantastic triple save came before the Saints went down to 10 men, and McCarthy stayed hot with his penalty save on former Portsmouth man Ritchie. The saves kept coming until Valery’s error put the keeper to the sword.

3. Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s life force: With respect to lively Miguel Almiron, the Magpies’ attack lives and dies with wing wizard Allan Saint-Maximin. The young Frenchman’s 4.3 dribbles per game is nearly triple that of his closest teammate (Almiron), and the Magpies are 1W-3D-7L when he doesn’t see the pitch.

Man of the Match: It would’ve been Shelvey in the first half, but his touch betrayed him in the second phase. Saint-Max is the man here, just over McCarthy.


The hosts surged out of the gates, a couple of corner kicks leading to a dangerous chance that Matt Ritchie blocked for Newcastle.

Alex McCarthy made three incredible saves for Saints after Jonjo Shelvey cued up Dwight Gayle for a chance and Miguel Almiron had two chances at rebounds.

Southampton then tested Martin Dubravka with a Yan Valery drive, but the goalkeeper was well-positioned to keep the match scoreless.

Moussa Djenepo then saw a yellow card for a stamp on Isaac Hayden, but VAR Peter Banks recommended that referee Graham Banks have another look at it. It became a red card.

McCarthy soon made an incredible save on a diving Gayle header, and the striker missed an ensuing chance wide off a Allan Saint-Maximin feed.

Jamaal Lascelles had the ball in the goal from a free kick but a raised linesman’s flag denied him.

VAR then awarded Newcastle a penalty when Sofiane Boufal handled the ball at the edge of the box. It was Newcastle’s first penalty of the year, and McCarthy did well to save Matt Ritchie.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Saint-Maximin won a 52nd minute free kick on the left side of the box, but Shelvey’s pass was cleared away.

Hayden soon headed a corner kick wide of the goal.

Saint-Maximin put Valery under pressure before picking his pocket and rolling a ball under McCarthy, off the post, and into the goal.