ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND UP WEEK 2

 In Gary Mabbutt Blog

ARSENAL 2 v 1 BURNLEY

French striker Alexandre Lacazette marked his return from injury with his first goal of the season as he impressively held off Erik Pieters and shot between the legs of goalkeeper Nick Pope to put Arsenal ahead after 13 minutes.

Ashley Barnes levelled the match two minutes before half-time, converting at close range from Dwight McNeil’s deflected pass for his third goal in two matches.

The hosts, who handed full debuts to £8m defender David Luiz and Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos, saw an immediate response ruled out for offside after Reiss Nelson appeared to have completed a slick passing move with a confident finish into the roof of the net.

But the impressive 23-year-old Ceballos recovered possession to set up Aubameyang for a powerful, low finish with 64 minutes played.

Burnley goalkeeper Pope made a series of fine saves to keep Burnley in the game, but he was unable to prevent his side losing a 10th straight league meeting with the Gunners.

ASTON VILLA 1 v 2 BOURNEMOUTH

Bournemouth was awarded a penalty after just 45 seconds when Callum Wilson was brought down in the box by Tom Heaton, Joshua King stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.

Harry Wilson, on a season-long loan at Bournemouth from Liverpool, doubled the visitors’ lead with just 12 minutes played when a deflection took his left-footed strike past Heaton.

Douglas Luiz, on his first start for Villa following his £15m switch from Manchester City, scored a consolation for the hosts, finding the top corner with a stunning strike from outside the box.

But an amazing victory for Bournemouth and no points from two games for Villa, who must start getting some returns from the £140 million spent on transfers in the summer window.

BRIGHTON 1 v 1 WEST HAM UNITED

Brighton summer signing Leandro Trossard scored and saw a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee as they were held to a draw by West Ham, Trossard looks like being a bargain signing with the qualities he displayed throughout the game.

The Belgian playmaker signed from Genk thought he had opened the scoring midway through the first half only for his effort to be ruled out for offside on a VAR review.

But Trossard was not to be denied a debut goal, and he fired past Lukasz Fabianski from the edge of the box shortly after Javier Hernandez had put the Hammers into a 61st-minute lead.

Brighton pushed for a winner late on with Trossard, Lewis Dunk and Davy Propper all going close, but manager Graham Potter was forced to settle for a point at the end of his first home game in charge.

After trouncing Watford on the first day of the season 3-0, Brighton went into their first home game of the campaign high on confidence and it showed.

Dan Burn could have scored in the opening minutes but he failed to direct his headed effort goalward while Trossard, who was clearly, the man of the match had numerous chances to score more than one goal.

EVERTON 1 v 0 WATFORD 

Bernard’s goal after just 10 minutes was enough to give Everton their first victory of the 2019-20 season and add to their tally of five straight wins at Goodison Park.

Whilst Watford are on the other end of the scale, their poor run stretches to having won just one of their last eight league matches, and have yet to score in this season.

They came closest to equalising when Craig Dawson’s header hit the bar, following Bernard’s shot that beat keeper Ben Foster at his near post.

Watford improved after the break, but Abdoulaye Doucoure missed late on.

Troy Deeney had been denied by a fine save from Jordan Pickford earlier in the second half when the Watford captain went one on one with the Everton keeper.

Everton striker Richarlison had two good chances to score against his former club with headers but missed both, while substitute Moise Kean rolled a shot just wide of Foster’s right post in second-half stoppage time.

NORWICH CITY 3 v 1 NEWCASTLE UNITED

Teemu Pukki, scored a hat trick as Norwich got their first win of the season, the 29-year-old’s previously unremarkable career took in spells at Schalke, Celtic and Brondby before he hit 29 goals for Norwich as they won the Championship last season.

He scored in the 4-1 defeat at Liverpool last week but against Newcastle, he showed an abundance of Premier League quality with three fine finishes in his side’s first Premier League game back at Carrow Road.

Pukki’s stunning volley set Norwich on their way in the first half, lashing into the top corner after Newcastle failed to clear a corner.

The home side was buoyant and Pukki doubled their lead in the 63rd minute when he clinically finished off a neat passing move.

He then rounded off the scoring after Todd Cantwell caught the visitors defence cold, taking over to slot his third past a helpless Martin Dubravka.

Newcastle did get a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time through Jonjo Shelvey but this woeful display will not sit well with the Newcastle fans and board and will only have served to increase the pressure on new manager Steve Bruce.

SOUTHAMPTON 1 v 2 LIVERPOOL

Liverpool beat Southampton to secure an 11th successive top-flight victory and equal their best ever Premier League winning run, despite having to overcome ridiculous Premier League planners who forced Liverpool to play away at Southampton only two, days after returning from winning the Super Cup in Turkey.

Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead at the end of the first half with a delicious arrowed finish from the edge of the penalty area after Saints had gone close on three occasions.

Liverpool keeper Adrian, who was passed fit despite an ankle injury in a collision with a pitch invader following the Uefa Super Cup win over Chelsea, had kept out Maya Yoshida’s header while Che Adams spurned two chances to equalise.

Mane turned provider to set up Roberto Firmino to double Liverpool’s advantage with a clever finish and that proved to be crucial given Adrian’s mistake in the closing stages, with the European champions leading 2-0, Liverpool’s number two keeper cleared the ball against the shin of substitute Danny Ings to gift the Saints striker a goal against his former club.

Adrian’s error could have been even more costly for the Reds because in a dramatic finale Ings wasted a great chance to equalise inside the six-yard area.

Adrian is a good shot-stopper, but he must be worked with, to improve his ability with the ball at his feet!

MANCHESTER CITY 2 v 2 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Manchester City are one club who will not be voting for the continuation of the new star of football VAR, after two weeks of the new season, no one is talking about the great football being displayed at the Ethiad stadium yesterday, instead all the talking points are about VAR, a system having been put in place before the system is proven to be foolproof. Man City boss Pep Guardiola said he would “have to accept it” after a VAR decision overruled what looked to have been a late winner over Tottenham.

City was celebrating after Gabriel Jesus appeared to have scored in injury time, but the goal was ruled out because the ball had brushed Aymeric Laporte’s arm in the build-up.

“We have to accept it,” said Guardiola after the game ended 2-2.

“It’s tough because we scored a goal late on. But ask VAR people, not me.”

Raheem Sterling had headed dominant City ahead in the first half, but Erik Lamela immediately equalised against the run of play with a strike from distance.

Sergio Aguero flicked home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross before Substitute Lucas Moura nodded in seconds after coming on as a substitute to pull Spurs level again.

It was a frustrating result for City in their first home game of the season, particularly after beginning their title defence with a 5-0 win at West Ham last weekend.

It is the first time they have dropped points at home since losing to Crystal Palace on 22 December last year.

The home fans greeted the final whistle with boos directed at VAR as the disallowed goal stirred memories of City’s Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Tottenham last season, once again with VAR gong against City.

The Sterling goal that was disallowed against Spurs last season, was due to Sterling being cm’s offside, but he was offside, so the goal was correctly disallowed, albeit the only thing that spotted it was VAR.

However in the same game, Spurs striker Llorente clearly handled the ball before scoring for Spurs, under UEFA regulations for that game, the goal should have been disallowed, but it was not and Spurs went through.

This is why Pep Guardiola is so incensed, VAR stopped Man City from possibly winning the Champions League and the quadruple, shame on you VAR.

I think the League should be renamed to the ‘VAR PREMIER LEAGUE’

My belief is that the spirit of the game of football is being destroyed by VAR,

until it is 100% conclusive on every decision made, the game as we know it is going to become unrecognisable from the game that we have loved for over 156 years.

Oh, and by the way, Spurs got a point away from home against the current Champions, with a great finish by Lamela and Moura and some great teamwork to keep Man City out.

I nearly forgot to put this in due to the intrusion of VAR 🙂 🙂 🙂

The whole of the Premier League will be celebrating Spurs getting a point out of the game and denying Man City another victory, I am not sure the celebrations will stretch to VAR.

VAR  =  Vague, Amiss, Rueful.

SHEFFIELD UNITED 1 v 0 CRYSTAL PALACE

Sheffield United crowned their first Premier League game at Bramall Lane for 12 years with a hard-fought victory over Crystal Palace.

Spurred on by a raucous home crowd, who were watching League One football three seasons ago, Chris Wilder’s team added to their point at Bournemouth last weekend with a precious win thanks to John Lundstram’s early second-half goal.

The Blades are being tipped by many to get relegated, but they created the better chances and stood firm against a Palace side who earned more points away from home than at Selhurst Park last season.

The hosts should have gone ahead in the first half when David McGoldrick’s close-range shot was saved by Vicente Guaita in the Palace goal.

But Lundstram, who had set up that chance, gave them the lead early in the second half as he smashed in from 10 yards after Luke Freeman’s shot was stopped.

Four points after two games is a great and encouraging start for Sheffield, good luck to them.

CHELSEA 1 v 1 LEICESTER CITY

Frank Lampard said managing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge for the first time was the “stuff of dreams”, despite Wilfred Ndidi’s second-half header earning Leicester City a deserved point.

Chelsea took the lead when 20-year-old midfielder Mason Mount scored a memorable first goal for the Blues after robbing Ndidi of possession just outside the Foxes penalty area before beating Kasper Schmeichel with a low drive.

Lampard’s side started with real intent, Spain forward Pedro volleying into the side-netting and France midfielder N’Golo Kante denied a goal against his former club by Christian Fuchs’ fine challenge either side of Mount’s goal.

Leicester was much better after half-time and secured the point their second-half dominance warranted when Ndidi got between Spain right-back Cesar Azpilicueta and France defender Kurt Zouma to head in from a corner

Both teams remain without a win, with Leicester on two points from two games, one more than Chelsea.

This is a dream opportunity for Frank Lampard, but one point from the first six available is not the best start, but if desire and determination is anything to go by then Chelsea’s first win of the season will not be far away.

Mason Mount, another name to watch out for this season!

WOLVES 1 v 1 MANCHESTER UNITED

Manchester United was held to a Premier League draw at Wolves despite taking the lead and missing a penalty.

In a first half containing just three shots, Anthony Martial had put United in front with his 50th goal for the club, a fine left-footed finish only for Ruben Neves to level with a sensational strike from the edge of the area, which bounced down off the crossbar 10 minutes after the break.

Wolves’ Raul Jimenez had flicked a header against the inside of a post just before Neves’ effort

With the score 1-1 in the second half, Pogba was fouled by Conor Coady and got up to take the spot-kick, despite failing with three penalties last season and Marcus Rashford scoring from one against Chelsea on the opening weekend.

Pogba’s powerful shot was pushed away by Rui Patricio, who saved low to his right.

In my predictions, I got four correct results, mid-table form 🙂

Please see following my predictions for week three

Aston Villa 1 v 2 Everton

Norwich 1 v 2 Chelsea

Brighton 2 v 1 Southampton

Manchester United 3 v 1 Crystal Palace

Sheffield United 1 v 2 Leicester City

Watford 2 v 1 West Ham United

Liverpool 2 v 1 Arsenal

Bournemouth 1 v 2 Manchester City

Tottenham Hotspur 4 v 1 Newcastle United

Wolves 2 v 1 Burnley

Have a good week

Gary

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Liverpool 4-1 Norwich City