Last week in the premier league we saw the end of gameweek 19 as well as welcoming gameweek 20.
Fulham and Chelsea both had two fixtures in gameweek 19 meaning their second fixture of gameweek 19 took place midweek on Thursday night. We were treated to two derbies in the weekend fixtures as gameweek 20 featured both the Manchester derby and the North London derby, two feisty affairs full of drama.
Last week also featured a shock upset conducted by Brighton against Jurgen Klopp’s deflated Liverpool side and a last gasp winner as well as penalty drama in the pivotal game between two European football contenders, Newcastle and Fulham.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City
The Manchester derby had everything you’d want from a derby game. United manager Eric Ten-Hag made some brave selection calls ahead of the game with Fred given his first league start since the World Cup break and Luke Shaw was chosen in central defence over the likes of Lisandro Martinez, Harry Maguire, and Victor Lindelöf despite it not being Shaw’s natural position, many questioned how he would be able to handle such a physical striker in Erling Haaland. Whereas with results and performances shaky for City in recent weeks manager Pep Guardiola reverted to basics recalling, out of favour, Joao Cancelo back into the starting XI and young star Phil Foden given the nod over England teammate Jack Grealish.
The first half was very cagey with neither team creating many chances and both David de Gea and Ederson without much to do. There was a scare for United when midway through the first half in-form Marcus Rashford went down injured however luckily for the Red Devils he managed to continue, which proved to be pivotal in United’s victory.
Manchester City dominated the opening exchanges of the second half and took the lead on the hour mark when Kevin De Bruyne found a yard of space on the right wing delivering an inch perfect cross to the back post where Grealish managed to lose his marker and head in from close range. From this point many will have expected City to go on and win comfortably as before this game they’d not lost this season after scoring the first goal.
However, after some tactical attacking tweaks from the United boss his team started to apply more pressure in search of an equaliser. Casemiro played a defence splitting pass in-behind the City backline which Rashford chased. Rashford was offside but realised this, didn’t touch the ball, and left it to Bruno Fernandes to curl around the onrushing Ederson. The linesman originally flagged Rashford offside as he deemed him to be interfering with play. However, after a VAR check the referee controversially allowed the goal, deeming Rashford not to have interfered with play as he didn’t touch the through ball before it reached the united skipper Fernandes.
With the game now wide-open substitute Alejandro Garnacho seized his opportunity when picking the ball up on the left-wing crossing low into who else other than Marcus Rashford to score in his seventh consecutive game and put the home side 2-1 up with just 8 minutes of normal time left. With this goal Garnacho became the youngest player ever to assist a goal in a Manchester Derby, one to watch.
With a nail-biting end to the game, Manchester United held on to win the derby and avenge the 6-3 defeat at the Etihad earlier in the season. The result saw the gap between the two clubs fall to just a point and United fans starting to question whether their team really was in a title fight.
“Rashford was offside, Bruno Fernandes no. Rashford distracts our keeper and distract our central defenders.”
Spurs 0-2 Arsenal
In GW20 The league leaders were tasked with a tricky trip away at North London rivals Spurs, coming into the game the gunners had failed to win away in the North London derby since 2015 meaning there was pressure on Spurs to turn around their poor run of form and ‘hold down the fort’.
It was definitely a game to forget for Spurs skipper Hugo Lloris who, in an attempt to parry a shot from Bukayo Saka, pushed the ball into his own net after just 14 minutes. Arsenal struck again in the 36th minute when Martin Ødegaard found himself with space on the edge of the box. He struck a fierce effort into the bottom right corner out of Lloris’s grasp leaving the Frenchman with no chance.
With pressure growing from the crowd, Spurs raised their level of performance in the second half, nullifying arsenals attacking threat and forcing Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale into making numerous saves to keep arsenals two goal advantage.
After the game there was a coming together between Ramsdale and Spurs substitute Richarlison, in the aftermath of this a Spurs fan jumped up onto the advertising hoarding behind Ramsdale and kicked him. This unsavoury action left a sour taste after an exciting game of football.
Brighton 3-0 Liverpool
The Amex hosted a shock upset on Saturday afternoon when Brighton welcomed Liverpool on the South coast.
It took until the second half for Brighton to find their breakthrough when a sloppy pass from Joel Matip was intercepted by Alexis Mac Allister starting a move that resulted in Solly March tapping in from close range. Brighton doubled their lead when March again managed to get the ball beyond Allison, this time from the edge of the box less than ten minutes after scoring the first.
The result was sealed when substitute Danny Welbeck picked the ball up just outside the box and lifted it over Joe Gomez’s head before volleying coolly past the Liverpool keeper.
With pressure building on Jurgen Klopp in his interview after the game he stated that the result was “massively the managers responsibility.”
Chelsea 1-0 Crystal Palace
With a disappointing result against Fulham midweek Graham Potter shuffled him team ahead of their meeting with fellow London side Crystal Palace, handing a debut to new signing Benoit Badiashile.
The game was goalless at the interval with both Kepa and Vicente Guaita making vital saves to stop their sides from conceding.
The winner came around halfway through the second half when a corner routine, straight off the training ground, resulted in Kai Havertz heading past Guaita from close range. A much needed win for Graham Potter’s Chelsea whereas Palace have now lost three in a row.
Newcastle 1-0 Fulham
Alexander Mitrovic had an unfortunate return to Tyneside when he slipped whilst taking a penalty, making contact with the ball twice before it hit the back of the net, meaning the goal was disallowed and the chance for Fulham to score an important goal had slipped between their fingers.
Alexander Isak marked his return from injury when he nodded in the ball a minute from time securing an important win for the Champions League hopefuls.
Everton 1-2 Southampton
Amadou Onana scored his first goal for the toffees since signing from Lille in the summer when he got on the end of a Demarai Gray corner late in the first half.
Just after halftime Southampton levelled the game when talisman James Ward-Prowse skipped past Ben Godfrey and slotted into the bottom corner. The saints captain secured his team three points when he perfectly placed a freekick over the wall rooting England keeper Jordan Pickford.
Southampton drag themselves level on points now with Everton with both teams seemingly in a relegation scrap.
Aston Villa 2-1 Leeds
Villa came firing out the blocks when Leon Bailey curled an effort into the top left corner after just three minutes.
Emi Buendia was on hand to head in a parried shot by Illan Meslier putting the Villains two up.
The lively Wilfried Gnonto worked a good opportunity for Leeds striker Patrick Bamford who took his chance getting his team back into the game.
However, Leeds couldn’t find another breakthrough and came out defeated.
Nottingham Forest 2-0 Leicester City
A second-half Brennan Johnson brace secured an important three points for Forest in their bid for Premier League survival.
With four Premier League losses in a row now for Leicester, manager Brendan Rodgers faces large pressure to be sacked. The foxes are only two points above the three teams in the relegation zone and with last weekend’s loss to a relegation rivals it may only be a matter of time before he receives the sack.
Wolves 1-0 West Ham
A goal from Portuguese winger Daniel Podence was the only thing that could split these two sides.
West Ham are now winless in their last seven Premier League fixtures find themselves 18th and in the relegation zone.
Whereas Wolves seem to be an improving side under new manager Julen Lopetegui with only a loss to high-flying Manchester United in their last four league games.
Brentford 2-0 Bournemouth
Things go from bad to worse for the cherries with six losses in a row now in all competitions after Saturday evening’s clash in London.
Mathias Jensen scored the pick of the bunch with a composed finish into the top left corner.
Ivan Toney scored a trademark penalty in the first half with the bees proving too tough of an opposition for Gary O’Neil’s Bournemouth.