8 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW14
9 Nov 2022
As we approach the final round of fixtures before the World Cup, we have rounded up the key talking points from last week’s action, as well as looking ahead to what the Premier League weekend has in store for us:
Spurs Late Show Not Enough Against Revived Liverpool
Liverpool versus Spurs is always a hard fought fixture, and this meeting between the two top 4 hopefuls was nothing different. The best way to describe the match is with the age old cliche of ‘a game of two halves’ because it really was just that. Liverpool bossed an extremely one sided first half taking the game to a reserved Tottenham side. It was this early
spell that would prove crucial as Mohammed Salah’s first half double was enough for the victory. With the last fixtures before the World Cup being played this week a big away win just before they face Southampton is just what Klopp’s men needed.
It seems the incentive for Spurs to go out and play is to be losing. Tottehman huffed and puffed in the second half, forcing good saves from Alisson and rattling the bar before the introduction of Dejan Kulusevski. who returned from injury to assist Kane and half the deficit.
The north London side had left it too late with their recent powers of recovery not being strong enough to overcome their passive approach in the first 45. This is something Spurs fans are becoming increasingly resentful towards. Antonio Conte’s safety first game plan and the willingness to simply not contest whole halves of football matches has
started to draw more ire as results diminish. Coming up against a reinvigorated Leeds team before the World Cup break is not ideal. Leeds press hard and have themselves shown the ability to rescue results late. Tottenham may not possess a squad equipped to out play the best of the best but how much more grace can be given to Conte’s style with nothing to show for it remains to be seen. Tottenham cannot go into the World Cup break with anything less than a win.
Arsenal Maintain Title Contending Form Against Lacklustre Chelsea
Arsenal continue to impress after a big London Derby win against Chelsea on Sunday. Mikel Arteta’s side found themselves in the ascendency for the majority of the game, with Chelsea struggling to create any real openings throughout. After a glaring miss from Gabriel Jesus in the first half, Gabriel was on hand to tap in a Bukayo Saka corner to secure three points for the Gunners.
Although the majority of football fans do not have the belief that Arsenal can go all the way this season, they do not to be taken seriously as a genuine contender. The North London side have shown a different mentality and self belief than what has been present in previous years, and continue to rack up points even without necessarily playing at their best. Arsenal fans will be hoping that Jesus comes out the other side of his slump in form after the World Cup break, but defensively they are resolute and their wing players create enough chances to mask the Brazilian striker’s weak goal return.
While Arsenal will wish that the season would not stop, the World Cup break for Chelsea can’t come soon enough. Graham Potter needs time on the training ground with his players to implement his style and give his team an identity – something they are clearly lacking at the moment with multiple summer signings struggling to gel.
End of the Road for Ralph Hasenhüttl as Newcastle Too Good for Saints
It was the end of the line for Ralph Hasenhüttl, as his Southampton side were torn apart by this exciting Newcastle team. The Geordies were playing on autopilot as Southampton showed very little desire and were cut open time and time again. With two 9-0 defeats and a high point of finishing 11th , this era will be one to forget.
Miguel Almirón continued to make Jack Grealish eat his words as he jogged through an absent Saints’ defence and easily finished. His goal was number 8 in the league this season, already equalling Grealish’s record in the Premier League. Southampton were gifted opportunities back into
the game with Mohamed Elyounoussi somehow hitting a certain goal, wide of the mark and an unmarked Che Adams rushing his volley off-target. The lack of confidence was there for all to see when Chris Wood was allowed to turn in the box and curl one into the net. Joe Willock also got his first league goal of the season when Kieran Trippier’s devastating ball through was helped in by Willock and the wet grass. After an unchallenged Romain Perraud was given the freedom of the box
and a consolation goal, Bruno Guimarães was given similar treatment outside the box and continued his great form.
Newcastle were very dominant, but they were helped by non-existent defending and a team with no confidence who couldn’t even take the opportunities handed to them by poor defending. They march on in their quest for European football and will prepare for a tough fixture against Chelsea. But, Southampton find themselves in yet another relegation scrap and this managerless side faces a tough task away to Liverpool. Whoever takes on this job has their work cut out to bring joy back to St. Mary’s.
City Salvage Three Points Against Fighting Fulham
Manchester City hosted Fulham on Saturday afternoon – and this game didn’t quite shape up how we expected it to at all. Julian Alvarez put Guardiola’s side 1-0 up comfortably within the first 17 minutes – however an irresponsible and reckless challenge from Cancelo which was deemed a professional last man foul resulted in the Portuguese international being shown a red card in the 26th minute, along with a penalty awarded that was subsequently converted by Pereira.
City remained dominant throughout the game, but Fulham, with credit to their hard work kept themselves in the game, and it looked as if it would pan out as a draw. However, right at the death, Kevin De Bruyne went down theatrically and somewhat controversially in the penalty area, which resulted in a 95th minute penalty that was converted by none other than Erling Haaland to win the game.
A big topic that may affect performances this upcoming weekend is injuries. A lot of players may give less on the pitch in order to stay fit and injury free for the World Cup, which now starts very soon – and most of the Manchester City side will be planning to board the flight to Qatar within the next week to represent their respective countries. I envision the City side will be a lot weaker than normal for their fixture against Brentford this weekend. Fulham on the other hand have fewer internationals, and host Manchester United – which may work in their favour should they choose to rest some of their key names.
Valiant Villa Give United A Reality Check
Unai Emery is back in the Premier League and is already breaking records, leading his new look Aston Villa side to a well earned 3-1 victory at home to Manchester United, their first in 27 years. Villa debuted their new 4-4-2 shape against the Red Devils on Sunday and the change proved a wise one. Leon Bailey came to the Birmingham club with big expectations and we witnessed why as he kicked off a blitz in the first 12 minutes that put the home side 2-0. Peeling off his defender, Bailey left keeper De Gea with no chance with a firm left footed shot into the right corner, the same side of goal that a sublime Lucas Digne’s free kick would find shortly after.
Gerrard’s tenure was particularly baffling because on paper Villa have a really decent collection of players. Experienced veterans and competent professionals mixed with a few young stars in the making, and it was one of the latter who put the game to bed. Jacob Ramsey strolled on to a cut back and rifled Villa’s third into the roof of the net – redemption after the ball had deflected off him into his own goal just before the break. Maybe now with a coach with European pedigree to match the quality of their squad, Villa can start fulfilling on some of their lofty ambitions.
As for United not much can be said apart from Ten Hag will be very happy to see Antony Martial back from injury. Every game Cristiano Ronaldo plays, the fallacy that he should start becomes more and more absurd. It would be a big surprise to see him start against Fulham next Monday and an even bigger shock if he had much of a role at the club post the World Cup.
Leaky Bournemouth Let Lead Slip Against Leeds
Leeds hosted Bournemouth in a 7 goal thriller at Elland Road on Saturday afternoon – a game that had all the makings of a Premier League classic.
Having gone 1-0 up in the 3rd minute, Leeds started off the game excellently – however a superb spell from Bournemouth saw them turn the game around to be winning 3-1 in the 48th minute. The game was then flipped on it’s head yet again, with Leeds sparking a fantastic comeback themselves, turning the fixture around to win the game 4-3, with Summerville scoring yet another late and important winner.
Looking ahead to their upcoming fixtures this weekend – Bournemouth host Everton and Leeds are away to Tottenham – both teams will need to be working hard on the training ground to find a way to deliver long periods of consistency within games. There’s no doubt both sides have it in them to score goals, however defensively each party needs to learn how to work a compact and communicative back line – whilst maintaining some possessive stability.
VAR Needs a Rework as Forest and Brentford game Marred by Controversy
Nottingham Forest v Brentford was an exciting clash full of brilliant individual moments and exciting goals. Unfortunately, it was marred by the inconsistency in VAR and refereeing, highlighting why fans are starting to get sick of the officials on and off the field. While VAR works in cricket, tennis, rugby union, and other sports, football seems to still be struggling with the technology.
The moment in question was the penalty that led to Brentford’s equaliser. Some poor defending allowed Brentford a chance and even though Yoane Wissa was brought down by Dean Henderson’s flailing hand it wasn’t given. VAR then overruled the decision but only gave Henderson a yellow card, despite him being the last man and the player brought down being in a goal-scoring position. Bryan Mbeumo scored the penalty, but the decision was controversial due to minimal contact and the inconsistent application of the rules.
Despite that and Forest believing they should have had at least one penalty of their own, it was an exciting game. Morgan Gibbs-White was brilliant and weaved his way in and out of defenders before scoring a looping effort into the bottom right corner via a deflection. After Mbeumo’s equaliser,
Brentford took the lead in the second half with a delightful first touch and cheeky chip from Wissa. At the death, a scrappy goal came from Lewis O’Brien’s header causing a mess in the box, before Gibbs-White’s shot bounced off Mathias Jørgensen and went just over the line, despite Ben Mee’s efforts.
On a day where Forest dominated, they will feel hard done by for not getting the win. They had most of the chances and will feel VAR was against them, but Brentford did give their all and took their
chances. Brentford will be happy for that point as they prepare to face Manchester City, while Forest will hope they take their chances at home to Crystal Palace. Once again, VAR and refereeing are the talking point, and both need to get some consistency and meet the standards we expect, that other sports reach easily.
Maddison and Tielemans Turn Round Foxes Fortunes
Leicester continue to turn around their season after an impressive away win at Goodison Park on Saturday. Youri Tielemans scored a sublime goal from outside the box on the stroke of half time before James Maddison tied up all three points after the interval.
Brendan Rodgers looked like a dead man walking only a few weeks ago, but after a summer of turmoil and uncertainty he has got his players back firing on all cylinders. Maddison continues to impress and will rightly feel extremely hard done by if he doesn’t make it into Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad. Tielemans has also put the disappointment of not forcing a move away from the Foxes behind him, and has demonstrated a penchant for spectacular strikes in recent weeks.
Everton have impressed in parts of this season and Frank Lampard has managed to brush away any pressures of losing his job. However, a thumping loss in the Carabao Cup last night against Bournemouth means that pressure will continue to mount if he loses to the same side on Saturday.