As the Premier League returns from the November international break, the cream is slowly beginning to rise to the top of the table as we approach the quarter-pole of the season. Which teams separated themselves this weekend? Plus, some desperately needed wins from lower table clubs in Extra time.
Liverpool Dominates With Possession, Jota, Patchwork Defense
No Virgil van Dijk, no Trent Alexander-Arnold, no Joe Gomez, no problem for Liverpool’s defense as it registered a gigantic 2-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp didn’t even have Mo Salah after positive COVID tests during the break.
With a back four of Andrew Robertson and Joel Matip alongside converted midfielders James Milner and Fabinho, with young Neco Williams coming on as a second half substitute, Liverpool was able to hold the Foxes at bay and hold more than 60% of possession.
The scoring started off in the 21st minute came on a corner. As Leicester defender Jonny Evans was marking Sadio Mane deep in its own six-yard box, the ball glanced right off Evans’ head and rocketed past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel into the back of the net. The own goal was a league-leading 4th goal conceded by the Foxes on corners this season.
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The best under-the-radar transfer of the October window could be Klopp bringing Diogo Jota in from Wolves. In the 41st minute, Robertson timed a run by Jota brilliantly, put in a perfect cross into space and Jota beat his defender and headed it in to put the game away.
I’m not sure Liverpool would be second in the table without Jota’s brilliant play this season. Roberto Firmino scored the final goal in the 86th to ensure the rout was on and send Leicester City down to 4th.
Manchester City’s Woes Continue As Spurs Soar
Manchester City used to be a goal scoring juggernaut, but now the team’s offense in the Premier League is nothing short of anemic, limp, nearly nonexistent. City hasn’t scored multiple goals in a PL match since a 5-2 loss to Leicester on Sept. 27. It’s had two wins, two draws and now a 2-0 defeat at Spurs on Saturday.
City certainly had its chances, with five shots on target, not including an Aymeric Laporte goal in the first half that was called back because of a Gabriel Jesus handball in the buildup. Jesus, the injured Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres and second half substitutes Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden are just not getting enough done to put goals on the board right now. And it’s consistently costing Pep Guardiola’s side points; a team that’s mid-table with a negative goal differential through eight games. City needs a win over Burnley next weekend in a huge way.
Heyung-Min Son gave Tottenham the lead in the 5th minute and Harry Kane’s gorgeous feed on the counter to Giovani Lo Celso an hour (less than a minute after replacing Tanguy Ndombele in the lineup) later put it away for Spurs, who are simply surging under Jose Mourinho.
Calvert-Lewin’s Continued Excellence Lifts Everton
Dominic Calvert-Lewin has more goals scored this season than six teams, including Arsenal and Wolves, and as many goals as Man City and Newcastle. He was superb from the first minute in Everton’s 3-2 win at Fulham on Sunday, poaching home a cross from Richarlison that deflected off a defender for the instant lead.
After Fulham equalized in the 15th minute, DCL extended his league-leading tally for the gold-wearing Toffees in the 29th. After tremendous buildup play from Alex Iwobi and James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne’s cross was perfectly placed in traffic to Calvert-Lewin, who tapped it home.
Everton’s built this attacking set of players so well that it puts Calvert-Lewin in perfect position to have this sublime number of goals, helping the team remain dangerous and in the PL’s top six.
Bruno Fernandes Saves Manchester United Again
If you had Nov. 21 as the day United would get its first PL win of the season at Old Trafford, come claim your prize, I guess. It was a thorough domination of West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, with 63.1% of possession and a 7-2 edge in shots on target, but only Bruno Fernandes’ 56th minute penalty was the difference in a 1-0 win after missing the first one when goalkeeper David Johnstone was ruled to have come off his line early. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s club will take whatever it can get at the moment, heading into an unexpectedly tough test next Sunday away against Southampton. Fernandes has scored six of the club’s 13 league goals thus far.
Brighton Finally Puts It Together
Brighton has looked good this season, playing free-flowing, aesthetically pleasing football. The problem? The Gulls weren’t seeing results from it. That finally changed in a big way Saturday when Big 6 castoffs Danny Welbeck and Adam Lallana contributed to a 2-1 win at Aston Villa. As of now, the win comfortably puts Graham Potter’s side out of the relegation danger zone.
Sheffield Wasting Rhian Brewster
With one point and four goals total in nine games, Sheffield United continue not to have its record transfer in the starting XI. Rhian Brewster, the 20-year-old forward bought from Liverpool for a club record £23.5 million, was subbed in by Chris Wilder in the 65th minute. His ball to Oliver McBurnie went off the post, but the Blades fell 1-0 at home against West Ham United on Sunday to remain bottom of the table. Sheffield needs to have Brewster in attack every match or it’ll have no shot of escaping relegation after the worst case scenario of starts to the season.
Nicolas Pepe, WYD?
Monday’s Eyes On The Molineaux
Wolves and Southampton is the big Monday matchup, with the home side still struggling to score this season, with eight goals in as many PL matchups this season. Can the Saints vault into the top four?
Source: Forbes – Business