MatchDay 14 review:A week of surprises.
FYI: Matchday and Gameweek are the same thing, but since matchday is the official word, I have decided to switch to Matchday.
Matchday 14 was just a few days after Matchday 13, and yet we saw some stunning results. Let’s take a deeper look at each and every game, and what they meant to each team.
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool: 0–7
We start this review with an absolute beauty of a match, as Liverpool swept aside the Eagles to score 7, and concede none. Crystal Palace were not horrendous, but they just couldn’t adapt to Liverpool’s style of play and thus struggled to shut the Scousers down. Liverpool, meanwhile, went all out as they continue to win despite a now some-what manageable injury crisis. Takumi Minamino clinched his first goal, followed by a classic Sadio Mane goal, 2 goals from Firmino, a goal from club captain Henderson and a brace from Mo Salah. While many were potential candidates for the MOTM award, I have to give it to Mane for his sensational performance, and for his great gesture of celebrating his goal with a celebration suggested to him by a fan with special needs.
Southampton vs Man City: 0–1
This may have seemed like a one-sided affair, but Southampton actually played really well, and they will feel dejected that they didn’t even manage to tie the game. Had they played a less able team, or had Danny Ings not come off due to injury, they would have certainly won the game. While Man City did do well to keep it 1–0, I have to say there were a couple of times they were caught unaware and nearly conceded. My MOTM could have been goalscorer Sterling, but I simply can’t overlook English defender John Stones. His career was on a downward spiral for the past 18 months, but has been revived by his stellar performances of late. He was solid at the back, and unlike his new partner Dias, he surprisingly didn’t experience a lapse of concentration every now and then.
Everton vs Arsenal: 2–1
This result was expected by everyone but Arsenal fans. Arsenal have had a speedier decline than Mario Balotelli, yet every week AFTV claim that they will win that week’s match for sure, and return to winning ways. Arsenal were absolutely unmotivated during the whole 90 minutes, and genuinely look like they may face a relegation battle if they don’t buck up. Everton were pretty great, and deserved the win completely. I don’t know what Ancelotti did to motivate his players, but Everton are finally returning back to their best form. People talk about how form is everything, but yet Everton’s steady return to winning ways has gone relatively unnoticed. They played really well, controlled the direction of play, and were able to defeat a struggling Arsenal. My MOTM is Gylfi Sigurðsson, who has been steadily improving himself by chipping in with goals and assists to justify his 40 Million pound price tag after a generally average career at Everton for the past two years
Newcastle United vs Fulham: 1–1
Both sides were evenly matched, but this means different things to the two teams. Newcastle United would be relatively satisfied with the result, but it is worrying that they struggled to score a goal in open play against a defensively weak team. Fulham, however, continue to do well against better teams, and held Newcastle to a draw by maintaining possession. Scott Parker has seemed to learn quickly on how to cope with Premier League opposition, and it looks like Fulham may somehow avoid relegation.
Brighton vs Sheffield United: 1–1
Another 1–1 match, but it was certainly more entertaining than the previous one. Sheffield United had had their best performance of the season so far till the 60th minute, but crumbled under the high pressing football of the Seagulls. The Seagulls meanwhile, have had a season devoid of luck so far, and will be relieved that at least they were lucky enough to tie with a team languishing in the relegation zone, instead of losing to them. My MOTM is Danny Welbeck, who scored the one and only goal for BHA to tie the match, and had amazing work rate plus movement off the ball.
Tottenham Hotspurs vs Leicester City: 0–2
This result was genuinely astonishing, since I had expected the two teams to share the points. Leicester have been the team in better form, but I expected Mourinho’s men to at least give their all in this crucial match. Leicester have been doing well in the PL for the past two years, and this year could be the year that they go the next step and make the top 4. They played fluid, attacking football, which was both easy on the eye, and effective against their opposition. Tottenham, meanwhile, were phenomenal since Matchday 4, but in recent weeks, have been unable to get the desired results. I have said this multiple times in recent weeks and I’ll say it again: Tottenham just do not go the extra mile for the win, like Leicester and Liverpool did in the past two games. They played extremely lazily, with the likes of Ndombele and Lo Celso unable to spark any sort of creativity. My MOTM was hard to choose given the Foxes’ spectacular display, but I managed to decide on Danish ‘keeper Kasper Schmeichel. He has been the PL’s most consistent ‘keeper in the past 5 years, and it’s only due to his father’s world-class goalkeeping in the ’90s that his acheivments and talents have been overshadowed. He once again showed his worth to the Foxes as he kept the likes of Son and Kane silent to bag a valuable clean sheet.
Manchester United vs Leeds United: 6–2
Leeds’ fans have been waiting for this derby for 16 years, and will be disappointed to see their team trashed like this. As a Man United fan, I’m simply over the moon. Bias aside, I have to say it was cool that Leeds stuck to their principles and tactics to clinch their two goals, but this was also the reason they were torn apart by the Mancunians. The Mancs were at their very best, as they used counter-attacking football to flummox the Leeds’ defenders and to score a grand total of 6 goals to win the game. In particular, the Manchester United midfielders were the one who controlled the game, with Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay both scoring twice. My MOTM is McTominay, who has developed a knack to turn into the Scottish De Bruyne on derby days. He scored twice and assisted once to contribute to half of the Manchester United goals as he continue to proves his importance to the Red Devils.
West Brom vs Aston Villa: 0–3
Quite a lot of fans would have thought Big Sam could magically get the Baggies to win against a re-energised Aston Villa, but obviously I disagree. Sam Allardyce tends to take time to turn things around at clubs, so I wasn’t surprised to see a huge defeat in his first match. What people didn’t realise, was that the Baggies looked more aggressive than usual throughout the match. While Livermore’s aggressiveness went a bit too far, the Baggies played with more dedication than i have ever seen them play, which could prove essential in the future. Aston Villa will be overjoyed with the result, and also satisfied that some of the team’s other attackers are finally stepping up to contribute with goals and assists. They were in full control of the game, and will hope to continue their winning streak during the Christmas weekend. My MOTM has to be Bertrand Traore, who scored and assisted once each to help Aston Villa to win the game. It certainly has been his best performance since joining from Lyon in August, and he’s had a couple of stellar displays to choose from.
Burnley vs Wolves: 2–1
This one has to be the result of the week. Burnley apparently won only due to some dodgy calls from the referee, according to what I have heard, but it still doesn’t excuse Wolves’ complacency in the first 60 minutes, Nuno. Wolves were in full control of the game according to stats, but yet they failed to put the ball in the net during open play despite being the more talented team by far. Burnley may not have been as dominant as a winning team usually is, but they put in a lot of effort in attacking when they got the chance, which is why they managed to outscore a team renowned for their attacking prowess. The only positive for Wolves is that Fabio Silva scored (even if it was a penalty), which will certainly boost his confidence. The MOTM has to be Ashley Barnes, who scored the first goal and played a crucial role in the second to help Burnley to win the match.
Chelsea vs West Ham United: 3–0
FINALLY. Chelsea have won against top 10 opposition. Santa decided to give Frank Lampard an early Christmas treat, I guess. Jokes aside, the Blues truly deserved the win as they cruised past the Hammers to win a crucial game. Chelsea’s attacking prowess was back to its best, as Thiago Silva and Tammy Abraham both appeared on the scoresheet to win the game for Chelsea. Timo Werner continues to bag assists to his name, but continues to miss huge chances and continue a worrying goalless streak. West Ham were the complete opposite of Chelsea, as they struggled to put the ball in the net against a solid Chelsea defence. The West Ham defenders were also to blame for the goals, as they all struggled to remain on the same wavelength, which is surprising since West Ham’s defence has been solid and communicative for most of the season. My MOTM is Tammy Abraham, who scored twice in two minutes to seal the win for the Blues.
For this week, my Player of the Week is Scott McTominay, who was sensational for Manchester United against Leeds, as he clinched a brace and assist.
So, that’s it. Hope you enjoyed this review, do look out for my next article, and have a Merry Christmas!