EPL

Premier League Review: Mourinho starts with a win, Emery woes continue

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Jose Mourinho won his first game in charge of Tottenham but had his satisfaction tempered by a late West Ham fightback in a 3-2 victory at London Stadium, while rivals Arsenal laboured in a 2-2 home draw against Southampton.

Spurs scored freely for 49 minutes in the lunchtime game at London Stadium but were pegged back as errors crept in. Arsenal needed a late Alexandre Lacazette goal to avoid joining six other Premier League teams who lost at home on Saturday.

Crystal Palace were sunk by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool. Brighton lost to Leicester City and Everton were beaten by Norwich City, both at home by 2-0 scorelines.

Wolves extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth and Burnley won 3-0 at Watford to clinch back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

SPURS FIRE FOR JOSE BUT DEFENSIVE QUESTIONS LINGER

Three goals in 13 minutes put Spurs on course for a resounding result against West Ham but Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna took the sheen off the Mourinho era curtain-raiser.

The visitors were marginally the better side of a tepid first half until the 36th minute when Dele Alli played in Son Heung-min whose angled drive from the corner of the six-yard box beat the flailing Roberto Jimenez for power.

Alli released Son down the left and he sent over a low cross that Lucas Moura bundled into the net at the far post to double Tottenham's advantage two minutes from half-time.

West Ham's defensive frailties came to the fore once again four minutes into the second half when Serge Aurier's cross picked out Harry Kane, who was given an easy ride by Issa Diop as he sent a header past Roberto's outstretched hand.

But when Spurs needed to close out the win, they allowed Antonio to pull one back from close range and Declan Rice had another ruled out for offside before Ogbonna converted from Robert Snodgrass' cross deep into stoppage time.

FIRMINO FIRES WINNER FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool's three-game winning streak was under threat when Wilfried Zaha scored for Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute to make it 1-1 at Selhurst Park, but the Eagles failed to keep Roberto Firmino at bay late on.

The Brazilian striker poked home in during an 85th-minute penalty box scramble amid heavy Reds pressure, typical of the never-say-die attitude that makes the Premier League front-runners so difficult to stop.

Sadio Mane's eighth league goal of the season had put Liverpool 1-0 in front, the Senegal international advancing into the box four minutes after half-time before unleashing a shot that hit both posts before finding the net.

Zaha's low, angled drive from 12 yards put Palace on course for a point their battling performance would have merited but Roy Hodgson's men failed to park the bus when a Liverpool onslaught was inevitable.

LACAZETTE BRACE KEEPS EMERY ERA HANGING BY A THREAD

Arsenal looked like a side taking victory for granted before Danny Ings opened the scoring for Southampton after eight minutes at Emirates Stadium.

It was only by virtue of Alexandre Lacazette's work rate and quality that the Gunners gave the home support anything to cheer, and the France international equalised after 18 minutes following scrappy Southampton defending.

The goal should have put the wind in Arsenal's sails, but Unai Emery's men lacked cohesion and consistency, allowing Southampton to break repeatedly. The visitors restored their lead 19 minutes from time through James Ward-Prowse who scored at the second attempt after Bernd Leno saved his penalty.

Again it fell to Lacazette to spare Arsenal's embarrassment and he duly obliged, succeeding where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil failed by converting a late chance at close range, rifling home from Gabriel Martinelli's cross to clinch his side a point they barely deserved.


Burnley, meanwhile, won 3-0 for the second game in a row with second-half strikes from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski earning a victory at bottom side Watford that lifted the Clarets to sixth in the table.

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    It is that time of year again - Halloween is here!

    October 31 is a date synonymous with apple-bobbing, costume parties, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating. And football, too, of course.

    This Saturday sees three Premier League fixtures take place, so can we expect to see plenty of ghouls - sorry, goals - during proceedings?

    Manchester City host Sheffield United in the early kick-off, Chelsea travel to Burnley and the schedule concludes with champions Liverpool welcoming West Ham to Anfield.

    With help from Opta, take a (scary) trip down memory lane with a look at Halloween through the years in the English top flight, including some be-witching scoring feats and those left having nightmares.

     

    HAT-TRICK TREATS

    Three players have scored a Premier League hat-trick on the final day of October, the most recent being Demba Ba in a 3-1 win over Stoke City for Newcastle United nine years ago.

    Newcastle were responsible for another of the trebles, with Kevin Nolan finding the net three times in a famous 5-1 win over, fittingly, the Black Cats – their bitter rivals, Sunderland – one year beforehand.

    The other three-goal haul came via Aruna Dindane for Portsmouth against Wigan Athletic in 2009. A spook-tacular feat, indeed!

     

    THE UNLUCKY 13

    It is perhaps somewhat appropriate that 13 red cards have been dished out on Halloween down the years.

    Stuart Pearce had a nightmare in Newcastle's meeting with West Ham in 1998 in the first of those incidents, the Toon going on to lose that match 3-0.

    Liverpool have had more players dismissed on October 31 than any other Premier League side, with Jason McAteer, Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher all seeing red.

    Kenwyne Jones, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Radoslav Kovac, Carlos Cuellar, Geovanni, Jlloyd Samuel, Titus Bramble and, most recently Russell Martin and James Collins in 2015, are the others to be given their marching orders on Halloween.

    OG HORRORS

    Arguably the biggest horror show a player can endure is scoring for the opposition, something only four players have done on this day since the Premier League was incepted.

    Alfie Mawson could not mask his misery in Swansea City's 3-1 loss to Stoke City in 2016, turning Ramadan Sobhi's shot into his own net.

    Craig Short did likewise for Everton against Manchester United 22 years ago, while Gary McAllister and Ian Brightwell – both in 1992 – complete the set.

    LONG LIST OF GHOUL-SCORERS

    Halloween is not all about chills, though - there are the occasional thrills, too!

    Eighty-eight different players can hold claim to scoring on the spookiest day of the year, 17 of those bagging more than once.

    As well as the aforementioned hat-trick heroes, the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Philippe Coutinho, Robin van Persie, Odion Ighalo and Ian Wright have scored multiple times.

    Ighalo and Mahrez are two of six current Premier League players to have found the net on Halloween, along with Branislav Ivanovic, Olivier Giroud, Christian Benteke and Jamie Vardy. 

    But Christian Benteke has the special honour of being the only one of those 88 goal-scorers from whose name you can create the words 'trick' and 'treat'.

  • Premier League table doesn't mean much yet – Mourinho Premier League table doesn't mean much yet – Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho believes the Premier League table means little so early in the season despite Tottenham's fine start to the campaign.

    Tottenham are sixth in the table – two points behind leaders Everton – ahead of hosting Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

    Spurs have lost just one of their opening six league games and have netted more goals (16) than anyone else, leading to suggestions they could challenge for the title.

    But Tottenham head coach Mourinho said it was too early to make judgments based on the standings.

    "I believe the table now doesn't mean much. I believe that by February, March, you look to the table and understand the reality of the competition," he said.

    "A part of that special season with a special Leicester [in 2015-16], a part of that you get into February or March and the reality of the teams are expressed on the table, in this moment not yet.

    "We had magnificent results away in the Premier League but at home we lost too many points and with these points we would be there but it is not a target.

    "The target is to win against Brighton knowing that anything can happen in the Premier League."

    Spurs dropped points in additional time in home draws against Newcastle United and West Ham, the latter coming from 3-0 down late.

    Winless in three home league games this season, Tottenham last had a run of four matches without a home league win in December 2013, but Mourinho said he had no concerns.

    "I am not so worried about the home record," said Mourinho, whose side are coming off a shock 1-0 Europa League loss to Royal Antwerp.

    "I am worried about playing well and getting points and against Everton the frustration was we probably deserved, I think, a point but we didn't play well and in other games the feeling was different.

    "We played very well against Newcastle, we played very well against West Ham so let's try and play very well against Brighton and when you play very well you normally win, so let's try."

  • Klopp considers Mascherano-type at centre-back amid Liverpool injury crisis Klopp considers Mascherano-type at centre-back amid Liverpool injury crisis

    Jurgen Klopp said he could use a Javier Mascherano-type solution amid Liverpool's injury crisis in the centre of defence.

    With Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip sidelined, Liverpool were dealt another blow on Tuesday, when Fabinho – playing at centre-back instead of midfield – hurt his hamstring against Midtjylland in the Champions League.

    Joe Gomez is the only senior centre-back available for Saturday's clash at home to West Ham, while Nathaniel Phillips, 23, Billy Koumetio, 17, and Rhys Williams, 19, are also options.

    Klopp said he had expected Phillips, who was on loan at Stuttgart last season, to leave the club.

    The Liverpool manager also said it was possible he could use Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, James Milner or Andy Robertson at centre-back, in a similar way to what Mascherano – initially a defensive midfielder – did during his career.

    "I know Nat [Phillips] the longest so I was really happy with this development. Since I know him he made big, big steps and is an exceptional character," Klopp told reporters.

    "I said it before that the little problem was that we were all convinced, how it looked all the time… there were a lot of clubs interested in him and in the end, maybe because of the coronavirus crisis, nobody had the money to do it but we expected him to leave the club, to be honest. Thank God he didn't, but that's the reason why he is not in the Champions League squad, the only reason.

    "He cannot be on the bench in the Champions League but he is available for the Premier League like all three are and now I have to make a decision.

    "And we have still, obviously, other options like Hendo or Gini or James – or Robbo can play centre-half as well. They are all not smaller than Mascherano, for example, and he played pretty well in that position.

    "So yes, we have obviously still one or two options and one of them, we will choose. Which one, you have to switch on the television tomorrow night."

    Liverpool have collected 13 points from their opening six Premier League games of the season to sit second in the table.

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