EPL

Premier League Review: Arteta claims first win, Moyes off to a flyer and champions sink Ancelotti's Everton

By Sports Desk January 01, 2020

Everton's 100 per cent record under Carlo Ancelotti came unstuck in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, but Mikel Arteta and David Moyes got their first victories in charge of West Ham and Arsenal, respectively. 

Arteta, whose Arsenal side put in a much-improved performance, claimed a 2-0 victory over Manchester United, while West Ham crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on the Scot's return to the club.

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford, along with a draw between Norwich City and Crystal Palace, as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Jesus at the double while Noble inspires Hammers

Ancelotti delivered back-to-back wins in his opening two games as Everton boss and his Toffees side frustrated City for 51 minutes in a tight game at the Etihad.

The deadlock was broken by Gabriel Jesus, who scored with a scintillating right-footed shot into the top corner from the edge of the box, and he connected with a Riyad Mahrez pass to score with a low shot seven minutes later.

Richarlison turned Theo Walcott's deflected cross into the net at the far post with 19 minutes left to give Everton hope, but they failed to find an equaliser and suffered a first defeat in six league games.

At London Stadium, Moyes produced a markedly improved performance from West Ham as they strolled to a 4-0 victory over Bournemouth, with captain Mark Noble scoring a brace.

Noble scored with a deflected shot with 17 minutes played and Sebastien Haller found the net via a bicycle kick before the Hammers' skipper converted a first-half penalty.

Felipe Anderson netted with a neat finish when Declan Rice found him with a measured pass, West Ham's fourth wrapping up their biggest margin of victory in the Premier League for over a decade.

 

Arteta off the mark at jubilant Emirates

Arsenal's home faithful were treated to a dominant display and a 2-0 victory over Manchester United that harked back to the days when Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp tormented the Red Devils in north London.

Nicolas Pepe opened the scoring in the eighth minute, firing home from 12 yards after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sead Kolasinac combined to great effect down the Arsenal left.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos doubled the hosts' lead shortly before half-time, lashing high into the net from close range after United failed to clear their lines at a corner, but Arsenal had capitulated from a winning position on this ground against Chelsea three days earlier.

There was to be no turnaround this time, however. The win moves Arsenal up to 10th in the Premier League table, while United remain fifth, but the balance of play suggested the two sides could end the season much closer together.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Cesar Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone  #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020

Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game, firstly due to the birth of his child and this time due to a minor injury, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, moving back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.

 

Villa pick up much-needed win while Wickham pegs bag Norwich

Villa boss Dean Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Wesley got the first goal after 27 minutes and the Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time when Jack Grealish scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

Meanwhile, Todd Cantwell put Norwich City ahead after just four minutes of their clash with Palace, who battled bravely to stay in the game before substitute Connor Wickham turned Wilfried Zaha's cross into the net five minutes from time to earn his side a share of the points.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs, Watford's revival continues

Danny Ings scored the 16th goal Tottenham have conceded in their last 11 matches when he lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes at St. Mary's.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Harry Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring, and Jose Mourinho was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation.

Watford maintained their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves after Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring half an hour in with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster again, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Related items

  • Atletico Madrid v Liverpool: How have Simeone's side toiled since Champions League challenges? Atletico Madrid v Liverpool: How have Simeone's side toiled since Champions League challenges?

    Atletico Madrid appear clear underdogs as they welcome European and world champions Liverpool to the Wanda Metropolitano this week.

    Liverpool have reached consecutive Champions League finals, winning the decider at Atleti's home last season, and are on course for a stunning record-breaking first Premier League triumph.

    Diego Simeone's Atleti have similarly been counted among Europe's elite in years past, winning LaLiga in 2013-14 as they lost the Champions League final, a continental feat that was repeated two years later.

    But the Spanish side are facing a battle just to finish in the top four in their domestic league this season.

    They face Liverpool in the Champions League last 16, hosting the first leg on Tuesday, and we use Opta data to assess just where they have fallen away ahead of this mammoth task.

     

    Steadily slowing since 2014

    Simeone has long had a reputation for setting up his side to stifle the best in Spain and across Europe, but in 2013-14 – the greatest season in their modern history – Atleti packed a punch in attack.

    The LaLiga champions scored 116 goals in their 61 matches in all competitions – 1.9 per game.

    As they returned to the Champions League final in 2015-16, Atleti netted 89 times in 57 matches (1.6 per game), while they average just 1.1 per game this term.

    Diego Costa alone scored 35 in 2013-14, and Atleti clearly lack a similarly prolific marksman right now, but their style of play in attack has also changed considerably.

    Atleti still have a similar portion of possession – 46.8 per cent in 2013-14 to 47.5 per cent this campaign – yet they were previously far more effective at launching attacks from their low block.

    A total of 108 fast breaks across their 61 matches in their best season works out at 1.8 per game. That was down to 0.4 fast breaks per game in 2015-16, and 0.5 per game in 2019-20.

    Atleti have simply become far slower and therefore easier to defend against.

     

    Alvaro Morata no marksman

    Atleti's issues would still not be quite so grave if they were taking chances with the same regularity as previously, but a study of Expected Goals (xG) provides cause for concern.

    Costa could have been expected to score 31.85 times across the 2013-14 season but instead beat that xG figure with his tally of 35.

    The ability of Simeone's side to compete again two years later was largely due to the talents of Antoine Griezmann, meanwhile, signed after the LaLiga title success.

    The France striker outperformed his xG of 18.84 by some distance with a total of 24 goals in all competitions, taking several chances he would not have been expected to score from.

    This season, Alvaro Morata is Atleti's top scorer with just eight. Worryingly, he would have been expected to score 12.85 times already.

    Joao Felix (three goals, 5.87 xG), Costa (two goals, 2.92 xG) and Vitolo (no goals, 1.62 xG) have all toiled in the final third, too, explaining Atleti's poor goals return.

     

    Defensive standards slipping

    And Atleti's problems are not just at one end of the field. Jan Oblak remains one of Europe's finest goalkeepers, but even he cannot match previous standards behind a much-changed defence.

    The Slovenia star was outstanding in 2015-16, conceding just 26 times across 51 matches, keeping 32 clean sheets and saving 82.67 per cent of shots faced on target.

    This term, Oblak has already let in 22 goals in just 31 games, with his save percentage 76.84

    Where Atleti could have expected to concede 45.31 goals four seasons ago and allowed just 31, the margins have slimmed considerably: 27.5 xG conceded versus 24 conceded in 2019-20.

    Just as Atleti have not effectively replaced Griezmann in attack, they look to be feeling the losses of Diego Godin, Lucas Hernandez and Filipe Luis in defence, with Oblak unable to stem the tide.

    Liverpool's all-star attack can now fancy their chances against a previously stingy back line.

  • Mane out to overtake Ronaldo, BVB braced for Mbappe – Champions League in Opta numbers Mane out to overtake Ronaldo, BVB braced for Mbappe – Champions League in Opta numbers

    Liverpool return to the setting of their sixth coronation as European champions on Tuesday, as they face Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano in their last-16 first leg.

    The Reds beat Tottenham 2-0 at Atletico's ground last year to win the competition for the first time since 2005, having been defeated in the final the previous campaign.

    They go into Tuesday's encounter as big favourites due to a combination of their remarkable form and Atletico's well-documented struggles.

    Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain tussle in Germany in Tuesday's other fixture, with their contest sure to capture the imagination of neutrals given the amount of attacking talent on display.

    Ahead of Tuesday's action, we take a look at the key data from both games…

    Atletico Madrid v Liverpool

    0 - Atletico have never lost at home under Diego Simeone in the Champions League knockout stages (W8 D4). In those 12 games, they have only conceded two goals.

    3 - Liverpool, who beat Genk and Salzburg on matchday three and matchday six of the group stage, have never won three consecutive away Champions League games. They last did so in the European Cup back in September 1984 under manager Joe Fagan (five in a row).

    10 - Liverpool's Sadio Mane has scored 10 goals in 14 Champions League knockout games since 2017-18. Only Cristiano Ronaldo has been more prolific over that period (11 goals).

    3 - Liverpool have always progressed against Spanish opposition in two-legged Champions League ties (3/3): 2-2 on away goals v Barcelona (2006-07, round of 16), 5-0 on aggregate v Real Madrid (2008-09, round of 16), 4-3 v Barcelona (2018-19, semi-finals).

    50 - If he plays, this will be Alvaro Morata's 50th Champions League game. Fifty per cent of the Atletico striker's goals in the Champions League have come in the knockout phase (7/14).

    Borussia Dortmund v PSG

    1 - Dortmund have made it past the Champions League last 16 only once in the past five seasons. That was in 2016-17 under current PSG coach Thomas Tuchel – they were eventually knocked out by Monaco in the quarter-finals.

    8 - PSG have reached the Champions League knockout stages for the eighth consecutive season – only Real Madrid (23), Barcelona (16) and Bayern Munich (12) are on a longer run. However, in that time, the French side have never gone past the quarter-finals and have been eliminated in the last 16 in each of the past three seasons.

    2 - Two of the three youngest players to have scored three or more goals and delivered three or more assists in the Champions League since last season play for Dortmund: 19-year-old Jadon Sancho (three goals, three assists) and 21-year-old Achraf Hakimi (four goals, three assists). The other is PSG's 21-year-old Kylian Mbappe (nine goals, eight assists).

    30 - Mbappe has had 30 goal involvements in 30 Champions League games (19 goals, 11 assists). He has scored three goals against BVB, his joint-best record in the Champions League against a single opponent.

    22 - Dortmund's previous 22 goals in the Champions League have all come from open play, the longest current run among the remaining sides in the competition.

  • Rumour Has It: PSG yet to begin contract talks with Neymar Rumour Has It: PSG yet to begin contract talks with Neymar

    Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly yet to begin talks with Neymar over a new deal.

    The Brazil international was linked with a return to Barcelona before the start of this season, but ended up staying in Paris.

    Yet after claims last month that Neymar wanted a new deal at PSG, it is reported no negotiations have been held just yet.

     

    TOP STORY – PSG YET TO BEGIN CONTRACT TALKS WITH NEYMAR

    PSG and Neymar are yet to meet to discuss a possible extension, according to Le Parisien.

    Neymar, 28, is contracted to PSG until 2022, but there have been no talks over a stay beyond then.

    The forward is expected to return from injury in PSG's Champions League last-16 first leg against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

    ROUND-UP

    - Barcelona appear to have found their replacement for the injured Ousmane Dembele. Sport reports the LaLiga giants have decided to pay Leganes forward Martin Braithwaite's release clause of €18million. Braithwaite has six goals in 24 LaLiga games this season.

    - Bayern Munich are lining up a replacement for Jerome Boateng. France Football reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano, who has a €60m release clause, has become a priority for Bayern.

    - With Champions League football next season slipping away from Roma, the Serie A club may be unable to sign Chris Smalling. Corriere dello Sport reports Tottenham, Everton and Juventus are interested in Smalling, with Manchester United wanting €20m (£16.7m) for the 30-year-old.

    - Two of Arsenal 18-year-olds are apparently attracting interest from Liverpool. Football Insider reports the runaway Premier League leaders are looking at Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka.

    - Roma are considering a move for RB Leipzig right-back Lukas Klostermann, according to CalcioMercato. Klostermann, 23, has been capped eight times by Germany.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.