Premier League Game of the Week: Chelsea 2-5 West Bromwich Albion

Curse those international breaks, this is what Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel was probably thinking when the final whistle sounded at Stamford Bridge this past weekend. But this was a game that looked over and out at least 20 minutes before the end.

West Bromwich Albion defeating Chelsea away from home was something, a shock, a surprise on a certain level. It can happen. But scoring 5 goals, that simply was not expected and the result was easily up there with Aston Villa putting 7 goals past Liverpool earlier in the season. It was mammoth and it had Tuchel fuming and Baggies manager Sam Allardyce laughing and grinning like a Cheshire cat. It was a small beautiful moment in a season, which for West Brom has looked desperate and toothless.

It’s always a surprise when one third of the game has gone without goals and then there were 7 but that was almost the case with this match and the goals didn’t arrive until the 27th minute and it would be predictably the home team that would open the scoring through Christian Pulisic. Marcos Alonso produced a near brilliant free kick that the keeper could not take hold of and Pulisic was in the right place at the right time to tap in from only a few yards out.

It is worth mentioning by this time that Thiago Silva of Chelsea had already been booked for holding, because just two minutes later he received his second booking and was sent off for a challenge that had actually happened after the ball was struck. The challenge looked nasty and was two footed but one could also believe that there was no malice intended, it didn’t matter though and Chelsea were now down to 10 men.

Everything was to change in injury time of the first half, something quite spectacular indeed, and it is this unpredictable nature of the Premier League which probably makes it the best competition in Europe- barring the fact of course that Manchester City are running away with the league.

West Brom’s Sam Johnstone looping pass found an unmarked Matheus Pereira who then looped the ball past Edouard Mendy in goal and on the 45th minute +1 it was 1-1. Pereira wasn’t finished yet though. There was chaos in the Chelsea defence as West Brom came forward again and despite there being 3 defenders in front of Pereira his shot still went past them and into the back of the net. Suddenly West Brom were heading into the break 2-1 up.

True you could argue that Chelsea had had the better chances of the first half but West Brom had not come here to defend and park the bus like many would have expected, and they remained a constant threat and had chances of their own. Even still Chelsea remained the favourites to go on and win the game despite being reduced to 10 men. That myth was busted within 20 minutes of the 2nd half re start.

There would be no 2-2 score line and then the inevitable Chelsea come back, West Brom firstly went 3-1 up and then 4-1 up. It felt like madness on paper but in reality was grounded in hard work and a desire to win a game that nobody thought would be possible for Allardyce’s side.

Callum Robinson slotted in a beautiful third and when Mbaye Diagne soon after scored a fourth goal for the Baggies, this was suddenly looking very easy for the away side who are in 19th place.

West Brom did show some vulnerabilities at the back, and this is why they could get relegated this season to let in Chelsea for 2-4 when the Blues easily picked them off and the goal was finished by the impressive Mason Mount from just a few yards out. Suddenly a threat from the home side was there, this is a game that Chelsea could possibly draw. But it was the away side that needed these points.

But as the time went on Chelsea were not able to find the chances in the final third to create much danger and then Robinson scored his 2nd of the game, perhaps the finest of the encounter with a beautiful little dip beating the keeper for an incredible 5-2 victory.

Chelsea lost their first game in over 2 months and Tuchel has faced his first taste of defeat in the Premier League. The result is a blow to the Blues top 4 chances too and they saw West Ham pass them for 4th place and the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham have edged nearer.

As for West Brom, well Sam Allardyce has never been relegated with his teams and perhaps the great escape is on. It would indeed be the greatest given how West Brom are in 19th with 21 points and are 8 points from safety with just 24 left to play.

Let’s take a look at the latest betting odds for relegation in the Premier League.

Sheffield United 1/500

West Bromwich Albion 1/25

Fulham 8/11

Newcastle 11/10

Burnley 16/1

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 30

Chelsea losing 5-2 at home to West Bromwich Albion, let that sink in because it may have to do over the course of several weeks. This season in the Premier League has thrown out some very surprising results, and it is as if the league was giving a welcomed if not delayed response to the arrival Thomas Tuchel. The defeat was Tuchel’s first in charge of the Blues and it has come at a dreadful time for them.

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 and perhaps Jurgen Klopp’s side are over their dismal form and they are just 2 points from the top 4 now. Both Manchester teams won with Manchester City beating Leicester and they are 14 points clear. Manchester United consolidated 2nd place and they will surely finish in the top 4 now and are 11 points clear of 5th.

Let’s look at the players who made a difference over this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Alisson- Liverpool 7pts

Alisson will have been very happy to keep a clean sheet away to a quality side like Arsenal as Liverpool looked solid again to win the match 3-0. That was Alisson’s 7th clean sheet of the season so far and he had to make a few good saves early on as well and stayed very focused throughout the game.

Defender: Benjamin Mendy- Manchester City 9pts

It was the perfect weekend for Benjamin Mendy who kept a clean sheet as league leaders Manchester City impressively beat Leicester 2-0 away from home. The icing on the cake was that Mendy scored a goal- the opening goal just before the hour mark which set up the eventual win. That was Mendy’s 2nd goal of the season and his value is worth 6.5m.

Defender: Trent Alexander- Arnold- Liverpool 7pts

Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-0 at the Emirates for a fantastic win for the champions. Alexander-Arnold now has 8 clean sheets to his name for this season he also assisted in the clubs first goal of the game bringing his total to 36 points.

Defender: Ruben Dias- Manchester City 5pts

Another solid performance from one of the most impressive defenders in the Premier League this season. Dias was commanding and very confident on the ball even away to Leicester who are in 3rd place in the league. Dias now has 78 points so far and his value is 7.5m.

Defender: Andrew Robertson- Liverpool 5pts

Andrew Robertson looked back to his self assured best holding the back line particularly well and frustrating Arsenal as Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners. Robertson earned 5 points in the process for his clean sheet and now has a total of 43 points.

Midfielder: Mohamed Salah- Liverpool 6pts

Salah looked back and sharp especially in the 2nd half of the Arsenal goal and the player scored his 18th goal of the season as he put the Gunners to the sword. He looks set to finish the season strongly.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Liverpool 9pts

An absolutely brilliant weekend for Diogo Jota saw the Liverpool player come back from an injury lay off to start scoring the goals again and he scored 2 for Liverpool as they beat rivals Arsenal 3-0. Jota now has 8 goals for the Reds and considering his injuries this season he has had a very good campaign in his debut season for the Reds.

Midfielder: Nathan Redmond- Southampton 6pts

Nathan Redmond was involved in one of the best games of the weekend as Southampton came back against Burnley from two goals down to beat them 3-2. Redmond assisted in Danny Ings 2nd goal for the Saints and then grabbed the winner.

Midfielder: Jack Harrison- Leeds United 4pts

Jack Harrison scored a good goal to open the scoring for Leeds as they beat Sheffield United 2-1 at the weekend. That was Harrison’s seventh goal of the season and he now has 54 points.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 8pts

Harry Kane has had a fantastic season and the Tottenham striker was on hand to score 2 goals as they drew 2-2 with Newcastle at the weekend. Ultimately it was a disappointing result for Tottenham given that they were leading 2-1 but personally for Kane those 2 goals means he has 19 goals. Kane is the top scorer now in the Premier League.

Striker: Callum Robertson- West Bromwich Albion 8pts

In an incredible game not just for Callum Robertson but for 19th placed West Bromwich Albion who beat Chelsea- unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel 5-2 at Stamford Bridge. Robertson scored 2 goals and now has 4 goals for the season. His value is 5m.

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3 key players who have reinvented Chelsea’s winning way under Thomas Tuchel

When Thomas Tuchel landed the Chelsea job at the end of January after Frank Lampard was sacked Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp mused that he has been given a gift, and Klopp was absolutely right.

The problem with that statement though was that Chelsea’s brilliant players- and they really do have plenty were not performing to their maximum best under Lampard. They simply could not be coached by him and he had to go.

Bringing in Tuchel was an ace move, the German had worked wonders at PSG and stream rolled their domestic success. He almost reached the top of the mountain last summer as he guided PSG to their first ever Champions League final, but ultimately they lost in a close final to Bayern Munich.

Even though there would be disappointment for Tuchel last year with being a runner-up in the Champions League and then being sacked from PSG, he did earn pedigree and he also earned respect. It is this respect which is now filtering through to the Chelsea stars, and it is obvious that Tuchel gained it as soon as he arrived at the club.

But which players have really picked up their game since he took to the Stamford Bridge dugout? It’s interesting that one player in Timo Werner, Tuchel’s German countryman continues to struggle and Werner only has 30 points so far for a striker and has scored just 5 goals.

Let’s take a look then at the best 3 Chelsea players who have really stepped up their game and made an impact under Tuchel already.

- Mason Mount was bubbling with form under Lampard but has exploded with Tuchel in charge. He is quick, confident on the ball and is scoring goals. Six months ago he may have not been on Gareth Southgate’s list for the Euro’s this summer, but he will be one of the first on it now. Mount is able to score goals in the important games.

-Mateo Kovacic has really benefitted from Tuchel’s tactical switch of playing 3 at the back and while the defender looked lost under Lampard at times he has come into his own. He reacted very well to Tuchel’s method of play, but Chelsea have a strong team and he will have to keep that form up.

-N’Golo Kante is in a long line of brilliant midfielders for Chelsea, from everyone from Michael Essien to Frank Lampard. Though unlike Lampard Kante’s forte is not about goals, instead he has been dominating the midfield and games and has looked like one of the shining stars of this Chelsea side.

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3 reasons why Steve Bruce is failing at Newcastle United

Newcastle United are among the favourites to be relegated this season, this after finishing 13th with 44 points last season. The drop off has been significant and it seems that manager Steve Bruce is hitting a wall.

Bruce’s appointment did not go down well with fans of the club but he did seem to punch above his weight and only finished last season 1 point behind the total that Rafa Benitez had achieved the season before. That was an eyeopener in many ways and there was a belief that Bruce could do well at the club. Owner Mike Ashley saw Bruce’s appointment as a win-win situation given that Bruce was a long standing fan of the club and that Benitez was always asking for reinforcements, Ashley knew that Bruce wouldn’t ask so many questions and just get on with the job.

But this season Bruce’s Newcastle have been exposed and with just 9 games left to play for them they are only 2 points from the drop and in 17th place. The Magpies recent defeat to Brighton was huge. If the 3-0 score line wasn’t enough Brighton were a direct rival for survival and Graham Potter’s side have now moved 4 points clear of Newcastle.

So what has gone wrong with Newcastle, where Fulham could catch them and send the Magpies down, let’s take a look.

Joe Linton

It doesn’t seem fair to blame one player for a teams failings and let’s make it clear Newcastle as a team are failing. But when a club are not getting the wins and not scoring goals eyes will always fall to who is up front. In this case the Magpies have Joelinton a player who broke the clubs transfer record for £40m.

Joelinton has been, up until now, one of the poorest signings in Premier League history. He has scored 3 league goals in 59 games for the club and seven overall from 70. Indeed since starting his career back in 2014 Joelinton has only scored 26 league goals overall. When Newcastle have needed the goals to make that difference Joelinton has been wanting on too many occasions.

The Graeme Jones factor

Newcastle needed to be shaken up and in January Steve Bruce brought in Graeme Jones who had worked previously with the Belgian national side and also Bournemouth as his assistant manager. Jones got to it and changed up tactics within the team and prepared them for the Everton game at the end of January. It is thought that Bruce wasn’t the happiest person at the club that Jones had stepped in in this way. However Newcastle played one of their best games of the season to beat Everton 2-0.

Since then Bruce has taken some of that power back and although it hasn’t been confirmed it’s possible that the two are not seeing eye to eye. Bruce is stubborn and playing his way and he is letting that blind him in how the club must make advancements.

Luck has run out

Every club needs some luck along the way but under Bruce Newcastle have had some decisions go there way and have been able to not play very well but escape with a last minute win or get a draw.

Take the Leeds United match earlier this season, true Leeds ran out 5-2 winners but at one stage Newcastle were well in the game and it was 2-2. However the club had been very poor that day and Leeds would have been wondering how the score line was so close. On that day Newcastle didn’t get away with it.

But how about even earlier in the season when Tottenham completely outplayed Bruce’s team and yet in the 90th minute the score was just 1-0 to Jose Mourinho’s team. Very late on in injury time Newcastle who had been very poor throughout the game were awarded a penalty, from which they scored from- and it was a disputed one at that. The penalty which ended the game at 1-1 was the clubs only shot on target the whole game.

It just seems that especially since the New Year that Newcastle’s luck has run out. Could they go down? The answer is a yes given their second half to the season form where from a possible 45 points they have earned just 10 and won just two times, scoring just 11 goals in that time. Judging on the last 15 games Newcastle would be in 19th place and have earned 2 points less than Championship bound Sheffield United which just underlines how problematic the clubs decline has been.

It looks like that final place will go down to the wire between Fulham and Newcastle, and it will be fascinating to see how this one plays out. As for Steve Bruce he will most certainly lose his job if the club are relegated but if they stay up, even by finishing in 17th place you get the feeling that his close friend and club owner Mike Ashley will be more than happy to keep Bruce on the payroll, at the dismay of the fans.

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Liverpool were great champions but they need to stop making excuses for this season

Last season was so phenomenally brilliant for Liverpool that it will be etched into the memory banks for some time to come. But this season has seen the champions fall from grace in quick time. It can happen, we have seen it with Chelsea only a few seasons ago. But Liverpool have to stop with the excuses which are doing nothing but cheapen the club.

Liverpool have been the kings of Europe so to speak for the past 18 months, winning the league title and reaching 2 Champions League finals and winning one of those. A 60 odd unbeaten run at home followed. The incredible talents of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino up front were simply devastating, even scary. Their goals reigned supreme, here was a team who were built more like a machine- and then 2021 happened.

This has been the year to end Liverpool’s cycle, what a cycle it was, but it was short lived, of course at one point Liverpool will come back and will be a threat once more, but the fall off has been huge.

The club lost six games in a row at home, that is something that has actually never happened in the clubs 139 year history. A few of these defeats have been against teams you would have expected the club to beat in the likes of Brighton and Fulham. Liverpool even lost against derby rivals Everton at Anfield something that had not occurred since 1999.

Hopes of winning back to back titles were dashed within a month and suddenly Jurgen Klopp was wondering if his team were even going to finish in the top 4? Currently it’s possible that the Reds will not achieve that status and they could be playing in the Europa League next season as clubs such as Manchester United, Leicester and Chelsea have moved on. Liverpool also face stiff competition for places against Tottenham, West Ham and Everton.

The drop off has been huge and then the questions are inevitably asked as to why Liverpool have fallen out of form. Of course one could point to Virgil van Dijk’s injury earlier in the season, which has ruled him out of the majority of the season. But let’s not forget that van Dijk was part of the Liverpool team that lost 7-2 at Aston Villa, the signs were already there that Liverpool were going to struggle this season.

Mental fatigue has been thrown about and it has been accepted by many as a fine excuse. Yes Liverpool have been relentless in their pursuit of trophies and you can’t always win games. But the champions losing six in a row at home and probably finishing with 35 points less compared to the season before is just unthinkable.

The term mental fatigue is easy to throw around. But one has to look at other champions from the past to see what is happening in the present. Did Manchester United in their 20 years of dominance ever complain of mental fatigue? Sure United didn’t win the league every time in those 20 years and with 13 titles that was still an incredible achievement. But even when United failed to win the league, they remained a threat and they consistently qualified for the Champions League. There was no significant drop off not even in the mid 2000s when hundreds of millions was injected into Chelsea to make the Blues competitive. Soon after United won 3 league titles in a row and then beat Chelsea in the Champions League final in 2008.

Even Arsenal who remained in United’s shadow but still were a fantastic team did not drop off in their prime. If they were losing the title to United then they were finishing in 2nd place. One can look at Chelsea’s drop off in 2016 after winning the title in 2015 but that was more to do with manager Jose Mourinho losing the dressing room and the players going directionless as a result. Klopp has not lost any dressing room, so we can’t blame the manager and we shouldn’t be using mental fatigue as an excuse.

Perhaps quite simply the truth is that the players are not performing to their best. Maybe they are simply missing the famous stadium being filled up to the brim with fans and hearing the passionate Kop fans screaming their names and singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’. Then again how does that account for the fact that Liverpool have reached the quarter finals of the Champions League?

Surely if one is mentally fatigued then one is not even going to get out of their group stage? That isn’t the case and for whatever reason Liverpool have found a nice distraction from domestic football. Indeed if Liverpool were to reach the final that would be their 3rd in just four years, win it and much of this season could be glossed over.

As it stands excuses need to stop. Liverpool are where they are in the league because the players we expect to perform are having average to poor seasons and there is nothing wrong with admitting that. Liverpool could still finish 4th or win this seasons Champions League and have the last laugh, but the excuses need to stop.

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Premier League Game of the Week: West Ham United 3-3 Arsenal

31 goal attempts, 12 shots on target, six goals and a point apiece this London derby between West Ham United and Arsenal had everything, and was quite possibly the most enjoyable Premier League game so far this season.

In an odd season which is still reeling from the effects of Covid-19, the missing link remains with no fans. However something’s never change. In one corner West Ham forever in the shadow of their London neighbours, the highly successful Arsenal and a team who the Hammers have a poor record against with just 1 win over the Gunners in the league in the past decade. Then there is Arsenal who player for player are a better side than West Ham, but find themselves below them in the league and trailing David Moyes side by seven points and with the same games played.

If one was to take just this season as a measure of greatness then West Ham are a few miles ahead of Arsenal, that doesn’t mean the superiority has been switched to the extent of how Chelsea have surpassed Arsenal, but it is getting there. This was underlined by the 32nd minute of this match when West Ham were leading  3-0. But Arsenal dug deep, they showed their old self and the harm they can inflict on West Ham by means of Alexlandre Lacazette and the ever impressive Martin Odegaard who reminded one of the great Dennis Bergkamp with his slick and professional timing on the ball.

Arsenal have been a poor side domestically this season, but against West Ham and indeed in the last few weeks they have showed a bright glimmer of the future under Mikel Arteta.

Jesse Lingard has been one of West Ham’s smartest moves in years, the other was the purchase of Tomas Soucek and both players influenced the game early on. Lingard scored his 5th goal in the league for the Hammers and then two minutes later assisted for the young Jarrod Bowen to add a second. There was a moment of disbelief that West Ham were 2 goals up against a side they found so hard to beat for decades. But here we were. Just past the half hour mark Soucek, arguably West Ham’s best player of the past 10 years made it 3-0. These felt like crazy times and the picture painted on Arteta’s face said it all.

But don’t let a sleeping tiger relax too much and when Arsenal got a goal back just before half time there shot a warning sign. The goal looked to have been scored by Lacazette, the player on the best form for Arsenal currently but replays showed that it took a wicked and quick deflection from Soucek who was unfortunately awarded the goal.

The next goal would win the game for West Ham or for Arsenal get them right back into the mix and it went Arsenal’s way. It happened just after the hour mark when West Ham defender Craig Dawson who has had a very good season put the ball into his own net. It was actually a great finish by Dawson, comical because of the end result, but a finish indeed. With half an hour to go this was feeling like the perfect set up for Arsenal as the game remained end to end stuff. Both teams had their gloves off and any type of managerial tactics were not going to suffice here. Also without the fans it was nice to see how an atmosphere can still be built up when there is all to play for and both sets of teams are playing well, and playing to win.

Arsenal’s third goal arrived from the creation of Nicolas Pepe and the head of Lacazette, there were just eight minutes remaining. The result started to look inevitable, that Arsenal were going to come back from 3 down and win the game 4-3. That never materialised, had it West Ham would have been crushed. Without it they were deflated but a point was a point at the end of the day. Even so Moyes’ side almost won it with what would have been one of the most spectacular goals in Premier League history.

Declan Rice, the defender, took the ball from his own half and went past a few players looking for the pass. He didn’t find it as he advanced on the Arsenal goal and within that fleeting moment decided to take a shot, why not? It would have been a goal for the ages, for the Gods and most certainly for You Tube. However it came to nothing and every neutral watching the game sighed as the dream goal became just a well worked chance, to be forgotten in time.

The match ended 3-3 and did little for Arsenal, although with that point they did move up to 9th place. The damage was more inflicted on West Ham who remain in 5th place and are 2 points behind Chelsea but now have no games in hand.

The Hammers Champions League place has been dented, but hasn’t been denied.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 29

Because it was FA Cup weekend only 4 of the scheduled 10 Premier League games took place over the weekend but there were still some very significant results.

Tottenham bounced back after a nightmare week as they stepped up their top 4 hopes with victory over Aston Villa. The most thrilling game though involved Tottenham north London neighbours in another London derby as Arsenal came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 against West Ham.

Brighton won their 2nd game in a row and they have pushed 6 points clear of the bottom three as a result.

Let’s look at the players that made the team of the week.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris- Tottenham 7pts

After a disappointing week for the club the captain would have been happy to have secured his 10th clean sheet of the season as Tottenham got back to winning ways to beat Aston Villa 2-0 away from home. Lloris now has 48 points.

Defender: – Sergio Reguilon Tottenham 5pts

Sergio Reguilon has been one of the best defenders in the league this season and he was alert and focused as Tottenham beat Aston Villa 2-0. He has now helped to keep six clean sheets.

Defender: Lewis Dunk- Brighton 5pts

Lewis Dunk really stood out for Brighton as they achieved a fantastic and much needed 3 points at the weekend by beating Newcastle 3-0. Dunk helped to keep a clean sheet and his value is is 7m and he is rated as the best Brighton defender.

Defender: Ben Davies- Tottenham 5pts

Ben Davies had a solid game for Tottenham when he came on for Reguilon in the 2nd half. Davies could be called upon and was so effective that Aston Villa were not able to come back into the game when he was brought on.

Defender: Joel Veltman- Brighton 7pts

Joel Veltman was at the heart of Brighton’s team performance. The defender helped to keep a clean sheet as he saw his side beat Newcastle 3-0. He also assisted in the first goal which got the ball rolling. Veltman now has 27 points and his value is 7.5m.

Midfielder: Neal Maupay- Brighton 6pts

Neal Maupay scored his 8th goal of the season as his goal helped Brighton on their way to beat Newcastle. It was a huge win for the club who with that victory have been able to move six points clear of the bottom three.

Midfielder: Jesse Lingard- West Ham 6pts

Jesse Lingard has had a very positive start to his career as a West Ham player. Lingard opened the scoring against Arsenal and then assisted two minutes later for the 2nd goal. Lingard has already since January, been involved in seven goals and scored 5 of them.

Midfielder: Lucas Moura- Tottenham 4pts

Lucas Moura assisted in Tottenham’s opening goal and that was the midfielder’s third of the season so far. Moura with 38 points is ranked as the best midfielder for the club and pulled 8 points clear of Tanguy NDombele.

Midfielder: Raphinha- Leeds United 4pts

Many expected Fulham to pull together another win as they are battling hard in relegation but Leeds pulled off a great victory by beating Fulham 2-1.Raphinha scored the winning goal and he now has six goals so far this season.

Striker: Patrick Bamford- Leeds United 5pts

Patrick Bamford scored the other goal for Leeds as they beat Fulham 2-1. That was Bamford’s 14th goal of the season and he has also assisted six times in what has been a superb season for the player so far. Bamford now has 68 points overall.

Striker: Harry Kane- Tottenham 4pts

Harry Kane was back to his best as he converted a penalty for Tottenham which secured their win and ended up being the winning goal as they bounced back to beat Aston Villa 2-1 after a miserable week for the club. That was Kane’s 17th goal of the season.

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Arsenal v Tottenham: Why the referee was wrong to award a penalty and why Lacazette should have been cautioned

Michael Oliver had to stand up and make a decision in an inevitable heated north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham. With the game locked at 1-1 and time running down, Arsenal had an appeal for a penalty, and got it.

Alexandre Lacazette was put through on goal and it looked fairly obvious that he was going to score, the crowd if there was one were about to go wild, instead that was confined to living rooms up and down the country. Lacazette was about to score the winner, his 10th of the season, except he made an error. Instead of lashing the ball past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, he instead swung at the ball and missed it. Chance over, not quite. After the miss kick Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez clambered into Lacazette and of course the Arsenal striker went to ground. A penalty was awarded.

Sanchez was booked, Tottenham protested, Jose Mourinho on the touchline had to watch the replay on an Ipad, all were in agreement, no penalty. Of course anyone associated with Tottenham will go down the no penalty route, but plenty of seasoned pundits felt the same. Andy Gray, Richard Keys and Ruud Gullit could not believe that a penalty had been given.

Let’s rewind a bit and try to figure out why referee Michael Oliver gave the penalty. On first glance at full speed and from where he was it did look like a penalty. However fair is fair and VAR flagged it up for Oliver to have a few looks on the monitor but Oliver wasn’t changing his mind. One could believe that Oliver came to his decision because he saw a foul, even after the incident. The problem with that is that if one says there was contact between Sanchez and Lacazette then it was minimal and the contact would have affected Lacazette’s right leg- so why was the Arsenal forward clutching his left leg when he went down?

If anything Lacazette played on the contact to earn a penalty to spare his blushes for the miss kick. A kick that has been forgotten about now. Imagine he had made that miss kick and Sanchez was 5 yards behind, it would be on a blooper reel for years. Instead he was able to sweep that incident under the carpet and score from the penalty spot.

Lacazette ended the game as the hero but he should have been booked for feigning injury on his leg. Everyone of course has different opinions of the incident, but it is sad to see such incidents that can split opinions either way in such big games.

Oliver believes he was right, maybe he won’t in a years’ time. But the very big games should be decided on quality not petty moments like this.

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Premier League Game of the Week: Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham

The north London derby at least for spectacle didn’t disappoint and it was Arsenal, so overshadowed in the past 3 years by Tottenham who took the spoils in a 2-1 victory.

The Gunners are trying to finish the season strong after another disappointing campaign in which they have flirted with the bottom half of the table, and even after this victory the club are still 10th.

There was entertainment so to speak even before a ball was kicked given that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had dropped star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench. The reason? Protocol and Aubameyang had turned up late for the pre match set-up.

As for the game Arsenal needed to start on a positive note and they did. Though there were no early goals the Gunners came out the block firing and were camped in Tottenham’s half with wave and wave of attacks. It seemed that it would be inevitable that Tottenham would concede. There was also a tinge of disappointment that Tottenham, who have had the better season so far than Arsenal, were letting the Gunners boss the game.

But such is this season it took the first shot on target for Tottenham to score and go 1-0 up. It was an important goal of course, but what a goal too. Erik Lamela would be hero an villain of this game but this was his heroic moment. Lamela shot at goal and the ball went through the Arsenal defend as if guided by the’ force’. What actually happened and it was more noticeable on the replay was that Lamela’s shot was the rabona one. The infamous shot that was actually invented 76 years ago in Argentina. It was a stunner that even Arsenal fans had to praise. As for Lamela, well he’s done that before in an Europa League tie six years ago for Tottenham.

Unfortunately for Tottenham though they were not able to calm the game down and try to sucker punch Arsenal again. A Jose Mourinho led team 1-0 up away from home in a big game, usually means 3 points for the club he is in charge of. However Tottenham were unlucky as Arsenal equalised soon after. The goal was kind of scored by new signing Martin Odegaard who was obviously delighted with it. But his shot took a huge deflection that left Tottenham goal keeper Hugo Lloris with no chance to stop it.

Arsenal had been the more attacking team, more was expected of Tottenham but it was questionable if this game should have still been 0-0.

The biggest talking point that has split pundits, media and the fans was the penalty that Arsenal were awarded late on. Alexandre Lacazette miskicked the ball and Davinson Sanchez came into him at the same time. The penalty looked harsh for some and for others was a stone cold one. That could be debated. It was enough however to win the game for Arsenal who had finished it with 3 shots on target. For all their attacking prowess in the match the Gunners had ended up with the same shots on target as Tottenham.

To add insult to injury for Tottenham Lamela was sent off as the visitors were losing their grip on the game.

The result is a blow for Tottenham’s top 4 chances as they slipped 6 points behind that objective but they do have a game in hand to play over 4th placed Chelsea, so that chase isn’t over just yet.

For Arsenal the goal is to lift the team up so they have a strong finish to the season and the Gunners have now gone a month in all competitions undefeated and could be heading in the right direction.

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Premier League: Best 11 Players of Week 28

There were wins for the top 3 sides as Manchester City and Leicester scored 8 goals between them, though the top 3 remained the same and City look set to be crowned the new champions.

West Ham lost and Tottenham also lost in the north London derby and that was a big blow to both sides chances of finishing in the top 4. Chelsea remain unbeaten under Thomas Tuchel. Finally just 3 points is the difference between Fulham in 18th place and Brighton in 16th.

Let’s take a look at the best performing players in the Premier League this week.

Goalkeeper: Edouard Mendy- Chelsea 7pts

Chelsea kept their unbeaten record because of one man and that was Edouard Mendy who has been superb for the Blues this season. He has kept 14 clean sheets as Chelsea drew at Leeds 0-0 and made some vital saves.

Defender: John Stones- Manchester City 9pts

John Stones is having his best season in a Manchester City shirt and he earned a whopping 9 points at the weekend as he scored a goal and kept a clean sheet. City beat Fulham 3-0 away from home and Stones now has 80 points in total and is rated as City’s best defender.

Defender: Joao Cancelo- Manchester City 7pts

It was another assured performance by Cancelo as City beat Fulham 3-0. The defender actually assisted in the opening goal to set up another defender in Stones.

Defender: Harry Maguire- Manchester United 5pts

Harry Maguire is getting better as the season goes on and he was rock solid against West Ham as he team look good to finish in 2nd place. United beat West Ham 1-0 and that was Maguire’s 12th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Ben Chilwell- Chelsea 5pts

Ben Chilwell has been one of Chelsea’s best defenders and the club were held to a 0-0 result at Leeds. Leeds played attack and had plenty of chances and Chilwell really stood out for the Blues as they try to finish in the top 4.

Midfielder: Marc Albrighton- Leicester 4pts

Marc Albrighton has improved as the season has gone on and he now has 26 points overall. Albrighton assisted in one goal as Leicester smashed Sheffield United 5-0.

Midfielder: Wilfred Ndidi- Leicester 4pts

Wilfred Ndid had a starring role as Leicester smashed Sheffield United and ran out 5-0 winners at the weekend. Ndidi assisted in Leicester’s fourth goal and that is his 3rd of the season.

Midfielder: Martin Odegaard- Arsenal 4pts

The new signing Martin Odegaard got his goalscoring for Arsenal off to a cracking start as the player scored in the north London derby as Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-1.

Midfielder: Luka Milivojevic- Crystal Palace 6pts

Luka Milivojevic scored the only goal of the game through a penalty as Crystal Palace picked up 3 huge points by beating West Bromwich Albion 1-0. That was the midfielder’s first goal of the season.

Striker: Kelechi Iheanacho- Leicester 14pts

Iheanacho has been one of the best in form players in the Premier League and he keeps on scoring goals. At the weekend he scored a brace as Leicester beat Sheffield United 5-0 and he now has six goals so far for the season.

Striker: Chris Wood- Burnley 4pts

Chris Wood has been hit by some injuries by he scored a very important goal at the weekend as Burnley beat Everton away from home 2-1. Wood now has six goals so far for the season and a total of 24 points overall.

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