Premier League recap

Ben Fitzpatrick, is a member of the YCL’s Birmingham branch

The hits just keep on coming as we begin another full midweek fixture. Four games to dive into overnight with goals and incidents aplenty including a possible title contender trying to bounce back from a recent slump and a bottom of the table clash that, for the loser, ticks their doomsday clock ever closer to midnight and relegation.

Sheffield United 2-1 West Brom

We begin with the aforementioned doomsday clock matchup as bottom of the table Sheffield United climb an extra three points closer to safety after defeating their fellow relegation rivals West Brom. The visitors, who are now winless in four matches, have a slender one-point lead over the Blades and are dangling ever closer to the point of no return.

Sheffield United had to come from behind to take the victory, though, as West Brom had the lead going into half time. Two shots that had been kept out well in quick succession from Aaron Ramsdale left the ball undealt with in the Sheffield penalty area. It fell to right midfielder Matt Phillips who put the ball in the back of the net and gave the visitors a scrappy lead but a lead, nonetheless.

The home side had it all to do, then, and the task was not made any easier after losing George Baldock to injury early in the second half. That didn’t discourage Sheffield United, though, and they had their equaliser after Jayden Bogle converted from Chris Basham’s set up. The Blades had their lead in the 73rd thanks to cult club hero Billy Sharp; a lead the home side managed to hold on to.

Both teams go on to face top half opposition during the weekend with the now somewhat-in-form Sheffield hosting Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea and West Brom travelling to London to face Tottenham Hotspur.

Wolverhampton 2-1 Arsenal

Mikel Arteta’s recent Arsenal resurgence was brought to a screeching halt overnight at the Molineux after falling to a 2-1 defeat and having two key players sent off in the process. The visitors, who had the chance to break into the top six with a win, suffered their first loss in eight matches, while Wolves snapped their eight-match winless streak.

Arsenal were the team who started the brightest, with Bukayo Saka having a curling effort ricochet off the post in the early going. Saka had the ball in the net in the first ten minutes but was overturned by VAR after being ruled offside. Arsenal would continue the pressure through the half and would have their lead after the half hour mark. Nicolas Pepe with a brilliant solo effort that included two nutmegs of Wolverhampton defenders was finished with a beautiful curling effort to put the home side ahead.

It wouldn’t be all plain sailing, as the match turned dramatically before the conclusion of the first half. Willian Jose was brought down in the penalty area by Brazilian centre back David Luiz and given his marching orders after referee Craig Pawson judged he did not make a genuine attempt to play the ball. Ruben Neves stepped up and scored the resulting penalty and the game was level at half time.

The second half started the way Wolves would have wanted, with Joao Moutinho unleashing a thunderbolt of a strike past Bernd Leno into the top corner to give them the lead. Leno would be involved in another key moment, but for the worse – as he was shown red for deliberate handball outside the box, denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

Arsenal must now travel to Aston Villa without their first-choice centre back and goalkeeper, while Wolverhampton will hope to ride their overnight success into the weekend and their clash with Leicester on Sunday.

Manchester United 9-0 Southampton

Yep, you are reading that right. Manchester United have put up the highest single team score of this Premier League season at Old Trafford overnight, putting 9 goals past a Southampton side that ended the match with only 9 men on the pitch. The score line ties a 9-0 win over Ipswich Town in 1995 and is the most recent occurrence of this score line since 2019 when Leicester beat Manchester United’s opponents Southampton. Coincidence? Probably.

Southampton virtually started the game on the back foot after falling to 10 men after just 79 seconds. Premier League debutante Alexandre Jankewitz was shown the red card after clattering Scott McTominay with a high challenge. United took full advantage of this, having the lead before 20 minutes – thanks to an Aaron Wan-Bissaka tap in. The lead was double in the 25th minute as Mason Greenwood assisted Marcus Rashford. An own goal from Jan Bednarek and an Edinson Cavani header stretched the lead to four before half time.

The goals kept coming in the second half, with Anthony Martial and the previously fowled Scott McTominay scoring a quickfire double to extend the lead to six. Own goal scorer Bednarek then added insult to injury after being sent off for denying a goalscoring opportunity; resulting in a Bruno Fernandes penalty being scored. Martial had his second as stoppage time began and, with the last kick of the game, substitute Daniel James scored from a Bruno Fernandes header across the box to make it nine.

The colossal victory means that Manchester United are now level on goal difference with their cross-town rivals and league leaders – City – but the latter have two games in hand. Southampton, meanwhile, fall to 12th after a fourth consecutive loss.

Newcastle 1-2 Crystal Palace

Steve Bruce’s side has been hit with a massive confidence blow after their brilliant performance against Everton on the weekend after losing to Crystal Palace at home. The win has given Crystal Palace their first set of back-to-back wins in the Premier League since the start of the season in a match where all the goals were scored within the first half an hour.

Newcastle made the quicker start through a Jonjo Shelvey volley from the setup of striker Callum Wilson. Palace struck back, though, scoring two goals in five minutes for the lead and what would eventually be the win. Jairo Riedewald’s effort took a wicked deflection off Ciaran Clark to go in and Gary Cahill scored his first Premier League goal in four years to take the lead. The header from the cross of Eberechi Eze makes Cahill the oldest Premier League goal scorer for Palace at 35 years and 45 days.

The home side had chances to find an equalizer with Ryan Fraser having his effort saved well by Palace keeper Vicente Guaita. Miguel Almiron also came agonisingly close to restoring parity after his free kick hit the top of the bar. Try as they might, Newcastle has suffered defeat – but there are certainly elements they can take away and be proud of as they continue to try to stay up this season.

The loss does mean that Newcastle drops to 16th and eight points clear of the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace’s second win on the bounce sees them climb to 12th ahead of a trip to Yorkshire on Monday night to face the fearsome Leeds United.

Ben Fitzpatrick

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