Premier League Matchday 23 Review

Kyle Campbell reflects on another scintillating weekend of Premier League action, with Chelsea’s comfortable victory over London rivals Spurs producing the biggest headlines, and the best goal, of the weekend.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – January 23, 2022 Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Tottenham Head Home Feeling Blue – Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham’s visit to Stamford Bridge ended in a predictable defeat as Spurs lined up with a  depleted squad. Six defenders and two holding midfielders in the starting XI left Harry Kane and Steven Bergwijn isolated up top and allowed Chelsea to take full control of the game. 

Thomas Tuchel’s side found themselves with acres of room to play in and constantly had the freedom of movement in the wide areas. Mason Mount was causing havoc down the right wing as Hakim Ziyech floated in and around dangerous areas creating opportunities for himself and his teammates. 

Kane looked to have opened the scoring before halftime, but the Englishman’s push on Thiago Silva gave the referee the opportunity to rule the goal out for a foul. 

Despite their dominance throughout the first half, Chelsea were unable to break the deadlock until straight after the break. 

A slick move down the left-hand side gave Calum Hudson-Odoi plenty of time to find Ziyech on the right side of the pitch. The Moroccan evaluated his options before César Azpilicueta’s overlapping run allowed Ziyech to shift the ball onto his left foot, before curling his effort into the far corner. The sheer spin on the ball gave Hugo Lloris no chance to make a save and the home side took a well-deserved lead. 

Chelsea doubled their advantage 10 minutes later when Silva flicked the ball into the far post from a well whipped free kick. It was the Brazilian’s third league goal of the season, with one of his previous two coming against Spurs in the reverse fixture. 

The Blues were comfortable for the remainder of the second half as Spurs struggled to maintain possession with the majority of their attacking options out of the squad. 

Antonio Conte will be pleading with Daniel Levy for some new signings before the end of the month, with Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele both looking to secure a move away from North London. 

A routine victory for Chelsea boosts their confidence heading into the break following a difficult period, with Manchester United sniffing around with games in hand as they try catch up to Chelsea in third. 

Eagles Unlucky as Liverpool Take All 3 Points – Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool 

Crystal Palace’s spirited second half performance frustratingly led to nothing as a dubious penalty decision wrapped up three points for Liverpool. 

The Reds dominated the opening 45 minutes as Palace struggled to get up to speed with the visitors. Andy Robertson was causing problems down the left-hand side and his corner was powerfully headed home by Virgil van Dijk in the opening eight minutes.

Liverpool kept piling on the pressure with Robertson creating the second goal of the game just past the 30-minute mark. 

A wonderfully floated cross found Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with time to bring the ball down at the back post, and slot it away comfortably with his weaker left foot. 

Despite a poor first half showing, Palace came out in the second half and really took the game Jurgen Klopp’s side. 

High intensity pressing from the front had Liverpool rocked and Palace were rewarded for their efforts in the 55th minute. 

A well-timed through ball found Jean-Philippe Mateta clean through on goal, but the Frenchman was unselfish and rolled the ball across to his compatriot Odsonne Édouard to slot the ball into an empty net. 

Palace kept pushing for the equalizer and were the better side throughout the second half, but a questionable coming together between Diogo Jota and Vincente Guaita gave Fabinho the opportunity to seal the game from the penalty spot. 

A tough win for Liverpool keeps them on the heels of Manchester City with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané due to return from the Africa Cup of Nations at the beginning of February.

A sore one to take for Patrick Viera and his men is a clear indicator of just how far this young Palace side have come in a matter of months as they continue to push for a top half finish.

Reds Leave it Late – Manchester United 1-0 West Ham United

Ralf Rangnick’s rollercoaster start to life at Old Trafford continued this weekend as his side left it till the very last kick of the ball. 

A promising clash between two teams striving for a Champions League spot was sure to bring the drama, and neutrals were not left disappointed. 

Both sides created opportunities, but the resoluteness of the defensive lines made life difficult for the attacking threats on display. 

A few half chances between them looked to be the best of the bunch as both managers sought to grab a winner. Rangnick adopted an unconventional 4-2-4 in a hope to get a chance for one of his four strikers as West Ham were reluctant to go home with a point. 

As The Hammers pushed up field with seconds left on the clock, Manchester United nicked the ball and created their very own counterattack. 

All three attacking substitutes linked up as Anthony Martial slipped in Edinson Cavani, giving the Uruguayan time to see Marcus Rashford bursting in at the back post to seal three vital points for the home side. 

A VAR check to ensure Cavani was onside left a nervous feeling in the air, but the full-time whistle saw the Old Trafford faithful jumping for joy as they reclaimed fourth spot in the table.

A hard pill to swallow for David Moyes as he will feel as if it is an important point lost at one of the most difficult grounds in the league. 

Best of the Rest 

Norwich City climbed out of the relegation zone for the first time this season thanks to a wonderful performance from Josh Sargent. Two fine goals from the American led the Canaries to a 3-0 win over Watford. Another defeat for The Hornets has led to the sacking of manager Claudio Ranieri. 

Goals from midfield maestros João Moutinho and Rúben Neves led Wolves to a 2-1 win at home to Brentford. 

Newcastle picked up their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory coming away at Leeds. 

Duncan Ferguson’s first game in charge of Everton following the sacking of Rafa Benítez ended in a 1-0 defeat to Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa. 

Manchester City were held to a 1-1 draw away at Southampton. 

Brighton, who have become specialists in earning a point, picked up another one with their 1-1 draw away at Leicester, whilst Arsenal were unable to get the better of Nick Pope in their 0-0 draw with Burnley. 

Player of the Week – Hakim Ziyech 

Hakim Ziyech’s Chelsea career finally looks to be underway with another fine performance at the weekend. He was instrumental throughout the game, creating chances and keeping the Spurs backline occupied at all times. An extraordinary goal that left Lloris with no chance capped off his performance and earns him the ENRG Sport Player of the Week. 

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