Premier League week 13 round-up: Chelsea thwart Liverpool at Anfield again

Premier League Review Liverpool

Yet another visit from Chelsea which ends up with Liverpool being frustrated by the Londoners, who are now unbeaten in their last seven trips to Anfield in all competitions. On the balance of Saturday’s game, a 1-1 draw seemed a fair outcome, with both teams having spells of domination throughout an absorbing contest. The Reds were on top for a lot of the first half but some typically panicky set piece defending meant that Chelsea probably looked the most likely to score before the interval. When the breakthrough came on 65 minutes, it came from a brilliant interchange of Liverpool passing that ended with the outstanding Mohamed Salah poking home from inside the box. The Egyptian showed class in a different manner by refusing to celebrate scoring against his former club. Chelsea dominated the final quarter of the game and it was substitute Willian who again tormented Liverpool by scoring a late equaliser, his looping effort arcing over Simon Mignolet and just underneath the crossbar. Neither team was willing to settle for a draw, which made for a frenetic final few minutes. A draw against the champions is not a terrible result, but there was a sense of anti-climax for Liverpool, having been so close to recording what would have been their most satisfying win of the season.

Manchester City stretched their winning run in the Premier League to 11 matches, but few (if any) have been as hard-earned as the 2-1 victory they claimed at Huddersfield on Sunday. The Terriers were ripped apart by Bournemouth last week but their industrious defence thwarted City’s sublime attack for the entire first half and it was the home side who struck just before half-time, Nicolas Otamendi deflecting a corner into his own net as the shock of the season was suddenly on. The visitors were level inside two minutes of the second half, though, Sergio Aguero expertly dispatching a penalty, and they made their pressure tell in the 84th minute, albeit in fortuitous fashion, Jonas Lossl blocking an initial shot and the ball rebounding off Raheem Sterling before landing in the Huddersfield net. Just as against Feyenoord last week, City left it late to snatch victory, but this habit of turning one point into three so close to full-time shows that they can dig out key results as well as freewheeling to them.

Jose Mourinho is not known for being magnanimous but it was to his credit that he acknowledged how difficult Brighton had made it for his Manchester United team to record another home win on Saturday. There was a huge element of fortune to the only goal at Old Trafford, Ashley Young’s shot taking a wicked deflection off Lewis Dunk, following a corner that shouldn’t have been awarded. United had been the better side in the first half but went in on level terms at the break before the key moment on the hour mark. Far from instigating a damaged limitation exercise, though, Brighton pushed hard to try and force an equaliser and the final whistle came as a relief for 75,000 United fans in the stadium. With Liverpool facing the Seagulls next Saturday, this fine performance from Chris Hughton’s team should serve as plenty of warning for the Reds.

Burnley must be almost at a Tottenham-level dislike for Arsenal after yet another last-gasp winner for the Gunners against Sean Dyche’s men, the third consecutive meeting between the teams in which Arsenal struck an injury time winner. It came in contentious circumstances, too, Aaron Ramsey winning a penalty that was debatable. Alexis Sanchez didn’t look the gift horse in the mouth, burying it to the net to lift Arsene Wenger’s side back into fifth and above Liverpool. Burnley came closest to scoring in a tame first half, Johann Gudmundsson’s shot striking the outside of the post, although Arsenal had been on top after half-time prior to that fateful penalty. With this win coming straight after a convincing North London derby victory, the Gunners might be turning a corner after an indifferent start to the campaign.

By contrast, it was another disappointing weekend for rivals Tottenham, who could only manage a 1-1 draw at Wembley against managerless West Brom, who took a surprise lead in the fourth minute when Salomon Rondon punished woeful Spurs defending to find the net. Inevitably it was one-way traffic towards Ben Foster’s goal after that, but the Baggies defended stoutly and it took Tottenham until midway through the second half to draw level, Harry Kane finishing to the net from close range. Spurs didn’t exactly pepper the visitors’ goal in the closing stages, though, and West Brom were good value for the point in what was arguably their best performance of the season. One wonders what the recently deposed Tony Pulis would have made of it, given their struggles in recent weeks.

While Baggies caretaker manager Gary Megson got his tenure off to a fine start, the caretaker stint of David Unsworth at Everton took another turn for the worst as they were thumped 4-1 by a Southampton team who could hardly be described as prolific. Dusan Tadic fired the Saints into an early lead but the visitors equalised right on half-time, Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring his first Everton goal with a fabulous strike. The game swung in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, with Charlie Austin twice scoring from close-range headers off pinpoint crosses. The Toffees never looked like hauling themselves back into the contest and Steven Davis added the final wound in the closing minutes, his marvellous curling effort topping off a rare Southampton goalfest and leaving Everton with a lot of soul-searching.

Unsworth’s side still have some competition for the worst performance of the weekend, though, with Newcastle producing an absolute horror show in their 0-3 reverse at home to Watford on Saturday. Will Hughes scored for the second game in a row inside the first quarter-hour and Newcastle’s task became even harder on the stroke of half-time when DeAndre Yedlin inadvertently turned a shot past his own goalkeeper to double Watford’s lead. The second half was a stroll for Marco Silva’s men, who killed any faint hopes of a Magpies comeback when Andre Gray scored from 15 yards just after the hour mark. It’s two wins on the bounce for the Hornets while Newcastle have now lost their last three, with this probably their poorest display of the season so far.

Crystal Palace gave their survival hopes a major shot in the arm by coming from behind to beat Stoke 2-1 at a raucous Selhurst Park. A quiet first half gave way to a frenetic second 45 minutes, during which the visitors struck first through a fine solo effort from Xherdan Shaqiri. Palace weren’t behind for long, equalising swiftly through the impressive Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Both teams went all out in search of the winning goal and it came in stoppage time from an unlikely source, Mamadou Sakho tapping home from close range to send Eagles fans into raptures. With the gap to 17th now down to four points, Roy Hodgson’s men could soon find themselves leapfrogging a few of the strugglers just ahead of them.

Among those watching nervously over their shoulders are West Ham, who await a first win under David Moyes despite a spirited performance in drawing 1-1 with Leicester on Friday night. The home side got off to a disastrous start at London Stadium, falling behind to a Marc Albrighton strike after just six minutes, but withstood Leicester pressure to equalise in first half stoppage time through Cheikhou Kouyate. The Hammers had strong claims for a penalty when Andre Ayew was felled in the box, but their appeals fell on deaf ears. Although there was no further scoring, West Ham at least showed a fight and vitality that had been sorely lacking in recent weeks. The next step is to turn improved performances into much-needed points.

The same can be said for Swansea, who arrested a worrying spell of defeats with a goalless draw against Bournemouth. The Swans had slightly the better of a rather forgettable game at the Liberty Stadium, but were left ruing their lack of potency in the final third. It’s a third clean sheet in a row for improving Bournemouth, who have reason to be satisfied with a point. It was a result that certainly suited them more than it did 19th-placed Swansea.

Liverpool’s disappointment at shipping that late Willian goal, just the second they’ve conceded in seven league games at Anfield this season, was exacerbated by Arsenal and Manchester City netting late winners on Sunday. Next up for the Reds is a trip to Stoke on a Wednesday night in November, a by-word for the type of fixture which often sees the Premier League’s big boys struggle to get into their groove. Anything less than a third consecutive win at the bet365 Stadium, though, would be seen as a further blow for a Liverpool side which has shipped a couple of hard ones in recent days.

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