Premier League hits and misses: West Ham and Tottenham join Arsenal and Man Utd in fight for fourth place | Football news


Tired City find a way to keep winning

Liverpool have lost one and drawn in their last two Premier League games. Chelsea have drawn in three of their last four games in the competition. The demands of the festive fixtures schedule – perhaps as tough as they’ve ever been in modern times, given the illnesses and injuries plaguing the teams – have taken their toll on Man City title rivals . When the standards are so high, these little slips can be costly.

Against Arsenal on Saturday, it looked like City would follow suit.

Pep Guardiola subsequently described his group of players as « incredibly tired, mentally and physically ». He pointed to the four youngsters from the academy on the bench.

But City somehow found a way to win.

It was far from certain at various points in the competition, with an impressive Arsenal squad – described as the better team by Guardiola – seeing the ball clear from the line and Gabriel Martinelli hitting a post after Bukayo Saka hit a post. swept away his first game.

There will be a lot of debate about the decisions made by the officials in the game. around the two key penalty decisions and Gabriel Magalhaes’ red card but, regardless of the controversy, City fought until the very last moment, when Rodri – a key figure for them in midfield this season – was became the unlikely winner of the match.

It’s now 11 Premier League wins for the defending champions, who are approaching the 15-game winning streak that propelled them to the title last season. Better yet, they can sit down on Sunday and watch Chelsea and Liverpool go head to head.

Whatever the outcome of this one, City’s lead at the top of the table will always be substantial. The points lost to the Emirates may have offered some hope for their declining rivals, but even when they are exhausted, this City side simply cannot be stopped.
Pierre Smith

Short spell costs Arsenal – but there is hope in defeat

Arsenal react after Stuart Attwell ejects Gabriel

Arsenal had just been beaten by Manchester City – nothing new there, of course.

But it was different this time.

The home fans stayed and cheered their squad with great enthusiasm, fully acknowledging that Mikel Arteta’s men looked absolutely stunning against the waiting champions, despite their manager being forced to isolate himself at home after a positive Covid test. They were the better team for 85 game minutes, actually.

The problems arose in the other five minutes in the middle of the second half. Rarely has a game changed so much in such a short time. Unfortunately for Arsenal, this was largely on their own initiative.

Granit Xhaka’s lazy challenge and jersey pull over Bernardo Silva gave the referee a decision to make for the equalizer penalty. Gabriel Martinelli – full of energy and quality – grabbed what was an open goal chance after Nathan Ake’s miraculous clearance off the line. And then Gabriel Magalhaes’ moment of inexperience erased his notebook when he received his second yellow card for an unnecessary foul.

These three incidents defined the result. Elite teams like Man City feast on such mistakes and while Arsenal were superb in all departments, the game’s highlights were swallowed up by the City machine.

« At the end of the day it’s very frustrating but Mikel was very proud of the performance and at the same time frustrated, » said Arsenal coach Albert Stuivenberg, who replaced absent Arteta.

Frustration was the perfect word to sum up the feeling in the full time soil. But when the dust settles, these Arsenal fans can recall a performance that gives the club so much hope and enthusiasm for the future.
Lewis jones

Lloris shows his worth at Tottenham

Hugo Lloris made a decisive save at Watford
Hugo Lloris made a decisive save at Watford

Watford has been defending poorly for some time, but for 95 minutes on New Years Day you can see why there are at least three teams with worse seasons than them.

Claudio Ranieri’s side have now lost their last six Premier League games, conceding 16 goals along the way, but there was real determination in their efforts against a Tottenham side who were reinvigorated under Antonio Conte.

Tottenham were expected to find chances easy to find but seemed to run out of ideas before Davinson Sanchez delivered his final prick in the tail.

“We are alive and we will survive,” said a provocative Ranieri. “To concede so late is such a shame, but I was proud of my players and our fans should be too. « 

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win over Watford

Spurs were almost frustrated for a second game in a row, after scoring two controversially VAR goals in their 1-1 draw with 10 players at Southampton on Tuesday, before Sanchez struck deep in nearly 10 minutes of overtime after a late stoppage due to a medical emergency in the crowd.

It was certainly cruel on Ranieri’s side, but Tottenham had 74% possession and 21 shots, nine of which were on target. They deserved to win but could very well have lost without the brilliance of Hugo Lloris, whose fingertip stopping to push Joshua King back to 0-0 was a turning point.

The 33-year-old Frenchman is out of contract at the end of the season and has hinted he is ready to return to his homeland, but Conte is determined to keep his captain after proving himself once again.

Asked about the future of the Spurs goalkeeper, Conte said: “Of course [we’d like him to renew].

Tottenham mob Sanchez after his late winner
Tottenham mob Davinson Sanchez after his winner

“We can see the level of the goalkeeper in this circumstance where for the whole game he doesn’t need to do much but he continued to be focused with the team and for me it is very important because when I speak with him and the team, the bond between the goalkeeper and the team is very important.

“When you’re playing very high with a defensive line, the goalkeeper has to follow the game and not just stay on the line. Hugo has shown today that he is a top goalkeeper. For us it is very important and I am sure that in a short time the club will find a solution because they love Tottenham and Tottenham love him. « 

What Watford would give for a goalkeeper of the quality and understated leadership of Lloris, having seen their expectation of a first clean sheet of the season stretch beyond an 18th game. They stay just outside the relegation zone. With 20 games to go, their heads are pretty much above the water, but for how long?
Ben Patterns

Top four chasing happy West Ham without the ball

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WATCH FOR FREE: Highlights from West Ham’s win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

After a delicate one-point-from-nine run before and just after Christmas, West Ham are firmly back in the top four with back-to-back away wins.

At Selhurst Park, West Ham won without playing particularly well – David Moyes said so. Yes, that’s a good sign etc etc, but although Moyes’ team have some exciting and interchangeable attack options – this time it was Manuel Lanzini who put in a MOTM performance, along with Pablo Fornals absent – their game plan is often centered on giving up possession.

West Ham had just 37% of the ball on Saturday, the seventh time out of 20 games this season they’ve had in the 1930s. They’ve won four of those games – against Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and that Palace win – and suffered only narrow defeats to Man Utd and Man City.

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David Moyes was « delighted » to take the three points from the 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace, but admits his side were not at their best.

In fact, West Ham is recording more points per game (1.85) this season in games where they have possession in the 1930s, than in games where they score over 40 percent of the ball (1.61). .

Four of their most disappointing results this season have come in games where they have dominated the ball: draws at Burnley and the Saints (59 and 58 percent respectively) and losses at home to Brentford and the Saints (60 and 56 percent respectively).

They play four of the last six at home in their next six games. On paper it seems like a welcome streak, but they’ll need to show some dexterity when it comes to forcing open spaces on the ball.
Gérard Marque


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