EPL

Premier League Review: Ings strike downs Tottenham as top-four rivals Chelsea held by Brighton

By Sports Desk January 01, 2020

Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Southampton, while top-four rivals Chelsea were held 1-1 by Brighton and Hove Albion.

In-form striker Ings fired home in the first half to make it 13 Premier League goals for the season against a below-par Tottenham, who also lost Harry Kane to a hamstring injury.

Jose Mourinho's side are now six points adrift of Chelsea in the final Champions League qualifying spot following the Blues' draw with Brighton in Wednesday's early kick-off.

Chelsea were heading for back-to-back away wins after Cesar Azpilicueta put them ahead, but Alireza Jahanbakhsh's overhead-kick earned Brighton a share of the spoils.

There were also wins for Aston Villa, Leicester City and Watford as 2020 got off to an eventful start, with VAR once again proving to be a big talking point.

Kane limps off for stuttering Spurs

Tottenham have struggled defensively in the early stages of Mourinho's tenure, conceding for the 16th time in 11 matches in all competitions through Ings' impressive strike.

The England international hopeful lifted the ball over Toby Alderweireld and fired past Paulo Gazzaniga for what proved to be the only goal of the game after 17 minutes.

Tottenham have taken only four points from the 12 on offer over the festive period and their misery was compounded by Kane limping off after hurting his hamstring in the process of scoring a disallowed equaliser.

Mourinho, who had never previously lost in six away league meetings with Southampton, was shown a yellow card by referee Mike Dean late on after being involved in touchline confrontation as his side remained sixth in the table.

 

Chelsea held by Jahanbakhsh stunner

Azpilicueta scored the first Premier League goal of the decade with a close-range finish after Tammy Abraham's shot was blocked by Aaron Mooy, but Chelsea could not get the job done against Brighton.

Jahanbakhsh celebrated with tears of joy after scoring his first goal for Brighton in the 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday and he did not have to wait long for his second goal.

The Iran winger sent an acrobatic attempt past Kepa Arrizabalaga with six minutes of normal time remaining to deny Frank Lampard's side a third away league win on the spin.

Chelsea had looked comfortable until Jahanbakhsh's moment of magic but had to survive a late scare as they opened the door for other members of the chasing pack to close the gap - something Tottenham were unable to achieve.


So delighted to be able to help the team again today! Happy new year to everyone #BHAFC pic.twitter.com/nW7p7E8zMY

— Alireza Jahanbakhsh (@Alirezajb7) January 1, 2020 Foxes march on with win at 10-man Newcastle

Despite being without the Premier League's leading scorer Jamie Vardy for a second game in a row due to the birth of his child, Leicester were comfortable 3-0 winners at Newcastle.

The Foxes' incredible campaign continued thanks to goals from former Newcastle attacker Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and substitute Hamza Choudhury.

Leicester, back to within 10 points of Liverpool after playing two games more than the runaway leaders, played almost all of the second half against 10 men.

That was due to the hosts suffering a string of injuries, Jetro Willems and Javier Manquillo being forced off in the first half and Jonjo Shelvey following them at half-time, with all three subs already made when Fabian Schar pulled up.

While Leicester's outside title hopes just about remain intact, a third defeat in a row for Newcastle leaves them five points above the relegation zone.


Villa pick up much-needed win at Turf Moor

The pressure had been building on Villa boss Dean Smith following a run of five league defeats in six matches, including a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of fellow strugglers Watford last time out.

Smith insisted he still had the support of the dressing room in the build-up to the trip to Burnley, however, and that showed as Villa returned to winning ways with a 2-1 triumph at Turf Moor that saw them climb out of the relegation zone.

Jack Grealish had a header contentiously ruled out by VAR, with Wesley adjudged to be offside in the build-up, but the two players linked up for the latter's opener 16 minutes later.

The Villans added a second on the stroke of half-time through Grealish, who scored his sixth Premier League goal in his 19th appearance this season - as many as he netted in 31 matches in the Championship last season.

Chris Wood pulled one back from Burnley's first shot on target in the 80th minute, though it was not enough to prevent a third successive loss for Sean Dyche's out-of-form side.

 

Watford's remarkable revival continues

Watford have now taken 10 points from four matches since Nigel Pearson was appointed as Quique Sanchez Flores' successor earlier this month, the Hornets maintaining their impressive form with a 2-1 win at home to Wolves.

Gerard Deulofeu, the hero when Watford edged out Wolves in a dramatic FA Cup semi-final last season, opened the scoring after half an hour with a curled finish into the bottom corner.

Abdoulaye Doucoure fired in on his 27th birthday to double the home side's tally, but Pedro Neto reduced the deficit with a deflected shot on the hour and Christian Kabasele was sent off with 19 minutes to play.

Wolves could not find a way past Ben Foster, though, meaning just a third loss in 16 league outings for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Related items

  • A-League Review: Wanderers thrash Adelaide in seven-goal thriller A-League Review: Wanderers thrash Adelaide in seven-goal thriller

    Western Sydney Wanderers closed to within four points of the top six with a thrilling 5-2 A-League drubbing of Adelaide United.

    There were six goals in the first half at Bankwest Stadium in which the visitors went 2-1 up after trailing just five minutes in, only to surrender their advantage in a manner described by coach Gertjan Verbeek as "comedy capers".

    Pirmin Schwegler's deflected free-kick five minutes in was cancelled out by a Riley McGree penalty, and Ben Halloran's composed finish made it 2-1 22 minutes in.

    Two goals in two minutes turned the match on its head, though, Nicolai Muller making levelling before Mitchell Duke finished emphatically after being sent through by Simon Cox.

    Duke headed in a second before the break to give the Wanderers a two-goal cushion, and Cox's clever after 73 minutes capped a fine outing for Jean-Paul De Marigny's side, who are now seventh.

    In Friday's earlier game, Wellington Phoenix claimed a 2-0 win over Western United to climb into third in the table.

    Mark Rudan's side kept Wellington at bay thanks to goalkeeper Filip Kurto until Liberato Cacace steered a volley beyond his reach 29 minutes in.

    David Ball finally made the points safe with a fine strike in the 90th minute straight from a clearance from goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, leaving United with plenty to consider having failed to score a goal in February and with only one win from eight matches.

  • Sterling hails 'fantastic club' Real Madrid amid speculation over Man City future Sterling hails 'fantastic club' Real Madrid amid speculation over Man City future

    Raheem Sterling has described Real Madrid as "a fantastic club" amid speculation over his Manchester City future.

    The LaLiga giants have been linked with a move for the 25-year-old over the past two seasons, but City's looming ban from Europe has fuelled those rumours further.

    Sterling insists he is happy at City, where he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and the FA Cup since moving from Liverpool in 2015, but he cannot disguise his admiration for Zinedine Zidane's side.

    "Right now, I'm at City and I'm really happy," Sterling told Madrid sports publication AS.

    "But I say Real Madrid are a fantastic club. When you see the white shirt, you know exactly what the club stands for. It's massive. But at the same time, I have a contract with City now and I have to respect this. But it's a fantastic club.

    "No one knows what the future will hold. I am a player and I am always open to challenges but right now my challenge is at Manchester City. In the future, hopefully, who knows..."

    City were given a two-season ban from European competition by UEFA after being found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, although the club insist they have done nothing wrong and intend to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

    Speaking on the issue, Sterling said: "It's something we don't know much about yet because it's something that has not been confirmed. The club has a long way to go and we just have to wait and see what happens, but I have full confidence in the club."

    City face Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu taking place next Wednesday.

    Sterling is relishing the challenge of facing the 14-time champions of Europe and does not think there is anything lucky about Zidane having led Madrid to three consecutive Champions League triumphs from 2016 to 2018.

    "We had a good reaction when we knew that they will be our rival," said the England star. "If you want to do well I think the best thing you have to do is to play against the best teams straight away and there is no better challenge than Real Madrid.

    "It is always going to be a difficult game whether they are in a good or a bad moment, just because of the atmosphere, the historical stadium that we are going to...

    "It's going to be a difficult game, especially now that they are doing really well, but at the same time I’ve got full confidence in our team and if we get it right on the day, I believe we can win.

    "I think to win the Champions League so many times, especially in a row as well, is very difficult. I don't think that's luck; it's definitely a formula. Some people have that winning mentality and he wins by any means. So I wouldn't say that it's luck, I'd say it's something he has probably developed over his great career as a player and he's developing his career as a manager, so it continues this winning touch."

  • Solskjaer tells Martial to toughen up as Man Utd striker targets 20-goal mark Solskjaer tells Martial to toughen up as Man Utd striker targets 20-goal mark

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Anthony Martial to reach 20 goals for Manchester United this season but wants the striker to toughen up.

    Martial scored for the 14th time in all competitions on Thursday to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie with Club Brugge.

    That goal came just three days after the forward's expert header put United ahead in their 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    No United player has reached 20 in a single campaign since Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18 and, although Marcus Rashford is on 19 for 2019-20, his back injury is likely to see him miss almost all of the rest of the season.

    Solskjaer thinks Martial is showing signs of getting used to playing as a centre-forward after time spent as a winger, and he expects to see the 24-year-old keep up his form.

    "I think Anthony can step up and get a few more and get to the 20-mark, definitely," Solskjaer said.

    "He's got quality, of course. He's a very good finisher, he takes his chances really well, good technique in his finishing, and he's good receiving the ball at times, dropping off, he can play almost like a false nine at times.

    "Sometimes, I'd like him to be stronger physically."

    Describing Martial's header against Chelsea as "a 1980s centre-forward goal", Solskjaer added: "I'm encouraged by his attitude this season as well, wanting to do those things that are not natural to him. But you've got to make him a number nine again after playing wide for so many years. Marcus and Anthony have played wide until the last 12 months, really."

    Solskjaer wants to see a more clinical United against Watford on Sunday, having been deeply disappointed with the performance of his players in a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road in December.

    The United boss hopes January arrivals Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo – who spent three years with Watford – will add a greater cutting edge to his side.

    "That was a very disappointing game. We should have won that one. We gifted them the two goals and we had chances to pull away ourselves, but you can't win games if you don't take your chances," he said.

    "I feel that with Bruno coming in, with Odion coming in, we'll get more goals. That's been lacking in the games we've lost: West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, we've had chances and not taken them. You can see that Bruno gives us another dimension."

    United could be boosted by the return of Scott McTominay at Old Trafford, the midfielder having been sidelined since December 26 with a knee injury.

    "I think he might be in the squad," Solskjaer said.

    "I'm not surprised [by his quick return] because that's the type he is. He's a physical specimen, he's a leader, he never shirks a tackle and he brings everyone with him. And he can sit with Nemanja [Matic] or Fred or be one of the runners in midfield.

    "We were talking here today how we don't have enough runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, so he's used to being in the box."

    Thursday's draw in Brugge was another match where Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were not involved, the youngsters instead having played in a youth game.

    The future of the pair is unclear as they enter the final stages of their United contracts, but Solskjaer appears keen for them to stay.

    "We're still in talks with them," he said. "Tahith scored today. He'd rather play a game than sit in the stands here, so it's making sure he's ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolves in the FA Cup.

    "The boys have got great attitude, they're absolutely top-class boys and we're doing what we can to keep them. In a few years, you can see them being very, very good players."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.