Premier League hits and misses: Leeds aiming high under Marcelo Bielsa, Bukayo Saka leading youthful Arsenal

How high can Leeds go?

2:58

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leeds’ win at West Brom within the Premier League

After their emphatic 5-0 win at West Brom, Leeds United have now received seven of their 16 video games within the Premier League this season. Only six newly-promoted groups within the competitors’s historical past have picked up extra victories at this stage of a season.

The three factors at The Hawthorns continues Marcelo Bielsa’s facet’s stand up the Premier League desk. They now sit eleventh with 23 factors, however after one other all-action efficiency, the query is how high can Leeds go?

Bielsa has urged warning. “We have only been in this league for 16 games and there are still many challenges and many tests we have to pass before we can legitimately say we belong. Every game in this league is a challenge, all the teams have secrets and capacities. There are few games you can think of where there are very few difficulties to resolve.

  • West Brom 0-5 Leeds – Match report and highlights
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

“We must preserve doing the identical and preserve doing it over an extended time period. We have had a whole lot of highs and lows. Only two video games in the past we had an necessary defeat and our concept is to play in a constant method.”

Of course, Bielsa’s facet will face a lot sterner checks from now till the top of the season than they did at West Brom and he’s proper to induce warning, but when they proceed to provide the form of attacking shows that put Sam Allardyce’s facet to the sword, they’re sure so as to add to their seven wins to date this season.

With the desk very congested on the high, Leeds now discover themselves simply three factors behind fifth-placed Aston Villa and a constant run of outcomes may see them proceed their stand up the standings. How high will come right down to consistency and whether or not Bielsa’s facet can final the tempo.

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But no matter occurs, there won’t be a boring second alongside the way in which watching this Leeds facet.
Oliver Yew

Opta stats – Leeds march on…

  • Leeds United have now received seven of their 16 video games within the Premier League this season – solely six newly-promoted groups within the competitors’s historical past have picked up extra victories at this stage of a season.
  • Leeds equalled their largest margin of victory in a Premier League sport, successful by 5 targets for the sixth time within the competitors. This was additionally their joint-biggest margin of victory away from dwelling of their league historical past.
  • They have now scored 30 targets within the Premier League this season – the one newly-promoted staff within the competitors’s historical past to have netted extra after their first 16 video games of a season was Newcastle in 1993-94 (31).
  • Bielsa’s facet led by 4 targets at half-time in a Premier League sport for the primary time since May 2001 vs Bradford City (5-1 at HT and 6-1 at FT).
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Saka, Smith Rowe present the way in which for Arsenal

2:59

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Arsenal’s win over Brighton within the Premier League

It was no shock to see Mikel Arteta preserve religion with the younger gamers who shone so brightly within the 3-1 win over Chelsea for Tuesday’s journey to Brighton. Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli went straight again into the fray on the Amex Stadium.

None of the trio shone within the first half, admittedly, with Arsenal lucky to enter the break degree having solely had one try on objective. But Saka’s second-half show earned him the man-of-the-match award and Smith Rowe was equally spectacular.

The spotlight of Saka’s efficiency, in fact, was the excellent run and cut-back to arrange Alexandre Lacazette’s winner. But there have been a lot extra eye-catching moments.

  • Brighton 0-1 Arsenal – Match report and highlights
  • Mikel Arteta requires calm on Bukayo Saka

The 19-year-old’s velocity and motion triggered issues for Brighton all night time, with no participant creating extra probabilities. His kind over the past two video games is all of the extra spectacular when you think about he has been taking part in in an unfamiliar position on the proper flank slightly than the left.

Saka seems able to shining wherever he performs, a testomony to his tactical intelligence in addition to his undoubted high quality, however Smith Rowe is busy establishing himself at No 10.

Arsenal’s creativity points usually are not over – their first-half efficiency was proof of that – however Smith Rowe has definitely proved he will help.

His willingness to run at defenders and take dangers with the ball at his toes is one thing this Arsenal facet has badly lacked this season. And, like his younger team-mates, he gives loads of vitality and trade off the ball too. At the Amex, he coated extra floor (11.4km) than every other Arsenal participant.

The Gunners are nonetheless a great distance from the place they need to be. It has been a tumultuous 12 months for them. But the long run all of the sudden appears slightly brighter.
Nick Wright

Rashford caps his 2020 with the winner

3:07

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United’s win over Wolves within the Premier League

Manchester United toiled away at Old Trafford nevertheless it didn’t seem like the successful objective was going to come back towards Wolves. It did within the 93rd minute courtesy of Marcus Rashford.

The United ahead has scored higher targets on this grand stage and the participant his left-footed strike deflected in off, Romain Saiss, was most likely the person of the match. But there may have been no extra becoming scorer than Rashford. In this most depressing of years, he has stood out for standing up off the pitch – and he has additionally grown as a footballer on it.

This was his 14th Manchester United objective of the season – joint-top scorer with the person who offered the cross for it, Bruno Fernandes – and his twentieth for the membership within the calendar 12 months.

That mixture of Rashford and Fernandes provides Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hope for the brand new 12 months. Thanks to their late intervention on Tuesday night, United are simply two factors behind leaders, rivals and defending champions Liverpool on the 15-game mark.

  • Man Utd 1-0 Wolves – Report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Improbably, they’re in a title race. Despite falling behind of their first six away video games of the season – and successful the lot of them. Despite failing to search out their fluency right here and leading for under a matter of seconds. They are discovering a means and Rashford helps them discover it.

He has had many extra outstanding moments than this one in 2020. But make no mistake, there would have been a lot among the many stick-to-sport crew ready to ungraciously and unfairly counsel he had uncared for the day job had his kind wavered for an immediate.

Instead, he completed 2020 simply how he completed 2019 – with a last-minute objective. Quite a bit has occurred within the 12 months in between, not a whole lot of it good. But Marcus Rashford MBE indicators off with one other reminder that he has so usually been Manchester United’s MVP too.
Adam Bate

Allardyce’s issues deepen

Image:
Sam Allardyce watches on as his West Brom facet are thrashed by Leeds

“I was shocked to see such a poor performance and we have to work hard to put it right,” Sam Allardyce stated after his West Brom facet’s massive defeat to Leeds. “Consistency is everything for us. We can’t seem to get a consistency of attacking and defending right. Life will get difficult if we can’t get results quickly.”

If Allardyce had any doubts as to how massive a job he has on at West Brom, they’ve definitely gone now.

The 5-0 defeat to Leeds at The Hawthorns is the most important Premier League dwelling defeat of Allardyce’s managerial profession within the competitors. He has now misplaced consecutive dwelling video games by three or extra targets within the Premier League for the primary time since November 2007, whereas in command of Newcastle United (1-4 vs Portsmouth and 0-3 vs Liverpool).

West Brom have received simply eight factors within the Premier League to date this season – solely in 1985-86 have they amassed fewer factors after 16 video games of a top-flight marketing campaign.

Life is beginning to get tough for Allardyce and West Brom and time is definitely of the essence if they’re to show round their fortunes.
Oliver Yew

Forward thrust key for West Ham

2:26

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton’s draw with West Ham within the Premier League

David Moyes clearly was not impressed along with his facet’s diabolical first-half exhibiting towards Brighton and shuffled his pack with 5 modifications to his beginning XI at Southampton – albeit additionally resting gamers for his or her second sport in 48 hours.

Notably, out went Jarrod Bowen and Mark Noble – the 2 who had been hooked on the London Stadium two days in the past at half-time when Moyes’ facet was lucky to emerge with some extent.

While their replacements, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko, failed to claim the identical affect this day out, the Hammers definitely discovered their groove after an uncomfortable opening 20 minutes.

  • Southampton 0-0 West Ham – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

West Ham remained inferior on the ball and usually slipped into their all-too-familiar behavior of retreating and inviting opposition with out countering – however that modified because the second half progressed.

An injection of forward-thinking endeavour, fuelled by constructive substitutions, drove the Hammers into opposition territory as they started to take the sport to their hosts.

By the full-time whistle, the Hammers deserved three factors, carving the lion’s share of probabilities, whereas the return of Michail Antonio on 77 minutes from a hamstring harm additionally offered a noticeable raise.

West Ham needs to be glad with the progress of mid-table standing at this stage and the glimpse of ahead thrust suggests a constructive trajectory – which nearly paid dividends as the sport petered out right into a stalemate at St Mary’s.
Adam Smith

Lampard modifications tack

2:57

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s draw with Aston Villa within the Premier League

Just 48 hours after laying into his gamers following the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal, Frank Lampard went for a change of strategy, publicly at the very least.

He used the post-match press convention from Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa to insist he “couldn’t ask for more” than what the gamers gave, however the six modifications he made solely introduced a response in spurts.

“The changes were to try and keep a bit of balance in the team, and to try to freshen up. I was pleased, I’m not disappointed with anything tonight other than the fact we conceded that goal, and didn’t score another.”

  • Chelsea 1-1 Aston Villa – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

But Lampard was being sort to his gamers in his evaluation. Villa had been first to all the pieces at Stamford Bridge – actually, Chelsea’s duel success price of 38 per cent was not solely their lowest under Lampard, however their lowest since January 2017. With simply 37 per cent possession, Villa received 16 fouls, whereas Chelsea received three.

Villa had been excellent worth for his or her level, and although Chelsea did enhance from Boxing Day, it was a low bar. Lampard’s facet may have executed extra to win the sport, and the midfield battle was the important thing once more.

They allowed man-of-the-match John McGinn to run the sport – Jorginho was largely nameless – and although Chelsea have a humiliation of riches up entrance, their midfield three is inclined to drifting too far aside to operate.
Gerard Brand

Villa’s vitality shines by means of once more

Image:
Anwar El Ghazi celebrates along with his team-mates after equalising for Aston Villa towards Chelsea

Despite two video games in three days, Dean Smith made only one change to his beginning XI for the draw at Chelsea, and that was enforced because the suspended Tyrone Mings was changed by Ezri Konsa.

Villa have the youngest common beginning XI within the Premier League at 25 years and 165 days, they’ve made the second-fewest beginning XI modifications at 13, and have used fewer gamers than any Premier League facet at 19.

In a season the place extra groups are affected by a packed schedule and quick pre-season, Villa have remained comparatively injury-free – Ross Barkley apart – however Smith’s facet picks itself on the minute.

In Ollie Watkins they’ve a ahead keen to run channels from minute one to 90, and regardless of not scoring since early November, the targets from him particularly are virtually secondary on this well-drilled unit.

John McGinn confirmed each his battery and crafty at Stamford Bridge, successful fouls at good instances when Villa wanted to settle, whereas Douglas Luiz is an aesthetic operator simply in entrance of the defence.

The fittest sides will prosper within the Premier League this season of all seasons, and Villa are clearly in effective fettle.
Gerard Brand

Barnes shines however Iheanacho fails to take his probability

2:24

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Crystal Palace’s draw with Leicester within the Premier League

It was one other constructive show from Harvey Barnes, who’s rising in his position in Leicester’s assault. He was certainly one of solely 4 gamers to maintain their locations from the match towards United, by which he additionally scored.

Barnes had a whopping six pictures – double that of the subsequent highest Leicester contribution. One of them made it dwelling too, and it was an outstanding run throughout the highest of the world with a low, exhausting end. He has now scored eight targets in 21 video games in all competitions this season – yet another than he netted in 42 appearances for the Foxes final time period.

  • Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester – Match report and highlights

He additionally offered for his team-mates, making very good, direct runs and sending in 4 crosses. Barnes racked up the identical quantity for interceptions too as he took benefit of some slack Palace passing at instances. In the absence of Youri Tielemans and Jamie Vardy from the beginning, it was Barnes who offered Leicester’s attacking risk, together with Ayoze Perez.

However, the identical can’t be stated for Kelechi Iheanacho on solely his second Premier League begin of the season. His penalty was poor with an excessive amount of hesitation permitting Vicente Guaita to save lots of slightly comfortably. Later within the half, he had a gilt-edged probability from shut vary however skewed his header.

He was changed by Demarai Gray within the second half and regardless of having golden alternatives towards a facet who shipped 10 targets of their final two video games, he didn’t take his probability.

Manager Brendan Rodgers advised his post-match press convention: “He’s a boy that gives everything in training. He doesn’t get too many opportunities, he’s shown that in the Europa League where he’s performed really well for us.

“It was an ideal alternative for him [the penalty], however he simply appeared slightly bit hesitant with it. He had one other good probability on the close to put up, nevertheless it simply did not fairly fall for him at present.”
Charlotte Marsh

Signs of enchancment for Crystal Palace

Image:
Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha celebrates scoring towards Leicester

It had been a confidence-sapping week for Crystal Palace. Losing two video games by an mixture rating of 10-0 is sufficient for even the very best heads to drop. But Roy Hodgson made 5 modifications – three of which got here in defence – and Crystal Palace lastly returned to some defensive solidity, on the cusp of a second clear sheet of the season.

  • Crystal Palace 1-1 Leicester – Match report and highlights

Leicester dominated when it comes to pictures – having 17 to Crystal Palace’s 4 – however just one made it by means of the Eagles’ defence. James Tomkins made eight clearances, Nathaniel Clyne made 4 tackles – each the best within the squad – whereas younger Tyrick Mitchell did nicely on his return at left-back. Let’s additionally not neglect Vicente Guaita’s good save from Kelechi Iheanacho’s poor penalty.

Attack has not all the time been Crystal Palace’s most fruitful space, nevertheless it was a second of magic from talisman Wilfried Zaha that noticed them rating for the primary time in two video games. He began and completed a counter-attack towards one of many Premier League’s greatest counter-attacking groups, scoring with Crystal Palace’s solely shot on course.

There had been vivid moments in assault, the second-half efficiency was good and Hodgson’s modifications did what was wanted. The indicators of enchancment are there.

But Crystal Palace have finally did not comply with up on their emphatic 5-1 win towards West Brom, now drawing three video games 1-1 and in fact, these well-publicised defeats. Hodgson will probably be hoping one other three factors awaits them in 2021.
Charlotte Marsh

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