Premier League hits and misses: Why can’t Newcastle see out a victory? Man City raise the bar and Anthony Elanga stars for Man Utd

Why can’t Newcastle see out a victory?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Newcastle’s draw with Watford

Ahead of Saturday’s essential relegation battle with Watford, there was a buzz of anticipation round St James’ Park. Chris Wood was making his debut – a £25m substitute for the injured Callum Wilson – and this was a must-win recreation. Banners and flags had been flown in a formidable pre-match displaying.

And for an hour, Newcastle responded in form. They dominated the first half, and 4 minutes after the break, a very good strike from Allan Saint-Maximin noticed Newcastle forward.

Perhaps it was nerves, nervousness or the want to guard a lead, however the hosts started to sit down again and invite the stress. Watford’s finest probabilities all got here after the sixtieth minute – together with the very important equaliser with mere minutes to play that made a draw really feel like a defeat for Newcastle.

  • Newcastle 1-1 Watford – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Eddie Howe’s aspect have now dropped a enormous 21 factors from successful positions this season and conceded 11 targets in the ultimate quarter-hour of Premier League video games. Newcastle proceed to seek out themselves on this cycle, and it promoted loud booing from the residence followers at full-time.

It all begs the query – simply why can’t Newcastle see out a victory?

Eddie Howe gave his ideas: “I believe it is psychological. There was a thought to guard what we had. It was early in the recreation, we misplaced our attacking risk in the match and that ought to by no means be the case with so lengthy to go.

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“I think that’s linked to confidence and now having won as many games as we would have liked in a long period of time. The only way to build that is to get over the line and win. We did that against Burnley recently and I hoped that would have been an improvement in that phase of our play.

“But immediately, we did not recover from the line and I hope it does not result in psychological scars for the gamers. I’m certain it will not as a result of we are going to go into the recreation and analyse it and assessment and do some work to strive and change it.”

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Eddie Howe was clearly disenchanted Newcastle conceded a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw towards Watford and he feels they’ve missed a enormous alternative to realize factors towards a relegation rival

Whatever the case could also be, it is a worryingly frequent development. Alongside this, Newcastle solely had one shot on course over the total 90 minutes – Saint-Maximin’s objective – and solely two in the second half total.

Newcastle stay with only one Premier League victory this season, and joint-second league-high of 9 attracts. Each recreation will get greater as the season continues, however when there could possibly be solely a few factors and even objective distinction in it, they should begin enhancing each tallies to face a likelihood.

Otherwise, a return to the Championship more and more beckons.
Charlotte Marsh

Man City have raised the bar

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win over Chelsea

It was first versus second however it did not actually appear to be that. Chelsea defended effectively and restricted Manchester City to solely a handful of probabilities however City had been dominant all through, barely gave their guests a look-in at the different finish, and gained by means of some particular person brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne.

It was virtually a repeat of their victory at Stamford Bridge in September and, after finishing the double over Chelsea, the 13-point hole between City and their nearest challengers is big. It’s solely January, in any case.

Liverpool might shut that chasm in the event that they win their video games in hand, and they nonetheless should go to the Etihad themselves, however a turnaround now seems to be extremely unlikely.

City are setting unbelievable requirements proper now – and it is no shock others are struggling to maintain up. They have the finest attacking numbers and the finest defensive report, too.

  • Man City 1-0 Chelsea – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

The 15-game successful streak they put collectively over the winter interval final season took them to the title and appeared unrepeatable however they’re as much as 12 wins on the spin now and motoring away from their rivals once more.

Manchester City are in unstoppable type and are cantering in direction of the Premier League title

When different groups have faltered throughout this busy festive interval, City have simply stored on successful. Pep Guardiola mentioned his aspect had been going through an “emergency” of accidents, sickness and suspensions at the begin of December. Fast ahead a month and a half and they’re on target to complete the season with over 95 factors.

No striker? No drawback. A disrupted pre-season – City had been the final Premier League membership to return to the coaching floor – might have affected some performances earlier in the marketing campaign, however they’re of their groove now.

Of course, the sources and depth of high quality Guardiola can name on is substantial. But the relentless nature of this City workforce, and the manner they’ve tailored to challenges they’ve confronted, is right down to mentality and teaching.

A fourth Premier League title in 5 seasons appears a near-certainty now for a workforce and supervisor who’ve raised the bar.
Peter Smith

Toothless Chelsea give up title probabilities

Romelu Lukaku's effort is saved by Ederson

It was solely ever the faintest of probabilities, however Chelsea kissed goodbye to it at the Etihad Stadium.

Nothing aside from a victory would suffice if the prospect of the European champions reeling the runaway leaders, and champions of England, Manchester City again into a title race was to materialise.

The basis was there for Chelsea to resurrect their title problem. A steely and resilient defensive show, marshalled by the evergreen Thiago Silva, weathered the fixed Manchester City bombardment, however Thomas Tuchel’s aspect had been discovered woefully wanting at the enterprise finish of the pitch.

For the first time in the German’s reign at the membership, Chelsea didn’t register an try on objective in the first half of a Premier League recreation, as a entrance three of Romelu Lukaku, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic didn’t gel. By the finish of the 90 minutes, Ederson would solely be referred to as into motion as soon as in the City objective.

  • Man City 1-0 Chelsea – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

Tuchel believed his aspect’s defensive efforts merited a level however the similar couldn’t be mentioned of his attackers.

“We had zero touches in the box [in the first half]. That was a big problem, the performance of the front players,” he conceded. “That was down to a lack of precision, timing, and composure. We can do much, much better and we need to do better.”

Tuchel’s brutal evaluation was adopted by a equally blunt response as to whether Chelsea might nonetheless win the Premier League. “We will never give up, but if City keeps on winning every game, nobody can catch them.”

On Saturday’s displaying, Chelsea haven’t got the firepower to capitalise on a slip-up from City, nevertheless unlikely that could be.
Jack Wilkinson

Where does the blame lie at Everton?

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jordan Pickford at full time

It is a query that continues to be arduous to pinpoint, however for lots of those that headed again to Merseyside having made their longest away journey of the season, it’s clear the place the buck stops.

Everton are in freefall and this sad marriage with under-fire former Liverpool supervisor Rafael Benitez reached its nadir at Carrow Road.

This was the membership’s first away defeat towards a workforce beginning the day backside of the Premier League desk since May 2004, having been unbeaten in 17 such events coming into the recreation.

Benitez is operating out of time and excuses. Dominic Calvert-Lewin was again in the aspect following his most up-to-date relapse whereas Richarlison did have an effect off the bench, however the injury had already been executed.

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After a defeat away at Norwich, Rafa Benitez is assured he can flip Everton’s season round now he’s getting his injured gamers again regardless of protests from followers

  • Norwich 2-1 Everton – Match report and highlights

As has so typically been the case throughout this depressing run of 1 win in 13 league video games.

The 2-1 loss to Norwich continued an abysmal report for Everton of conceding the first objective in 16 of their 22 video games in all competitions this season, together with every of their final 9 video games.

Against the league’s backside aspect, who had conceded the first objective in 16 video games themselves this time period, Benitez watched his gamers ship twice earlier than they staged any type of response. For Evertonians, and for Benitez, it seems like Groundhog Day.

He might by no means be fairly as irate as the membership’s supporters at the present scenario, however the gamers should additionally take accountability.

Everton followers categorical their emotions in direction of Benitez

After all, each of Norwich’s targets had been of Everton’s personal making, with Michael Keane’s personal objective coming 92 seconds earlier than Ben Godfrey’s poor go contributed to Adam Idah making it two.

Benitez mentioned: “We didn’t start the game badly in terms of control, but afterwards we made the same mistakes. We made a couple of mistakes in a few minutes, we conceded two goals and gave ourselves a mountain to climb again.”

Everton have gained simply 19 factors from their 19 league video games this season – solely twice beforehand have they’d fewer at this stage of a Premier League marketing campaign. Senior members of the squad should come ahead and lead by instance, however calls for Benitez to be relieved of his duties will now intensify.
Ben Grounds

Elanga reveals what Man Utd have been lacking

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s draw with Manchester United in the Premier League

“Manchester United have always had wingers that can sprint in behind defenders,” famous Jamie Redknapp in the aftermath of United’s 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. He was talking concerning the efficiency of 19-year-old Antony Elanga, who was given a shock begin by Ralf Rangnick at Villa Park.

Elanga was most well-liked to £73m signing Jadon Sancho and put in a efficiency filled with tempo, direct operating and unwavering enthusiasm – all attributes we have now but to see from Sancho in a Manchester United. His first begin of the season in the Premier League coincided with United’s finest efficiency underneath Rangnick – for 80 minutes anyway.

  • How the groups lined up | Match stats
  • Aston Villa 2-2 Man Utd – Report and highlights
  • Premier League fixtures | Table | Results

United got a enhance by the affect of Anthony Elanga

Of course, Sancho is a utterly totally different sort of participant who likes the ball to toes and when at his finest could cause havoc together with his artistic play. But together with his confidence at all-time low, giving a begin to somebody like Elanga who likes to run, run and run some extra was a sensible transfer by the new United supervisor. His capacity to stretch the recreation gave United a implausible platform to construct from and Bruno Fernandes’ opening objective stemmed from an assault down Elanga’s aspect.

“He did well and had two great opportunities to score but he showed what I expected of him and why I decided to play him from the start,” mentioned Rangnick.

He might have value the membership £73m however Sancho has a huge problem in entrance of him now to persuade the supervisor to provide him the beginning shirt. It’s Elanga’s for the time being.
Lewis Jones

Idah provides Norwich additional dimension

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich City’s win over Everton

Norwich supervisor Dean Smith mentioned he hoped his aspect have “turned a corner” following this hard-fought third Premier League victory over the season. Everton at all times had the look of a aspect that had been there for the taking, however the Canaries had solely scored eight targets of their opening 20 league video games.

To put that into context, it was the joint fewest targets by any aspect after 20 video games of a top-flight season, alongside the Leicester workforce of the 1977/78 marketing campaign. Just as of their earlier time period in the Premier League two years in the past, there was an over-reliance on Teemu Pukki to supply the ammunition, however Smith was rewarded for his daring method on Saturday.

Josh Sargent was recalled and pressured Keane’s mistake for the opener whereas Adam Idah confirmed positive composure to notch his first Premier League on his twenty seventh look in the competitors to double Norwich’s lead in what proved to be the match-winner.

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Smith mentioned: “I wanted him to follow up his positive performance on Wednesday [in the 2-0 defeat to West Ham] with another positive one today and he did that. We’ve got a few players who have potential like Adam, and it’s our job to help them fulfil that potential.”

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Dean Smith says the togetherness was there inside the workforce as Norwich beat Everton to report their first Premier League victory since November

Overall, it was Idah’s first league objective since May 2021, when he scored in Norwich’s ultimate recreation of their promotion season in the Championship towards Barnsley.

“Ourselves and Adam are still finding out what type of player he is. He’s a lad who has got an awful lot of potential, he’s physically strong and he’s just starting to learn how to use his body but I thought he did really well using it. He’s got a great touch, he can finish. His first Premier League goal was certainly deserved.”

Norwich are but to strengthen their squad this window however in Idah, they might simply have the obligatory firepower to assist stage an unlikely escape when many critics had already written them off.
Ben Grounds

Ward-Prowse closing in on Beckham free-kick report

Southampton might have seen their five-match unbeaten run come to an finish at Molineux on Saturday afternoon after a 3-1 loss to Wolves, nevertheless, the guests did rating the finest objective of the recreation after one more in the now lengthy checklist of sensational James Ward-Prowse direct free kicks.

With the scoreline 2-0 to the hosts and Southampton seemingly overwhelmed, up stepped Ward-Prowse to curve a luxurious free-kick up and over the wall and into the prime righthand nook of the internet from absolutely 35 yards out, with Wolves’ beforehand unbeatable goalkeeper Jose Sa rooted to his line.

  • Wolves 3-1 Southampton – Match report and highlights
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

No ‘keeper in the world would have gotten close to Ward-Prowse’s effort, given the shot’s accuracy and velocity, though we should always not be stunned at the Saints skipper’s prowess from dead-ball conditions.

In truth, Saturday was the England worldwide’s twelfth direct free-kick objective in the Premier League, a haul bettered solely by David Beckham (18), together with his supervisor Ralph Hasenhuttl even claiming it was the finest he had ever seen from the participant, which is sort of some assertion given his physique of labor.
Richard Morgan

Time for Brighton to maneuver on a striker?

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Free to look at: Highlights from Brighton’s 1-1 draw towards Crystal Palace

If solely it was a recreation of xG. Yet once more, Brighton have dominated a recreation with out successful it. They have began displaying indicators they will discover the again of the internet this season, and their new-found Midas contact launched them into the European locations earlier in the season.

But they nonetheless haven’t grasped the best way to routinely flip territorial dominance into targets. Neal Maupay, typically criticised for his wasteful ending, barely had a likelihood to show that unsuitable and as an alternative it was Jakub Moder, Leandro Trossard and Danny Welbeck who shared the burden of making one other night of close to misses.

It was virtually in the script that Palace ought to rating from their first shot on course, displaying Brighton precisely how it’s executed as groups have been doing to Graham Potter’s aspect ever since he walked into the door.

  • Brighton 1-1 Crystal Palace – Match report
  • How the groups lined up | Match stats

They have such nice management over 80 per cent of the pitch, however the ultimate 20 per cent, the clincher, continues to be past them. The January window is nearly halfway by means of, and if the Seagulls are severe about turning their good play into factors for the remainder of the season, it’s time to act.

This was the sixth time this season they’ve had an xG of greater than double their opponents’ – however on the scoreline, six can also be the quantity of video games they’ve managed to win all season.

Despite a robust evening for Crystal Palace, the teamsheet could also be the actual winner for them. At a median age of 25 years and 31 days, their 11 starters represented the Eagles’ youngest Premier League line-up since Iain Dowie managed them to a 2-2 draw towards West Brom in February 2005.

Andy Johnson was certainly one of the scorers that day – and he turns 41 subsequent month. Steve Parish’s imaginative and prescient to rejuvenate certainly one of the Premier League’s eldest squads goes swimmingly.
Ron Walker

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