EPL 2020/2021 MATCHDAY 3 REVIEW
The 2020/2021 EPL campaign is taking shape already and thus far Leicester are the only team above the Merseyside clubs, the three having maintained a 100% winning start to the season.
The two Manchester clubs have had contrasting results and are in the second half of the table.
With only 3 matchdays played, the EPL has the highest goal-per-match ratio in Europe’s top 5 leagues so far this season with 3.7 goals-per-match (104 goals in 28 matches).
Matchday 3 saw a lot more VAR penalty drama and a number of unexpected results.
- EPL 2020/2021 is yet to have a goalless draw.
- There have been 21 penalties in the 28 matches so far, 19 of which have been scored.
- Two Englishmen sit atop the goalscorer standings after the completion of 3 matchdays.
- Matchday 3 continued the pattern of early goals with 5 of its 10 matches seeing a goal scored in the first 10 minutes.
Below is an extensive all-inclusive review with interesting stats of all the matches of EPL 2020/2021 Matchday 3:
Brighton and Hove Albion 2 - 3 Manchester United
(Neal Maupay 40’P, Solly March 90+4’; Lewis Dunk 43’OG, Marcus Rashford 55’, Bruno Fernandes 90+10’)
Matchday 3 began with a trip to the Amex for a Manchester United side looking for their first points of the campaign, and they got it in unconvincing fashion.
Just as in their previous two EPL matches this season, Brighton played the better football, and were unlucky to lose hitting the post a massive 5 times.
Brighton were looking to build on their two positive performances so far and their win last time out with a first win at home.
The home side started the first half with that same attacking intensity and could have been 3 or 4 goals up had it not been for a combination of poor, unlucky finishing, David de Gea, and his goalpost.
They would however get the goal they deserved 5 minutes before halftime, Maupay scoring an exquisite panenka penalty after Bruno Fernandes tripped the increasingly-impressive Tariq Lamptey in the box.
Their lead would not last long however; Dunk, under pressure from Harry Maguire, provided the unlucky touch to turn home Nemanja Matic’s pass after Fernandes’ deep cross from a freekick, sending both teams into the tunnel level.
3 Minutes after the restart, the referee awarded Brighton’s Aaron Connolly a penalty for Brighton, but he rescinded the decision following a pitchside monitor review.
United were then able to take the lead: an excellent low, long throughball from Fernandes found Rashford who showed beautiful feet to dance around the Brighton defence before smashing United into the lead.
Brighton in search of an equaliser relentlessly attacked the United goal but were let down by really poor finishing.
The Seagulls finally got a last-gasp equaliser deep into second half added time, but they would end up losing though; a rush-of-blood-to-the-head moment from Maupay caused the Seagulls to concede a controversial penalty from virtually the last play of the game, letting Fernandes atone for the penalty he conceded earlier.
The referee had blown the final whistle, but on VAR’s advice, he reviewed the incident on the pitchside monitor and gave United a winning lifeline.
In this match, Brighton hit the post 5 times, the most one team has in a single match in the last 17 years.
Leandro Trossard alone hit the woodwork 3 times, the first player to do so since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006.
Crystal Palace 1 - 2 Everton
(Cheikhou Kouyate 26’; Dominic Calvert-Lewin 10’, Richarlison 40’P)
Saturday’s 3pm kickoff saw two of the four teams with a 100% record go head to head, and it was Carlo Ancelotti’s men who were able to maintain their perfect start to the season.
Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring with his 5th EPL goal of the season after some beautiful play down the right of Everton’s attack offered him a tap in within the 6-yard box.
Kouyate would, not long after, get the home side level, powering a towering header over the head of Jordan Pickford.
Everton continued to pile pressure on Palace who resisted, but their resistance was broken before the break.
Joe Ward, who was lucky not to initially have a penalty shout go against him, couldn’t count himself twice lucky as again the ball hit his arm, and this time the VAR decision was a penalty which Richarlison duly converted.
Palace sought an equaliser after the break, but could not find a way past Pickford.
As a result, the Eagles’ impressive start to the season suffered a soft blow, and whether they can recover quickly remains to be seen.
- The Toffees, on the other hand, go into Matchday 4 seeking a fourth EPL win on the bounce.
- Palace have now played 12 EPL matches against the Toffees, since 2014, without winning.
- This win means Everton have won all of their competitive matches this season.
- Everton have now won 4 of their last 6 away EPL matches, as much as they won in their previous 20 away EPL matches.
- Calvert-Lewin has scored in each of the first 3 EPL matches of the season, the first Everton player to do so in 7 years.
West Brom 3 - 3 Chelsea
(Callum Robinson 4’ 25’, Kyle Bartley 27’; Mason Mount 55’, Callum Hudson-Odoi 70’, Tammy Abraham 90+3’)
Chelsea must consider themselves fortuitous to have been able to come away from the Hawthorns with as much as a point.
Slaven Bilic’s lads had raced into a 3-goal lead before the half-hour mark, but an incredible fightback from Chelsea, arguably assisted by some help from the VAR and referee, ensured the Blues came away with a share of the spoils.
The Baggies got their first when Marcos Alonso’s poor header gifted them an opportunity to run at the Blues’ goal, which ended with Robinson’s rifled, low shot into the bottom corner.
About 20 minutes later, debutant and captain, Thiago Silva made a costly error; a Steven Gerrard-esque slip from the veteran defender near the halfway circle allowing Robinson to run through on goal to calmly slot past the onrushing Willy Caballero.
2 minutes after that, the Baggies got their third. The Chelsea defence switched off again, leaving Bartley onside and unmarked from Darnell Furlong’s flick from a corner to tap West Brom into a 3-goal lead at the interval.
Frank Lampard rung a couple of changes at the break and 5 minutes before the hour mark, the deficit was reduced to 2.
Mount’s long-range effort blindsided Sam Johnstone who could only watch the ball sail into his net.
Hudson-Odoi reduced the deficit even further, placing a cool finish in the bottom right corner after a quick one-two with Kai Havertz.
Chelsea kept pushing on for the equaliser and would later get it as Abraham reacted first to tap in Mount’s rebounded effort from Johnstone, although replays seemed to suggest Havertz handled the ball in the buildup to the goal.
Chelsea were only just able to save their blushes and prevent a fourth loss in 8 away EPL matches against newly promoted teams.
Lampard would need to go back to the drawing board to find a way to get his side gelling and in flow.
- West Brom have now conceded 11 goals this EPL season, the most so far.
- Chelsea’s 42 EPL goals conceded away from home since the beginning of the 2019/2020 season is more than any team has conceded within that time.
- Chelsea are the first team to avoid defeat after being 3 goals down at halftime since West Ham did so against same West Brom 9 years ago.
Burnley 0 - 1 Southampton
(Danny Ings 5’)
Two teams who were looking to get their EPL campaigns underway went head to head at Turf Moor.
Burnley had lost their only match last time out, while Southampton had lost their last 2, the last of which was a rout at home.
As expected, it was the Saints’ cult hero, Ings who kickstarted their EPL campaign with an early effort, their only shot on target in the match.
Just 5 minutes into the first half, Che Adams found Ings with a cutback and the 29-year old sidefooted his effort into the net to put the Saints in the lead.
The first half was devoid of many other opportunities and the Saints took their lead into the break.
The Clarets tried to get an equaliser but Alex McCarthy and the Saints’ defence were on hand to refute. Chris Wood finally got the ball in the net for an equaliser, but the flag was correctly raised for an offside in the buildup.
Ings got Southampton their second, or so he thought, but the linesman flagged his effort offside. His early strike was however able to guarantee his team the 3 points.
- Burnley, as a result of this match, fell to their first loss in 8 EPL matches against Southampton.
- Southampton have now won 2 of their last 12 away top-flight matches at Burnley. They’ve scored a total of 7 goals in those ecmcounters, never once scoring more than once.
Sheffield United 0 - 1 Leeds United
(Patrick Bamford 88’)
Sheffield woes continue with their third straight defeat as Leeds came away with the spoils in a hard-fought Yorkshire derby.
The goalkeepers were arguably the best players in this match as they time and again frustrated the efforts of the opposing strikers.
Both keepers seemed like they would not be beaten, but Bamford evidently had other ideas as he got on the end of Jack Harrison’s cross to give Marcelo Bielsa’s men the win, condemning Sheffield to a harsh defeat.
Sheffield could not provide a late response to that goal and so become 1 of only 3 teams yet to register a point this EPL season.
- Sheffield have now lost the opening 3 matches of this EPL campaign, extending their losing run to 6 EPL matches.
- Bamford becomes the first Leeds player ever to score in each of his first 3 EPL appearances.
- Oliver Burke has now played 17 EPL matches without being on the winning side once.
Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 1 Newcastle United
(Lucas Moura 25’; Callum Wilson 90+7’)
Jose Mourinho was left fuming at the final whistle as the new penalty rules gifted Newcastle an undeserved point.
Had Tottenham been able to convert more than one of their 23 shots and 12 on target, the late drama at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium would have been avoided.
Tottenham completely dominated the match, and were deservedly in front when Moura tapped in Harry Kane’s across goal to open his goal account for the season.
Spurs pushed for more as Son Heung-Min hit the crossbar and post, before he was withdrawn at the interval on injury concerns.
After the break, Spurs continued to look for a second goal to put the match to bed. They could however not get a second goal past Karl Darlow who put up an outstanding goalkeeping display.
Right at the end, Newcastle seemed to wake up and they sent long ball after long ball up to Andy Carroll, and it was the former West Ham hitman who won them the equalising penalty.
Carroll’s header hit the back of Eric Dier’s arm and based on the new penalty rules, he was deemed to have handled the ball, thereby conceding a totally unnecessary penalty which Wilson wilfully converted.
That goal in the 97th minute, Newcastle’s only shot on target in the entirety of the match, is the latest any team have scored with their first shot on target in the EPL.
The Magpies have now lost only 2 of their last 7 away EPL matches at Tottenham, conceding no more than 1 goal in any of them.
Manchester City 2 - 5 Leicester City
(Riyad Mahrez 4’, Nathan Ake 84’; Jamie Vardy 37’ P 53’ 58’P, James Maddison 77’, Youri Tielemans 88’P)
Brendan Rodgers got his first win over Guardiola and it was quite a thumping, with Jamie Vardy starring as the Sly Fox in the encounter.
It was a penalty fest as Leicester got awarded 3 penalties in the match.
Coming into the match, City had not lost in and had conceded only 1 goal across their last 7 home EPL matches, and they started in stunning fashion: ex-Fox, Mahrez smashed home a stunning effort into the top left corner with this supposed weak right foot after Kevin De Bruyne’s corner landed in his path.
The Foxes stuck to their game plan despite that stunner and were circumspect in their approach, content to attack only on the break.
Vardy then got them right back in the game with an equaliser from a penalty he won himself, despite having the fewest touches of the ball in the first half.
Vardy then took Leicester ahead with a deft finish from Timothy Castagne’s cross after a beautiful pass from Tielemans found Castagne in space down City’s left.
5 minutes after that, Leicester went 2 up: Vardy reacted quicker than Eric Garcia to a throughball and was fouled by the Spaniard.
He then stepped up to dispatch the penalty beyond the reach of Ederson Moraes, taking him top of the goalscorer standings, alongside Calvert-Lewin.
City struggled to get back into the game, with Leicester hitting on the counter.
Substitute, Maddison, got Rodgers’ men their fourth with a wonder curler into the top right corner. Ake then got City a consolation with a header from a corner, his first for the Cityzens.
Maddison would go on to win a penalty for Leicester’s fifth whose responsibility to dispatch fell upon Tielemans because Vardy had been substituted due to a hip problem.
- Leicester have won the opening 3 EPL matches of a season for the first time ever.
- City have now, only for the second time in their history, lost the first home match of a league campaign; the first in 31 years.
- Prior to this match, Guardiola had never conceded 5 goals in one match in his managerial career.
- Vardy is the first player since Michael Owen 17 years ago to score an EPL hat trick at the Etihad.
- Vardy has now scored 2 hat tricks against Pep’s Manchester City, the most anyone has had. Lionel Messi is the only other player to have scored a hattrick against them, with 1.
West Ham United 4 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
(Jarrod Bowen 17’ 57’, Raul Jimenez 66’OG, Sebastien Haller 90+3)
West Ham were without manager, David Moyes who tested positive to coronavirus earlier in the week, and despite amassing inferior possession, were easily the better team on the day as they made light work of Wolves, who have now suffered back-to-back defeats.
West Ham got their first of many when Pablo Fornals, from a quickly take freekick, found Bowen who ran into the box to calmly slot home.
West Ham had chances to increase their lead, but they were foiled by Rui Patricio.
Wolves had a few chances themselves but they couldn’t get the ball in the net.
40 minutes after scoring his first, Bowen got his second. Fornals’ shot off the post fell directly to Bowen who didn’t need a second invitation to tap in the Hammers’ second.
West Ham’s third came moments later from a corner. Tomas Soucek’s header deflected off an unlucky Jimenez past a helpless Patricio.
West Ham’s fourth came deep into added time. Arthur Masuaku made another good cross into the box, and substitute Haller was on hand to guide it back across goal into the net.
The Hammers have now scored at least 3 goals in 3 consecutive home matches in all competitions for the first time since they last did in 2011.
Prior to this match, Wolves had not conceded 4 goals in a single match since they did to Manchester United in 2012.
Fulham 0 - 3 Aston Villa
(Jack Grealish 4’, Conor Hourihane 15’, Tyrone Mings 48’)
In the penultimate match of Matchday 3, Villa recorded back-to-back wins to continue their perfect start to the EPL season.
Villa hit Fulham early on through talisman and captain, Grealish, who finished calmly under the onrushing Alphonse Areola from John McGinn’s chipped ball over the defence.
Fulham could not recover immediately and Villa hit again with their second 11 minutes later.
Hourihane collecting the ball from McGinn inside the penalty box to fire Villa into a 2-goal lead, following good play from Grealish down Villa’s attaching left.
3 minutes after the restart, Fulham were 3 goals down and out, Mings slid in to prod home Hourihane’s wide freekick.
Fulham mustered some chances but could only find a very few clear cut chances for Aleksandar Mitrovic who was kept quiet by the Villains’ defence.
Joe Bryan got Fulham’s best chance of the match in the 90th minute but Emiliano Martinez, with an acrobatic save tipped the effort onto the crossbar, to maintain his 100% save record.
Villa’s clean sheet in this match is their first in 27 away EPL matches.
Fulham have now lost their first 3 EPL matches of a season, for the first time ever.
Liverpool 3 - 1 Arsenal
(Sadio Mane 28’, Andrew Robertson 34’, Diogo Jota 88’; Alexandre Lacazette 25’)
This was the second fixture between two teams who entered Matchday 3 with 100% records.
Arsenal had not won at Anfield in 8 years, so continuing their perfect start to the EPL season really seemed like a tall order.
This fixture had produced more goals than any other, and this match didn’t fail to deliver.
Arsenal, against the run of play, got a foothold in the match when Robertson’s touch from Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ hopeful cross fell kindly for Lacazette, whose slight touch was enough to send it over Allison Becker into the net.
3 minutes later Liverpool were back into the game as Sadio Mane tapped in Bernd Leno’s parry from Mohammed Salah’s shot.
Arsenal’s foothold disappeared 9 minutes after it appeared as Robertson expiated his mistake in Arsenal’s goal with a cool finish from close range.
Both teams had opportunities to score the next goal, with Lacazette missing the most clear cut one with a straight shot at the onrushing Allison after Dani Ceballos found him in space with a beautifully carved pass.
Jota, on his half-debut, finally got Liverpool’s third to put the game without reach of Arsenal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cleared cross fell kindly for the Portuguese to volley home. That clean drive secured all 3 points for Jurgen Klopp’s lads, condemning Arsenal to their first league defeat of the campaign.
Arsenal have now not won any of their last 28 EPL away matches against the EPL’s Big-6, with only 2 wins in the last 40.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang didn’t have a single shot on target in the whole match.