English Premier League 2019/20 Matchday 25 Round-up
The EPL 19/20 Matchday 25 with matches played on 1st & 2nd February, 2020 gave fans opportunities to see new signings of their clubs in action. With the winter transfer window shut, a number of players who were able to seal transfers to Premier League early enough to be registered and eligible for the matchday showed signs of what they had to offer.
Like every other matchday, this was full of goals, eye-popping saves and lovely football. VAR controvery was not left out of the mix either.
Leicester City 2 - 2 Chelsea (Harvey Barnes 54', Ben Chilwell 64'; Antonio Rüdiger 46', 71')
Leicester City started the matchday's series on Saturday afternoon with a visit from Chelsea; 3rd vs 4th matchup. Chelsea were looking for a win to close the gap on Leicester and tighten their grip on 4th spot. Frank Lampard opted to start Willy Caballero ahead of Kepa Arrizabalaga and the Argentinian proved his decision right, making some very good saves, despite partly being at fault for Leicester's 2nd goal. Jamie Vardy's recent barren run in front of goal continues and the Englishman is yet to score a goal in 2020. An"two"nio Rudiger scored his first goals this season.
AFC Bournemouth 2 - 1 Aston Villa (Philip Billing 37', Nathan Aké 44'; Mbwanna Samatta 70')
Aston Villa took a trip to the Vitality Stadium to battle fellow relegation stragglers, AFC Bournemouth. 3 points behind their visitors, Bournemouth were in need of a second consecutive win to jump out of the relegation zone. Despite an early 2nd-half red card to the Cherries' Jefferson Lerma, the Villans, once again led by Jack Grealish, were unable to make a case for their own EPL survival as Bournemouth held on to take all 3 points at home.
Crystal Palace 0 - 1 Sheffield United (Vicente Guaita 58' og)
Crystal Palace played hosts to a Sheffield United side that had only lost away to Liverpool and Manchester City all season. And Chris Wilder's side continued that record. Some solid defending by the Blades' defence and outstanding goalkeeping by Dean Henderson ensured that an Own Goal from his opposite number, Vicente Guaita, was enough to see his team through. VAR was also involved, advising referee, Andy Madley to review his red card decision in the Referee Review Area.
Liverpool 4 - 0 Southampton (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 47', Jordan Henderson 60', Mohamed Salah 71',90')
Southampton faced a very tough challenge in trying to stop Jurgen Klopp's troops from taking all 3 points when they visited Anfield. Both teams fielded one player who had once played for the other. Southampton held Liverpool back impressively throughout the first half with their high press disallowing Liverpool to have total control of the game, even creating some good chances of theirs which should have been converted. They were however punished for the missed chances in the first half, as Liverpool stormed past them with a 4-0 2nd-half rout, extending the Reds lead at the summit to 22 points.
Newcastle United 0-0 Norwich City
Newcastle United were hoping to enter the top-half of the EPL table with a win over struggling Norwich City. They were wary of the EPL's bottom-placed side who had beaten them 3-1 in the corresponding fixtures in August. Norwich and Teemu Pukki were unable to replicate that performance, but still were no pushovers and claimed a possibly valuable point away from home in their quest for EPL survival.
Watford 2 - 3 Everton (Adam Masina 10', Roberto Pereyra 42'; Yerry Mina 45+1', 45+4', Theo Walcott 90')
Everton halted Watford's recent upturn in form since Nigel Pearson's arrival when they visited Vicarage road. Carlo Ancelloti, who was recently appointed as the Everton manager, was looking for a win to boost Everton's chances of at least a midtable finish. Despite being 2 goals up 3 minutes before halftime, they surrendered that lead in first half stoplage time to go level at the break. The Hornets ultimately suffered a 3rd straight defeat in all competitions as Theo Walcott secured a 90th-minute winner for the Toffees.
West Ham United 3 - 3 Brighton & Hove Albion (Issa Diop 30', Robert Snodgrass 45', 57'; Angelo Ogbonna 47' og, Pascal Groß 75', Glenn Murray 79')
West Ham manager, David Moyes would be so gutted to have drawn that match; his team having led by a 2-goal margin twice in the game. On the other hand, the Seagulls will be encouraged by the fine spirit they showed in earning a draw from a match that looked lost. The Hammers raced into a 2-goal lead at halftime before Fabianski's fumbled clearance of a corner shortly after the restart bounced off the back of his defender and into the net, halving Brighton's deficit. They regained their lead but their defensive frailties showed again as they conceded another from a defensive error. Glenn Murray, handed a rare start, secured a draw for Graham Potter's men. His goal, first disallowed for handball, was counted after VAR's intervention.
Manchester United 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Manchester United welcomed Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford for their third meeting in a month. Newly signed Bruno Fernandes was thrown straight into the mix by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, but even he was unable to help his team break the deadlock. There were a number of good opportunities for either side, but for the 4th time this season, Nuno Espirito Santos's Wolves failed to beat the Reds from Manchester, and the second goaless draw between the two sides this month.
Burnley 0-0 Arsenal
Sunday's fixtures started as Saturday's had ended, with another underwhelming draw, though with positives for the Turf Moor faithful. Mikel Arteta must be feeling fortunate that his Arsenal side were able to leave the match with a draw and not a thrashing. Though the Gunners started the match very brightly and were dominant in the first 20 or so minutes, Burnley finished the match undoubtedly the better of the two teams. Burnley troubled Arsenal again and again, especially in the 2nd half, with their whipped crosses and Sean Dyche should be livid that his side passed up on a chance to get a first league win over Arsenal since 1974 and a first win in all competitions since 2008. Comfortingly at least, they ended a dismal sequence of 11 straight losses to the Gunners in all competitions.
Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 0 Manchester City (Steven Bergwijn 63', Son Heung-Min 71')
The matchday came to a thrilling and fitting end with the big matchup of the gameweek seeing Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola's managerial rivalry continue. City started the match on the front foot with Hugo Lloris the hero of the first half, first diverting a Sergio Aguero effort onto the woodwork and then saving an Ilkay Gundogan penalty after VAR overturned Mike Deans' decision on a Serge Aurier challenge on Aguero as a penalty. The Citizens had more chances as the 1st half ended and even some more when the 2nd half continued. Just as it happened in their loss to their Manchester rivals, United, they were punished for their wasteful finishing. Tottenham scored with their very first shot on target. This was the very first time that the Citizens didn't score for the 2nd consecutive game. Now 22 points behind Liverpool in 1st place, Guardiola's charges may turn their attention to the UEFA Chamlions League, seeing that their title defense is all but over.
Featured Image Courtesy: Newsgroove.co.uk