Thursday 30 December 2021

Faltering followers

At the end of 2021, Manchester City are running towards another league title as Chelsea and Liverpool have begun to drop points in a season where postponed matches have started to stack up.

Week 11- The weekend’s fixtures began on Friday evening with an early goal that gave Southampton a home win over Aston Villa while on Saturday Manchester City put 2 past Manchester United at Old Trafford and Burnley earned a 1-1 draw at league leaders Chelsea. Norwich City picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory at Brentford while Wolves lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace and Newcastle drew 1-1 at Brighton who finished the match with 10 players on the field. On Sunday, West Ham United defeated Liverpool 3-2 at the London Stadium and Arsenal were 1-0 winners at home to Watford who ended the match with 10 players while Tottenham drew 0-0 at Everton who also suffered a late dismissal and Leicester City drew 1-1 at Leeds United.

Week 12 – Chelsea powered past their hosts Leicester in the early kick-off while Manchester United, who were reduced to 10 players, were thumped 4-1 at Watford resulting in the termination of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s managerial contract and Arsenal were swept aside 4-0 at Liverpool. Brentford drew 3-3 at Newcastle and there was a 3-3 draw at Burnley with Christian Benteke scoring a double for Crystal Palace while Brighton fell to 2 late goals at Aston Villa with Steven Gerrard at their helm. Under the leadership of Dean Smith, Norwich City picked up a 2-1 home win against Southampton and West Ham United lost 1-0 at Wolves while on Sunday Manchester City put 3 unanswered goals past Everton at the Etihad and Leeds United, who had taken a first-half lead, lost 2-1 at Tottenham.

Week 13 – Two goals after the break gave Arsenal a home win over Newcastle United and Liverpool eased 4-0 past Southampton with a double from Diogo Jota at Anfield while Aston Villa were 2-1 winners at Crystal Palace and there were goalless draws for Norwich at home to Wolves and for Leeds United at Brighton and Hove Albion. Jamie Vardy scored twice in Leicester’s 4-2 home win over Watford and West Ham lost 2-1 at Manchester City while Manchester United drew 1-1 at league leaders Chelsea and a single goal gave Brentford all 3 points at home to Everton. Tottenham’s match at Burley was postponed due to heavy snow.

Week 14 – In midweek matches Mohamad Salah netted a brace as Liverpool battered Everton 4-1 at Goodison Park while Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat of Arsenal at Old Trafford and Manchester City were 2-1 winners at Aston Villa. Brighton scored a last-minute goal to draw 1-1 at West Ham while Southampton twice took the lead but drew 2-2 at home to Leicester and Chelsea won 2-1 at Watford. Newcastle United, who played most of the match with 10 players in front of their home crowd, drew 1-1 with Norwich City and Leeds United broke the deadlock with a last-minute penalty at home to Crystal Palace while Brentford lost 2-0 at Tottenham and Burnley drew 0-0 at Wolves.

Week 15 – Chelsea twice took the lead but lost 3-2 at West Ham and their top spot as a Bernardo Silva double helped Manchester City to a 3-1 win at Watford and Liverpool broke the deadlock deep into stoppage time to take all 3 points at Wolverhampton while Burnley lost 1-0 at Newcastle and Brighton salvaged a 1-1 draw with a last gasp goal at Southampton.On Sunday, Leeds scored late to draw 2-2 at home to Brentford and Crystal Palace lost to a single goal at Manchester United while Ezri Konsa scored both goals as Aston Villa were victorious 2-1 at home to Leicester and Tottenham scored 3 unanswered goals against their visitors from Norwich. On Monday evening Everton came from behind to beat Arsenal 2-1 with 2 late goals at Goodison Park.

Week 16 – Brentford converted a stoppage-time penalty to win 2-1 after falling behind at home to Watford on Friday evening while on Saturday the penalty theme continued as Jorginho scored his second penalty in added-on time to give Chelsea a 3-2 home victory over Leeds United and there were 1-0 home wins thanks to penalties for Manchester City against 10-man Wolves and Liverpool against Aston Villa while a spot-kick at Norwich settled the match in Manchester United’s favour. Arsenal eased past Southampton 3-0 at the Emirates and on Sunday, with Tottenham’s match at Brighton being postponed due to covid, Leicester City swept their visitors from Newcastle aside 4-0 with the help of a Youri Tielemans double while Conor Gallagher scored a brace as Everton were beaten 3-1 at Crystal Palace and West Ham United were held to a goalless draw at Burnley.  

Week 17 – In midweek Kevin de Bruyne scored twice as Manchester City demolished Leeds United 7-0 at the Etihad and Aston Villa scored twice at Norwich without reply while Southampton scored twice in quick succession to turn an early setback at Crystal Palace around but drew 2-2 and Wolves were 1-0 winners at Brighton. Arsenal defeated 10-man West Ham 2-0 at the Emirates to overtake them in the table while Liverpool came from behind to win 3-1 at home to Newcastle and Everton drew 1-1 at Chelsea. The matches between Brentford and Manchester United, Burnley and Watford and Leicester against Tottenham were all postponed due to positive covid tests.

Week 18 – Arsenal outclassed Leeds United 4-1 at Elland Road with Gabriel Martinelli netting a brace in the only match of the day on Saturday as the matches at Manchester United, Aston Villa, Southampton, West Ham and Watford against Brighton, Burnley, Brentford, Norwich and Crystal Place respectively were all postponed due to covid. With Leicester’s match at Everton being postponed on Sunday, Manchester City banged in 4 goals without reply at Newcastle while 10-man Liverpool drew 2-2 at Tottenham and Chelsea played in a goalless match at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Week 19 – On a Boxing Day bonanza Leicester City were blown away with 4 goals in the first 25 minutes at Manchester City but hit back with 3 goals in quick succession after the break only to lose 6-3 with a double from Raheem Sterling while Bukayo Saka also scored twice as Arsenal thumped Norwich 5-0 at Carrow Road and 10-man Crystal Palace lost 3-0 at Tottenham. Southampton were 3-2 winners at West Ham while Chelsea came from behind to win 3-1 at Aston Villa with 2 penalties from Jorginho and Brentford lost 2-0 at Brighton. The matches between Liverpool and Leeds, Wolves and Watford and Everton’s match at Burnley were all postponed. On Monday evening Manchester United salvaged a 1-1 draw at Newcastle.

Week 20 – In the last matches of 2021, played in midweek, Liverpool lost 10 at Leicester while Tottenham drew 1-1 at 10-man Southampton and Crystal Palace put 3 past Norwich without reply. Watford took an early home lead but were beaten 4-1 by West Ham while on Wednesday Brighton and Hove Albion earned a last gasp 1-1 draw at Chelsea and a single goal gave Manchester City a win at Brentford. With the matches between Arsenal and Wolves, Leeds and Aston Villa and also Newcastle’s trip to Everton all being postponed, the final match of the calendar year was played at Manchester where United enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Burnley.