EPL Gameweek #25 review: Mourinho finally ends Pep’s visiting orders


If last week’s Premier League results left a little wonderment and surprise to be desired, then the pay-off for patient fans came this weekend. A smattering of goalless bored draws – at St. James Park, Old Trafford and Turf Moor respectively – might have disappointed but there was so much going on elsewhere that it didn’t matter. Let those teams fuss, frustrate and ultimately fail. We could instead look in other windows for the thrills that the English Premier League provides so wonderfully regularly.

epl-gameweek-25-review-mourinho-finally-ends-peps-visiting-ordersSure, Liverpool’s latest thrashing – of Southampton, 4-0 – and important wins for Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Everton were fun. But the fixtures at the King Power Stadium, the London Stadium and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium lit up the audience figures and made the crowds bounce out of their seats at the final whistle at each of those grounds, fans just glad to have been there in person.

If you weren’t, and even missed the action on screen, then you missed a real treat.

Leicester 2-2 Chelsea

It was billed as 3rd vs 4th, a crunch match in the race for the Champions League places, but at times, it looked like a relegation scrap between two teams with attacking talent to spare, but defensive problems that have held back their progress this season.

While Leicester and Chelsea are currently both favourites to qualify for Europe’s elite club competition in the 2020/21 season, neither side were at their best on Saturday lunchtime, Leicester twice undone at set pieces by Tony Rudiger’s ability to jump very high indeed against oppositions defenders who weren’t the tallest. Chelsea were unpicked like a cheap lock and made to look like their own defence was inept at times by The Foxes quick thinking and during other moments by players like Caballero making individual errors that should have had circus music playing over them in highlight reels.

In the end, incredibly, 2-2 was a fair result, though it could easily have been 4-4 with better finishing.

West Ham 3-3 Brighton

It’s fair to say that David Moyes has had a mixed time since his return to the London Stadium as West Ham manager. When he came in last time, it was to save the team from the drop, albeit with a backdrop of temporary relief. This time, however, while the mission stays the same, Moyes is in on a permanent basis, and not only that, but he finds his team and by extension himself mired in a very different kind of battle to avoid the drop.

West Ham are currently on 24 points, and yet are in the bottom three and only a point ahead of a Watford team in better form than them over the past half dozen games. It looks like this might be the year that a team with more than 40 points is relegated, which only brings back nightmarish memories of the 2002/03 season for Hammers fans, a season in which they won 10 times, finished with 42 points, won three of their last four including at Manchester City and at home to Chelsea and still got relegated.

If they go down by two points or less, then this will be the game that floods back into their minds on the final whistle. A game in which they were 2-0 and 3-1 up. A game in which they had countless chances to avoid throwing away their priceless lead and succumbing to Glenn Murray of all people.

West Ham apparently faced Moyes’ wrath after this defeat, which, if you’re of a certain age and were very much afraid of He-Man’s nemesis Skeletor, will send you hiding behind the sofa, shielding your eyes from the horror. You’ll have company crouched behind the sofa arm, because West Ham fans everywhere will be looking for a corner of upholstered furniture to cower behind if this season carries on the way it’s going.

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City

Another involuntary team sit-in took place at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Pep Guardiola allegedly laid into his multi-millionaire Manchester City players after they were downed 2-0 by his old enemy Jose Mourinho, who may or may not have been listening at the wall with glee.

Spurs were, in truth, lucky to go into the break on equal terms. Mike Dean compounded his already thin reputation by awarding no penalty when Serge Aurier had made an obvious foul, then further set himself for meme-related infamy when he awarded Raheem Sterling a penalty from the resultant miss from Gundogan which was actually a great save from Hugo Lloris. But the best was yet to come.

City, their possession-based game causing Mourinho to stalk the line like a spider facing a wall of water, gave up their advantage when Zinchenko’s ill-timed second yellow saw him sent off. Within three minutes, Steven Bergwjin had enjoyed the kind of Premier League debut moment that define careers let alone seasons. Chesting a loose ball down, in one movement he swiveled and volleyed the ball past Ederson in the Manchester City goal. It might have been Goal of the Season.

Last season’s Salah v Chelsea strike was special, a really amazing goal, but in the build-up, anyone watching at home could see that the Egyptian was going to cut in and belt it for the top corner. The satisfaction lay in the amazed wonderment of whether he really could lash it in. Ultimately, he did and it was highly satisfying. But Bergwijn’s goal against Manchester City, the reigning champions no less, was in before viewers had even contemplated wondering what he was up to. There’s something special about that kind of goal and it was magic that Jose Mourinho will be hoping his Tottenham side can recreate a few more times this season to nudge themselves into the top four at the expense of at least one of his old sides, Chelsea and Manchester United. Those two sides meet in their next Premier League fixture, music to the ears of the Special One.

EPL Gameweek #25 results:

Leicester 2-2 Chelsea

Bournemouth 2-1 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace 0-1 Sheffield United

Liverpool 4-0 Southampton

Newcastle 0-0 Norwich

Watford 2-3 Everton

West Ham 3-3 Brighton

Man Utd 0-0 Wolves

Burnley 0-0 Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Manchester City