The English Premier is so well loved that sometimes it’s easy to focus on the football and forget why it hooks far more than the passing fans who love a stepover, a nutmeg or a mazy run. The sheer unpredictability of the results is the USP of the EPL, and there can be no better example of that than what happened on Saturday evening at Vicarage Road.
While other results went the way of the odds, such as the 0-0 stalemate played out by Newcastle and Burnley and the smash-and-grab win executed with predictable precision by Crystal Palace, there were some surprising moments.
Norwich rallied to defeat Leicester City at Carrow Road and grab three points that might yet give them the greatest escape from relegation in Premier League history. West Ham scored three goals to defeat Southampton to boost their own survival hopes. Bournemouth provided a stirring performance to get a point against a Chelsea side still smarting from the lesson Bayern Munich gave them in midweek. Let’s take a look at three more results that provided their fair share of headline moments.
Watford 3-0 Liverpool
It’s been so long since Liverpool lost that not only had the Merseysiders forgotten what it feels like, so too had fans of opposing teams. So the glee that Hornets fans felt on Saturday evening was shared by supporters of other teams too, in particular Arsenal fans who might have feared that their improbable ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04 when they won 26 matches and drew 12 saw them go through the season without seeing a ‘L’ at any time.
Liverpool can make no such claim, after being humbled by a Watford side led in midfield by the impressive Doucore and up front by the irrepressible Ismaila Sarr. It was Sarr who scored the first two goals, as the second half saw Liverpool crumble. Those strikes were added to by Troy Deeney with an inventive third, Liverpool’s defence over-stretched and exploited like few teams have managed this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will still win the league, probably at a canter, but this result serves as a timely reminder that no-one is unbeatable in the English Premier League – not for long, anyway.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Wolves
Wolves twice trailed but came from behind to win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as Jose Mourinho came under fire for his team selection in North London.
Quite how Nune Espirito Santo hasn’t been touted for the top jobs in football is beyond us, but it surely can’t be long before football’s elite come calling for Wolves’ manager. Santo has everything, tactical awareness, personality, charm and a set of hungry players he is constantly improving.
By contrast, Mourinho looks up against it at Spurs, and with no Kane and Son for the foreseeable, it could be the Europa League next season for Tottenham fans – a prospect no-one will look forward to… perhaps apart from Mourinho, who will see it as a chance for him to grab easier silverware than the trophies the top teams crave, namely the Premier League title and Champions League trophy Spurs came so close to under Pochettino.
Everton 1-1 Manchester United
A topsy-turvy game at Goodison Park saw Everton lead after two minutes as a David De Gea blunder enabled Dominic Calvert-Lewin to continue his impressive scoring run when he chased down the Spanish keeper’s lackluster clearance and rebound it into the goal.
United might have gone under a year ago, and indeed did so in the previous fixture at Goodison, slumping to the worst defeat they’ve suffered under Solskjaer, a 4-0 reverse.
These days, however, they have Bruno Fernandes. To say that the Portuguese player has revolutionized the Old Trafford outfit in a month might sound crazy, but it is the truth. He has been everywhere, and while his long-range shot might have been covered by smarter goalkeepers than Jordan Pickford, who was slow to get down to the fizzing dipping shot that bounced under his wrists, Fernandes deserved a goal for his efforts.
Whether it is in chasing down the ball or distributing it with flair and precision, Fernandes has it all in his locker. If United can get past Manchester City and Spurs within shooting range of the top four, they should have enough over the last eight fixtures to claim a top four spot with ease.
Gameweek #28 results:
Norwich 1-0 Leicester
Brighton 0-1 Crystal Palace
Bournemouth 2-2 Chelsea
Newcastle 0-0 Burnley
West Ham 3-1 Southampton
Watford 3-0 Liverpool
Spurs 2-3 Wolves
Everton 1-1 Man Utd