EPL Matchday 23 of 38 – United Held, Gunners beaten again, Fulham Hold Hammers
EPL Matchday 23 of 38 – Saturday, February 6th, 2021
United held by Everton in thrilling 6-goal draw
Manchester United 3, Everton 3 – Old Trafford
A 95th minute goal from Dominic Calvert-Lewin sealed an exciting draw for Everton at Old Trafford and denied hosts United from going level with Mancheter City at the top of the table.
Carlo Ancelotti’s Toffees looked the more potent side in the opening stages of the much-anticipated Premier league clash but it were the hosts who forged into the lead in the 24th minute when Edinson Cavani connected wonderfully with his head from a fetching Marcus Rashford cross and beat Robin Olsen at the back post.
The United midfield were dealt a minor blow when Paul Pogba had to leave the field with an injury just before half-time and replaced by Fred. The Toffee defense were unable to check Bruno Fernandes at the edge of the area as the Portuguese playmaker let loose a spectacular strike beyond keeper Olsen into the far corner to make it 2-0 in the 45th.
Everton were not to be put off by the dominant display of the hosts in the first-half and nosed ahead 3 minutes into the second period when Abdoulaye Doucoure poked in a goal after David de Gea failed to clear a Calvert-Lewin shot cleanly.
The Toffees didn’t have to wait long for the equalizer as James Rodriguez took a cut-back from Doucoure inside the box and smashed in a low half-volley past De Gea with 52 minutes of play gone.
The game swung from end-to-end as United slowly started asserting control of the proceedings and were duly paid off as they forged ahead through Scott McTominay who headed past Olsen from a set-piece in the 70th minute.
With the game almost over, Everton won a free kick in the attacking third that saw Michael Keane flick on a Lucas Digne delivery to Calvert-Lewin who needed just a split second to clip in a left-footed touch past De Gea for the dramatic equalizer seconds before the final whistle.
The draw left Ole Solksjaer’s men on 45 points, two behind table-toppers Man City, who have the great comfort of having two games in hand. Everton momentarily move ahead of Chelsea to the sixth place on 37 points from 21 matches and like City have a two-game cushion.
Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0 – Villa Park
Arsenal suffer second straight loss; go down to Aston Villa
After a needless mid-week loss to the Wolves, Mikel Arteta’s Gunners suffered one more defeat, this time to Aston Villa who latched on to an early goal to move into the Top eight of the Premier League table.
Goalkeeper Mat Ryan, coming in for the suspended regular custodian Bernd Leno, conceded 74 seconds into his debut for the Gunners as Ollie Watkins punished some loose Arsenal defending with a shot that deflected off center-back Rob Holding and went in.
Ryan was further tested with attempts from John McGinn and Jack Grealish as both the Villa forwards went close. Arsenal regained their composure even as they lost Tomas Partey to injury after the hour mark and exerted pressure on the Villa goal in search of an equalizer.
But the hosts defended stoutly with Tyrone Mings foiling Emile Smith Rowe’s goal-bound attempt and Matty Cash blocking a Bukayo Saka shot that seemed to be headed in.
Arsenal were offered the most glorious chance of the game late on but Martin Odegaard’s shot blazed over the bar with an open goal beckoning him. For the hosts, Watkins saw his angled attempt kiss the far post with keeper Ryan completely beaten.
This was Villa’s sixth game in 18 days but there was little sign of fatigue from a packed schedule as they worked hard to return to winning ways after being dispatched off by West Ham on Wednesday 1-3.
This has been a good season for Dean Smith’s men as they managed to equal 2019-20’s tally of 35 points from just 21 games. After an unbeaten streak of 7 unbeaten games, Mikel Arteta’s have once again seemed to have lost their way as they finished on 10th with 31 points from their 23 outings and face the distinct possibility of slipping down the table in days to come.
Fulham 0, West Ham United 0
Lowly Fulham hold West Ham; Thomas Soucek sent off
Relegation candidate Fulham held David Moyes’ Hammers to a 0-0 draw, thus denying the latter a chance to move into the Top Four.
In a sedate period before the interval, both teams managed just one shot each on target with Declan Rice having his attempt saved by Fulham custodian Alphonse Areola and Ivan Cavaleiro heading straight at Lukasz Fabianski for the hosts.
The Hammers coming into the Craven Cottage game with seven wins from their eight previous outings, were a pale shadow of their confident selves and could have conceded all three points to their opponents as Tosin Adarabioyo narrowly headed over from only 8 yards out.
The Hammers’ only serious attempt post the interval was from Vladimir Coufal, but the Czech defender’s header from a Declan Rice cross found the crossbar. West Ham were dealt a blow for their coming games as top-scorer Tomas Soucek was sent off with a straight red card for elbowing Aleksandar Mitrovic seven minutes into injury time.
Moyes’ men who would have gone a point above 4th-placed Liverpool had they won on Saturday, had to be content with remaining on the 5th with 39 points from their 23 fixtures. As for Fulham, the Cottagers have now gone through 13 matches without a win and remain in the relegation zone on the 18th.
Other EPL results from Saturday, February 6th, 2021
- Burnley 1, Brighton & Hove 1
- Newcastle 3, Southampton 2
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