EPL Match Week 15 Review
Written By: Mahdi Farahikia
Watching the EPL Match Week 15 games was not recommended for those with heart problems. OK, that's a joke, but it was an action-packed feast of games, goals, and stories of ups and downs. City kept the title-race flame alive thanks to Haaland, and Rogers seems to secure his position as Leicester's manager. Newcastle continued rewriting the EPL narratives, and Arsenal took back the top place. Here is the recap of EPL Match Week 15.
Leeds vs. Bournemouth: Loved, Booed, and Loved Marsch:
If he didn't know it already, Jesse Marsch now knows very well what it takes to manage an EPL team. The unbelievable victory against Liverpool may have turned him into a hero for Leeds fans, and the early goal in this match might have fortified that. However, Leeds' celebration only lasted a few minutes as Bournemouth scored not just an equalizer but a flurry of three goals.
Leaving the turf, Marsch was booed by Leeds fans for the team's poor performance. But ties turned. Leeds scored two goals to equalize, and that seemed to be it. Summerville, though, had a different idea as he did to Bournemouth what he had done to Liverpool. His late goal meant the heroic come-back in this match was not for the visitors but for the hosts.
Manchester City vs. Fulham, Haaland to the Rescue:
The question has been asked often, but an answer is hard to find. Who can stop Haaland? He started on the bench as he has not fully recovered from his injury. City had been able to get passed their previous two opponents without Haaland, and they thought they'd done it with Alvarez's 16th-minute goal. But a clever counterattack by Fulham led to a red card to Cancelo and the equalizer from the penalty spot.
Pep's side continued the pressure on Fulham despite being one man down, maintaining 71% ball possession. However, their efforts were not fruitful. Haaland was called in to do his magic. He thought he had done it with a brilliant header, only to be ruled out for offside by VAR. A foul on De Bruyne in Fulham's penalty area gave Haaland a second chance which he converted to City's winning goal and put them above Arsenal before Sunday's London derby.
Nottingham Forest vs. Brentford, Bees Scoring for Both Sides:
I said I was not optimistic about either of these two teams in the preview blog post. Knowing their weakness, Forest left Lingard out of this game. The changes to the squad seemed to be working as Forest broke the deadlock in the twentieth minute. But they saw the win slip in the 75th minute as they fell behind by two goals to one. The Bees' on-paper winning chance looked
to favor them, but they gave it away with an own-goal in the dying moments. The game predictably ended in a draw.
Wolves vs. Brighton, Brighton Still Good:
Wolves are under tremendous pressure. Their form has been bad, and they're sitting in the relegation zone. To make matters worse, they don't have a permanent manager yet. They fell behind in the tenth minute but scored the equalizer just two minutes later. Things looked to be working for them as they scored the second goal in the 35th minute. But the game was equalized nine minutes later. A draw seemed to be the final result, but the ten-man Wolves' resistance broke in the 83rd minute by Brighton's continued pressure.
Everton vs. Leicester, Roger is Back:
Leicester's streak of defeats and poor performance in the first seven matches of the season raised questions about Rogers' future in the club. However, they have looked like the Leicester we used to know in the previous seven games. Playing in Goodison Park is not easy, and the most optimistic Leicester fans thought a draw would be a good result. The Foxes didn't bend under pressure and played on equal terms to the home side.
Both sides played smoothly. Passes were smooth, and chances were created on both nets. The deadlock broke by Tielemans' fabulous volley from outside the danger zone, passing Pickford to Everton's net. Everton made a few changes in the second half and mounted pressure on Leicester's goal. Ward made a few saves. But as Everton tried to get back in the game, Barnes turned a late counterattack into the Foxes' second goal to seal the three points for the visitors.
Chelsea vs. Arsenal, Chelsea "Gunned" Down:
The London derby didn't have the fire that one would expect. It certainly wasn't as heated as Chelsea's encounter with United a couple of weeks ago. Arsenal started the game on the front foot and were dominant. However, fatigue and caution were evident in the squad. The Gunners wanted to move back to the top of the league, and this was a challenging test for them.
Chelsea were expected to make up for their defeat against Brighton last week, but nothing showed they were up for the task. Aubamayang was nowhere to be found against his old club. Mendy made a couple of saves for them, but he wasn't enough to keep fired-up Arsenal at bay as the game ended with a 1-0 victory for the visitors.
Aston Villa vs. Manchester United, Emery Hype for Villa:
Aston Villa's performance in the first game for Emery as their manager was a reminder of United's hyped intensity as Solskjaer took over Mourinho for the Red Devils. After a few minutes of United pressure, Villa took charge and scored two goals in the first twelve minutes. Man United weren't able to break Villa's defensive line throughout the entire game. Their only goal came off a massive deflection.
Gaining a two-goal advantage in the early minutes of the second half, Villa parked the bus. They played an ugly game just to keep the score. That's such a shame. Still, United players had to play better to punish the parked bus. However, in the absence of Varane and Fernandes, the Red Devils suffered a lot in the midfield and back line.
Rashford did little to contribute to Man United's game. Some call him a talent, but he is basic, with occasional sparking moments once in a blue moon. Villa defenders could predict his moves and block him with ease.
Southampton vs. Newcastle, Top Six Plus One:
The narrative of EPL is changing. For long, everyone talked about the top six. Newcastle were not considered a top team in the league. Their results earlier in the season suggested so, too. But they have changed. They play with intensity and have remained undefeated for nine games. Almiron has scored for them in seven consecutive matches. The under-the-radar magician is helping the Magpies become a big EPL team as they beat the hosts with four goals to one.
West Ham vs. Crystal Palace, Hammers Hammered Again:
It doesn't matter who you are. Viera can find ways to cause trouble. West Ham experienced that today. Moyes' Hammers have seemingly regained their identity. Their recent results have been marginally acceptable despite defeats to United and Liverpool. They went ahead twenty minutes into the first half while Palace practiced parking the bus.
The Hammers' resistance didn't last until the end of the first half. A mistake by West Ham defenders gave Zaha a chance to equalize the game, which he benefitted. Viera's Palace dominated the rest of the game, producing 15 shots. A late goal for the visitors broke Hammers' fans' hearts.
Tottenham vs. Liverpool, The Reds' Redemption:
Tottenham came to this game knowing they needed a win to move above Newcastle. Liverpool's incentive was to redeem themselves from the two shocking defeats. Tottenham were hit by a flurry of injuries and missed some key players. That was good news for Liverpool, but Alexander-Arnold was sometimes shaky in the right back. It was, though, the Egyptian magician that put two goals in the Spurs' net before halftime to give the hosts something to think about.
Understanding the urgency of the situation, Spurs began the second half with intensity. They created several opportunities on Liverpool's net, and Kane put one in the net in the 70th minute. The game was on from then on. Spurs kept on the pressure, and Liverpool threatened their goal with counterattacks. Tottenham's continuous pressure toward the end did not lead to an equalizer as Liverpool earned their first away victory this season.