Crystal Palace v Aston Villa
Crystal Palace came from behind twice to steal victory over Aston Villa at Selhurst Park in today’s Premier League opening meeting.
Palace never came back from behind at half-time to win a Premier League game under Roy Hodgson, but he did so today despite Villa star man Jack Grealish making a appearance after a long injury on the sidelines.
Villa took the lead after 17 minutes as John McGinn scored his third goal of the season. Palace captain Gary Cahill’s header fell to McGinn on the edge of the box who first hit him with the inside of his left boot and found the bottom corner after coming off the post.
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Hodgson’s team stabilized soon after, as Christian Benteke climbed the highest to come home from close range. Tyrick Mitchell crossed from the left and found Benteke who rose above Ezri Konsa to guide the lead past Emi Martinez and score against his former team.
The visitors took the lead again two minutes after Benteke’s goal and this time Anwar El-Ghazi put them in the lead. The palace defense failed to clear a cross from McGinn as Cheikhou Kouyate’s header went straight up and was not cleared by Cahill. Instead, Ollie Watkins sent the ball back, which found El-Ghazi unmarked at the back post who shot him past the keeper.
Wilfried Zaha equalized Palace 15 minutes from time after a deviation from Ahmed El Mohamady. Eberechi Eze picked Zaha with a deep ball, who then ran to Villa defense from the left, moved the ball to his right foot and aimed for a shot on goal that entered the nearest post thanks to the deviation to make 2- 2.
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Eze nearly got a goal for himself shortly before the end, but the crossbar denied his long-distance curling effort. Martinez positioned himself ready for a cross, but Eze himself attempted the goal and almost caught it and will be thankful that the woodwork is there to save him.
The home side finally took a deserved lead with six minutes to go through Mitchell. Eze was involved again as his rather awkward, bouncy effort fell on Mitchell who cornered him by a yard. There were questions about a Mitchell handball, but reruns showed it came from the shoulder which is a legal part of the body to score with.
The result allowed both teams to stay where they were, with Villa 11th and Palace 13th.
Tottenham vs. Wolves
Tottenham moved London rivals West Ham to sixth after a 2-0 home win over Wolves thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
Japhet Tanganga replaced Serge Aurier at right-back and was the only change Ryan Mason made for the clash against Wolves. The visitors made four changes as Nuno Espirito Santo recalled Nelson Semedo, Romain Saiss, Adama Traoré and Leander Dendoncker with Ruben Neves missing.
Tottenham led the first half but were unable to break through against a resilient Wolves defense led by Conor Coady. They were however rewarded for their efforts a few seconds before the whistle at half-time to take the lead. Kane found himself on goal thanks to a ball passing through Hojbjerg’s defense. Coady attempted to block but Kane’s smart feet took him right next to the Wolves skipper, giving him a side angle of the foot in front of the keeper.
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The home side started the second half like they did the first and they should have doubled their lead as Dele picked the pocket of Joao Moutinho and had Gareth Bale and Kane ahead of him. He chose to slide into Kane whose effort was shifted to the post and the rebound then fell on Dele who hit the other post. Wolves may consider themselves lucky to have been just one behind, with Spurs unable to make the most of their chances.
Tottenham eventually got the second and all the credit goes to Sergio Reguilon who showed great determination to keep the ball and put a cross into a danger zone. He found Bale who pulled an effort towards the nearest post but was again refused by Rui Patricio. However, it wasn’t long before Hojbjerg got the rebound to stab him in the net to score his second goal in Spurs’ career.
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The visitors came back into the game slightly in the final minutes but in the end it wasn’t enough to really upset Spurs who deserved the three points and keep their European football hopes alive.
West Brom v Liverpool
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson scored one final winner to send the Reds into ecstasies after a spectacular 2-1 win over West Brom, to maintain their push for the top four.
Both teams made changes for today’s game as Liverpool were forced into a delay with Diogo Jota now out for the remainder of the season. Sadio Mane returned to the side to replace him despite a slight argument with Jurgen Klopp following his omission of the win over Manchester United. Curtis Jones replaced Gini Wijnaldum as the other change for Liverpool with Hal Robson-Kanu and Grady Diangana for Mbaye Diagne and Callum Robson for West Brom.
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To the surprise of most people, it’s like the baggies that took the lead after 15 minutes by an equally surprising source. Robson-Kanu, who had not started a Premier League game for three and a half years, found himself on the scoresheet after cleverly ending an individual chance created by Matheus Pereira.
However, their lead didn’t last long as Mohamed Salah equalized to get closer to Harry Kane in the Golden Boot race. The goal came from nothing as the goal bounced off the edge of the box, but Mane managed to put a toe on it to get it in the way of Salah who whipped a shot into the far corner.
West Brom believed they had regained the lead, but it was controversial for an offside. Semi Ajayi won the header which fell to Kyle Bartley who finished, but VAR made the decision that Matt Phillips was interfering with Alisson’s line of sight despite not making a movement towards the ball.
Liverpool were hammering their opposing goal and dominating possession, but still couldn’t find that second goal. However, with the very last play of the game, Liverpool took the lead under extraordinary circumstances as their goalkeeper Alisson scored from a corner kick. Not a single West Brom defender scored him and they were punished for it like Alisson guided the header to the far corner as if it was doing it every week.
“I hope he was there to see him with God by his side celebrating” 👏
“I don’t know how to celebrate!” 😂
A fantastic interview with Alisson, who dedicates his sensational last minute goal to his father who died earlier this year 🙌 pic.twitter.com/4w2HsbaO16
– Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 16, 2021
The scenes were memorable with his teammates celebrating with him and the ecstatic staff on the bench and he gave one of the most candid interviews with Sky Sports after the game which I’m sure will resonate with a lot of people.
Everton v Sheffield United
Sheffield United shocks Everton with a narrow 1-0 victory at Goodison Park, thanks to an opening winner from 17-year-old Daniel Jebbison.
Carlo Ancelotti made just one change to his Everton squad for today’s game as James Rodriguez returned after a three-game absence and Gylfi Sigurdsson fell on the bench. Acting Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has made three changes, including the introduction of 17-year-old Jebbison, who made his Premier League debut for the Blades.
The visitors quickly took the lead after just seven minutes and what a dream to start his debut it was for Jebbsion. Jack Robinson played a teasing ball in the face of the goal which fell to Jebbison which left Everton’s defense looking embarrassed by a poacher’s finish from six yards.
The youngster was on loan at National League North side Chorley earlier this season and is the youngest player in Premier League history to score in his first start, so it was an unforgettable moment for the striker.
Everton had most of the possession but were unable to break through a stubborn Sheffield defense despite 16 attempts at goal and 11 corners. The caramels were sorely lacking in quality on set pieces and in the final third, which really hurt them today and seems to have half ended their European hopes for this season.
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On the other hand, Sheffield United took pride in as today’s result against 8th-placed Everton gives them their second away win of the season and the performance was worth it. While they are likely to finish last in the standings, the result could give them a much-needed boost ahead of the offseason and for life in the championship.