Another lively weekend of Premier League football has come and gone as we enter March and stride towards the final third of the season.
There was huge movement at the bottom of the league as the basement clubs start to scrap for some truly massive points in their bid for survival. Here’s a look at five things we learned from the best of the action.
Ismaila Sarr punishes abject Liverpool as Watford end the Reds historic winning run
It has taken 422 days and 44 games to pass but Liverpool have finally lost a Premier League match as they fell dismally short of their recent high standards with a 3-0 defeat to an excellent Watford performance at Vicarage Road.
The star of the show was undoubtedly the Hornet’s record signing Ismaila Sarr whose well taken brace put the hosts in the control before he teed up Troy Deeney for a goal which put the gloss on a superb individual performance.
The young Senegalese winger has blown hot and cold thus far in his maiden campaign in England, but if he can continue on this form, Watford may have an ace up their sleeve in what looks set to be an epic relegation dog fight.
West Ham’s forward line clicks into gear at a crucial moment as Southampton are swept aside
West Ham supporters have endured a torrid campaign so far. Without a win in the league since New Year’s Day they faced a crucial fixture against Southampton on Saturday with David Moyes desperately needing a morale boosting win. His players responded and gave their fans a rare good day at the office.
Their 3-1 victory showcased just how potent an attacking side the Hammers can be if they can concoct the right system. Encouragingly for West Ham, all three of their forward players impressed as did Pablo Fornals who pulled the strings neatly with two tidy assists. Jarrod Bowen looked particularly sharp, with the former Hull City attacker scoring on his first start for the club as well as attempting four shots on goal in a lively display.
✅ Goal-saving tackle
— West Ham United (@WestHam) February 29, 2020
With Michel Antonio and Sebastian Haller also linking up well, there is clearly plenty of firepower in this West Ham forward line and it looks as though they are springing into life with impeccable timing for the Hammer’s survival bid.
Marcos Alonso rescues a point for Chelsea at relegation threatened Bournemouth
Frank Lampard’s Chelsea continued to flounder in the quest for Champions League qualification as they spilled yet more crucial points during a difficult day out on the south coast at Bournemouth.
Marcos Alonso’s opportunistic brace spared their blushes against the Cherries who had twice led despite being bombarded with 23 shots faced on their own goal. The Spanish wing-back took his chances with real poise and composure given the circumstances and has now netted 20 Premier League goals for the club.
To have such an asset at his disposal is yet more proof of the quality that Frank Lampard posses in this current squad and yet a consistent run of form continues to allude Chelsea who are now without a victory in four Premier League away days.
Jota and Jimenez fire Wolves back into Champions League contention
Wolves have been dark horses for a top six finish all season and their credentials were given a timely boost at Spurs after they fought back to win 2-3 in north London and move level on points with Manchester United.
It was their dynamic, in form duo upfront who inspired this big result for Nuno Espirito Santo’s men at Spurs. Diogo Jota remains in lethal form with six goals scored in ten days, after he converted a close range effort to level the scores at 2-2.
The Portugal international was then pivotal in providing a lovely threaded through ball into top scorer Raul Jimenez who duly converted with his 13th league goal of the season after applying an excellent lofted finish over the keeper.
Since joining Wolves at the beginning of last season, Raul Jimenez has:
– Scored 39 goals.
– Assisted a further 18.
– Helped them reach the last 16 of the Europa League.
– Become Wolves’ all-time top goalscorer in the Premier League.
A Molineux legend after just two seasons. pic.twitter.com/BvlrmO6KwV
— bet365 (@bet365) March 1, 2020
With such attacking confidence flowing through this Wolves side you wouldn’t bet against them making things difficult for Manchester United and Chelsea.
Goalkeeping errors dominate the headlines as Manchester United drop points on Merseyside
It took just three minutes of action at Goodison Park on Sunday for David de Gea to gift Everton a priceless opening goal with a real shocker of a mistake. The Spaniard’s inexplicable decision to dwell on the simple back pass when he had so much time to clear, allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin in to deflect the ball into the back of the net from his haphazard clearance.
🗣 Roy Keane on Jordan Pickford: ” I don’t need to see the stats, I know he’s not a good goalkeeper.”
🗣 Roy Keane on David De Gea: “I would have lynched him after that.” pic.twitter.com/AokXMPdSCz
— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) March 1, 2020
It was the Spaniard’s seventh direct error leading to a goal since the start of 2018/19 and leaves yet more question marks about whether he is still the right number one for United’s lofty ambitions. At the other end, Jordan Pickford was at fault when he was badly beaten at his near post by a well struck but completely savable shot from Bruno Fernandes.
For two clubs with expectations of breaking the top four, they will be coming out of this latest round of fixtures with more questions than answers about their respective men between the sticks.