Premier League weekend awards: there’s no slowing Anthony Gordon

Premier League weekend awards: there’s no slowing Anthony Gordon

Letdown of the week

What do you get while you pair two of one of the best groups within the Premier League, each of whom normally play melodic, pass-and-move soccer? A 0-0 dud. Manchester Metropolis v Arsenal was not the Easter barnburner that was promised. As a substitute, we had been handled to a scrappy recreation missing actual high quality. When the impartial regulator lastly descends on English soccer, the primary level of order needs to be barring managers at large golf equipment from beginning 4 center-backs.

Arsenal might be pleased with some extent, although the sport was there for the taking. Metropolis had been ponderous with the ball and gave it away in their very own half a handful of occasions within the first-half. This was a recreation tailored for a remodelled Arsenal facet. They’ve blitzed opponents over the past three months, lapping the sector with a plus-28 objective distinction for the reason that begin of January. However whereas final season’s success was constructed on tippy-tappy creativity, this season Arsenal have been counterattacking and set-piece monsters. They haven’t been as ruthless in possession as a yr in the past, however the shift in strategy has given them a stronger base towards the league’s finest. One clearcut opening, one well-worked set-piece, and Arsenal might have grabbed three factors on Sunday.

For Mikel Arteta, some extent, nonetheless irritating, will do. However Pep Guardiola might be disenchanted. Metropolis had loads of the ball however lacked their typical cadence between the strains. Guardiola preaches endurance, but Metropolis’s buildup play bordered on the yawn-inducing towards an Arsenal crew unwilling to give up openings. Essentially the most damning statistic: Erling Haaland completed with fewer passes and touches than Nathan Aké, who left the sector with an damage within the twenty seventh minute.

Purpose of the week

Within the context of the draw on the Etihad on Sunday, no objective was greater this weekend than Mohamed Salah’s winner for Liverpool of their 2-1 win over Brighton.

This was Salah at his finest, sliding into a gap within the field, the ball sticking like Velcro to his boot after which ending first time on the swivel. “Horny soccer to me this,” stated curmudgeon-in-chief Roy Keane on Sky Sports activities. “Love watching that.”

Salah’s strike places Liverpool two factors clear on the prime of the desk with a good matchup towards lowly Sheffield United on deck. Benefit Liverpool within the title race, for now.

Refereeing incident of the week

Let’s head to St James’ Park for essentially the most contentious determination of the week: A foul from Kalvin Phillips on Anthony Gordon that led to a penalty in a thrilling 4-3 win for Newcastle towards West Ham.

I imply, come on now. What are we doing right here? Phillips tries to clear the ball. As he pulls his leg again, Gordon skulks by way of the backdoor. Phillips, blind to Gordon’s positioning, together with his eye on the ball, swings his leg. Gordon makes contact with Phillips earlier than the West Ham midfielder can clear the ball. Phillips swipes and the Newcastle ahead tumbles down. Realistically, there’s nothing Phillips can do. His solely choice: let Gordon minimize by way of him and pinch the ball.

Concern not, West Ham. The PGMOL might be on the cellphone with the customary apology on Monday.

Participant of the week

A dodgy penalty name – or two, for those who’re of the West Ham persuasion – mustn’t detract from Anthony Gordon’s influence for Newcastle.

Some younger gamers develop in increments. On the age of 23, Gordon has turn out to be the whole package deal in 12 months. In opposition to West Ham, he was a one-man fast-break, turbo-charging Newcastle’s assault each time they crossed the midway line. He completed the day with six photographs, an help, three probabilities created and gained two penalties; he was additionally despatched off for a second yellow within the closing levels.

There is no such thing as a slowing Gordon. He’s explosive when he cuts inside, and has developed as a playmaker. But it surely’s his first-step quickness that offers defenders suits. When Gordon begins revving up alongside the left touchline, defenders again away desperately. There’s no simple solution to play him. Get tight, and Gordon has the toes to skip away and burn into open grass. Maintain off, and it affords Gordon a free runway to drive at prime velocity.

Some gamers are 0-to-60 burners. Others make their hay in cramped corridors. The perfect can mix each, zooming at prime velocity whereas sustaining grace with the ball. Gordon was a velocity racer early in his profession, driving, head down, into closed house. Lately, he’s turn out to be craftier across the field. Velocity nonetheless underpins all the pieces, however he’s now pondering one step forward, manipulating defenders – and generally officers. The outcomes have been gaudy.

Anthony Gordon’s efficiency within the Premier League this season. {Photograph}: StatsBomb

All informed, Gordon ranks within the prime third within the league in anticipated objectives, the standard of probabilities he creates and the variety of occasions he wins the ball again.

Stat of the week

What number of extra occasions can Manchester United produce a rudderless efficiency below Erik Ten Hag? It’s turn out to be classic United to indicate a glimmer of life earlier than thudding again to Earth. If it wasn’t so frequent, it might be baffling.

It was just one worldwide break in the past that United served up a come-from-behind basic towards Liverpool within the FA Cup. However towards Brentford in a 1-1 draw on Saturday, United gave in to their worst instincts: a vanishing midfield, a defensive position that sat too deep, vast gamers who had been too remoted and Rasmus Højlund left alongside upfront to chase the ball by himself.

Ten Hag’s facet took the lead towards the run of play within the 96th minute, however let it slip virtually instantly, conceding a 99th-minute equalizer courtesy of Kristoffer Ajer.

It might – and may – have been worse. “Brentford had been higher than we had been right now,” Ten Hag stated postgame. “They confirmed extra ardour, want, dedication. There are at all times causes. It’s psychological. It’s psychological. I can’t inform. We should always convey extra.”

Throughout 100 minutes, United had been terrible. Brentford gained the anticipated objectives matchup 2.67 to 0.5 – and hit the woodwork 4 occasions. Extra regarding, although, are the figures additional below the hood. Brentford completed with 85 touches in Manchester United’s field, essentially the most by a crew in any Premier League match within the final 5 seasons. And this was a Brentford facet who’ve gained solely three of their final 18 video games and had been lacking their standard beginning again 4.

Dig additional and it’s much more disconcerting. No crew has conceded extra photographs in 2024 than United. If you happen to depend solely Premier League video games, they’ve conceded 81 photographs of their final three video games. Not even Sheffield United have sunk to that degree of ineptitude. It will be one factor if United had been taking part in a free-flowing, kinetic type, producing as many probabilities as they concede. However United have been out-shot in 16 league video games this season, together with towards the league’s relegation fodder.

United are eight factors behind Spurs in fifth with 9 video games to play. Competing in subsequent season’s Champions League seems to be like a distant hope.

Relegation subplot of the week

It’s an oddity of this season that the relegation battle could also be determined within the courtroom reasonably than on the sector. However on the pitch, Burnley picked up a vital level with a 2-2 draw away at Chelsea.

Burnley had been dealt a troublesome hand within the closing minutes of the first-half, with an iffy penalty name decreasing them to 10 males.

Chelsea take the lead towards Burnley with Cole Palmer changing from the spot after Lorenz Assignon introduced down Mykhailo Mudryk.

However is that this a penalty? 🤔

— Males in Blazers (@MenInBlazers) March 30, 2024

It’s onerous to know what Lorenz Assignon is meant to do on this scenario. It’s textbook defending. Mykhailo Mudryk didn’t collect the ball; it was there for the taking. Assignon didn’t depart his toes. He stood his floor. What ought to have a run-of-the-mill defensive duel wound up with Burnley conceding a penalty and shedding a person for the remainder of the sport.

Vincent Kompany was irate with the choice – and was proven a crimson card for his troubles. But Burnley scrapped and fought by way of the second half regardless of Chelsea’s benefit, coming from behind twice to snag a outcome.

With the draw, Burnley are as much as 18 factors, 4 behind Luton in 18th place and Nottingham Forest in seventeenth. They face a decisive week, with video games towards Wolves and Everton. Given the issue of their remaining video games, Kompany’s facet will in all probability must squeeze 4 factors out of these fixtures.

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