This weekend saw mixed fortunes for our London clubs, with another tumultuous Premier League season reaching matchday ten, as The Voice of London reports…
Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
The first match of the weekend saw disappointment for the highest placed London side, with Spurs going down to a third consecutive 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford.
The match seemed to hinge on a crucial miss from Dele Alli in the 77th minute that would have put The Lilywhites 1-0 up. As it happened, just four minutes later Anthony Martial pounced on a Romelu Lukaku flick on to send Tottenham home with nothing.
Mauricio Pochettino was understandably disappointed after the game, telling the BBC: “It was an even game. It was a shame to lose. The chances were for one and then the other. It was a tough game and I think we deserved more. I feel proud of the effort and it was unlucky that in the last 10 minutes we conceded our goal. It was our mistake.”
Pochettino must now pick up his players for the small matter of facing Real Madrid on Wednesday night, and will be hoping to have Harry Kane back in the fold, but one player that certainly won’t be featuring is Victor Wanyama, with rumours circulating after the match at Old Trafford that the Kenya captain could be missing for the remainder of the campaign.
Arsenal 2-1 Swansea City
Arsène Wenger will be pleased to have picked up all three points as struggling Swansea made the Gunners really work for it on Saturday afternoon.
The Swans had been good value for their half time lead, with Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham providing a lovely assist for Sam Clucas and it could have been worse had Jordan Ayew fully capitalised on Per Mertesacker’s mistake just before the break, instead chipping at Petr Cech.
Arsenal however came roaring back in the second half, with two quick-fire goals early on, through Sead Kolašinac and Aaron Ramsey proving enough to pick up the points for Arsenal. Paul Clement however, may be slightly disappointed with his goalkeeper’s part in both goals.
Ultimately it was another important fightback for the Gunners, as Wenger told Sky Sports: “I’m very happy with the three points. I think overall we had a good domination, maybe in the first half our pace was not quick and sharp enough, but in the second we upped the tempo and created many chances. Again we showed mental strength to come back from 1-0 down to win 2-1. Overall it was vital for us to win the game today.”
Next up Arsenal host Red Star Belgrade, before a mouthwatering trip to Manchester City on Sunday.
Crystal Palace 2-2 West Ham United
Palace left it late to salvage a deserved point out of this London derby.
The Hammers had gone in at the break with a commanding 2-0 lead, but lacked the maturity to get over the line and seal what would have been a huge three points in the battle to survive.
A Speroni mistake had allowed West Ham to take the lead through Javier Hernandez in what, to that point had been a fairly uneventful first half. They doubled their lead just before half time with a thunderous strike from Andre Ayew and were looking good to go on and see out their win.
But Palace had other ideas and were gifted the perfect start to the second half when midweek hero Angelo Ogbonna needlessly hacked Andros Townsend to the floor. The reliable Luka Milivojević cooly slotted home and it was game on.
It had looked like a series of Joe Hart heroics were going to preserve West Ham’s slender lead until right at the death. With just seconds left on the clock, Michail Antonio gifted Palace one last attack by chucking in a lazy, poorly thought cross rather than keeping the ball in the corner, and Wilfried Zaha made them pay.
Understandably, the under pressure Slaven Bilic was despondent after the game, telling the BBC: “I am very disappointed with the penalty, but the way we conceded the leveller was very disappointing, we needed to keep the ball and we made the wrong decision, with Michail Antonio choosing to cross the ball rather than keep it. We have to manage the game on the pitch. The game was finished.”
The result sees both sides still struggling, but Palace will be hoping to take some momentum from their late exploits as they travel to Wembley next week to face Tottenham. Meanwhile Bilić has a difficult task rejuvenating his troops for the visit of Liverpool to the London Stadium, a fixture the Hammers lost 4-0 back in May.
Watford 0-1 Stoke City
It was to be an afternoon of disappointment for overachievers Watford, as they were brought down to Earth with a bump, as struggling Stoke took all three points at Vicarage Road.
Despite having 70% of the ball, Watford looked a little laboured compared to usual, and failed to register a single shot on target, with Darren Fletcher’s well worked volley proving enough to send the points back up north.
Richarlison had his chances but it was Stoke who had the better opportunities to score, with substitutes Saido Berahino and Charlie Adam wasting glorious chances to double their lead.
The match threatened to be overshadowed by an incident involving Hornets captain Troy Deeney, as he appeared to grab Joe Allen by the face as the Welshman took issue with Watford not giving the ball back following an injury. Deeney could well find himself in trouble with the FA.
Watford boss Marco Silva told the BBC: “In the first half we gave 45 minutes to our opponents. We were too slow and not in our normal image.”
The Hornets will be hoping bounce back next week as they travel to a beleaguered Everton at the weekend.
AFC Bournemouth 0-1 Chelsea
After a week that had seen manager Antonio Conte angrily dispute comments suggesting his players were unhappy with him, it was a quiet, professional display that saw his side pick up an important victory against the lowly Cherries.
With Álvaro Morata having uncharacteristically wasted chances, it was Eden Hazard who slotted past the disappointing Begović to give Chelsea a deserved win on the South Coast.
After his outburst on Friday, Conte was back to his usual calm press conference persona after the game, telling the BBC: “I think we deserved to win because we played good football. When you have a lot of chances to score, I think you must do it.
“To keep the result to only 1-0 can be dangerous. I think today that if I have to find a negative aspect, we could be more clinical.”
Next up for the Blues is a tricky trip to Rome, as they look to progress to round of 16 in the Champions League on Tuesday night.
Words: Étienne Fermie | Subbing: Reuben Pinder