The Good, Bad and Ugly: Premier League matchday 8 recap

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The eighth week of Premier League fixtures was filled with vigorous efforts across all 20 teams, right before the international break. As usual, there were some pretty good games, some were bad for certain teams and others were just plain ugly. 

The Good: Leicester City 1-0 Wolves (Sunday) 

Leicester’s Youri Tielemans, left, and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Daniel Podence challenge for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at King Power Stadium in Leicester, England, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Photo by Tim Keeton/Pool via AP Photo.

As it currently stands, the Foxes are at the top of the league once more after securing three points at the King Power Stadium. 

Leicester were awarded a rather controversial penalty in the 14th minute, at least in my opinion. A couple minutes prior, Leicester were on the attack in Wolves’ final third. After receiving the ball from James Justin, Dennis Praet tried to whip the ball into the penalty area, but the play was intercepted by Max Kilman’s arm. To me, and using the league’s rules about handballs, Kilman didn’t make himself “unnaturally bigger” nor did he purposefully put his arm in the direction that the ball was going. The distance between Praet and Kilman was too close for Kilman to react in time. Regardless, the referee gave Leicester the penalty upon reviewing it, where Jamie Vardy would be the one to take it and score. 

About 20 minutes later, Leicester were given another penalty, this time because of a poor tackle by Rayan Aït Nouri on Justin in the penalty box. Vardy took the kick, but unlike last time, Rui Patricio managed to block the shot. 

In the 77th minute, Wolves were close to levelling the game. After an initial play that resulted in Leicester interfering, the ball went out toward Adama Traoré who made a one-touch pass to Nélson Semedo. Giving the ball one more pass, he gave the ball to Rúben Neves who made a powerful shot from outside the penalty box. While it was a great shot on target, Kasper Schmeichel managed to react at the last second and saved the ball from going in. 

The Bad: Leeds United 1-4 Crystal Palace (Saturday) 

Leeds United’s Patrick Bamford reacts after Crystal Palace scored their fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Leeds United at the Selhurst Park stadium in London, England, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. Photo by Naomi Baker/Pool via AP Photo.

Another disappointing result for the Whites. Same result as last week’s game against Leicester, but this time on the road against the Eagles at Selhurst Park. 

Palace’s first goal came in the 12th minute from a corner kick by Eberechi Eze. From the set piece, the ball went right towards Scott Dann who headed the ball in, marking his first goal in three years.  

Leeds were pretty quick to equalize, or so they thought. Four minutes later, in the buildup to their play, Mateusz Klich passed the ball to Patrick Bamford who had empty space between him and Palace’s center-backs. Despite a celebration from Leeds’ top goalscorer, the goal was reviewed through VAR, and said Bamford was offside because of his arm. In the 22th minute, the Eagles would score from another set piece, but this time from a free-kick by Eze who shot a bar-down goal. 

Leeds weren’t going to let the hosts keep a clean sheet, as in the 27th minute the game was back on. After a long pass up the field, Klich headed the ball toward Bamford. Being onside this time, Bamford chested the ball for control, and shot it towards the far post. 

Before the first half ended, Leeds would score an own goal by Helder Costa. Wilfred Zaha made a long pass for Patrick van Aanholt to run toward. Aanholt went for the cross, and while Costa tried to block the cross-in, the deflected ball went into the goal. 

The Eagles’ final goal of the match came in the 70th minute by Jordan Ayew. Zaha dribbled the ball from the left side of the field to cut inward. Seeing Ayew completely wide open, he crossed the ball over and put the finishing touch to move Palace up to eighth. 

The Ugly: Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa (Sunday) 

Arsenal’s goalkeeper Bernd Leno, left, makes a save in front of Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, third left, and Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi, second left, during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates stadium in London, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Photo by Alastair Grant/Pool via AP Photo.

From being on a three-game win streak to conceding three goals at the Emirates, Mikel Arteta’s men moved down to 11th. 

Villa’s first goal came in the 25th minute in the form of an own goal. The Lions pressed Arsenal’s defense, and after some time Ross Barkley went for a fake shot and ended up passing the ball to Matt Targett. Targett quickly crossed the ball toward the far post and Bukayo Saka accidentally tapped the ball into his own net while trying to clear it. 

The Lions’ other two goals didn’t occur until the 72nd and 75th minutes, both scored by Ollie Watkins. In the buildup to their second goal, Douglas Luiz made a long cross toward Barkley who volleyed the ball into the penalty area. A fast cross, but Watkins was able to head the ball in. Aston Villa’s final goal wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for Jack Grealish. Grealish made a powerful run from his own half into the Gunners’ final third. Seeing a golden opportunity, he passed to Watkins who put the ball between Bernd Leno’s legs and into the net. 

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