Biggest EPL Winners and Losers for Matchday 11 (2020)
For the first time since March, fans were allowed back into Premier League stadiums on Matchday 11. Supporters were able to witness Spurs claim the North London bragging rights against Arsenal, while Liverpool thrashed Wolves 4-0.
Manchester United came from behind to beat West Ham on Saturday before Crystal Palace, and Leicester secured important wins on Sunday. On Monday, Southampton sealed a comeback victory over Brighton.
Sheffield United is still searching for their first win of the season, while fellow strugglers West Brom and Fulham also lost at the weekend.
Here are the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 11.
Winner: The Fans
It has always been said that soccer is nothing without the fans, and that has never been more apparent than in 2020.
Since March, Premier League matches have been played behind closed doors due to the pandemic. But with the improving health situation in England, supporters were finally allowed back into certain stadiums across the country last weekend.
The London Stadium was the first venue to welcome fans back through its gates, with 2,000 spectators watching West Ham’s 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.
Of course, capacities have been limited drastically to conform to government guidelines. Under normal circumstances, there would be 60,000 supporters crammed into the London Stadium. But a couple of thousand is better than nothing at all, right?
Personally, I haven’t enjoyed watching soccer on TV without fans. I mean, certain broadcasters have even resorted to playing fake crowd noise.
But following almost nine months of games behind closed doors, the fans are back!
Loser: Matheus Pereira
The Baggies need all the help they can get right now. It already looks like West Brom is going to be battling for EPL survival this season, yet Matheus Pereira didn’t seem to care about that on Sunday.
West Brom went behind early on against Crystal Palace, but Conor Gallagher equalized on 30 minutes. Slaven Bilic’s men were back in the game, but not for long.
Moments after Gallagher’s leveler, Pereira got in a tangle with Eagles defender Patrick van Anholt. As he fell to the ground, he kicked out at the Dutchman, leaving VAR with little choice but to advise the on-field referee to show Pereira a straight red card.
RED CARD ?— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 6, 2020
Matheus Pereira is shown a straight red for kicking out after a lengthy VAR check
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The Baggies were giving Palace a run for their money, but after Pereira was sent off, the relegation strugglers were unable to compete.
West Brom managed to make it to half-time unscathed, although the floodgates opened after the break. Four second-half goals saw Palace win the game 5-1, with Pereira largely to blame for his side’s collapse.
Winner: Christian Benteke
One man who benefitted from Pereira’s sending off was Christian Benteke. It is no secret that the striker has struggled for goals over the past few seasons, yet he managed to score twice on Sunday.
During the 2017/18 campaign, Benteke only scored three goals in 31 Premier League appearances for Palace. He then managed just a single goal in 16 top-flight games in 2018/19 before netting twice in 24 EPL matches the last term.
Seven games into the current campaign and he has already equaled his tally from last season.
We all know that Benteke can be lethal on his day. His physicality, powerful finishing, and intelligent link-up play make him a handful for any defender. But it is clear that he has lacked confidence in recent times.
Strikers often only need a goal or two to kick-start a scoring streak. Let’s hope that Benteke can start to rediscover his best form in the coming weeks.
Loser: Sheffield United
Week after week, I find myself criticizing Sheffield United. But until the Blades actually win a Premier League game this season, they will continue to feature in the “loser” section of this post.
It looked as though Chris Wilder’s side was on course to claim just their second EPL point of 2020/21 on Sunday. Ayoze Perez gave Leicester the lead on 24 minutes at Bramall Lane, yet Oli McBurnie leveled the score moments later.
The Blades faced an onslaught of Leicester attacks in the second half, with the Foxes unable to find a way through. But with seconds remaining, Jamie Vardy found himself one-on-one with Aaron Ramsdale, and the Foxes striker slid the ball past the Sheff Utd goalkeeper to snatch all three points for his team.
Many of Wilder’s men fell to their knees, while the manager had his head in his hands on the touchline. The Blades are now five points adrift at the bottom of the table, having taken just one point from a possible 33 this term.
Winner: Olivier Giroud
It’s fair to say that Olivier Giroud has fallen down the pecking order at Chelsea. With the arrival of Timo Werner and the development of Tammy Abraham, the veteran Frenchman has found game time hard to come by this season.
But after netting four goals against Sevilla in the Champions League last week, there was no way that Frank Lampard was leaving Giroud out of his starting XI against Leeds on Saturday.
The 34-year-old had not started a Premier League game before Matchday 11, making five substitute appearances this term. However, he repaid his manager’s faith by scoring in the Blues’ 3-1 victory over Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Many believe that Giroud must leave Chelsea in order to resurrect his career. With next summer’s European Championship on the horizon, he needs to be playing regular soccer in order to make it into France’s squad.
Yet if he continues to perform at his current level, Lampard will have no choice but to select Giroud in his EPL team.
Despite enjoying 70% possession at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, Arsenal was unable to prevent a 2-0 defeat in the North London Derby.
Jose Mourinho’s side got the job done in the first half. Son Heung-min scored a spectacular long-range effort before Harry Kane smashed one in off the crossbar. Spurs then sat back in the second half, but the Gunners failed to break down their resolute backline.
It was one-way traffic after the break, with Mikel Arteta’s men attempting to mount a comeback. The Gunners finished the match with 11 shots, yet they only managed to notch two on target.
Arsenal is now all the way down in 15th place, and to make matters worse, their bitter rivals are at the top of the table.
Arteta’s side has won just four of their 11 EPL matches this season, with six defeats coming along the way. Only three teams have scored fewer goals than Arsenal in 2020/21, and each of those teams currently finds themselves in the relegation zone.
Winner: Danny Ings
When Danny Ings went off injured against Aston Villa almost six weeks ago, Southampton’s season was in danger of falling apart. Saints had made a flying start to the campaign, but they were destined to struggle without their star striker.
However, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side only lost one game in Ings’ absence. Che Adams and James Ward-Prowse replaced the forward’s goals, meaning the team didn’t suffer too much.
Ings was named among the substitutes for Southampton’s trip to Brighton on Monday, and with the score locked at 1-1 at half-time, Hasenhuttl decided it was the right time to reintroduce his leading scorer.
Of course, when Southampton was awarded a penalty with ten minutes remaining, there was only one man in contention to take it. Ings stepped up and converted the spot-kick, securing his side’s sixth league win of the season in the process.
Saints remain just four points behind frontrunners Spurs and Liverpool, while the return of Ings is only going to improve the team.
Over the past couple of seasons, Wolves have gained a reputation for performing well against the division’s top teams. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side has found ways of taming many of the best teams in the country, yet all their hard work was undone by Liverpool on Sunday.
The ever-reliable Conor Coady gifted Mohamed Salah the opening goal at Anfield, mis-controlling the ball into the Egyptian’s path. The Wolves captain was then punished for a dive in the Reds’ penalty area.
Georginio Wijnaldum and Joel Matip netted after the break to put the game out of the Wanderers’ reach before Nelson Semedo scored an owl goal to pile further embarrassment on his side.
Despite racking up nine attempts on Liverpool’s goal, the Wolves eventually lost 4-0. Sure, there is no shame in losing to the defending EPL champions. But Nuno will not have been pleased with the manner of the defeat.
A run of one win in four games has seen Wolves slip to 10th. Needless to say, they will need to buck up their ideas if they want to challenge for a European place again.
The EPL title race is beginning to take shape, with Tottenham and Liverpool leading the way. However, with Chelsea and Leicester hot on the frontrunners’ heels, the battle for the famous trophy looks set to go down to the wire this season.
Kane, Son, Vardy, Salah, and Calvert-Lewin all scored on Matchday 11, keeping the race for the EPL Golden Boot fiercely competitive.
Make sure you join me next week to look at the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 12. In the meantime, why not check out our latest soccer betting picks?