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Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 6, 2020
A Patrick Bamford hat-trick kicked off Matchday 6 of the 2020/21 EPL season as Leeds ended Aston Villa’s unbeaten start. Everton’s undefeated streak was also brought to end at the weekend, with Southampton claiming an impressive victory.
Manchester United and Chelsea produced a dull goalless draw, Manchester City continued to struggle, while Liverpool managed to edge past Sheffield United. There were also wins for Crystal Palace, Leicester, and Tottenham.
Join me as I discuss the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 6.
Winner: Patrick Bamford
Patrick Bamford has always had his doubters.
Before this season, the striker had made 27 Premier League appearances for four different clubs – Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Burnley, and Middlesbrough – scoring a grand total of just one goal.
When Leeds gained promotion from the Championship last term, many believed that Bamford would once again struggle to make the step up. But just six games into the 2020/21 campaign, the 27-year-old has already proved his doubters wrong.
Bamford took his tally to six goals in as many games with an outstanding hat-trick against Aston Villa on Friday night, netting three times in a devastating 19-minute spell.
Leeds’ number 9 reacted quickly to a stray Emiliano Martinez save to open the scoring from close range, before firing his second into the top corner of the net from just outside the penalty area. He completed his treble by curling the ball through a host of helpless Villa defenders.
Marcelo Bielsa has always believed in Bamford, and the striker is certainly repaying his manager’s faith.
Loser: Manchester City
Something just isn’t quite right at Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side has made an uncharacteristically slow start to the season, and a 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Matchday 6 has left the club sitting 13th in the table.
Man City’s defensive frailties were exposed as early as Matchday 3, with Leicester claiming a 5-2 thrashing at the Etihad Stadium. But for all their attacking firepower, it seems as though the team is struggling most at the other end of the pitch.
On Saturday, Guardiola’s men went behind to a Michail Antonio strike on 18 minutes. The Hammers went on to dominate the first half, while City failed to find a way through.
Phil Foden replaced the injured Sergio Aguero at half-time, and the 20-year-old wasted no time in bagging an equalizer for his side. But even with Raheem Sterling, Riyah Mahrez, and Kevin De Bruyne on the pitch, Man City looked out of sorts.
The Cityzens are already five points behind Liverpool. If they continue to drop points, they could find themselves out of the title race before the turn of the year.
Winner: Wilfried Zaha
Wilfried Zaha only managed to score five goals in 38 EPL appearances last term. But just six games into the 2020/21 campaign, Crystal Palace’s talisman has already surpassed last year’s tally.
The tricky forward netted his fifth goal of the season in a 2-1 victory over Fulham. It definitely wasn’t the most glamorous goal he has ever scored, but after struggling to hit the target last term, I don’t think Zaha will care too much.
5 – Wilfried Zaha has scored five goals in his last six Premier League games, as many as in his previous 41 combined. Upturn. #FULCRY— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 24, 2020
Roy Hodgson appears to have altered Zaha’s position in the team slightly this season. Instead of using him solely as a winger, the Eagles boss has given him more of a central role, and Zaha is clearly benefitting from the change.
The Ivorian’s most productive top-flight campaign saw him notch up ten goals and ten assists back in 2018/19. It’s safe to say that Zaha looks set to eclipse that record this season.
Unfortunately, Fulham was on the receiving end of Zaha’s brilliance on Matchday 6. Tom Cairney bagged a late consolation goal for Scott Parker’s side in stoppage time, but he was unable to prevent a fifth defeat in six games for his team.
The Cottagers are one of four EPL teams yet to win this term, although they find themselves bottom of the pile due to their inferior goal difference. Not only do Parker’s men have the joint-worst defensive record, they are also the second-lowest scorers in the division.
Following promotion from the second tier last term, it was always going to be difficult for Fulham to challenge in the Premier League. But having featured in the top flight as recently as 2018/19, there was a sense that Parker’s men would at least be able to compete this time around.
However, it looks like Fulham will again be involved the relegation battle.
On the one-year anniversary of their infamous 9-0 crushing at the hands of Leicester, Saints proved just how far they have come under Ralp Hasenhuttl by ending Everton’s unbeaten start on Sunday.
First-half goals from James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams were enough to hand Southampton the victory, but it was the team’s all-round performance that caught the eye.
Hasenhuttl’s men dominated the Toffees from start to finish. The defense looked well organized, the midfield was full of energy, and the forward line could have score more.
Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, Danny Ings was arguably the star of the show. The England striker had netted four times across the opening five games, but he turned provider on Matchday 6, assisting both of Saints’ goals.
Granted, Everton offered very little resistance. But Southampton still had to get the job done. The south coast side extended their unbeaten streak to four games and now sits just three points shy of top spot.
Loser: Donny van de Beek
Manchester United forked out £39 million on Donny van de Beek during the summer transfer window. But why?
The Dutchman is yet to start a Premier League game for the Red Devils and has only played 59 minutes of top-flight soccer since arriving from Ajax. On Saturday, he was an unused substitute as Man Utd and Chelsea produced a dull goalless draw.
Don’t get me wrong, I think van de Beek is an excellent player. The 23-year-old racked up 41 goals and 34 assists in 175 appearances for Ajax, so there is no denying that he is supremely talented. But for whatever reason, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t seem to favor him.
What's worse than heartbreak? Donny van de Beek leaving his boyhood club to watch Scott McTominay and Fred slide around in the rain for 90 minutes pic.twitter.com/1TQRQ5Iu1s— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) October 24, 2020
In my eyes, van de Beek was bought in panic. The club failed in their very public pursuit of Jadon Sancho, and the hierarchy felt the need to make a big-money signing to prove their strength in the transfer market.
But with star man Bruno Fernandes already occupying van de Beek’s preferred position, the Dutchman has been given very few opportunities to show what he is capable of.
Of course, it is still early days. But as long as Solskjaer is Man Utd manager, I can’t see van de Beek making an impact at Old Trafford.
Winner: Jamie Vardy
Following a brace against West Brom on Matchday 1 and a hat-trick against Man City on Matchday 3, Jamie Vardy returned from injury to score the winning goal against Arsenal on Matchday 6.
Having missed two games with a calf problem, the 33-year-old started on the bench on Sunday. But with the game heading for a goalless draw, Brendan Rodgers introduced Vardy on 60 minutes.
As you’d expect, the dogged striker made an instant impact. All of a sudden, Leicester looked like a different team, with Vardy’s relentless work rate instantly rubbing off on his team-mates.
And when Cengiz Under picked out Vardy with a pin-point cross on 80 minutes, he was never going to miss, was he?
Vardy seems to be getting better with age. The veteran striker already has six goals in five EPL appearances this season, so you’d be foolish to write him off when it comes to retaining the Golden Boot.
Loser: Sheffield United
Admittedly, nobody expected Sheffield United to beat Liverpool on Matchday 6. But following their 2-1 defeat at Anfield, the Blades are in a precarious position.
Only Fulham sits below Chris Wilder’s side in the EPL standings, and that is hardly surprising when you consider that Sheff Utd has lost five and drawn one of their six league games this term.
After gaining promotion from the Championship in 2018/19, the Blades exceeded all expectations last term. But having massively overachieved in the previous campaign, it feels like Sheff Utd is now suffering from a serious case of second-season syndrome.
I’m confident that Wilder’s men will turn things around, but as far as Matchday 6 is concerned, they undoubtedly deserve their loser tag.
Both Burnley and West Brom are still yet to taste victory this season, although the Baggies managed to pick up their third point of the campaign following a draw with Brighton. The Seagulls winless run now stands at four games.
Newcastle also deserves a mention after battling back to earn a draw against Wolves. The Magpies went behind to a Raul Jimenez strike on 80 minutes, before Jacob Murphy scored a late free-kick to snatch a point for Steve Bruce’s side.
I’ll be back next week to look at the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 7. In the meantime, head over to our soccer picks section for free Premier League predictions and betting tips.