Premier League and FA Cup Review: City and United set for Wembley semi-finals while Arsenal concentrate on the title
With the top action in England split between the Premier League and the FA Cup quarter-finals we thought a bumper review was in order. FotMob - 2 months ago
By Sam McGuire, Premier League expert
First, the main talking points from the reduced run of Premier League fixtures.
Managerless Eagles have their wings clipped
Crystal Palace decided to part ways with Patrick Vieira on Friday in what was a shock dismissal. The Eagles didn’t necessarily react well to this and lost 4-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates.
However, it wasn’t ever a 4-1 sort of match. Mikel Arteta’s side overperformed their Expected Goals total of 1.57 and the visitors actually had more big chances (two to one). It was a finishing clinic by the hosts.
The star of the show was Bukayo Saka with the Arsenal No. 7 scoring twice and assisting once to take his tally to 22 Premier League goal contributions this season.
Smash and grab at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea were looking to make it four wins on the bounce as they welcomed struggling Everton to Stamford Bridge. In truth, they probably deserved all three points on Saturday but Sean Dyche’s men found a way and picked up an important point in their fight for survival.
The hosts had 20 shots and almost 70% of the ball. They were in complete control and limited Everton to an xG of just 0.06 in the first half. The visitors remained in the game and scored a late equaliser with Ellis Simms netting his first goal for the Merseysiders after Kai Havertz had put Graham Potter’s side ahead via the penalty spot late on.
It has been the story of Chelsea under the former Brighton manager, with chances not being taken on a regular basis.
Carnage at Molineux
Somehow, Leeds United claimed a 4-2 win over Wolves on Saturday.
The hosts had an xG of 2.78 and peppered the Leeds goal with 23 shots. By comparison, the away side managed just 1.62, had fewer shots and fewer big chances.
Javi Gracia’s side took their opportunities though and his subs changed the game, with two of them finding the back of the net. They were also aided by some questionable calls by the referee. The three points help Leeds in their fight for survival while also dragging Wolves back into the relegation conversation.
With just 16 minutes left to play, Spurs were 3-1 up and looked in complete control – Pedro Porro had scored before the break, Harry Kane added to his impressive haul for the season before Ivan Perišić appeared to put the game to bed.
And then they collapsed. In fairness, Southampton deserved their point. They had more shots, more big chances and a higher xG. In fact, they had over double the xG of Spurs in that second half.
James Ward-Prowse’s penalty in added time salvaged a well deserved point, though they are still in trouble in the Premier League.
Spurs are now needing Newcastle to drop points to maintain their grip on the final Champions League spot.
The Magpies take control of their own fate
Eddie Howe’s side came from behind to claim a deserved win away to Nottingham Forest.
Alexander Isak netted a double and kept his cool to convert a last minute penalty. He also created a chance on his way to an 8.9 rating. Newcastle are now just two points off of a Champions League spot with two games in hand.
It is now back to back 2-1 wins for Newcastle as they appear to be heading out of their poor run of form.
We now know the FA Cup semi-final schedule after a memorable quarter-final round of fixtures.
Another Erling Haaland hat-trick
That was some week for Erling Haaland. The Manchester City forward scored five times against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and then netted a treble against Burnley.
The No. 9 scored three goals from five shots. In fact, he had more shots than he did completed passes (five to four).
City put on a finishing clinic against the Championship leaders as Vincent Kompany’s return to the Etihad ended in a 6-0 defeat. The Premier League champions actually created seven big chances and had an xG of almost four in one of the most emphatic results of the season.
Sheffield United leave it late
Tommy Doyle struck a last minute winner to set up a semi-final tie with Manchester City, the team he’s on loan from.
Despite being above Blackburn Rovers in the table, Sheffield United weren’t at their best and actually had a lower xG and created fewer big chances. However, two goals in the final 10 minutes booked a trip to Wembley, with Oli McBurnie levelling things up before Doyle’s wonder strike.
It capped off a fine performance from the 21-year-old midfielder as he claimed a FotMob rating of 9.1.
The Seagulls cruise in to the final four
In what was one of the most one-sided matches in FA Cup history, the Premier League outfit racked up an xG of 4.01. Grimsby put up a fight but the difference in quality was evident for all to see.
The star of the show was Evan Ferguson, he scored twice and created one opportunity for a teammate as he put in an eye-catching performance for Roberto De Zerbi’s side.
A minute of madness at Old Trafford
Fulham had Manchester United on the ropes.
They had a 1-0 lead at Old Trafford and had opportunities to add a second, only to be thwarted by David De Gea. With just 18 minutes left to play, however, it all changed.
Willan was sent off for a handball, Aleksandar Mitrović was sent off for his reaction, as was manager Marco Silva. Bruno Fernandes converted the penalty and minutes later United had the lead courtesy of a Marcel Sabitzer goal.
Fernandes added a second in stoppage time to add gloss to the scoreline but that minute of complete madness lost Fulham the tie as Erik Ten Hag’s side booked yet another trip to Wembley.
(Images from IMAGO)
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