First blood to Chelsea!
“Love the MBM,” says Richard Stant. Is there a but coming? Sort of. “Just to make the point, most phones won’t let you put an umlaut over an n. Look: n. It’s impossible. Spın̈al Tap will have to remain for the pre-iPhone age. ”
Southampton 0-0 Chelsea Chelsea go up the other end and hit the post! It’s Timo Werner, with a low shot, on the counter after a Southampton corner.
Southampton 0-0 Chelsea An early free kick for the peerless James Ward-Prowse, but it’s too deep for a shot and Chelsea cope easily with his cross.
The whistle has blown on all three of our games.
“Some bemusement amongst Arsenal fans,” says Charles Antaki, “Seeing Alexandre Lacazette upfront again; the old warhorse is more horse than war these days, and in the mind of some, not that far off the knacker’s yard. But he could yet hoof one into the net. ” Yes, he’s been having a strange time of it. He seems to be a false nine these days, like Harry Kane without the goals.
Correction: Everton are not out of the woods. Rick Harris (14:36) makes a very good point about the fixture list. Everton have still to play Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as Leicester twice. Burnley’s pictures are gentler, and they have a game in hand – against Norwich tomorrow. Everton should stay up, but then we’ve been saying that all season.
“Everton win helps Spurs, if ever United were a threat,” says Yash Gupta. “Lampard stays for next season – more fun for everyone not connected to Everton.” Ha.
“I agree that United are out of contention for fourth place,” says Rick Harris, “But looking at Everton’s run in, I would say they will need a lot more than a win against the easiest ‘big team’ to turn over. United look like the season can’t finish soon enough and it is hard to see where they go from here with that squad. If it is Ten Hag as the new manager, he would be well advised to bring his best 11 players with him. ” Harsh but fair.
And another! From our Everton correspondent, Mary Waltz. “There will be no slander towards United today,” she says. “With my Everton squad facing elimination the Red Devils gifted us three points. That kind of generosity should be applauded. ” Ha. I know United were poor, but the goal came from a big fat deflection, so perhaps the generosity was on the part of the gods. Anyway, the upshot is that Frank Lampard lives to fight another day, and Ralf Rangnick may as well step down now. Is Michael Carrick still available?
An email! From our Scottish correspondent, Simon McMahon. “It’s derby day in Dundee,” he writes, “as United look to confirm their place in the top six with three points against a Dundee side who will almost certainly be relegated should they lose today. So all to play for. United haven’t lost to their neighbors at Tannadice for 18 years, which is making me as nervous as a Spïnal Tap drummer. There’s an Edinburgh derby too at Tynecastle, and it’s Aberdeen v Ross County, Livingston v Motherwell and champions-elect Celtic v St. Johnstone. ” Thanks Simon. Love that umlaut, but at the risk of being picky, wasn’t it supposed to be on the N?
Everton have hung onto their 1-0 lead over Manchester United, largely thanks to Jordan Pickford, who has been immense. That means Everton are probably out of the woods, and United are probably out of the Champions League race. Join Barry Glendinning on the MBM here.
Roy Hodgson keeps calm and names an unchanged side.
Watford: Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Samir, Kamara; Sissoko, Louza, Kucka; Sarr, Joao Pedro, Hernandez.
Subs: Bachmann, King, Masina, Cathcart, KaluCleverley, Sierralta, KayembeDennis.
Leeds: Meslier; Ayling, Llorente, Cooper, Dallas; Klich, Koch; Raphinha, Rodrigo, Harrison; James.
Subs: Klaesson, Struijk, Phillips, Gelhardt, Hjelde, Cresswell, Summerville, Greenwood, Kenneh.
Southampton: Forster; Livramento, Bednarek, Salisu, Walker-Peters; Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Stuart Armstrong, Elyounoussi; Adam Armstrong, Adams.
Subs: Knight, Stephens, Redmond, Perraud, Smallbone, Tella, Diallo, Walcott, Valery.
Chelsea: Mendy; Christensen, Thiago Silva, Rudiger; Loftus-Cheek, Kante, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Havertz, Werner.
Subs: Arrizabalaga, Sarr, Chalobah, James, Jorginho, Saul, Barkley, Ziyech, Pulisic.
Granit Xhaka continues as a makeshift left-back – and will be relieved to find Tariq Lamptey on the bench.
Arsenal: Ramsdale; Soares, White, Gabriel, Xhaka; Lokonga, Smith Rowe; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Lacazette.
Subs: Leno, Holding, Tavares, Elneny, Nketiah, Ogungbo, Swanson, Hutchinson, Pepe.
Brighton: Sanchez; Veltman, Dunk, Cucurella; Mwepu, Gross, Caicedo, Bissouma, Mac Allister; Welbeck, Trossard.
Subs: Steele, Lamptey, Webster, Maupay, Lallana, Alzate, March, Offiah, Sarmiento.
Afternoon everyone and welcome to Saturday afternoon at the football. It’s an old tradition that is slowly shrinking, like an old person. But what today’s 3pm kick-offs lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. There are only three games but they all count: two are part of the tussle for the top four, and the third is a relegation dogfight.
Arsenal in Brighton After being pummelled by Palace on Monday, Arsenal badly need a win. Brighton badly need a goal: they’ve managed only one in their past seven league games, after grabbing 11 in the previous seven. They haven’t scored against Arsenal since 2019-20, but they did the double over them then, so they have a reason to believe – and Tariq Lamptey’s eyes will be lighting up at the thought of taking on Nuno Tavares.
Southampton in Chelsea It’s the Peter Osgood derby! Ossie had his ups’n’downs and so, just lately, have his old clubs. Southampton, usually so hard to beat at St Mary’s, have lost two home games in a row – to Newcastle and Watford, of all people. Chelsea, too, have had back-to-back shockers at home, caving in to Brentford and Real Madrid. But their distant form has been formidable all season, with ten wins out of 15, the same as Liverpool.
Watford v Leeds The most experienced manager in the Premier League, Roy Hodgson, against the least, Jesse Marsch. Watford are in dire straits, desperate for a win following Burnley’s resurgence in midweek. Leeds are in clover after racking up seven points in three games. Anything could happen.