By Neil Leverett
- Andre Gomes suffers horrific injury against Spurs in 1-1 draw at Goodison Park
- Liverpool score twice in seven minutes to snatch win versus Villa, as Manchester City also fight back from a goal down
- Leicester City cement top four spot with Palace win, as Norwich and Watford both lose
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – On a weekend that saw the stark realities of football come to light and as Liverpool snatch a win, what did we learn from Premier League Gameweek 11?
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Gomes will come back
Injury is of course part of parcel of football; every player in their career are likely one to experience one or more complaints with varying a degree of severity. But few occasions as the one we saw on Sunday afternoon are rarely caught in the public eye – with the bright lights and wide-angle lenses of the English top flight such an in-demand commodity.
As the world watched on in horror at Goodison Park this weekend, Andre Gomes‘ horrific suspected broken ankle rather left footballing affairs between two struggling teams in background on Gameweek 11, with the Portuguese stretchered off the field on Merseyside.
In what was a freak accident in many ways, with the subsequently dismissed Son Heung-min lunging rather reckless and clipping Gomes, as the Toffees’ midfielder left the ground in the challenge – with Serge Aurier in his path on his landing – Gomes’ ankle planted in the turf and violently gave way (shown below before impact), in attempting to avoid a collision with the Ivorian full-back.
A mortified Son was left in tears, as on-lookers reached for a combination of both sick bag and the comfort of the centre of their palms in shock. What at first seemed to be a bad fall, soon turned into something very different, as the collective group of players attempted to process the vision of Gomes’ leg at right angles.
Joining what is still a relatively short list of shocking injury to befall a top flight game, Gomes joins the unfortunate Arsenal duo of Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo to suffer career-threatening injury.
As Ramsey in particular has proved however, the Welshman has come back better than ever – his move to Juventus will attest to the that – and Gomes, having been such a bright spark for Everton since his loan and subsequent permanent will have every chance of doing the same. But the road to recovery will be a long and emotional one ahead.
Liverpool will drop points on road
Away from Goodison Park, the other side of Liverpool’s footballing fraternity again struggled away from Anfield. When at one point the Reds not only seemed to be dropping points but suffering their first loss of the season, Jurgen Klopp‘s men snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Aston Villa.
We have often speculated that Liverpool’s away form could prove their undoing this season, and after 87 minutes at Villa Park, those predictions looked set to come to fruition. But to their credit, the league leaders scored twice in seven minutes to pick up three monumental points to stay top by six points.
A comeback instigated again by Sadio Mane – with the ineffectual Mohamed Salah substituted with the Champions League in mind – Andrew Robertson scored his first league goal with three minutes to play, before Mane himself netted deep into stoppage time to send the travelling Merseyside supporters into ecstasy.
The win will rather paper over the cracks that have now seen the Reds labor in their last three away games, but all that will matter to Klopp is the win, ahead of a titanic tussle with champions Manchester City this coming Sunday afternoon at Anfield. But on the road, there will be further tests to come this season.
Leicester City odds-on for top four
After equalling a Premier League record in Gameweek 10 against Southampton, Leicester City continued their impressive league form completing a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Its now eleven goals-to-nil for Brendan Rodgers‘ men in two games away from home, as Caglar Soyuncu put the icing on what has been an imperious opening eleven weeks of the campaign to net his first goal for the Foxes.
As Leicester dominated possession in South London, a late Jamie Vardy effort sealed the win, with Ben Chilwell denied a goal in successive league outings, as the full-back’s marauding run and shot crashed off Vicente Guaita‘s upright.
Putting personal disappointment aside for the England defender, the Foxes now sit contently in third spot in the table level on points with Chelsea, but crucially six points ahead of Arsenal – the most realistic threat to their top four hopes currently. The two sides meet at the King Power Stadium this Saturday evening. That should be mighty tasty.
Steely Blades set fair…
Sheffield United might be getting a nosebleed. Whilst Leicester themselves are upwardly mobile, the Blades after eleven games are in the dizzy heights of the top six, after an emphatic 3-0 win over Roses rivals Burnley in Gameweek 11.
Having tipped midfielder John Lundstram to star this past weekend, the Englishman netted a brace and kept a clean sheet for the Yorkshire side and send a none-to-shabby Clarets outfit back over the border empty-handed.
As a side many expected to be facing an uphill task to remain in the top flight come May, Chris Wilder‘s men are taking the Premier League by storm with Sheffield steel overcoming a side lacking a consistent goal-scorer in the striking department.
Indeed, Lundstram is now the top-scorer for the club this season with three goals, but it is the true Yorkshire grit that is putting the Blades in such good stead approaching a congested festive period. It may be relatively early days this term, but close to half the likely tally to stay up already, Sheffield United are well on the way to proving their doubters wrong.
…Farke must seek solutions
Norwich City’s plight meanwhile is looking bleaker by the minute after Gameweek 11. As the Canaries were comfortable defeated by two-goal Brighton & Hove Albion, the Canaries have now failed to score in their last five away games and lost by the same scoreline in four of their last five away days – with Teemu Pukki‘s goal at Anfield the sole goal netted on the road on their return to the top flight.
Even as the Norfolk side return to their Carrow Road sanctuary in a six-pointer against Watford this coming Friday night, one point from six games is relegation form in anyone’s book.
Pukki has become starved of service in recent weeks, and if Norwich are to mount a response, Daniel Farke needs to find a way to get his creative men to find the Finn with the Canaries not then so reliant, upon keeping the goals out at the back.
The visit then of the Hornets then could be the perfect chance to sew the seeds of optimism ahead of the international break, but with both sides camped in the bottom three, a further loss for Norwich in particular, could already pave the way for an immediate return to the Championship.
Premier League Gameweek 12 begins on Friday night, as Norwich City host Watford, kick-off 20:00 UK time.
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