Football Features

Wolves’ recovery and Man City’s slip up: Nine things you may have missed from 3pm kick-offs

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:26, 18 January 2020

In a nice change of pace, Saturday afternoon was full of Premier League action.

There were six games in total across the traditional 3pm kick-off slot with games at both ends of the table taking place.

Arsenal drew 1-1 with Sheffield United at the Emirates and Manchester City were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace in the two games featuring teams from the ‘Big Six’. There was a relegation six-pointer at Carrow Road with Norwich City beating Bournemouth 1-0 while Brighton and Aston Villa drew 1-1.

Elsewhere Wolves beat Southampton 3-2 and West Ham drew 1-1 with Everton.

But what might you have missed from all the action?

1. David Silva in a league of his own at Man City

At the start of the season David Silva announced the 2019/20 campaign would be his last for Manchester City, ending a 10-year stay with the club. During that time, the Spaniard has become such a key player for City and will be remembered upon his departure as a genuine legend – one of the best players in their history.

During a spell that includes four Premier League titles Silva has racked up 300 appearances in England’s top flight, reaching the milestone in City’s home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

It made the Spanish magician the first player to reach 300 Premier League appearances for City though it may not be a moment he will want to remember as he was taken off just after an hour with his side chasing the game.

2. Cenk Tosun scores on full Palace debut

Crystal Palace have been struggling in front of goal this season so looked to the transfer window to try and improve their problems.

There may have been some cynicism over their signing of Cenk Tosun who hasn’t exactly been prolific for Everton since arriving a few years ago.

But, on his full Palace debut, Tosun gave Palace a shock lead – doubling his Premier League tally for the season having also managed one in five games for Everton.

It also took Tosun to 10 Premier League goals in total, joining Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay as just the fourth Turkish player to hit that landmark.

3. Aguero hits 250 (and another) to save Man City

Pretty much everyone has accepted that Liverpool are Premier League champions elect, although City will still harbour some small hope of catching the Reds.

But they are giving themselves a hard task, going behind far too often at home. Tosun’s goal was the sixth time City have conceded the first strike at home in their past nine Premier League matches at the Etihad – the same amount as in their first 60 under Pep Guardiola.

Fortunately they had Sergio Aguero to save their blushes, with the Argentinian striking twice to turn things around at the Etihad. The first was his 250th in total for Man City, a feat achieved in just 360 appearances.

Aguero is also now on 179 in the Premier League, moving him clear of Frank Lampard as the competition’s fourth highest goalscorer. But it was not enough to seal the win for City as Palace earned a point thanks to an own goal from Fernandinho late on.

4. West Ham call upon yet another goalkeeper

West Ham haven’t had the best luck with goalkeepers this season with first-choice Lukasz Fabianski struggling for fitness.

His initial back-up Roberto was more likely to concede than keep a clean sheet and David Martin also proved himself to be somewhat prone to an error despite a positive start.

This led the Hammers to re-sign former goalkeeper Darren Randolph and the Ireland international made his second debut against Everton. It meant West Ham have started four different goalkeepers in the Premier League in a single season, the most since 1999/2000 when they used five (Shaka Hislop, Craig Forrest, Ian Feuer, Stephen Bywater and Sasa Ilic).

5. Ancelotti confuses Everton fans with Bernard sub

West Ham vs Everton will have been seen as the David Moyes derby but there was a Carlo Ancelotti decision that sparked a big talking point.

With the game level at half-time the Italian opted to bring one of Everton’s chief playmakers Bernard off, replacing him with 18-year-old Anthony Gordon to make his Premier League debut.

This had Everton fans scratching their heads at the change, with no evident injury to the Brazilian.

6. Steve Cook gets first Bournemouth red card

Away from the standout ties there was a relegation battle at Carrow Road with Norwich hosting Bournemouth. The Canaries won 1-0 to close the gap on their opponents to three points, but the game will be remembered for two red cards.

The first came from Steve Cook who wanted to be goalkeeper for a day, saving debutant Ondrej Duda’s shot and touching it onto the post – bringing a straight red card. It was his first in 304 league appearances for Bournemouth and gave Teemu Pukki a golden opportunity to give Norwich the lead from the penalty spot, which the Finnish striker took.

7. The VAR monitor is used!

The second red card between Bournemouth and Norwich, which was issued to Canaries defender Ben Godfrey, brought a moment of history.

With Norwich trying to hold on for a vital win, Godfrey challenged Callum Wilson near the byline. Referee Paul Tierney initially gave Godfrey a yellow card but it went to VAR for a review.

And, for the first time in Premier League history, a referee consulted the pitchside screen with Tierney eventually upgrading Godfrey’s caution to a red card.

8. Pepe Reina concedes on Villa debut

Another team with goalkeeping issues, Aston Villa, signed Pepe Reina on loan from AC Milan last week to fill the gap left by Tom Heaton – who is out for the season with a knee injury.

As Liverpool fans will fondly remember, Reina has previous Premier League experience, making 285 appearances for the Reds and keeping 134 clean sheets.

But his quest for a first for Villa lasted just 38 minutes with Leandro Trossard opening the scoring for Brighton.

A wonderful strike from Jack Grealish earned Villa a point, but they will be hoping for Reina to quickly find his feet as they look to fight relegation.

9. Wolves trail but show teeth to fight back

Wolves’ sixth-place standing in the Premier League table is admirable on its own, but it’s even more remarkable when you consider the club have often given their opponents a head start this season.

Going behind against Southampton, Wolves conceded the first goal in a Premier League game for the 16th time this season – more than any other side. Those 16 included each of the past seven, and Wolves have had some trouble fighting back, losing three and drawing one during that time.

Fans, then, would have been pessimistic about Wolves’ chances when Southampton went 2-0 up at Molineux. However, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men did not give up and eventually ended up 3-2 winners thanks to Pedro Neto and a brace from Raul Jimenez. What a turnaround.