Soccer

Premier League grades: Brentford somehow doesn’t get point against Chelsea; Manchester United handled

It was the kind of match you just can’t look away from. I was sitting there on my porch in Virginia with the crisp, fall wind hitting my neck. As I contemplated going to grab a hoodie, I just knew I couldn’t, fearing I would miss just one of the countless moments piling up in the dying embers of a top quality match. What we were seeing was thrilling, nerve-racking and just hard to understand. Sitting alongside my wife and my father-in-law, with hot drinks in hand, time and time again we were left saying, “No. No way. This is unbelievable.”

Chelsea’s Premier League showdown with Brentford over the weekend was something else. One team finished with five shots and an xG of 0.27, and the other finished with 17 shots and an xG of 1.91. Can you guess which was Chelsea and which one actually won? Well, it wasn’t the more dominant one that took the win. Little, mighty Brentford, has spent this season matching the big boys punch for punch in their first top-flight appearance in over 70 years, and the new boys were once again on the verge of a great result against the Blues by dominating them in very category except goals. A flurry of late, great chances, several of which appeared ticketed for the back of the net, somehow never found their way over the line. 

The reason? One Edouard Mendy. The French goalkeeper was extraordinary. He faced 17 shots, seven on goal, making six saves and dealing with 26 crosses. The expected goals against was 1.46, and he finished with a goals prevented of 1.05 (he was also helped by a goal line clearance). He saved a bicycle kick, tipping it off the crossbar, he faced several near-post shots late, and he also made a save with his face. He did it all, helping the Blues hold on … defying logic in the process. 

Brentford outplayed Chelsea, performed quite well and just had one of those days. 

Brentford 0, Chelsea 1 (xG 1.91-0.27)

Brentford Grade: B

Chelsea Grade: B

Here are our grades for the other clubs this weekend:

Liverpool 5, Watford 0 (xG: 3.13-0.30)

Liverpool
One of their best performances of the season and did it class and flash. Mohamed Salah shredded apart the Watford defense time and time again.
Grade: A

Watford
Not much to say here. Offered little going forward, were overpowered in attack and suffered an embarrassing defeat in Claudio Ranieri’s debut.
Grade: F

Wolves 3, Aston Villa 2 (xG: 1.52-1.11)

Wolves
An absolutely unbelievable and shocking comeback. Never gave up, got a fortunate bounce on the winning free kick, but they showed the attacking ability we all knew was in them.
Grade: A

Villa
Ouch. That one hurts. Fully in control and just let their foot off the gas. Conceded all three after the 80th minute.
Grade: F

Leicester 4, Manchester United 2 (xG: 2.52-1.09)

Leicester
Thoroughly outclassed Manchester United, coming from behind and getting three goals in the last 12 minutes. Had 22 shots and always felt dangerous going forward.
Grade: A+

United
Have failed to win any of their last three league games, drawing one and losing two. It’s OK though, they should get back on track this weekend against … oh no … Liverpool. 😱
Grade: D

Manchester City 2, Burnley 0 (xG: 1.98-0.77)

Man. City
A goal in either half, and while they should have won by much more, they’ll take it. Outshot Burnley 15-7.
Grade: B

Burnley
Never felt in it, and it was essentially over 12 minutes in when Bernardo Silva scored. One of three teams yet to win.
Grade: F

Norwich City 0, Brighton 0 (xG: 1.18 – 1.14)

Norwich
Had their chances, with Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent missing glorious ones. Was their chance to build some momentum.
Grade: D

Brighton
Outplayed at times by Brighton, but we will chalk this to just an off day. Neal Maupay will have nightmares of his front-post miss. 
Grade: D

Southampton 1, Leeds 0 (xG: 2.07-0.42)

Southampton 
By far the better team, outshooting Leeds 19-3. Barely got the win, but not recording the three points would have been cruel.
Grade: B

Leeds
At what point do you press the panic button here? One win in eight games, just three points above the drop zone and widely inconsistent.
Grade: D

West Ham 1, Everton 0 (xG: 1.74-0.86)

West Ham
Felt like the win was coming, and they got it. Persistent, a constant threat and fully deserved in the end.
Grade: A

Everton
Without Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, they are simply average. Had some moments but always felt second best.
Grade: C-

Tottenham 3, Newcastle 2 (xG: 1.57-0.57)

Tottenham
Came to life after going down early, and from there the result was never in doubt. Getting Harry Kane and Heung-min Son on the scoresheet was just what was needed. Three vital points.
Grade: B+

Newcastle
Blasted after getting the early goal. Lots of changes expected come January, and they are going to need it  to a avoid relegation.
Grade: D



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