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Premier League Table: Leeds leapfrog Arsenal with Crystal Palace win
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Leeds produced a commanding performance to beat Crystal Palace 2-0 on Monday and move 10th in the Premier League standings ahead of Arsenal.Marcelo Bielsa’s side took the win thanks to goals early in either half from Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford respectively. Although a team noted for the number of goals they concede, Leeds gave up few chances against a Crystal Palace attack that looked rudderless without the injured Wilfried Zaha.For Palace, defeat means that they remain 13th in the standings, with little danger of being sucked into the relegation battle or being involved in the European fight.Earlier in the weekend, Manchester City had strengthened their grip on first place thanks to an emphatic 4-1 win over Liverpool. Pep Guardiola’s side are now five points clear of Manchester United, who were held to a 3-3 draw against Everton in a remarkable match at Old Trafford.Liverpool, meanwhile, remain fourth in the standings, though 10 points behind City, who also have a game extra to play over all of their nearest rivals, it seems that their title defence is set to end tepidly.Leicester continue to occupy third, while Chelsea are coming up strong in fifth after a fine start to life under former Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel. The Blues have now won their last three matches.West Ham and Everton continue to vie for European spots next season, while Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham and Aston Villa are not yet out of contention either.It was a good weekend for Newcastle in the lower half of the table, as they were the only side in that area to pick up a win.Meanwhile, Sheffield United, West Brom and Fulham continue to be cut badly adrift in the bottom three, with the Cottagers eight points shy of 17th-placed Burnley. View our detailed player statistics for the Premier League at the link below. Premier League: Player Stats, Team Stats, Fixtures, Results .
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Concussion substitutes in the Premier League: What are they and how are they used?
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With the growing long-term fear of concussion over the wellbeing of players, concussion substitutes have been introduced on a trial basis in the Premier League.Aston Villa’s home encounter with Arsenal was the first match to take place after they became part of the laws, but in what competitions can they be used and in which circumstances?What are concussion substitutions? Concussion substitutes have been introduced in a bid to stop clubs taking undue risks with players who have head injuries. There are concerns that footballers have played when concussed, and there are fears for their long-term health as a result.With concussion substitutes available, clubs are given another two potential changes to use over the course of a match if a player is suffering from suspected concussion.It is up to the discretion of club doctors to decide whether a player falls under this category. What is concussion? According to the NHS: “Concussion is a temporary injury to the brain caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head.“It usually only lasts up to a few days or weeks, although it sometimes needs emergency treatment and some people can have longer-lasting problems.“It's important to avoid head injuries as repeated concussions or blows to the head have been linked to serious problems, including a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.”What happens when a concussion substitute is made? The process for a concussion substitute to be made is slightly different to the normal substitution procedure. Instead of the usual white form handed to the fourth official, clubs will use a green form, indicating the difference between the types of change.These players are permanently removed from the game.Additionally, it should be noted that if a concussion substitute is made, the opposition are given one additional change.For example, if Arsenal had used one concussion substitute against Aston Villa, the Birmingham side would have been given an additional change to make on top of their usual three.Do clubs have to make a concussion substitute when a player has a head knock? Although clubs are compelled to take players suffering from a head injury off, they do not necessarily have to use one of their concussion substitutes to do this.Why would they not? Simply because it would offer their opponents a chance to use that additional substitute.Let’s use the Aston Villa v Arsenal example again. If a Villa player suffered a suspected concussion after 85 minutes, they would be granted the opportunity to change them. Of course, if they had used their full complement of substitutes, they would have to dip into their concussion change pool, but if they had only used two of their regular changes, the player could be brought off in that manner.By using a regular substitution, Villa would be depriving their opponents of having the luxury of making an additional change.Who was the first to use a concussion substitute? No-one has used a concussion substitution in the Premier League as yet.How long does the concussion substitute trial last? The Premier League will trial these changes until at least the end of the 2020/21 season. It can be extended until the end of the 2021/22 campaign, however.Why are concussion substitutes only in the Premier League? It is important to stress that this is only a trial and not yet a permanent law of the game. The Premier League is the only major competition taking part in this trial, although less celebrated competitions are testing it.One of the reasons that Premier League clubs are doubtless so keen to implement it is because they are one of the few major competitions in which there are only three substitutes permitted this season. .
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Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal Player Ratings: Lacazette catastrophic for Gunners
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Ollie Watkins scored the only goal of the game as Aston Villa recorded a 1-0 win over Arsenal to put the pressure back on Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.Arsenal started with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the bench and started instead with Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe in attack. The former Lyon man, though, failed to justify his selection.Meanwhile, debutant goalkeeper Maty Ryan excelled himself.Aston Villa v Arsenal: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player StatsSo which players stood out most?✔️ GOOD PERFORMANCEOllie Watkins: 7.6On an afternoon in which Jack Grealish was surprising quiet, Ollie Watkins continued his excellent recent form by scoring his fourth goal in five games.He was alive in the early stages of the game to make a smart near-post run to latch onto a driven Bertrand Traore cross and fire past Mat Ryan. The striker was a constant menace throughout and would have added to his tally had it not been for the goalkeeper's excellence later in the game.Four of his five efforts work the keeper, with the last flashing an inch by the post.❌ BAD PERFORMANCEAlexandre Lacazette: 5.5Lacazette's selection was one of the big pre-game talking points, yet his performance failed to justify the faith the manager Arteta had put in him. Indeed, after 59 minutes he was hauled off, having made a minimal contribution.He had 30 touches of the ball but not one of these came in the Aston Villa half, while he failed to get away a shot of any kind.Arguably worse, he won only one of seven duels and one of four headers he competed for. This was a very flimsy display. ⭐ STAR MANMaty Ryan: 8.2Former Brighton keeper Ryan started at the expense of Bernd Leno and enjoyed a fantastic debut after picking the ball out of the net with his first touch.An Arsenal fan since he was a boy, he played a vital role in keeping the score down and did not deserve to be on the losing side as he made a string of excellent saves. Notably denied Watkins in the first half.Made six saves after the early concession - and few of them were routine. On a difficult day for the Gunners, he was a clear positive. Aston Villa v Arsenal: Player Ratings, Match Stats, Player Stats .
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The proof that Leeds’ Patrick Bamford should be in the England squad
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Patrick Bamford has shocked the nation with his impressive displays for Leeds United in the Premier League this season. His scintillating form throughout the current campaign has left many calling for the 27-year-old to be handed his first senior England call-up, and it's easy to understand why.Being ‘first reserve’ is never an accolade that elite-level footballers aspire to achieve. It was enough to force Jamie Vardy into an early international retirement, but with Harry Kane’s latest injury setback, it could be one of the most important positions in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming European Championship.There were many doubts over the former Chelsea man’s ability to make the step up to the top flight, even before the 2019/20 season had drawn to a conclusion. A LeedsLive article published back in March read: “Unless Marcelo Bielsa can find a striker, the Whites' return to the top-flight risks being short-lived…Patrick Bamford might have scored 13 league goals this season, but he has missed many more chances than he has converted, while his link-play is far short of the required level.”Eleven goals and six assists after 21 games would suggest otherwise. However, it is easy to understand where the concern stemmed from. Bamford ended last season with 16 goals, meaning he was behind the likes of Karlan Grant and Nahki Wells in the Championship goalscoring charts - two players who have found life in the top division too much to handle. It was the largest haul he had managed since 2014/15, and in his previous Premier League endeavours, on loan at Crystal Palace, Burnley and Middlesbrough, the Englishman managed a solitary goal in 27 outings.His consistently impressive performances have, therefore, been one of the most surprising aspects of an incredibly unpredictable campaign. Bamford is arguably playing in the most demanding position in the sport for the most demanding manager in the division. His job is not simply to put the ball in the back of the net, he is tasked with so much more than your average No.9. A striker under Marcelo Bielsa is charged with leading the press, and consequently, needs to be incredibly mobile. It is also essential that they are tactically astute. Bamford will often vacate the central area, either by drifting out wide, running into the channels, or dropping between the lines. There are several benefits to this, although the two most obvious advantages are what Leeds profit from the most. Midfielders and wingers will often arrive late in a move, filling the void that Bamford has created in the centre of the attacking third, either looking for a slipped through ball or playing a wall pass and latching onto a quick one-two in order to get in on goal. That is exactly what happens below. Here, Bamford has pulled out wide and is just about to receive a pass from Luke Ayling after the full-back has made one of his customary sprints forward down the right-hand side. That, in turn, allows Stuart Dallas to burst into the vacant space in the middle and look for a through ball by Bamford......the frontman duly obliges, and Dallas fires the pass into the far corner to level things up against Leicester. In the next instance, Bamford peels off his marker and intelligently drops between the defensive and midfield lines, offering his services to an onrushing Jack Harrison. The Manchester City loanee lends his teammate the ball before carrying on his run into the penalty area, hoping for a return pass that arrives perfectly weighted. Harrison then blasts the ball into the top corner and effectively seals a resounding victory for the Yorkshire side against West Brom. So Bamford's strengths are clear for all to see, but that doesn't automatically earn him a place on the plane this summer. Southgate will likely take three strikers to the European Championship - and bar any revival of an episode like Wayne Rooney's metatarsal - Kane will certainly be one of them. Some may point to Marcus Rashford as another, though, the Manchester United man hasn't been used as a starting striker for England since June 2019 in the semi-final defeat to the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League. He is, therefore, more likely to take up residence on the left-wing. That leaves the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Danny Ings, Callum Wilson, Tammy Abraham, Ollie Watkins and Bamford fighting it out for two spots. SmarterScout is a site that collects detailed data and analytics from players across the world and assigns a score between 0-99 to their attributes. How do each of the aforementioned players compare?As you can see - by hovering over the colour key - Bamford only shares 'receiving in the box' with Abraham, in which he scores higher, 'shooting' with Watkins, in which he is accredited the highest possible rating, and 'attacking output' with Calvert-Lewin and Watkins, who both score 74 compared to Bamford's 61. What the Leeds man offers, then, is something different, something unique and what he does bring to the table he is generally very good at. In the last three England games that Kane has been unavailable or left on the bench, against Wales, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland, Everton's Calvert-Lewin has been the man chosen to lead the line. His goalscoring prowess and ability to bring others into play deservedly earned him his first international caps in 2020 and he is probably the front runner in this particular race. But Bamford's game differs to that of his compatriot, and there is certainly room for both in Southgate's squad. Just looking at where the two receive their passes gives a clear indication of the contrast in styles. Bamford pass receive map 2020/21 Calvert-Lewin pass receive map 2020/21While it is common for the Toffees forward to pick up the ball in all areas of the pitch, thanks to his all-action style, Bamford's work is much more concentrated. With the abundance of attacking midfielders and forwards at England's disposal, surely the appeal of a player whose link-up play has excelled this season will be enticing to those making the decisions over the summer. In truth, nobody would envy the call Southgate has to make in just a few weeks. All of the strikers previously mentioned have their strengths and weaknesses and unique elements. But the fact Bamford has even managed to propel his name into the same bracket deserves credit in itself. Ultimately though, a No.9 will be judged on their goals, and unlike in Leeds' promotion-winning campaign, Bamford has had no trouble in finding the back of the net. Premier League" aria-label="chart" id="datawrapper-chart-iYJsD" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/iYJsD/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400"He's an agile, unselfish, intelligent, creative goalscorer. Not a bad set of attributes to have when six doesn't go into two and you have to stand out from the crowd. Bamford is having the best season of his career, and he couldn't have timed it any better. .
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Premier League Table: Chelsea close in on top four with Spurs win
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Chelsea kept their top-four ambitions burning on Thursday as they overcame Tottenham 1-0 away from home.A penalty from Jorginho was the sole strike in a tight 90 minutes, which saw Thomas Tuchel record his third clean sheet in as many matches as Chelsea manager. The seven points the former Borussia Dortmund and PSG boss has seen his team earn has pulled Chelsea up to sixth in the standings, within four marks of the top four.The Blues are tied on 36 points along with Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton, who have a couple of matches in hand.Meanwhile, it has been a good week for the Manchester City. Manchester City have enhanced their place at the top of the league and are three points clear of Manchester United, who were 9-0 winners over Southampton at Old Trafford on Tuesday.It has not been a good week for Liverpool, however. Their shock 1-0 home loss to Brighton has consigned them to fourth in the table behind Leicester. Trailing Manchester City by seven points and having played a game more, Jurgen Klopp’s men will need an almighty effort if they are to defend the title they so spectacular won last term.Tottenham, too, have suffered a major blow to their Champions League aspirations as their slide continues. Spurs are now seven points off the top four, although Jose Mourinho does at least have the consolation of a game in hand.Over the weekend, the table has the potential to change dramatically once more. Among the most attractive fixtures are Manchester United’s home encounter with Everton, but it is Liverpool’s meeting with Manchester City that clearly grabs top billing.View our detailed player statistics for the Premier League at the link below. Premier League: Player Stats, Team Stats, Fixtures, Results .
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