Another week of league football has passed, and the highs and lows which accompany it were experienced across London. Overall, it was a poor week for clubs in the Capital; Chelsea and Arsenal crashed out of the Carabao Cup and sides in London picked up just 9 out of a possible 45 points. Chelsea and Brentford were the only teams able to take all three points, despite 9 of the 12 games being played in London. Below I take a whistle-stop tour of each game involving sides from the Capital.
The Premier League:
It proved a tricky weekend in London for the Premier League sides. Arsenal, seemingly on a downward spiral at present, continued their poor form by squandering another lead, this time at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, to draw 1-1. Having taken just 11 of their last possible 24 points, it is unsurprising that Unai Emery is under significant pressure to turn things around. Arsenal fans have hounded out better managers than the Spaniard, and he is in danger of things turning ugly on present viewing.
Final score: Arsenal 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Simultaneously across the city, West Ham United fell three goals down to relegation-threatened Newcastle before pulling two late goals back to make the score appear respectable. This was Newcastle’s first away point since mid-August, when they beat Tottenham Hotspur. Clearly the Geordies love a trip to the Capital, but West Ham fans must seriously be wondering why, despite the hefty investment, it feels like their team is heading in the wrong direction.
Final score: West Ham United 2-3 Newcastle United.
On the topic of Tottenham, the fixture at Goodison Park on Sunday was sluggish and indicative of the current form of the two competing sides. Spurs went one up on the 63rd minute, however the attacking move was more gifted by a misplaced pass from Iwobi, than a creative move by Tottenham. The game was a meal of lethargy and questionable refereeing, with three possible penalties (two for Everton, one for Spurs) being denied with help of VAR, and even Son’s red card (after his challenge lead to the unfortunate and horrific injury of Andre Gomes) could be deemed an incorrect decision by some. The second half ended with Tosun heading home a great attacking move in added time. Both teams left with a point on the day, and in reality, neither side were convincing enough to deserve the full three. At the end of the weekend, Tottenham find themselves bottom half of the table, ten points from the top four.
Final score: Everton 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur.
Roy Hodgson has worked wonders at Palace so far this season, seeing the eagles soaring into the top half of the league. However, they welcomed top-four challengers Leicester City to Selhurst Park and despite valiant efforts, they could not prevent the Foxes stealing all three points. Whilst Crystal Palace look good enough to stay up, it must be said that Leicester’s performances are reminiscent of their title winning season, with Jamie Vardy seemingly in free-scoring form once again. Definitely a side to watch.
Final score: Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City.
One bright spark in London came in the form of Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat of Watford. Christian Pulisic continued where he left off against Burnley with another goal in a blue shirt to put Chelsea 2-0 up. VAR controversy gave Watford a lifeline back into the game however, and it was only a brilliant Kepa save from his opposite number Ben Foster that ensured Chelsea didn’t join their fellow London clubs in dropping points over the weekend.
Final score: Watford 1-2 Chelsea.
Moving on to arguably the most entertaining league in World Football for its unpredictably, and it didn’t disappoint once again. Brentford looked to continue in the same vein that saw them defeat fellow Londoners QPR 3-1 on Monday Night, but found themselves unable to do so. The visitors, recently relegated Huddersfield Town, took the lead on the hour, with what proved to be the only goal in a relatively turgid affair. The defeat leaves the Bees firmly stranded in mid-table, yet in typical Championship fashion they remain just four points from the playoffs.
Final score: Brentford 0-1 Huddersfield Town.
After their defeat on Monday night, QPR found themselves making the trip to promotion pushing Leeds United. Certainly, there are easier opposition to try and bounce back from defeat against. Leeds United largely dominated the affair, yet only confirmed all three points when Jack Harrison capitalised on some poor defending to double the lead given to them by Tyler Roberts. With QPR welcoming relegation threatened Middlesbrough to London in their next game, there will be real belief that they can halt this slide and begin to push back up the table.
Final score: Leeds United 2-0 Queens Park Rangers.
Across in South-West London, Fulham welcomed Hull to Craven Cottage. The home side dominated possession, but the confidence of winning just one of their previous four games showed as they remained conservative with their use of the ball. In fact, they could muster just one shot on target all game. Hull City, for their part, took their chances clinically and ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in the end, which leaves the Tigers in 11th, separated from Fulham by just a solitary point.
Final score: Fulham 0-3 Hull City.
Millwall travelled to Reading to take on Mark Bowen’s struggling side, but forgot to turn up for the first 45 minutes. The home fans cheered on their side as they took the lead in the 9th minute, before doubling it through Sam Baldock in the 37th. The second half saw a resurgent Millwall side, who managed to pull one back through some trickery by winger Jed Wallace. It was however, too little too late, and Reading held out to claim a precious victory which took them three points clear of safety.
Final score: Reading 2-1 Millwall.
Newly-promoted Charlton Athletic hosted league-leaders Preston North-End in a close and tense affair. The key turning point, a disputable penalty, was converted by Paul Gallagher in what proved to be the only goal of the game. Charlton can feel somewhat aggrieved of the way that they lost, but must also keep in perspective how far they have come in a short space of time- losing to the League leaders is no embarrassment.
Final score: Charlton Athletic 0-1 Preston North-End.
Leagues One and Two:
AFC Wimbledon snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat thanks to a 94th minute equaliser from Kwesi Appiah. Hosting Lincoln City, it was the away side who looked set to take all three points, taking the lead in the 31st minute. Despite several glorious chances to put the game to bed, they were unable to capitalise on a poor Wimbledon performance, which ultimately allowed one final moment of quality from the Dons to recover a much-needed point.
Final score: AFC Wimbledon 1-1 Lincoln City.
Moving to League Two, and Leyton Orient’s indifferent form continued as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat to bottom of the league Morecambe. Having just sacked their manager, Morecambe subjected Orient to the “new manager bounceback” effect, as a 74th minute goal from AJ Leitch-Smith proved to be the winner. Leyton Orient’s early season form suggests that they will remain in the same division for at least next season, but there is still plenty of time to turn that around.
Final score: Morecambe 1-0 Leyton Orient.