Premier League hits & misses: Time for Richarlison to replace struggling Heung-Min Son? | Football News
Premier League hits & misses: Time for Richarlison to replace struggling Heung-Min Son? | Football News

Miss: Son is struggling, time to unleash Richarlison?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Tottenham Hotspur

Heung-Min Son's starting spot at Tottenham must be under serious threat after another shaky performance from the South Korean and another fiery cameo from Richarlison in Tottenham's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Last season's Golden Boot winner is usually at the heart of when Spurs construct their attacks but this game passed him by. That is highlighted by Son having just 26 touches of the ball despite having 76 minutes on the field. It was the fewest of all 22 players to have started the match, including both goalkeepers.

The frustration from Son was clear to see when he was substituted as he could be seen mouthing his anger regarding the decision when taking his seat on the bench. You did not need to be an expert lip reader to compute the output. Yet Antonio Conte did not seem too disappointed with his reaction, saying: "[Son is] a top man, a really good guy, I have to find a husband like him for my daughter."

No matter Son's qualities and his undoubted importance in the long run to this Tottenham team, Conte must be tempted to unleash the all-action Richarlison in the London derby with West Ham on Wednesday, though.

The former Everton man has made a significant impact on all three of his substitute appearances for Spurs so far. In his 63 minutes of action, Conte's side have scored three times and created an expected goals figure of 1.50. Those numbers are backed up by the eye test too as Chelsea were knocked out of their comfortable stride when the Brazilian sprung from the bench at Stamford Bridge and Forest failed to cope with his tenacity and quality as he grabbed his first assist for the club with the cross for Harry Kane's second goal.

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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte speaks to the Super Sunday panel after Spurs' 2-0 win and believes his side are improving every week in the Premier League

"He's biting at the bit to play," said Kane of Richarlison.

"We have a lot of games coming up. I know Sonny might be frustrated with not scoring yet but he's an important player for us. If we are going to achieve anything this year we need Sonny to keep doing what he is doing. He'll pop up with goals, no doubt. But when players are not quite at it then you need players off the bench to make an impact and Richarlison has been doing that."
Lewis Jones

Miss: Does Gerrard know his best side?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of West Ham's win over Aston Villa in the Premier League

Everyone inside Villa Park knew the boos were coming and it did not disappoint when they arrived.

The Aston Villa supporters are beginning to turn on Steven Gerrard's underperforming side after three defeats from their first four games.

The rot spreads for longer than just this August, though, with Villa winning only two of their final 11 matches last season.

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Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard thinks the game was finely balanced and they just lost out to West Ham at home

Despite starting Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins plus Phillippe Coutinho, entering the final third 68 times to West Ham's 44 and seeing more of the ball, the hosts could not muster a single big chance.

Gerrard made four much-needed changes from their dismal defeat at Crystal Palace yet he must still be wondering what his best XI is. Defeat at Bournemouth in a 4-3-3 on the opening day brought two changes, a switch to a narrow 4-4-2 and victory over Everton.

Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho takes a tumble against West Ham
Image: Aston Villa's Philippe Coutinho takes a tumble against West Ham

Gerrard then made three changes, switching back to a 4-3-3, for the Palace disaster before reverting again to the midfield diamond plus Ings and Watkins against West Ham, which this time failed to fire.

Now with a trip to Arsenal and the visit of Manchester City in their next two matches, what will Gerrard do?

The boo-boys' next move will be to clear their throats again.
David Richardson

Hit: Further encouragement for Forest, despite defeat

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Nottingham Forest head coach Steve Cooper reflects on his side's 2-0 defeat to Tottenham and believes they never tested Spurs' Hugo Lloris enough, despite having good opportunities

"We're not here just to take part," Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper reiterated in the wake of the defeat to Tottenham - their first in the league at the City Ground since December 30. "We don't just want to play well, we want to win."

Perhaps it was a tough ask to do that against a Tottenham side challenging at the very top of the embryonic Premier League table, but the Reds gave it a good go and were certainly the better side in the first half, backed by incredibly vocal support emanating from all sides of the ground.

Brennan Johnson - still only 21-years-old - was a thorn in the side of the north London club, while Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to stay alert to beat away Lewis O'Brien's swerving drive from a few yards outside the box.

The hosts did muster 17 attempts throughout the game - just one short of their opponents' tally - however, that did prove to be their only shot on target in the entirety of the match.

Of course, the fact they do have six new signings in the squad and that the team is still gelling does perhaps get them off the hook at this stage. They will improve in that respect once further familiarity is cultivated over time, there is no doubt about it.

Had Ryan Yates scored with his free header, which would have levelled the game within 10 minutes of the restart, the conclusion may have been different altogether. But that's hindsight for you.

"The game was tough," conceded Spurs boss Antonio Conte in his post-match interview on Sky Sports. From those four words alone, Forest can take plenty of encouragement.
Dan Long

Hit: Resilient West Ham up and running

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of West Ham's win over Aston Villa in the Premier League

Expectations have increased at West Ham after finishing sixth and seventh under David Moyes in the previous two Premier League seasons, but that pressure seemed to have a damaging effect at the start of this campaign.

As the Hammers travelled to the west Midlands to face Aston Villa on Sunday, they remained the only team in English football's top four divisions not to have scored in the league. They began the day bottom of the table, with three defeats from three.

Pablo Fornals celebrates after his deflected strike gives West Ham the lead at Villa Park
Image: Pablo Fornals scored West Ham's winner against Aston Villa

Despite routine victories over Danish club Viborg in the Europa Conference League, domestically Moyes' side had not been at the races - and they looked off the pace again at Villa Park in the opening 45 minutes.

They grew into the game, though, and the introduction of Said Benrahma for debutant Emerson at the break - as well as a change in formation - proved the difference. Benrahma was at the heart of every promising West Ham move in the second half, with Kurt Zouma also impressing as the visitors showed their battling qualities to grind out three points.

Pablo Fornals' deflected strike sealed the victory and lifted spirits ahead of two upcoming London derbies against Tottenham and Chelsea, but this was a collective effort.

"The formation is important, but the players showed attitude, commitment and determination," Moyes told Sky Sports.

"We've done really well over the past couple of years and we want to continue that. The players showed their resilience once again."

The imminent arrival of Lyon midfielder Lucas Paqueta will give West Ham another boost before they host Spurs on Wednesday. Their season is finally up and running.
Dan Sansom

Miss: Lage must get more from toothless Wolves

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves’ draw against Newcastle in the Premier League

After leading Newcastle for so long at Molineux, Allan Saint-Maximin's late leveller would have left Wolves with a sour taste in their mouths - particularly when they took a glance at the Premier League table.

The 1-1 draw leaves Wolves 19th and without a win in the top flight since April 2 - a run of 11 matches - but in truth, Bruno Lage's side would have been fortunate to come away with all three points against the Magpies.

For a team containing midfielders as talented as Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes, it was a disappointment to see Wolves struggle to keep hold of the ball for long enough to exert any consistent pressure on Newcastle, as shown by their passing success rate of just under 71 per cent.

Wolves' struggles to maintain possession had a knock-on effect further up the pitch, where the three forwards - Goncalo Guedes, Pedro Neto and Raul Jimenez - all attempted fewer passes than Jose Sa, the goalkeeper. Lage's team went on to record 10 shots compared to Newcastle's 21 and an expected goals total of 0.73, which was dwarfed by the visitors' total of two.

The burden for goalscoring fell predominantly on Jimenez, who started as the No 9, but the Mexican could muster only three touches in the Newcastle area and produced an expected goals total of just 0.12 from his two shots on goal.

All of this paints a picture of a side that are toothless in the final third, and a glance at Wolves' results during their 11-match winless run backs that up, with just seven goals scored during that time.

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Wolves boss Bruno Lage was frustrated with the draw against Newcastle and thought Fabian Schar should have seen a red card for his challenge on Pedro Neto

But a lack of cutting edge in front of goal is nothing new for Wolves, who scored 38 goals in 38 matches last season and just 36 in the 2020/21 campaign.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that sustained drop off has coincided with the head injury Jimenez suffered at Arsenal in November 2020, as well as his subsequent struggles to regain his form. Before that clash with David Luiz, Jimenez had scored 34 goals in 86 Premier League games, but he has contributed just six in 38 since his comeback.

At the age of 31, it is fair to ask whether Jimenez will recapture the form that marked him out as one of the top flight's most effective strikers. Wolves' pursuit of Stuttgart striker Sasa Kalajdzic would suggest they have their doubts.

But the arrival of a new striker alone may not be enough to turn Lage's side into a productive attacking unit. The manager spoke exclusively to Sky Sports about the tactical changes he is making this season, and much of Wolves' attacking success will likely depend on him finding a way to get more from summer recruits Nunes and Guedes, the fit-again Neto and the creative midfield stalwarts Neves and Moutinho.
Joe Shread

Miss: Newcastle show their need for Isak

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Newcastle boss Eddie Howe was frustrated not to have taken all three points away against Wolves

It took a moment of brilliance from Allan Saint-Maximin for Newcastle to clinch a draw at Wolves - "this is one of those Premier League 'wow' moments," said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp - but it might have been a win with a little more cutting edge.

Eddie Howe had hoped to include Alexander Isak at Molineux but Newcastle's £58m signing from Real Sociedad had to watch from the stands after his work permit did not arrive in time.

It was a blow for a side already missing Callum Wilson due to injury.

Newcastle had 64 per cent of the possession and 21 shots to Wolves' 10 but, until the final minute of normal time, when Saint-Maximin crashed his volley past Jose Sa, their finishing was poor.

Chris Wood only mustered one shot on target, the New Zealand international denied by Sa when one-on-one in the early stages, and there was a horrible miss from Joe Willock not long after that.

Willock and Wood were not the only ones guilty of profligacy. Saint-Maximin popped up with a leveller but there was a glaring lack of end product up until then. Substitute Elliot Anderson will feel he should have done better than strike the bar.

It all added up to show why Newcastle have parted with a club-record fee to sign Isak. The Sweden international arrives with a modest scoring record but his potential is huge. Howe will need him to start fulfilling it sooner rather than later.
Nick Wright



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