Aaron Connolly. INPHO/RYAN BYRNE
By Irish Echo Staff
The return to Premier League action this past week has provided the usual mix of Irish fortune and ill fortune in the very unusual circumstances of empty stadia. In the ill-fortune category, John Egan was sent off Sunday after a second bookable offense in Sheffield United’s game at Newcastle on Sunday. Then his international colleague Enda Stevens completely miscued a clearance which led to Newcastle’s first goal in their 3-0 win.
Matt Doherty and Aaron Connolly were the heroes, in contrast, as they got crucial assists in Wolves and Brighton’s wins over West Ham and Arsenal respectively.
And Everton captain Seamus Coleman did well to contain Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, as the Toffees, who look to be growing in confidence under Carlo Ancelotti, held the Reds to 0-0 at Goodison Park.
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The third Irish Blade David McGoldrick wasn’t in the squad Sunday as he’d picked up a knock in the first game of the restart last Wednesday at Villa Park. Sheffield were desperately unlucky as the Hawk-Eye system failed to register what everyone at home could see, the home goalie Orjan Nyland carrying the ball over his own line. Hawk Eye apologized, explaining that none of the seven cameras detected the goal because of a crowded goalmouth. It finished 0-0.
French World Cup star Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United as a second-half sub at Tottenham Friday night after a long absence through injury and he was the architect of the comeback by the visitors, who’d trailed at halftime. It ended 1-1.
The Friday night game opted to go with a moment’s applause for the National Health Service and other key workers on the frontline as well as a mark of respect for those lost to Covid-19. The other games preferred a moment of silence. Every team took the knee, at the players’ initiative in the battle against racism in soccer and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The match officials and coaching staffs also participated.
The Premier League continues today at 3 p.m. Eastern with Manchester City hosting Burnley. The visitors, who have several Irish players in the squad, will be aiming to improve on the 5-0 drubbings they got the last two times they played at the Etihad Stadium.