By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 21 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
The Premier League returned from the FA Cup break with more thrills, spills and excitement for match-week 21. Here are five lessons we learned from the weekend.
Manchester City are not winning the title this season
Getting a result at Goodison Park is not easy, but what happened on Sunday was embarrassing. Despite having 71% possession, the Citizens failed to create many clear cut chances and were made to pay by a clinical Everton side. Romelu Lukaku gave the Toffees the lead after 34 minutes. Kevin Mirallas doubled the advantage just after the break before Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman sent Goodison Park into a fever pitch to complete the drubbing.
The defeat is a huge blow to City’s title aspiration as they are now ten points behind Chelsea, and the way things are heading it could be more before the season ends. Everton on the otherhand move closer to their aspiration of securing a spot in Europe for next season.
Who needs Diego Costa?
The weekend posed a lot of questions for Chelsea. They were coming off defeat for the first time in 13 games, and their star striker Diego Costa was dropped due to an alleged training ground bust up or due to fitness issues. This was amidst rumours that the Spaniard was potentially on his way to China for a reported £30 million a year deal.
The Blues responded perfectly with a 3-0 away win at champions Leicester City to maintain their seven point lead at the top of the table. Marcos Alonso was the stand-out performer in the rout, scoring inside six minutes to give Chelsea an early lead. The Spaniard added a second just minutes after half time to double their lead before Pedro made it 3-0 with a fine header.
It was a return to form for Chelsea and a return to the win column after their defeat to Spurs. They proved that they can still find goals without their top goalscorer, and if a move to China is to happen that may be huge come the end of the season.
North London ran riot
It is looking like Tottenham Hotspur will be Chelsea’s nearest challengers for the league crown. Not only did Mauricio Pochettino’s side end Chelsea’s 13 game unbeaten run, they backed it up with a crushing 4-0 win over West Brom to make it six consecutive wins.
Harry Kane bagged a hat trick in the demolition of Tony Pulis’ side. After struggling to find goals in the early part of the season, Spurs have now found the formula and are netting at will in recent weeks. They put four past one of the Premier League’s toughest defences and are looking in fine form as we pass the half way mark of the season. If Spurs keep this up they will no doubt be in the conversation for the title at the end of the season.
Arsenal have kept their faint hopes alive with a 4-0 victory of their own against struggling Swansea. It took 37 minutes for the Gunners to take the lead through Olivier Giroud after a spirited start from the Swans. The goal deflated them however, and two own goals plus an Alexis Sanchez goal finished the job for Arsenal who stay within eight points of Chelsea. It may look too little too late for Arsene Wenger’s side but they kept themselves in the hunt with an impressive victory.
There may be hope for Hull after all
Marco Silva began his Premier League career with a win as his Hull City side impressively defeated Bournemouth 3-1 at the KCOM stadium.
Despite going behind to an early penalty, the Tigers roared back with Abel Hernandez bagging two goals before Tyrone Mings got one of his own, albeit in the wrong net. It is a crucial win for Hull who move off the bottom of the Premier League and into 18th, level on points with Crystal Palace who lost 3-0 away at West Ham.
It was made even bigger for Hull as their relegation rivals all tasted defeat. Swansea lost 4-0 at home to Arsenal so go bottom, whilst Sunderland suffered their own home defeat to Stoke City. Just above the scrap, Middlesbrough and Watford shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw. They remain close to the relegation zone, especially given Hull’s victory.
What else happened?
Manchester United and Liverpool once again played out a draw, though this time it was a little more entertaining than the last. The away side took the lead at Old Trafford through James Milner’s penalty, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic popped up to rescue a point for United just six minutes from time. The Swede continues his good run of goal-scoring form, this being his 14th Premier League goal in just 20 appearances.
The draw does not suit either side however, as they both lose ground on Chelsea and Spurs at the top of the Premier League. Liverpool slip to third whilst United remain sixth in the table.
Burnley moved into the top half of the table with another home victory, this time over Southampton. Joey Barton made his mark in his Premier League return with a late winner for the Clarets who continue to impress at Turf Moor.
Full Premier League results
Tottenham 4-0 West Brom
Burnley 1-0 Southampton
Hull 3-1 Bournemouth
Sunderland 1-3 Stoke
Swansea 0-4 Arsenal
Watford 0-0 Middlesbrough
West Ham 3-0 Crystal Palace
Leicester 0-3 Chelsea
Everton 4-0 Man City
Man United 1-1 Liverpool
The Premier League returns on Saturday 21st of January.
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