By Niall Clarke

  • Five takeaways from Premier League match-week 14
  • Full results

The busy Christmas period is upon us as we were treated to some mid-week Premier League action. Here are five takeaways from match-week 14.

 

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Are Manchester City slowing down?

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Manchester City continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 2-1 win at home to Southampton on Wednesday.

After a goalless first half, City took the lead through Kevin De Bruyne two minutes after half time. A determined and well disciplined Southampton side were rewarded for their play with an equaliser thanks to Oriel Romeu just 15 minutes before the end. It looked like the Saints had done enough to secure a draw, but Raheem Sterling became the match-winner once against with a curling effort in the 96th minute.

City maintain their eight point gap at the top of the table, but in recent weeks they have begun to look a bit more vulnerable. After blowing many teams away at the start of the season, City have struggled to break down Feyenoord, Huddersfield and Southampton in the space of a week, and they needed late winners to win those games.

Whilst a good sign of champions is winning the matches where you do not play your best, Pep Guardiola’s side may be slowing down a little after their tremendous start to the campaign.

 

Spurs’ poor run continues

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Tottenham’s title aspirations may be all but over after suffering a 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Tuesday.

It was the familiar duo of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez that did the damage for the Foxes by giving them a two goal lead before half time. Tottenham fired one back through the usual suspect, Harry Kane, but they could not mount a comeback.

Leicester power into the top ten, but for Spurs they now sit seventh, 16 points off Manchester City at the top of the table. Whilst Spurs have had an amazing Champions League campaign, it is starting to no longer mask their league form.

They have won just one of their last six domestic games and have already lost as many games as they did during the whole of last season. A title challenge is no longer possible for them, which turns their attention towards finishing in the top four. They are currently our points behind Arsenal in fourth.

 

Mohamed Salah will run away with the Golden Boot at this rate

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Mohamed Salah did not start against Stoke City on Wednesday. Manager Jurgen Klopp opted to give the Egyptian a little rest for the trip to the BET 365 stadium, but despite missing most of the game, he still managed to find the back of the net, twice.

Sadio Mane gave the Red’s a controversial lead, slotting the ball how after a marginal linesman call. Stoke came back to Liverpool looking for an equaliser, but the introduction of Salah would prove to be the game changer. The winger used his pace to good effect, and score his 11th and 12th goals a season to put the game beyond any doubt.

Salah is in tremendous goal-scoring form, average a goal every 87 minutes since moving from Roma in the summer. Signing of the season? Maybe, but right now he looks like he could also finish as the top scorer in the league.

 

Burnley could contend for a European place

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You have got to credit Sean Dyche for what he has done for Burnley. With one of the smaller budgets in the division, he has taken the Clarets from relegation-elects to a side that could contend for Europe if they keep up this form for the rest of the season.

If I had to think of one word to describe Burnley, it is solid. Before they were a side that made for a difficult away trip, but did not offer much on their travels, but this year they have put it together and as a result make for one of the more consistent sides in the league.

The Clarets earned another away win at Bournemouth on Wednesday. They took a two goal lead before Joshua King made for a nervy last ten minutes with a goal back for the Cherries. The win is Burnley’s fourth in five games, with their only loss coming in controversial fashion against Arsenal on Sunday.

They have moved up to sixth in the table, leapfrogging Spurs and sitting only three points behind Arsenal in fourth. There is still a long way to go in the season of course, but right now they look like a side that could contend for a Europa League place, and what a result that would be for Dyche’s side.

 

Everton and Rooney welcome Sam Allardyce with a big win

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Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick to lead Everton to a comprehensive 4-0 win over West Ham in front of their new manager Sam Allardyce.

The former England boss watched on as England’s all-time highest goal-scorer scored a stunning hat-trick, including a goal from his own half. Rooney latched on to a poor Joe Hart clearance to hit the ball on the half volley into the empty net. It was quite the way to complete a hat-trick after scoring a header on the rebound from a missed penalty, and slotting home neatly in from a Tom Davies cross in the first half.

To make matters worse for David Moyes on his return to Goodison Park, Ashley Williams added a fourth late on with a header to seal a much deserved win for the Toffees.

The victory moves Everton up to 13th and gives Allardyce a much better platform to work on as he attempts to get Everton back into the top seven. He will be encouraged by what he saw here, especially from Rooney who showed he still a huge goals-scoring threat despite playing on a deeper role.

 

Predictions round-up

No correct scores this time, but Neil trusting Liverpool to beat Stoke made the difference as he wins the match-week 6-5 and extends his lead by a point overall. Can Niall respond over the weekend?

Niall (85)
Actual Score Neil (92)
Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace Brighton 0-0 Crystal Palace Brighton 2-1 Crystal Palace
Leicester 0-2 Tottenham Leicester 2-1 Tottenham Leicester 1-3 Tottenham
Watford 0-1 Man United (1) Watford 2-4 Man United Watford 1-2 Man United (1)
West Brom 1-1 Newcastle (1) West Brom 2-2 Newcastle West Brom 0-0 Newcastle (1)
Arsenal 3-0 Huddersfield (1) Arsenal 5-0 Huddersfield Arsenal 2-0 Huddersfield (1)
Bournemouth 1-1 Burnley Bournemouth 1-2 Burnley Bournemouth 1-1 Burnley
Chelsea 4-0 Swansea (1) Chelsea 1-0 Swansea Chelsea 3-0 Swansea (1)
Everton 1-1 West Ham Everton 4-0 West Ham Everton 1-1 West Ham
Man City 3-0 Southampton (1) Man City 2-1 Southampton Man City 3-1 Southampton (1)
Stoke 2-2 Liverpool Stoke 0-3 Liverpool Stoke 1-3 Liverpool (1)
The Premier League returns on December 2nd
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