By Niall Clarke

  • Five takeaways from Premier League match-week 15
  • Full results
The Manchester clubs remain top of the Premier League with Chelsea keeping pace ahead of next weeks’ derby. Here are our five takeaways from match-week 15.

 

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The Manchester derby is firmly poised

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Next Sunday marks the biggest game of the season as Manchester United welcome their noisy neighbours to Old Trafford, and I can not wait.

Only a few weeks ago it looked like City were far ahead of United, but whilst the gap remains at eight points, the Citizens are starting to show signs of weakness and the Red Devils are growing into their early season form again.

Manchester City needed a late goal again to seal victory against West Ham on Sunday. It was not quite the late showing that we got against Southampton, but it was another winner in the dying minutes of the match. For the most part, they were poor in the first half and paid for it when West Ham took the lead. The Citizens dominated the second though and managed to overturn the deficit and secure a 13th straight win.

Manchester United’s trip to Arsenal was one of the most entertaining games of the season. United took an early two goal lead, but the Gunners came firing back and had multiple close attempts as they tried to get back in the game. Alexandre Lacazette gave them hope by making it 2-1, but Jesse Lingard scored his second goal of the game to re-established United’s two goal advantage. Paul Pogba saw red late on, and will miss next week’s derby, a huge blow to Jose Mourinho’s side.

United look dangerous once again, and with City not in their amazing goal-scoring form it makes for a fascinating contest next Sunday.

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David De Gea may be the best goalkeeper in the world.

 

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Whilst we are on the subject of Arsenal vs Man United, there has to be a mention of David De Gea’s performance.

The Spaniard was sensational on Saturday, and one of the key reasons United won the match. Arsenal laid siege on the United goal, but De Gea was like a brick wall. The Man United keeper made 14 saves during the match, including an incredible double save to deny Lacazetee and Alexis Sanchez.

It was a man of the match performance from Dea Gea, and one that solidifies him as the world’s best goalkeeper in the eyes of many. It is interesting to see the rise of De Gea from a player ridiculed when he first joined the club, to becoming universally praised for his performances.

I saw potential in De Gea when he first burst on to the scene at Atletico Madrid as a teenager, and thought he was unfairly criticised when he first joined United. He was a young keeper at the time and was still growing as a player. It is good to see him develop into the world class keeper he is today.

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Tottenham’s dip continues

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Tottenham came away from Vicarage Road with a point, but it could be argued that Watford deserved the victory.

Marco Silva’s side took the lead thanks to Christian Kabasele who headed home from a Tom Cleverley corner. Watford thought they should have had a penalty when Richarlison appeared to be fouled, but it was waved, and less than a minute later Son Heung-min equalised for Spurs

Davinson Sanchez was sent off early in the second half and from there Watford took control, but the hosts could not find the winning goal, They were denied another penalty shout when the ball struck the arm of Eric Dier late on.

It has been four games without a win for Spurs, and although they moved up a spot to sixth, they are now four points behind Liverpool in fourth. It may be an uphill task to qualify for the Champions League, and unless they have a magical European run, that would be considered a failure after their success last season.

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Crisis at Everton? What crisis?

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Sam Allardyce made a winning start as Everton manager as the Toffees beat Huddersfield 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday.

After a 4-0 win against West Ham in mid-week, the Toffees came into this match not only with a new manager, but a renewed sense of confidence. It took a while for them to get going, but a confident second half performance was enough to see them past the Yorkshire club.

Allardyce once said as a pundit that Everton needed to go back to basics to get out of their rut and tighten up their defence to be difficult to beat. On evidence of this game, that is exactly what he aims to achieve with Everton. Their defence looked tighter than it has all season, even though it was against a side that struggles for goals.

After back to back wins, and back to back clean sheets too, The Toffees are now in the top half of the table, eight points from the relegation zone. What crisis again?

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Liverpool have developed some consistency

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After their 5-1 thrashing of Brighton on Saturday, Liverpool have now gone unbeaten in their last six Premier League games, winning five of them.

The Reds are in fine goal-scoring form, and putting five past a Brighton side that have proved tough to beat is no mean feat. They did not even need their top scorer Mohamed Salah to be on the score-sheet to deliver this hammering. Instead it was the Brazilian duo of Phillipe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino who were the stand out performers.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have further cemented themselves as one o the most dangerous attacking sides in Europe, and move to fourth in the table after a good run of form.

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Predictions round-up

It was a good week for both our writers with Niall scoring 11 points and Neil scoring 10. That means Niall has closen the gap by a single point, so Neil now leads by six points.

Niall (96)
Actual Score Neil (102)
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle (1) Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle Chelsea 3-1 Newcastle (3)
Brighton 2-2 Liverpool Brighton 1-5 Liverpool Brighton 1-1 Liverpool
Everton 2-0 Huddersfield (3) Everton 2-0 Huddersfield Everton 2-1 Huddersfield (1)
Leicester 1-1 Burnley Leicester 1-0 Burnley Leicester 1-1 Burnley
Stoke 2-0 Swansea (1) Stoke 2-1 Swansea Stoke 2-0 Swansea (1)
Watford 2-2 Tottenham (1) Watford 1-1 Tottenham Watford 2-2 Tottenham (1)
West Brom 0-0 Crystal Palace (3) West Brom 0-0 Crystal Palace West Brom 2-1 Crystal Palace
Arsenal 1-2 Man United (1) Arsenal 1-3 Man United Arsenal 2-1 Man United
Bournemouth 2-1 Southampton Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton Bournemouth 1-1 Southampton (3)
Man City 4-0 West Ham (1) Man City 2-1 West Ham Man City 4-0 West Ham (1)
The Premier League returns on December 9th

 

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