By Niall Clarke

  • Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week 29
  • Full results
PREMIER LEAGUE, UK – Manchester City win again but should teams go at them more instead of sitting back? We look into that and more in our five takeaways from Matchweek 29.

 

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Teams should attack Manchester City more

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Whilst watching Manchester City dominate and ultimately beat a ultra defensive Chelsea side 1-0, I was left thinking ‘why do teams not have a go at them?’

Chelsea are one of the elite teams in the Premier League and defending champions, so watching them give Manchester City this much respect was embarrassing to see. The Blues literally had 10 or 11 men behind the ball most of the match, played no recognised striker and decided to counter by hitting long balls to Eden Hazard of all players. They failed to register a shot on target as City cruised to another win, an embarrassing statistic for the defending Champions.

Sitting back and defending clearly does not work as more often than not, Pep Guardiola’s side will find a way to score. It may reduce the deficit you lose by, but teams should not be playing to avoid defeat. Liverpool showed that attacking Manchester City is a viable path to victory. The Reds risked a heavy defeat, but their willingness to go at the league leaders was rewarded with a win that almost ending in a hammering. Shakhtar Donetsk had similar success in the Champions League, and whilst Napoli were eventually overwhelmed, they had good spells in those two matches.

City are no doubt the best team in the country, but the gap at the top of the table may be less if more teams took it to them over the course of the season instead of showing them too much respect.

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It is time to step away Arsene

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More misery was piled on Arsene Wenger and his side after suffering a 2-1 defeat away at Brighton on Sunday.

Two early goals from Lewis Dunk and Glenn Murray put the Seagulls on the upset path, but a goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang late in the first half made for a nervy second period. The visitors improved but could not find an equaliser as they slumped to a third straight defeat, their fourth in five games.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Gunners need to move forward with a new direction. Wenger is a legend of the club and has done many great things in his two decades at Arsenal, but it seems that time has passed this once great manager. The Gunners sit closer to 20th than first in terms of points, and unless they win the Europa League, they will probably miss out on the Champions League again.

It is time for Wenger to step away, not only for himself but also for the club. Arsenal need a fresh leader to bring in fresh ideas and bring the club back to the top, because they will not reach that level again under Wenger.

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The top four looks set… for now

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Defeat for Chelsea and Arsenal allowed Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool to extend their gap to fifth place and all but confirm their top four status.

Liverpool comfortably defeated Newcastle 2-0 at Anfield to temporarily move into second place ahead of Manchester United. Mohamed Salah moved level with Harry Kane on 24 goals for the season with his opener after 40 minutes. Sadio Mane would add a second shortly after half time to which Newcastle failed to respond. The Magpies lacked an attacking threat and were under pressure for the majority of the game, however Liverpool could not add any more to their tally.

Heung Min-son was the star as Tottenham defeated Huddersfield 2-0 at Wembley. The South Korean struck twice in the win which moved Spurs five points clear of rivals Chelsea. Son’s performance will no doubt have pleased fans back in South Korea where he has his own television highlights show that airs every night.

With Chelsea struggling form, Arsenal looking out of sorts and these two teams looking in good form at the moment, Liverpool and Tottenham should be safe for a top four finish barring a late run from Chelsea or a dip in form.

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West Brom look set to go down

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West Bromwich Albion lost again on Saturday as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Watford. The Baggies now sit eight points from safety with only nine games to go, can they achieve the seemingly impossible and survive the drop?

It took Watford 77 minutes to find the breakthrough, but after Will Hughes played through Troy Deeney, the Hornets captain slotted home to claim the win for the home side. The victory moved Watford back into the top half as they leap-frogged Everton.

West Brom remain bottom and are on a five match losing run. It will take a huge effort to overturn this form and save themselves from relegation. It looks like it may be too little too late for the Baggies.

 

What else happened?

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Manchester United remain second after coming from behind to win 3-2 at Crystal Palace. The Red Devils were 2-0 down to the Eagles at Selhurst Park, but they came back to win thanks to a 90th minute screamer from Nemanja Matic. Palace are now back in the bottom three.

Burnley got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win at home to Everton. The Clarets have struggled in 2018 so the win will come as a relief to Sean Dyche.

In a big game at the bottom of the table, Southampton and Stoke played out a 0-0 draw at St. Marys’ so neither side could move clear of danger.

Swansea recorded a huge 4-1 win at home to West Ham United to leapfrog the Hammers into 13th place and keep up their good home form under Carlos Carvalhal.

Leicester left it late to rescue a point at home to Bournemouth. The Foxes are still going through a rough patch under Claude Puel however, even though they remain in the top half.

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Predictions round-up

Niall needed a fairly big week and he got it with eight correct results and one correct score to give him a week total of 11. Neil had a struggle in Matchweek 29, only picking up four points. The Gap is now 13 points with nine match-weeks remaining. Can Niall turn it around?

Niall (182)
Actual Score Neil (195)
Burnley 1-0 Everton (1) Burnley 2-1 Everton Burnley 2-0 Everton (1)
Leicester 2-1 Bournemouth Leicester 1-1 Bournemouth Leicester 2-1 Bournemouth
Southampton 1-1 Stoke (1) Southampton 0-0 Stoke Southampton 1-2 Stoke
Swansea 2-1 West Ham (1) Swansea 4-1 West Ham Swansea 1-1 West Ham
Tottenham 4-0 Huddersfield (1) Tottenham 2-0 Huddersfield Tottenham 4-0 Huddersfield (1)
Watford 2-0 West Brom (1) Watford 1-0 West Brom Watford 1-1 West Brom
Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle (1) Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle (1)
Brighton 2-1 Arsenal (3) Brighton 2-1 Arsenal Brighton 2-2 Arsenal
Man City 2-1 Chelsea (1) Man City 1-0 Chelsea Man City 2-1 Chelsea (1)
Crystal Palace 0-1 Man United (1) Crystal Palace 2-3 Man United Crystal Palace 1-1 Man United
The Premier League returns on March 10th

 

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