By Niall Clarke

  • Five lessons learned from Premier League match-week 24
  • Full results
Manchester City got back to winning ways whilst Watford look to take a new direction after match-week 24 of the Premier League season. Here are five things from the weekends football.

 

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The Aguero Conundrum

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Manchester City returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win against Newcastle. Sergio Aguero scored all three goals for the hosts, further emphasising the conundrum with the Argentinian. There is no doubt that Aguero is a world class striker. But despite his ability in front of goal, there are rumours that he could be sold by Pep Guardiola, and despite being a club legend, some fans agree that he may have to go.

That is not a knock on his ability, it is just that he does not fit the Guardiola style the best. With the large emphasis on possession and keeping the ball, Aguero’s struggles in holding up play and his desire to try find a shot on goal at every possible opportunity goes against this.

That makes this a big decision for the club. Do they sell a club legend and bring in another striker who suits their style more? Or do Manchester City stick with Aguero who is still a world class forward?

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Lambert Starts Stoke Life With Victory

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Newly appointed Stoke City manager Paul Lambert began life with the Potters with a much needed 2-0 home win against fellow relegation fighters Huddersfield Town.

Second half goals from Joe Allen and Mame Diouf secured Lambert a debut win on his return to the top flight and lifted the Potters out of the bottom three.

The former Aston Villa and Norwich boss was a surprise replacement for Mark Hughes who was sacked after a run of poor results. But he seems to be relishing his return to top flight management after three years away from the Premier League.

The big problem was Stoke has been their defence this season. They have conceded 50 goals in 24 matches, the worst record in the Premier League. The Potters looked more solid at the back against Huddersfield and with a new manager can often come new life. Will Lambert have the same affect as Roy Hodgson and David Moyes? We shall find out.

 

Watford Sack Marco Silva

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After a 2-0 defeat at Leicester on Saturday, Watford parted ways with their manager Marco Silva and have hired Javi Garcia as his immediate replacement.

This comes after a run of one win in ten games which has seen the Hornets slip down to within four points of the relegation zone. It is has been quite the remarkable turnaround after a very strong start to the season. But it came right after Silva was linked with the Everton job which seemed to unsettle the team.

Watford then went on a run where bad defending and discipline saw them lose matches they were expected to win. It will be interesting to see if Garcia can get the side back on track and save them from their current slump. But for now, Watford are in a bit of trouble and could find themselves in the middle of a relegation battle.

 

Arsenal Show They Can Perform Without Sanchez

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With Alexis Sanchez departing for Manchester United and Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming the other way, the Gunners must now ponder life without their Chilean sensation. Sanchez has been key to Arsenal’s success in recent years, but on Saturday they proved they can still perform without him.

The Gunners defeated Crystal Palace 4-1 on Saturday, with all four the home side’s goals coming in a first half romp. Goals from Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal a commanding lead after only 22 minutes on the clock. Luka Milivojevic got a goal back for the visitors 12 minutes from time, but by then it was too little too late.

It will be interesting to see how Mkhitaryan adapts to Arsenal being a different type of player to Sanchez. The Armenian should get more game time under Arsene Wenger and he should create a lot of chances for Lacazette up top.

For now, Arsenal remain sixth and are three points behind Tottenham ahead. Palace on the other hand drop to 13th in the table.

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What else happened?

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Manchester United edged Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor thanks to a goal from Anthony Martial. The Frenchman will be fighting for a place in the team with arrival of Sanchez imminent, and there is no better way to do that than score a winning goal.

Chelsea returned to form with a 4-0 thrashing of Brighton. Eden Hazard was the start of the show as he scored twice in the Blues’ comprehensive win over the struggling Seagulls.

Tottenham lost ground however as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton. Davison Sanchez scored an own goal to give the Saints a shock lead, but Harry Kane netted the equaliser just minutes later.

The biggest shock of the weekend was the last game of match-week 24. Just eight days after beating Manchester City, Liverpool lost to bottom club Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

West Ham and Bournemouth played out a 1-1 draw too at the Olympic Stadium. Everton were held to the same score-line by West Brom too.

Predictions round-up

It was a big week for Niall who scored 16 points this match-week with four correct scores. Neil did not have a bad week either, scoring ten points. The lead is cut down to 26 points, can Niall mount a comeback liver Liverpool in Istanbul?

Niall (148)
Actual Score Neil (174)
Brighton 0-2 Chelsea (1) Brighton 0-4 Chelsea Brighton 1-2 Chelsea (1)
Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace (1) Arsenal 4-1 Crystal Palace Arsenal 2-2 Crystal Palace
Burnley 0-1 Man United (3) Burnley 0-1 Man United Burnley 1-2 Man United (1)
Everton 1-1 West Brom (3) Everton 1-1 West Brom Everton 1-1 West Brom (3)
Leicester 2-1 Watford (1) Leicester 2-0 Watford Leicester 2-0 Watford (3)
Stoke 2-0 Huddersfield (3) Stoke 2-0 Huddersfield Stoke 1-1 Huddersfield
West Ham 1-1 Bournemouth (3) West Ham 1-1 Bournemouth West Ham 2-2 Bournemouth (1)
Man City 4-0 Newcastle (1) Man City 3-1 Newcastle Man City 3-0 Newcastle (1)
Southampton 0-2 Tottenham Southampton 1-1 Tottenham Southampton 1-3 Tottenham
Swansea 1-3 Liverpool Swansea 1-0 Liverpool Swansea 1-4 Liverpool
The Premier League returns on February 3rd

 

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