By Niall Clarke

  • Five lessons learned from Premier League Matchweek 26
  • Full results
There was plenty to talk about in match-week 26 of the Premier League season with plenty of goals and controversy to get the heart going. Here are five of the best things from the weekend.

 

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Is this the end for Conte at Chelsea?

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After Chelsea’s 4-1 defeat at Watford on Monday in the Premier League, Antonio Conte sported a lifeless look. It was a look of a man resigned to his fate almost as he watched his side collapse at Vicarage Road. We did not see the Italian run up and down the touchline screaming like we usually do, he was a lot less animated. The defeat has left questions about his future at the club, with rumours going around that this might be his last season as Chelsea boss, but will he even make it to the end of the campaign?

As poor as Chelsea were, you can not take anything away from Watford’s performance. The Hornets had only won 0ne match in their last 12, but in this one they looked like the side from earlier in the season. They were of course helped by the dismissal of Tiemoue Bakayoko after 30 minutes, but at this point Watford were on top of the game. They got their deserved lead controversially from the penalty spot as Gerard Deulofeu went down easily under Thibaut Courtois’ challenge, and the spot kick was converted by Troy Deeney.

The Hornets found it hard to grab the second goal from then on, and found themselves level with eight minutes to go after Eden Hazard’s superb 25 yard effort. This goal seemed to spur Javi Gracia’s men on as they quickly retook the lead through a nice goal by Daryl Janmaat. Deulofeu added a third with two minutes to go before Roberto Pereyra put the icing on the cake in stoppage time.

The Blues remain fourth, but with Arsenal recording a win and Tottenham Hotspur avoiding defeat at Liverpool, their top four status is not looking so certain. With the resumption of the Champions League, with the showdown with Barcelona in the next fortnight things will not get easier for the Chelsea manager.

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Controversy headlines another great game

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Liverpool vs. Tottenham more than lived up to the hype. The two sides played out a pulsating 2-2 draw at Anfield, but once again the talk coming out of the game is about Premier League officials.

Liverpool took a very early lead through Mohamed Salah, but Spurs responded well and leveled in the second half after Victor Wanyama’s rocket. Referee Jon Moss then awarded a controversial penalty to the visitors after Harry Kane was brought down by Loris Karius after appearing to be in an offside position. The resulting spot-kick was saved, but that was not the end to the drama.

Salah appeared to have won the game for the Reds when he converted a brilliant solo effort a minute into stoppage time, but Tottenham were once again given a penalty after Virgil van Dijk collided with Erik Lamela. Kane, who missed the earlier spot kick, did not make the same mistake and earned a deserved draw for his side.

It was a thrilling end to an enthralling game of football, but once again the headlines were about the officiating.

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New boys shine for Arsenal

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Arsenal put in a five star performance as they thrashed Everton 5-1 at the Emirates, and to make it even better we saw a good performance from the two new boys at the club.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang capped off his Arsenal debut with a goal. The Gabonese striker strayed marginally offside, but the officials did not catch it and he was able to chip the ball home 37 minutes into his Arsenal career.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not score on Saturday, but he was arguably the best player on the pitch. The Armenian linked up with everyone on the field and provided three assists during the match. He has history with Aubameyang at Borussia Dortmund, so the ex BVB  men should have excellent chemistry together

Normally the headlines would go to the hat-trick hero Aaron Ramsey, but the performances from both Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang overshadowed the Welshman. However, he can still be proud of his performance and the hat-trick he bagged.

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Sanchez gets off the mark at United

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Whilst the Arsenal new boys were tearing Everton to shreds, the Gunners’ former hero got off the mark for his new club Manchester United over the weekend.

Alexis Sanchez got his first goal at Old Trafford in the Red Devils’ 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town. The Chilean stepped up to take a penalty that was awarded after he was brought down by Michael Hefele. It ended up being saved by Jonas Lossl, but Sanchez made no mistake converting the rebound to double United’s lead. They had opened the scoring through Romelu Lukaku just 13 minutes earlier.

Jose Mourinho’s side closed the gap to their neighbours to 13 points with this win. Defeat for Huddersfield has left them 19th in the standings.

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This was a weekend of great goals

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There was a lot to talk about in this match-week of the Premier League season, but among the headlines there were plenty of great goals.

Two came in the Liverpool vs Tottenham game. Wanyama’s rocket was unstoppable, and Salah channeled Lionel Messi with his individual effort.

Hazard finished nicely from 25 yards against Watford, as did Jose Izquierdo for Brighton & Hove Albion who curled the ball from the edge of the area into the top corner. Mario Lemina also smashed home from distance in Southampton’s 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion.

There are not many better sights in football than a great goal, and we were treated to plenty in match-week 26.

 

Predictions round-up

A bad week for Neil saw our leader bag only two points this match week. Niall scored eight so he was able to close the gap by six points, but he is still behind by 22 points overall

Niall (162)
Actual Score Neil (184)
Burnley 0-2 Man City Burnley 1-1 Man City Burnley 0-2 Man City
Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke (3) Bournemouth 2-1 Stoke Bournemouth 1-1 Stoke
Brighton 1-1 West Ham Brighton 3-1 West Ham Brighton 1-0 West Ham (1)
Leicester 2-0 Swansea Leicester 1-1 Swansea Leicester 2-1 Swansea
Man United 3-0 Huddersfield (1) Man United 2-0 Huddersfield Man United 3-0 Huddersfield (1)
West Brom 0-0 Southampton West Brom 2-3 Southampton West Brom 2-0 Southampton
Arsenal 3-1 Everton (1) Arsenal 5-1 Everton Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Crystal Palace 2-0 Newcastle Crystal Palace 1-1 Newcastle Crystal Palace 2-1 Newcastle
Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham (3) Liverpool 2-2 Tottenham Liverpool 3-1 Tottenham
Watford 1-2 Chelsea Watford 4-1 Chelsea Watford 1-3 Chelsea
The Premier League returns this weekend on February 10th

 

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