By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 19 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
We are officially at the half way mark of the Premier League season as match-week 19 comes to a close. Here are five lessons we learned from the weekend’s action.
Chelsea equal a Premier League record
What more can be said about this Chelsea team? With the 4-2 win at home to Stoke on Saturday, The Blues have matched a Premier League record for consecutive wins in a single season with ‘lucky’ 13, and will look to break that record when they face Tottenham Hotspur in midweek.
It was not a simple win over the Potters. Mark Hughes’ side gave a good fight as they twice came from behind to level the score. Gary Cahill opened the scoring just after the half hour mark, but Bruno Martins Indi levelled right after half time. Willian put Chelsea back in front before Peter Crouch made it 2-2. Stoke are the first team to score two against Chelsea since Arsenal back in September, but unfortunately for them Antonio Conte’s side were on point in attack. Willian quickly made it 3-2 before Diego Costa netted his 14th goal of the season to seal the win, the record and the three points. With that tally of goals and five assists, the Spaniard has been involved in more goals domestically than anyone in Europe’s top five divisions.
The Blues remain six points clear heading into the New Year and are seemingly un-catchable, but they face a difficult away trip against Tottenham on Wednesday. Will they ever slip up?
It is a two horse title race… for now
Liverpool vs Manchester City was undoubtedly the most anticipated game of the weekend, and as such it turned out to be the most disappointing. It promised a feast of attacking football, but what we got was a poor quality match with chances at a Premium.
In fact the only bit of real quality is what separated the two sides. Adam Lallana’s superb cross was finely tucked away by the head of Georginio Wijnaldum just eight minutes in, from there it went downhill as neither side could find that edge in the final third. Simple passes were misplaced and there were some comical errors from both sets of players, it resembled a Sunday league match rather than a Premier League match. For Jurgen Klopp though only the win will matter. His side successfully kept City out and dented their title challenge whilst keeping pace with Chelsea.
The Citizens are now ten points off the leaders and four behind Liverpool. Barring some drastic form change, there will not be any Premier League success for Pep Guardiola in his debut season. We all know though, that anything can happen in the English top flight, and there are still plenty of games left to be played.
It is a happy new year for North London
Spurs kicked off Sunday’s action with an impressive 4-1 win away at Watford. A brace for Harry Kane and Dele Alli put the North London side 4-0 up before Younis Kaboul netted a consolation goal against his former club. This win not only puts Spurs into the top four, it also gives them added confidence heading into Wednesday’s titanic clash against Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
Arsenal are now third after a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. Olivier Giroud netted one of the goals of the season with a looping scorpion kick to give the Gunners the lead. Alex Iwobi doubled the lead after half time to secure the three points and keep in touch with the leading pack.
It was a good start to the new year for North London, and it could get better if they build on these results in midweek. Tottenham host record-chasing Chelsea, whilst Arsenal face Bournemouth.
Swansea are in deep trouble
Former manager Bob Bradley described the chaos off the field at Swansea, but it seems like there are even more issues on the pitch. The Swans were thoroughly outclassed by Bournemouth who defeated them 3-0 and left the Welsh side bottom of the Premier League. It is true they are currently manager-less, and if they can find the right man they could survive. The team at present is just a shambles though, and they are dangerously close to being relegated.
Hull managed to pick up a credible 2-2 draw at Home to Everton to be lifted from the foot of the table. Sunderland got a hammering of their own as they were defeated 4-1 by Burnley.
Leicester moved clearer of the drop with a 1-0 win over West Ham. The defending champions took the lead through Islam Slimani and never looked back as they scored a vital victory over a West Ham side who have picked up form as of late. Middlesbrough were defeated 2-1 by Manchester United after leading 1-0 with five minutes left. Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba completed the comeback to keep Middlesbrough only four points from the relegation zone.
What else happened?
West Brom took the three points in the battle of the mid-table clubs on Saturday. The Baggies earned an impressive 2-1 win at Southampton to leapfrog the saints into eighth position. This is a big result for West Brom who are still in contention for a European finish. Their form had dipped over the past couple of weeks but an away win at Southampton.
Full Premier League results
Hull 2-2 Everton
Burnley 4-1 Sunderland
Chelsea 4-2 Stoke
Leicester 1-0 West Ham
Man United 2-1 Middlesbrough
Southampton 1-2 West Brom
Swansea 0-3 Bournemouth
Liverpool 1-0 Man City
Liverpool 4-1 Stoke
The Premier League returns on Monday 2nd of January.
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