By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 12 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
The Premier League has new leaders in Chelsea as the title race continues to swing in different directions. Here are five lessons learned from match-week 12.
It is not over until the final whistle blows
It seems rather obvious doesn’t it? But for Manchester United it became a fact that slapped them right in the face on Saturday. A late goal from Olivier Giroud cancelled out Juan Mata’s earlier effort to rescue an unlikely point for the Gunners.
The game was largely controlled by Jose Mourinho’s side even though chances were rare for both sides. It increasingly looked like United would get the breakthrough before Mata did just that in the second half. But as the game wore on United dropped back and were made to pay by Giroud’s late equaliser.
It was a point neither side would have been too pleased with, but not so disappointed with either prior to kick off. But the circumstances in which it came about would leave United fans irked, and Arsenal fans feeling lucky they escaped without a defeat.
Chelsea are currently the best side in the league
With Liverpool failing to win away at Southampton, Chelsea had the chance to go clear at the top of the Premier League on Sunday for the first time since they won the title two seasons a go.
It was hard fought game away at Middlesbrough, but Diego Costa tapped in to fire the Blues to the top of the table. It was the Spaniard’s 10th goal of the season as he further established himself as the top striker in the league this season.
Six straight wins now for Antonio Conte, and six games without conceding a goal, the impressive run continues without a clear ending in sight. Chelsea host the unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday in the weekend’s biggest fixture. Something must give, but what will it be?
Yaya Toure has still got ‘it’
When Yaya Toure’s name was announced on the team sheet for Manchester City’s trip to Crystal Palace, eyebrows were raised. The Ivorian has fallen out of favour under Pep Guardiola and had not started a game since August. Whether it was a tactical decision to start Toure or whether he just wanted to rest a few starters ahead of the Champions League trip to Germany, it proved to be a game winning decision.
Many times in the past the African midfielder has delivered big performances when needed and Saturday proved to be no different. In a vintage performance, he was able to bag the two goals the Citizens needed to overcome Crystal Palace.
It was a stunning performance from Toure, one that proves he is still a big asset at Manchester City. As for Crystal Palace, something needs to change fast. They have lost five on the bounce and could end up in big trouble should this form continue.
Liverpool can be kept out
Jurgen Klopp’s side are the most free scoring team in the league. Their talent and ability going forward is not rivalled by many sides in the world, but they failed to break down the Southampton defence on Saturday in a game that finished goalless.
It was arguably the most surprising result of the weekend. Not because it was a draw, but because there was no goals to speak of. You would think a game involving Liverpool would be full of them, but this weekend showed they can be kept out. It also showed that Liverpool are capable of keeping teams out themselves, something they have struggled to do all campaign.
The draw saw Liverpool move to second in the table behind Chelsea, but with the way Southampton can often be a banana skin matchup for the top sides, it is not a bad result for the Reds.
What happened elsewhere?
The big game at the bottom of the table between Sunderland and Hull saw the Black Cats claim a big 3-0 victory which lifted them off the foot of the table. The bottom spot now belongs to Swansea who managed a credible 1-1 draw away at Everton.
Tottenham put an end to their drawing streak with a come from behind 3-2 win over West Ham. Spurs are now just one point behind Arsenal in fourth.
Leicester’s pre-Champions League curse continued as they lost 2-1 away at Watford. Bournemouth claimed a deserved 1-0 at Stoke, and to complete the weekend, West Bromwich hammered Burnley 4-0.
Full Premier League results
Man United 1-1 Arsenal
Crystal Palace 1-2 Man City
Everton 1-1 Swansea
Southampton 0-0 Liverpool
Stoke 0-1 Bournemouth
Sunderland 3-0 Hull
Watford 2-1 Leicester
Tottenham 3-2 West Ham
Middlesbrough 0-1 Chelsea
West Brom 4-0 Burnley
The Premier League returns on the 26th of November.
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