By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 14 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
Goals, cards and scraps, it is fair to say match-week 14 of the Premier league season had it all. Here are five lessons learned from the weekend.
Manchester City vs Chelsea is the game of the season so far
It was first vs third in one of the biggest matches of the season, and to say it delivered in excitement, quality and drama is an understatement. The big games have often lived up to the hype this season, but this one trumped them all as it had everything, this will be remembered in years to come.
The match was played at a frantic pace, and it could have been argued that City should have been three goals up before half time. Eden Hazard squandered an open goal opportunity by electing to pass rather than shoot, but after that it was the Citizens who had the better chances. David Luiz’s controversial block on Sergio Aguero was one of the main talking points and really comes down to which side you are on. If it was a foul however, it definitely warranted a red card.
The Argentine was not on form though, squandering many chances that he would normally take without thinking. After all the pressure it was ironic that a Chelsea player showed City how to finish, even if it was an own goal by Gary Cahill.
Chelsea could have fallen 2-0 behind early in the second half. Their defence was shaky and Kevin De Bruyne was left with the goal gaping- he somehow managed to hit the bar. From there the game changed a little, and it was largely down to Diego Costa. The Chelsea striker started to bully the City defence and his control and finish from an excellent Cesc Fabregas brought Chelsea level. The Spaniard had a hand in the second goal too, turning superbly before laying the ball off to Willian who finished superbly to make it 2-1. City were sucker punched on the counter again by Eden Hazard who left Alex Kolarov for dead before sealing the win with a tidy finish of his own.
City were left deflated, and their frustration at being behind despite creating numerous of chances showed at the end. Aguero’s horror tackle on Luiz earned the Argentine a red card and unsurprisingly it all kicked off. Fernandinho was also sent off for grabbing Fabregas by the throat and pushing the Spaniard. It was chaos at the end and do not be shocked if there is further repercussions.
Chelsea showed why they are now the favourites to take home the title. Their defence does look shaky against the top sides, but despite not playing their best they still won away at Manchester City which is an impressive result.
North London puts on a five star show
Tottenham and Arsenal both put five goals past their opponents on Saturday to keep their title chances alive.
Spurs dominated a poor Swansea side at White Hart Lane for a 5-0 victory. Tottenham had 28 shots to their opponent’s single effort on goal, it was like watching men against boys. Harry Kane put Spurs ahead from the spot, though the decision to give a penalty was a controversial one. Dele Alli appeared to have dived in the build up, but the referee was fooled by the midfielder and the result was a penalty. Son Heung-Min doubled their lead before half time with a superb curling effort.
The second half continued with the same Spurs dominance as the first. Kane got his second of the game only a few minutes after the restart before a Christian Eriksen brace completed the battering. It could have been double figures for Spurs, but five will undoubtedly please Mauricio Pochettino.
In terms of individual performances over the weekend, none top that of Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean scored a hat trick as Arsenal swept aside West Ham 5-1 at the London stadium. There is something about playing the Hammers away that seems to spark Arsenal, and this fixture was no exception. The pressure is now on Slaven Bilic to turn things around after a poor start to the season. One more defeat could spell the end of his reign as West Ham manager. Arsenal jump into second after Manchester City and Liverpool both dropped points.
Liverpool still have problems seeing a game out
You cannot call Liverpool boring, they are consistently one of the best sides to watch in the league, but their attacking style can often lead to situations such as the one at Bournemouth on Sunday. The Reds led 3-1 with 15 minutes to go, but instead of seeing the game out, Jurgen Klopp’s side continued to hunt for more goals. That left gaps at the back, gaps which Bournemouth were able to exploit. The lead soon went, and deep into stoppage time Liverpool were starring at defeat. Nathan Ake was the unlikely match winner for Bournemouth who now sit in the top half of the table.
Liverpool still only have themselves to blame. There is no excuses for letting a two goal lead slip with so little left in the game, but of course this is something Liverpool fans are familiar with. Who can forget the infamous Crystal Palace comeback which lost Liverpool the title three seasons ago. They are still well In the title hunt, but the difference between themselves and Chelsea at the moment was clear to see this weekend.
Alan Pardew saves his job…for now
Crystal Palace boss, Alan Pardew, was arguably the most under pressure man over the weekend. His side were coming into their match with Southampton off the back of six straight defeats, including a horror show against Swansea the previous weekend. Defeat could have meant the sack for Pardew, but things are seemingly looking up for him.
The players showed up for their boss, and fought to keep his job safe. A 3-0 win against Southampton is a great result for any team, but for Palace it could mean a change in fortunes. This could be the result they need to get the confidence flowing, and that could lead to more victories and clear them from the relegation battle.
Southampton may feel a bit disappointed by their start to the season, but the general consensus is that they will be fine. There is enough quality in the side to continue their push for a Europa League qualification place, they just need to find the consistency.
What happened elsewhere?
Consistency is something Manchester United can not seem to find. They led Everton through Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s lobbed effort, but it was a former Toffee that ended up costing them the match. Marouane Fellaini conceded a late penalty which was converted by Leighton Baines and Jose Mourinho saw two points slip at the drop of the hat. United are now 13 points off the lead and nine off fourth, it looks like the Europa League is their best shot at a European place finish.
Leicester’s struggles continued as they lost 2-1 to Sunderland. The Foxes are looking at the worst title defence in Premier League and possible relegation if their form does not switch soon. Their midfield does not look the same without N’Golo Kante and the poor form of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez is worrying.
West Brom are up to sixth after a 3-1 win against Watford. Stoke continued their own ascension up the table with a 2-0 win at the expense of Burnley. Middlesbrough moved clear of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win against Hull City.
Full Premier League results
Man City 1-2 Chelsea
Crystal Palace 3-0 Southampton
Stoke 2-0 Burnley
Sunderland 2-1 Leicester
Tottenham 5-0 Swansea
West Brom 3-1 Watford
West Ham 1-5 Arsenal
Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
Everton 1-1 Man United
Middlesbrough 1-0 Hull
The Premier League returns on the 10th of December.
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