By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 23 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
Chelsea drop points but their title rivals failed to take advantage in match-week 23 of the Premier league season. Here are five lessons learned from the mid-week’s fixtures.
Liverpool failed to get the win they needed.
The big game in match-week 23 was top of the table Chelsea travelling to fourth place Liverpool in a match that would make or break the Red’s title chances. Jurgen Klopp needed a win to close the gap to Chelsea, but what transpired was another match in which his side failed to win as Chelsea held them to a 1-1 draw at Anfield.
Despite showing signs of improvement after a poor run of form, Liverpool fell behind to David Luiz’s stunning free kick after 24 minutes. Georginio Wijnaldum’s close-range header shortly after the break deservedly levelled the match for the Reds, but they almost fell behind again 15 minutes from time when Diego Costa’s penalty was saved by Simon Mignolet.
Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the Premier League to nine points despite the draw, and it looks increasingly likely that Antonio Conte will guide his side to Premier League glory in his first season in charge. Liverpool needed the win, but despite looking like the better side they failed to take their chances, and as a result they remain ten points behind the leaders. Barring some drastic dip in form, the title looks like it is heading back to Stamford Bridge, especially considering the other results over the past two days.
How not to take advantage, featuring Arsenal, and Spurs
With Chelsea dropping rare points at Anfield, the door opened up for Arsenal and Tottenham to close the gap between them selves and the Blues at the top. Instead of taking advantage though, we got a lesson on how not to take advantage by the North London clubs.
Arsenal went 2-0 down inside 12 minutes at home to Watford and never recovered. Younes Kaboul gave the away side the lead with a deflected effort from outside of the area. Less than three minutes later Watford found themselves two goals up as Troy Deeney tapped home after Etienne Capoue’s effort was saved. Alex Iwobi pulled one goal back for the Gunners on the hour mark but they failed to complete the comeback as Watford claim their first top flight win over Arsenal since 1988, and their first Premier League win in nine games.
Spurs did not lose like their neighbours, but they also failed to pick up a win as they were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at Sunderland. Despite dominating possession for the majority of the match, Mauricio Pochettino’s side failed to make the crucial breakthrough against a stubborn Black Cats defence. Spurs remain nine points behind Chelsea after missing a golden chance to close it to seven. They move into second on goal difference but this will be seen as two points dropped.
Overall it was a disappointing week for the title challengers. Despite not winning, Chelsea have strengthened their bid for the Premier League title. It appears they can not be caught, but stranger things have happened, so it is not over yet.
It was a good week for the relegation candidates
With the relegation battle heating up every week, every point and every fixture is vital to all teams involved in the struggle to stay in the top division. It turns out that match-week 23 happened to be a good week for these particular teams.
Sunderland lifted themselves from the bottom of the table for 24 hours after an unexpected, but welcomed draw against Spurs. Despite being dominated for much of the match, the Black Cats held strong to secure a vital draw that could make a difference come the end of the season.
Hull grabbed an unlikely point themselves after holding Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. It was a good defensive performance from the Tigers who survived the barrage from the home side to nick a point that could have a big part to play at the end of the season
Crystal Palace secured their first win under Sam Allardyce after an impressive display away at Bournemouth. Goals by Scott Dann and Christian Benteke secured the points for the Eagles who move to 19 overall for the season. Palace looked stronger in defence which will be key as we reach the latter stages of the season. For now, this win is a start to their battle for survival.
Swansea secured back to back wins for the first time this season with a 2-1 victory over Southampton. Goals from Alfie Mawson and Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelled out Shane Long’s equaliser to continue the Swan’s revival under Paul Clement. They remain two points from the drop zone, but have closed the gap of Leicester and Middlesbrough on 21 points.
The Foxes’ nightmare defence of the Premier League title continued with a 1-0 defeat at Burnley. Middlesbrough played out a 1-1 draw with West Brom at the Riverside.
West Ham really hate playing Manchester City
Kevin De Bruyne linked with Gabriel Jesus to open the scoring for the Citizens after 17 minutes. David Silva doubled the lead just minutes later after some good work by Leroy Sané. Jesus capped off his first Premier League start with a goal right before half time, his first in English football. Raheem Sterling was brought down by José Fonte in the area and Yaya Touré scored the resulting spot-kick after 67 minutes to complete the thrashing.
West Ham have now conceded 12 goals to City this season, including nine at London Stadium. City gave them a 5 goal beating in the FA Cup third round earlier in the year in a game which went in a similar vein to this one. It was a brilliant display from Pep Guardiola’s side who move level on points with fourth placed Liverpool. They currently sit 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea.
Everton and Stoke play out a 1-1 draw
There is only one game yet to be mentioned and that was the mid-table clash between Stoke City and Everton on Wednesday.
Peter Crouch gave the home side an early lead with his 100th Premier League goal. The Englishman’s goal was cancelled out by his own team-mate though, as Ryan Shawcross bundled the ball into his own net before the break. Neither side could grab the winner in the second half.
The Toffees remain seventh, five points away from Man United in sixth. Stoke remain in the top half, sitting in ninth place.
Full Premier League results
Arsenal 1-2 Watford
Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
Burnley 1-0 Leicester
Middlesbrough 1-1 West Brom
Sunderland 0-0 Tottenham
Swansea 2-1 Southampton
Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea
West Ham 0-4 Man City
Man United 0-0 Hull City
Stoke 1-1 Everton
The Premier League returns on Saturday 4th of February.
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