By Niall Clarke
- Five lessons learned from match-week 27 of the Premier League season
- Full weekend results
PREMIER LEAGUE – We are nearing the home stretch of an exciting Premier league season. Match-week 27 is now over and here are five lessons we learned.
Big changes for Arsenal are happening in the summer
There has been much speculation surrounding a the future few individuals at Arsenal, including the manager Arsene Wenger. Gooners have seemingly had enough of the constant fourth place finishes and the lack of major trophies, many of which are demanding a change in management.
Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool have done nothing to calm them. Roberto Firmino gave the home side the lead after nine minutes to get Liverpool off to a perfect start. Sadio Mane doubled their lead before half time. Arsenal responded well in the second half after bringing Alexis Sanchez off the bench. Danny Welbeck pulled one back to bring the Gunners back into the game, but as they pushed for an equaliser they were punished on the counter. Adam Lallana’s exquisite pass found Divok Origi who squared it to Georginio Wijnaldum for the finish. The result sent Liverpool back into the top four, leapfrogging Arsenal who fall to fifth.
Fans bemoaned the decision to not start top scorer Sanchez by Wenger. The Frenchman claimed he played Olivier Giroud instead to offer a bigger aerial threat, but Sanchez’s involvement after he was brought on showed it was the wrong decision. The Chilean has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates in the summer too, with Paris Saint Germain being one of the clubs interested in his services.
If things continue as they are, it is hard seeing Sanchez staying at Arsenal. Player of his quality should be playing in the Champions League, and that is under threat due to recent poor form. Wenger probably should have left a few years a go, but this time it feels like it might actually happen. Change is needed at Arsenal to boost them to a title winning side, and it might be time for Wenger to search for a different challenge.
Harry Kane is on fire
The 23-year-old overtook Romelu Lukaku as the leading scorer in the Premier League with 19 goals, thanks to his recent great form. Kane has found the net 14 times in 12 games in 2017 in league and cup competitions. He is undoubtedly the most in form striker in the division and is huge to Spurs’ title bid.
The English striker gave Spurs the lead after 20 minutes with a 20 yard screamer that rattled the net. Kane added a second ten minutes after the break to double Spurs’ lead. His rival striker, Lukaku, got a goal of his own to bring Everton back into the game with nine minutes left, but Dele Alli put the match beyond the Toffees in injury time. Enner Valencia pulled one back just before the final whistle, but it was Tottenham’s and Kane’s day.
Leicester are not getting relegated
In Craig Shakespeare’s second game in charge, Leicester once again managed to get the vital three points after a 3-1 home win over fellow strugglers Hull City.
The Foxes fell behind when former Leicester player Sam Clucas gave Hull the lead. But Christian Fuchs equalised after good work down the left wing from Jamie Vardy. The Englishman had a good game despite not getting on the score-sheet, showing his importance when on form. Speaking of important players, Riyad Mahrez put the champions in front after some superb individual play. Tom Huddlestone headed into his own net to seal a deserved victory for Leicester and Shakespeare, and lift the Foxes to five points above the relegation zone .
Hull fall to 19th with their Premier League future not looking bright. They were joined in the relegation zone by Middlesbrough who lost 2-0 away to Stoke. Crystal Palace lifted themselves out of the drop zone with a 2-0 away win at West Brom. Sunderland however, remain bottom after another defeat, this time at the hands of Manchester City.
Too many draws could cost Manchester United a top four spot
If the Premier League was based on performance, then Manchester United would be top four without question. They have bossed many games this season, but the problem with them is turning their dominance into wins, a problem that reared its ugly head once again on Saturday.
The Red Devils suffered a EFL Cup hangover and were held to a 1-1 draw by a ten man and out of form Bournemouth at Old Trafford. Marcos Rojo gave United the lead and it seemed like it would be an easy match for Jose Mourinho’s side. Bournemouth however had other ideas and equalised through Joshua King’s penalty before half time. Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a chance of his own later in the game from the spot but failed to convert as the Cherries held on for an important draw.
The match was marred with several incidents, two of which involved Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings. First, Mings appeared to stamp on the back of the head of the Swede as he lay on the ground, and then from a corner, Ibrahimovic elbowed Mings seemingly in retaliation. Neither player was sent off, but both have been charged by the FA for their conduct.
United do not lose often, which may come to their benefit as they fight for the top four place they seek. They need to turn the into wins though, something they have failed to do many times this season. The Red Devils have lost many points drawing to teams they should beat and that could cost them at the end of the season.
What else happened?
Chelsea kept the pace at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 away victory at West Ham. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa gave the Blues a 2-0 lead. Manuel Lanzini scored a late consolation, but it was not enough to deny Chelsea of their 21st win of the season. Manchester City made sure to not drop too far behind with a 2-0 win over Sunderland thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane.
Match-week 27 also provided two very entertaining games involving mid-table sides. Swansea left it late to score a 3-2 win against Burnley. Fernando Llorente scored two to move the Swans further away from the relegation zone. The game of the week came at Vicarage Road where Southampton bounced back from their EFL cup final disappointment with a 4-3 win.
Full Premier League results
|Premier League Match-Week 27|
|Manchester United 1-1 Bournemouth|
|Leicester City 3-1 Hull City|
|Stoke City 2-0 Middlesbrough|
|Swansea City 3-2 Burnley|
|Watford 3-4 Southampton|
|West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Crystal Palace|
|Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal|
|Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 Everton|
|Sunderland 0-2 Manchester City|
|West Ham United 1-2 Chelsea|
The Premier League returns on Wednesday 8 March
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