EPL review week 25: Arsenal & Chelsea stutter; Spurs take advantage
Week 25 of the English Premier League sees Spurs become a serious contender for a Champions League spot after beating Man Utd. Arsenal and Chelsea both suffer unlikely defeats.
Man City 3 v 0 WBA
West Brom remains rooted at the foot of the table after a predictable hammering at The Etihad. The Baggies were the anvil, City’s forward line the hammer. Alan Pardew knows his team is not going to go down based on defeats against the best sides in the world, but he will be worried about the way his team failed to advance beyond the halfway line.
The Baggies didn’t touch the ball in the City box in the entirety of the first half and Liverpool loanee, Daniel Sturridge, was the only West Brom player to have a shot on goal and that came with time running out. If Pardew is to avoid the drop, you sense Sturridge will play a key role.
But this night was not Sturridge’s night. It belonged to Kevin De Bruyne who marched around the pitch as if he owned the place. The Belgian had a foot in both of City’s goals, putting Fernandinho through to score his third of the season, and finding the net himself after finishing off a driving run, and cute one-two with Raheem Sterling. And he nearly scored the goal of the season, trying to lob Ben Foster from the halfway line only for the England keeper to tip the mischevious effort over the bar.
After the second goal, Pep Guardiola gave De Bruyne a rest. As he sat on the bench looking like a smurf, Sterling pirouetted Diego Maradona style on the halfway line, drove into the guts of West Brom, slid Sergio Aguero in, and the Argentine chipped the ball into the net for his 24th goal of the season.
The defeat means West Brom have now failed to win in their last 12 away games in the Premier League. Meanwhile, City registered their 18th straight home win.
“They were in full bloom tonight. They kept coming.” Alan Pardew told reporters after the match.
Full bloom indeed.
Spurs 2 v 0 Man Utd
The gap at the top is now 15-points after Man Utd put in a horror show in front of the largest Premier League crowd in history at Wembley last night.
Jose Mourinho joined 82,011 souls in the capital with his side having not conceded a goal in their previous six matches, but it took Christian Eriksen 10.52 seconds to change that. A long ball into the box straight from kickoff eventually ended up at the feet of Eriksen, and the Dane put the ball away with aplomb.
It was the perfect tonic.
The crowd roared, Spurs drove on, and United looked shell-shocked. Then in the 28th minute, the game was all over. Kieran Trippier rampaged down the right, sent a sweet daisy-cutter into the box and Phil Jones slammed it comically into the roof of his own net.
“The confidence of my players was totally broken with the second goal,” Mourinho told reporters after the game.
Alexis Sanchez made his Premier League debut for United. Juan Mata made way. But he never saw enough of the ball to make an impact. Spurs won the game from the middle of the park where Mousa Dembélé had Paul Pogba chasing him like an untrained six-year-old. With Pogba chasing shadows, the Spurs midfield ran Nemanja Matic ragged, and from that strategic point, Spurs won their third home game in a row against United, the first time they’ve achieved that feat since 1966.
The Best of the Rest
It was a good night for Spurs as both Chelsea and Arsenal lost ground in the race for Champions League positions. Chelsea, watched by their £18m new signing Olivier Giroud, crumbled at home to a resurgent Bournemouth. The trident of Callum Wilson, Jordan Ibe and Junior Stanislas cut Antonio Conte’s men to shreds. Goals from Wilson, Stanislas and former Blue Nathan Aké sealed the points for the Cherries who rise to tenth after a dodgy start to the season.
Arsenal fell to strugglers Swansea. Carlos Carvalhal remained faithful to the starting eleven that beat Liverpool before the FA Cup break. That meant five at the back, but it didn’t stop them from scoring three at the other end. Sam Clucas scored twice, and Jordan Ayew got the third on the day his brother rejoined the club in a record $18m deal. On a more positive note, Arsenal did sign Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for £55.4m, and Mesut Ozil signed a new three-year contract worth £350,000 per week.
That win for Swansea sees them move into second from bottom. Joining them and the Baggies in the bottom three are Southampton who could only muster a 1-1 draw in the South Coast derby against Brighton. Glenn Murray opened the scoring from the penalty spot for his ninth of the season. A Jack Stephens backheel saved a point for the home side.
Fellow strugglers Newcastle will be kicking themselves after failing to hold on to all three points against Burnley at home. Chelsea loanee Kenedy excelled in a positive Newcastle performance, and they went ahead in the 65th minute thanks to a powerful header from Jamaal Lascelles. Burnley’s late pressure paid off when a Sam Vokes header was tipped onto the crossbar by Karl Darlow only for the ball to rebound into the net off his face.
Liverpool got back to winning ways with a comfortable away win at Huddersfield. Emre Can. Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah got the goals in a 3-0 win. Everton stopped the rot with a 2-1 win over Leicester. Theo Walcott grabbed a brace. Jamie Vardy scored his 12th goal of the season from the spot. Riyad Mahrez sat the game out after his move to Man City fell apart at the last hour.
Results in Full
Swansea 3 v 1 Arsenal
West Ham 1 v 1 Crystal Palace
Huddersfield 0 v 3 Liverpool
Southampton 1 v 1 Brighton
Chelsea 0 v 3 Bournemouth
Everton 2 v 1 Leicester
Newcastle 1 v 1 Burnley
Man City 3 v 0 West Brom
Spurs 2 v 0 Man Utd
Stoke 0 v 0 Watford
Premier League Table
1. Man City – 68
2. Man Utd – 53
3. Liverpool – 50
4. Chelsea – 50
5. Spurs – 48
6. Arsenal – 42
7. Burnley – 35
8. Leicester – 34
9. Everton – 31
10. Bournemouth – 28
11. Watford – 27
12. West Ham – 27
13. Crystal Palace – 26
14. Newcastle – 24
15. Brighton – 24
16. Stoke – 24
17. Huddersfield – 24
18. Southampton – 23
19. Swansea – 23
20. West Brom – 20
Premier League Winning Odds (Courtesy of Bodog)
Man City 1/100
Man Utd 100/1
Premier League Relegation Odds
West Brom 5/4
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