Matchday 14 proved to be an exciting round of Premier League games, as City maintained a firm 8 point lead at the top after their dramatic stoppage time victory against a resilient Southampton. Tottenham dropped 3 points to move down to seventh, while an excellent 4-2 win against Watford ensured that United remains in touching distance with City. Wayne Rooney scored his first hat trick in two years as Everton claimed a much needed 3 points against fellow relegation battling side West Ham. Liverpool and Arsenal ran riot against Stoke and Huddersfield respectively, while an impressive Burnley overcome Bournemouth to jump into the 6th spot. Chelsea had to fight for a 1-0 victory against the Swans, while Newcastle came from behind against West Brom to end their losing streak. But what can we take from this Gameweek?
Written by EADF Guest writer Neeraj Nair.
1) Game over for Spurs as they fall 16 points behind City:
Tottenham hasn’t had the greatest run of results since their famous Wembley win over Real Madrid. Having lost two consecutive away games, Spurs needed to beat an upbeat Leicester to be at least in contention for the League title. Well, it wasn’t meant to be. Two brilliant Leicester goals courtesy Jamie Vardy and Riyadh Mahrez ensured a disappointing defeat for Spurs, and the way things stand up, they can no longer be considered a title challenger , having fallen 16 points behind City .
2) The Renaissance of Ashley Young continues :
On a day when Man United had to get 3 points from the Vicarage , who else to step up for the reds but for a former Watford player! Ashley Young’s scored two brilliant goals , one a brilliant volley and the other a fantastic free kick, ensured United’s smooth passage into the game which turned out to be much more comfortable for the Reds than expected, thus ensuring they remain in touching distance with Manchester City. Ashley Young has looked a rejuvenated man of late and is now Mourinho’s first choice left back, against all odds. Boy, the idea of Young making into the England World Cup squad next year shouldn’t be discarded at all.
3) Newcastle finally show signs of resistance :
Having made a decent start to the season, Rafa Benitez’s side has struggled of late having lost their previous 4 Premier League games in a row. And by the end of the hour, it looked like West Brom was going to get their first League win since August with a 2-0 lead. However, the second goal sparked life into the Magpies and two set pieces , including a late Jonny Evans own goal, ensured that they end their miserable run of form. While recent results saw the Magpies always starting the game brightly and then fading away as the match progressed, the Benitez-led team has finally started showing signs of life again and it was a remarkable comeback, and has left the fans thinking, “Where the bloody hell was this team all this while?”
4) Palace show character :
More than anything else, Lady Luck hasn’t exactly shined on Crystal Palace this season. However , in their first ever encounter with Brighton in the Premier League Era, Palace showed enough determination and character to salvage a point , thus ending their miserable run of eight continuous away defeats. Crystal Palace did have their chances, with Zaha and Benteke coming close. Brighton started the second half well and in spite of a fair amount of chances, failed to break a resolute Palace defence, with Murray coming close to scoring as his header was cleared off the line by Andros Townsend. Palace need to show more of the same determination if they have any hope of surviving relegation this season
5) Raheem Sterling finally proving his worth :
Another game, another late Raheem sterling goal. While it seemed that somehow Southampton had done enough to get a point from the Etihad, the English international came up with yet another top notch goal as he curled his effort into the top corner scoring his 13th goal in 19 appearances for the club. Sterling is no longer a potential, he is a rising superstar in the making, and was a continuous threat to the Saints’ defence. While the five additional minutes after extra time may be questionable , there is no denying the fact that City deserved a reward for their persistence to get the 3 points. And these are the sort of wins that wins you titles.
6) A much needed win for Everton :
This was the highlight match of Matchday 14, with both Everton and West Ham looking to get what could be very important three points in their fight against relegation . And it was Everton who emerged victorious at home courtesy a wonderful hattrick by Wayne Rooney, his first since 2015. This important win takes the Toffees to 13th place, 3 points above relegation zone. With the arrival of Sam Allerdyce, the Evertonians will hope this win would be a massive turning point in what was a disappointing season so far.
7) Mohammed Salah is unstoppable :
Imagine the shock on the Kops when Klopp named Salah on the bench ahead of their clash against Stoke. It didn’t matter though , as he came off the bench to score a brace to ensure Liverpool didn’t have a difficult end to the match after Sadio Mane gave his side a 1-0 lead after 17 minutes. He has scored a brace in each of his last three games and looks unstoppable at the moment. He will play a crucial role for the Reds if they have any hope of having a successful season. Looks like the Kops have a new hero to worship!
8) Wenger has to convince Mesut Ozil to stay :
It is no surprise that Arsenal pull off convincing victories when the trio of Lacazette, Sanchez and Ozil start. Particularly in the case of Ozil. Say what you want of the German International, on form he is a joy to watch. He was involved in 3 of the 5 goals in Arsenal’s 5-0 win against Huddersfield, scoring one and assisting two . Wenger faces an uphill battle to keep his two prized possessions, Sanchez and Ozil, at least until the end of the season. Especially when Barcelona and Manchester United are sniffing around to bring in Ozil in the January market.
9) Chelsea continue to rise :
After a not-so-good start to the season, Chelsea have slowly started accumulating points quietly after an unconvincing 1-0 victory against a resolute Swansea side. A second half header from Antonio Rüdiger from a deflected Kante shot at goal was enough to secure them 3 important points that keep them at third, just enough to tap United on the shoulder.
10)Burnley’s Excellent Start to the season continues :
Character, discipline and determination. That’s three extremely important traits for any football squad. And that’s exactly what Burnley has displayed the whole season so far. Sean Dyche’s side sit pretty at the 6th spot , ahead of a disappointing Tottenham after a hard-fought victory against an enthusiastic Bournemouth side. It is too early into the season to judge completely, but should they continue to be resilient and continue to perform the same way, Burnley fans won’t be wrong to start dreaming for an European spot.
Feature Image via The18
Ashley Young Image via Metro
Man City Image via Kickoff
Salah Image via The Sun