Premier League Weekly Roundup | 4th February

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Written by: Samuel Hodgkiss

Twitter: @samuelhodgkiss

With midweek and weekend fixtures happening this week and twists and turns at both ends of the Premier League table, there is a lot to discuss on this week’s edition of Premier League Weekly Roundup.

The stand-out game in midweek was Newcastle United’s 2-1 victory over title-chasing Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men went into the game knowing a win would put pressure on table-topping Liverpool, who played Leicester City at home the following day, and it all started so well after Sergio Aguero scored his 15th goal in 13 games against Newcastle in the Premier League after just 25 seconds. However, second-half goals from Salomon Rondon and a Matt Ritchie penalty put a dagger in City’s hopes of going to within 1 point of Liverpool.

The impetus was then on Liverpool as they hosted Leicester City in the snow at Anfield. Leicester City were no push-overs going into the game, having got recent results against Man City and Chelsea. It was however Liverpool who took the early lead in the game thanks to a well worked team goal finished of beautifully by Sadio Mane. Leicester began to creep back into the game after the early set-back and responded on the stroke of half-time thanks to Harry Maguire latched onto a Ben Chilwell header which caused confusion in the Liverpool box.

With the groundsmen clearing the snow in Liverpool’s attacking box for the second-half, the game was set-up to have a well contested second-half. The best chance of the half though fell to Leicester winger Demarai Gray, who took advantage of a clinical counter-attacking move to be through on goal but went for glory himself instead of playing across to team-mate James Maddison for a simple shot on goal. Liverpool pilled on the pressure towards the end of the game, but could not break through, meaning they missed the opportunity to go 7 points clear, but still extended their gap on City to 5 points.

Further down in the league, Spurs left it late to claim a vital victory over Watford after their dogged week prior to this one, and it was late goals from a returning Heung-Min Son and Fernando Llorente who sealed the win for Pochettino and his men, further narrowing the gap onto Man City.

Chelsea who were sitting in 4th place fared quite differently in midweek, after being on the wrong side of a 4-0 second-half thumping to Bournemouth on Gonzalo Higuain’s first Premier League start. The pick of the goals came from 21-year-old David Brooks, with a smart move and finish beating Kepa in the Chelsea goal. This caused manager Maurizio Sarri to keep his players in the dressing room an hour after the final whistle had blew, kicking out all his staff so he could be alone with the players, seemingly to vent out his anger towards them and them only.

 

Down at the bottom of the table, Fulham secured a vital 4-2 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at Craven Cottage, after being 2-0 inside 17 minutes with 2 well-taken goals from forward Glen Murray. Fulham responded well and as like Bournemouth, scored 4 goals in the second-half to seal the victory for Claudio Ranieri’s side, with striker Aleksandar Mitrović bagging himself a brace along the way.

Also down at the bottom of the league, Burnley will have left Old Trafford kicking themselves after conceding 2 late goals to in-from side Manchester United. Goals from Ashely Barnes and Chris Wood looked to be handing Burnley their first win at Old Trafford in 57 years, however a late Paul Pogba penalty and a first United goal for Swedish centre-half Victor Lindelöf kept Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s unbeaten run as manager still alive.

Into the weekend’s fixtures and starting off with the early game between Spurs and Newcastle. In a hard-fought game for both sides, who both created great chances during the game, it was Heung-Min Son who fired late on once again to gift Spurs another victory, further closing the gap on the top 2 and potentially showing signs of a strong finish to the season. Although a loss for the Toon, the Newcastle fans have something to cheer about, having finally broken their transfer record on Atlanta United and MLS star Miguel Almirón, costing the club £21 million. This to some might seem nothing out of the ordinary, but for a club whose previous record-signing was Michael Owen back in 2005, this is a big deal.

As for Chelsea, after their humiliating loss away to Bournemouth in the week, a reaction was essential and they did just that, showing no mercy to a struggling Huddersfield side by thrashing them 5-0, with Higuain grabbing his first goals in Chelsea blue, with the second being something Chelsea fans have missed recently from their strikers.

Elsewhere in the games on Saturday, Wolves continued their resurgence in the league with an emphatic 3-1 away victory of the most miserable club in the country, Everton, who’s defence can’t even handle being run around by a black cat it seems!!! This result gave Wolves a 4-point gap between them in 7th and the rest of the chasing pack below.

Saturday also proved a crucial day for teams down the bottom, as Crystal Palace came out 2-0 winners over struggling Fulham, where it seems Claudio Ranieri has taken on to big of a job at Craven Cottage. Cardiff City on an emotional day saw themselves beat Bournemouth 2-0 thanks to goals from Bobby Reid. This however seemed a day more important than football, as it was the clubs first home game since new record-signing Emiliano Sala went missing over the English Channel, which was respected in the build-up to the game. Neil Warnock was visibly upset after the game, as he said: “Emiliano would have been proud of us.”

Going into Super Sunday then and the feeling around Manchester United continued to be positive, after they extended the unbeaten run under Solskjear to 10 after a 1-0 away win at Leicester. A beautiful Paul Pogba assist set up Marcus Rashford, a connection which has blossomed under the new manager, as he slotted away the only goal of the game. In the afternoon game, Manchester City once again closed the gap on Liverpool after their 3-1 win over inconsistent Arsenal.

Aguero did the same as he did earlier in the week, scoring within 1 minute of the game, but this was quickly overturned within 10 minutes as Laurent Koscielny equalised from a corner poorly dealt with by City. Aguero once again scored just before half-time and rounded off his hat-trick in slightly controversial style, as he seemingly handled the ball into the net, much to the dismay of the Arsenal players.

This result leaves City back to within 2 points of leaders Liverpool, however this with Liverpool having a game tonight against out-of-form West Ham United at the London Stadium, where they will look to capitalise on this to get 3 points, and once again extend the gap at the top back to 5 points.

 

Written by: Samuel Hodgkiss

Twitter: @samuelhodgkiss

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