A Jamie Vardy inspired Leicester City are the Premier League leaders after a thumping display away at St James Park; Liverpool Slam Four Past Man City.
The mugshot of Leicester City is currently taking centre stage in the gallery of the glorious. Claudio Ranieri’s men are the unlikeliest of Premier League leaders. Jamie Vardy is the unlikeliest of Premier League top goalscorers.
For all of his industry and hard work, Vardy couldn’t hit a barn door from five yards last year. On Saturday, he fired the first of three Leicester goals, in a lopsided affair away at Newcastle. It was a goal that equalled the Premier League best-ever goalscoring streak of 10 – a record Ruud van Nistelrooy once created in the very same stadium when playing for Man Utd. Don’t put it past the young man to make it 11 next week.
Leicester broke with pace.
Newcastle didn’t want to race.
“We were second best in every area.” Said Steve McClaren.
The Newcastle players were an embarrassment. The only time the fans cheered was after Vardy had scored. Only boos rained down onto the shirts of the black and white. Week in, week out, McClaren sends a team out that doesn’t seem to care. It’s going to bite him in the ass by the end of the season.
Leicester’s climb to the top means that Man City has dropped below. The blue half of Manchester fell into third after being spanked bright red by a phosphorescent Liverpool side that lit up the Etihad.
The boys from Brazil battered the Blues. Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino made the back line of City looked like a Sunday pub league. Vincent Kompany watching injured from the stands as Eliaquim Mangala continued to look like one of the most expensive flops in the league. It was his embarrassing own goal that paved the way for three more. It should have been a lot more. It was the first time that City had conceded four goals in a home fixture since 2003.
“It feels perfect.” Said Jurgen Klopp after the game.
The red half of Manchester moved ominously into second place courtesy of a Fergie time winner away at Watford. It was a strange game for the United faithful. Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial both missed the game through illness and injury allowing Memphis Depay the opportunity to show Louis van Gaal that he was worth every penny of his £25m price tag, and he didn’t disappoint with a man of the match performance.
Depay opened the scoring in the 11th minute. United teams of old would have plundered two or three more, however, Van Gaal’s side were content to sit back, and it almost proved costly three minutes from time when a rash tackle from Marcos Rojo gave Watford a penalty duly dispatched by their skipper Troy Deeney. It was the first goal United had conceded in 641 minutes of play.
United then turned back the clock. That never say die attitude was back, never better demonstrated than the dominating German Bastian Schweinsteiger, who arrived in the six-yard box in the last minute of the game to squeeze the winner into the net off the legs of the unfortunate Deeney. From hero to zero in a matter of minutes.
“You have seen the spirit of my team.” Said Van Gaal after the match.
United’s elevation to second saw Arsenal drop to fourth. A tepid display away to West Brom seeing Arsene Wenger’s men lose a one goal lead to come away from The Hawthorns losing by two goals to one. If Arsenal is to be serious title contenders, they cannot be losing to the likes of West Brom.
Olivier Giroud headed the Gunners ahead in the 28th minute. It was his ninth goal in eleven starts. He now becomes the player with the most headed goals in the Premier League since he joined Arsenal with 16 to his name. James Morrison volleyed the Baggies level in the 35th minute before a Mikel Arteta own goal gave WBA all three points. The usually flawless Santi Cazorla missed a penalty, and Francis Coquelin could miss the rest of 2015 after leaving the field early with a knee injury, to rub even more whisky into the wounds.
Tottenham hammered the usually impressive West Ham at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane scored a brace in a 4-1 drubbing. The England hitman has now scored in five Premier League games on the bounce. An interested turn of fortune when you consider everyone thought he was suffering from a debilitating malady after only scoring once in his first 13 competitive matches. Spurs climb to sixth. They are now unbeaten in 12 – a new club record.
Everton is starting to look threatening. They hammered four past the hapless Aston Villa. It was a demoralising performance. New manager Remi Garde looked forlorn. I imagine the dressing room resembled a death zone. There are not many permancies in the Premier League, but Aston Villa’s footing at the bottom may be one.
Everton coach Roberto Martinez was waxing lyrical about his defensive performance, but it was the waves of attack that impressed me. The Liverpool Echo wrote that Gerard Deulofue’s feet were quicker than Fred Astaire’s. The Spaniard dazzled, and with Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku firing on all cylinders the guys from Goodison look a match for anyone.
Chelsea picked up their fourth win of the season with a close win at home to Norwich. What a difference a year makes when you are watching Chelsea play Norwich and everyone in the stadium is wondering whether Jose Mourinho’s men can get all three points? The reaction to Diego Costa’s 64th-minute winner was the quintessential picture of pain. He face wearing an almost embarrassed look. Cesc Fabregas provided the assist. It was his second of the season. This time last year he was into double figures. A win is a win, though. The Chelsea faithful will be hoping for momentum ad infinitum.
Stoke continue to impress under Mark Hughes. They are a tough team to beat. To come away from St Mary’s Stadium with all three points is no mean feat this year. A Bojan Krkic near post flick sealed a one-nil victory, but if Marko Arnautovic had his shooting boots on they could have easily scored more.
Last but not least and there were goals galore at the Liberty Stadium. Bournemouth raced into a two-goal lead courtesy of strikes from Josh King and Dan Gosling. A chorus of boos quickly replacing the soulful sounds of Bread of Heaven. Pressure mounted on the young shoulders of Garry Monk. The manager didn’t even have to shake them up. By the time, the teams walked off for a cup of tea and a slice of orange the Swans had scored two of their own. Andrew Ayew scoring the first with an audacious back heel, and Jonjo Shelvey equalising from the spot after a dubious penalty. It was Shelvey’s first goal, from 31 shots.
After the game, Swansea captain Ashley Williams told the press that his gaffer needed more backing from his players. I don’t think that’s a good sign. If I was a gambling man I would be betting a few quid that his position becomes vacant by the end of 2016.
Week 13 Results
Watford 1 v 2 Man Utd
Chelsea 1 v 0 Norwich
West Brom 2 v 1 Arsenal
Swansea 2 v 2 Bournemouth
Everton 4 v 0 Aston Villa
Newcastle 0 v 3 Leicester
Southampton 0 v 1 Stoke
Man City 1 v 4 Liverpool
Tottenham 4 v 1 West Ham
Games Remaining (Monday Night)
Crystal Palace v Sunderland
Premier League Standings (After 13 Games)
1st. Leicester – 28 pts.
2nd. Man United – 27 pts.
3rd. Man City – 26 pts.
4th. Arsenal – 26 pts.
5th. Spurs – 24 pts.
6th. West Ham – 21 pts.
7th. Everton – 20 pts.
8th. Southampton – 20 pts.
9th. Liverpool – 20 pts.
10th. Crystal Palace – 19 pts.
11th. Stoke – 19 pts.
12th. West Brom – 17 pts.
13th. Watford – 16 pts.
14th. Swansea – 14 pts.
15th. Chelsea – 14 pts.
16th. Norwich – 12 pts.
17th. Newcastle – 10 pts.
18th. Bournemouth – 9 pts.
19th. Sunderland – 6 pts.
20th. Aston Villa – 5 pts.