Premier League Week 19 Review: Arsenal Close Out 2015 on Top

TAGs: Arsenal, Premier League

The first half of the 2015/16 Premier League season is in the books and Arsenal lead on goal difference. Newcastle, Sunderland and Aston Villa occupy the bottom three spots.

Arsenal will be head into 2016 as the Premier League leaders, and bookmakers favourites, after ending Bournemouth’s run of six matches without defeat at The Emirates.

Premier League Week 19 Review: Arsenal Close Out 2015 on TopMesut Ozil was once again the star of the show as the Gunners continue to inspire hope that they can win their first title in over a decade. The classy German putting in the cross that saw Gabriel score his first goal in European football, before finishing off a brilliant Arsenal move in the 69th minute to leave Bournemouth dead and buried. Ozil has now scored or assisted in 16 goals in Arsenal’s past 12 games. Arsenal’s 2-0 victory also created a little history for Petr Cech, who broke David James’ Premier League clean sheets record, preventing strikers from getting their fill in 170 games.

Arsenal were able to replace Leicester at the top of the table, on goal difference, after the Foxes played out a goalless draw at home to Man City. Leicester failed to score for the second successive game, but when the opposition is Man City, and you are coming off the back of a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool, this has to go down as an excellent result. I keep waiting for Claudio Ranieri’s men to start slipping down the table. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Spurs are now serious title contenders after beating an impressive Watford side at Vicarage Road. Erik Lamela scoring in the 17th minute, before Watford’s star striker Odion Ighalo managed to sneak out of a five-man Spurs stronghold to slide the ball calmly passed the impressive Hugo Lloris. It was Ighalo’s 14th goal of the season and 30th in 2015. Watford’s ability to capitalise on that equaliser dampened after a moment of madness from Nathan Ake saw him sent off for planting his studs into the thigh of Lamela. Spurs grabbed hold of the reins and were fortunate to score the winner after Son-Heung-Min moved on goal from an offside position to cleverly back-heeled the ball past Heurelho Gomes in the dying embers of the game.

There was a time when the tie between Man Utd and Chelsea would have attracted top billing with both players competing for the top spot in the league. How times have changed. These days Everton v Stoke holds more glitz and glamour, and there is more chance of Elvis being found alive on Mars than Man Utd or Chelsea winning the Premier League.

It was a game that many believed could have been Louis Van Gaal’s last. Those same mindsets might have changed after United turned it on for the first times in months. Juan Mata hit the bar; Anthony Martial hit the post, and Wayne Rooney returned to the starting lineup with a man of the match performance. That said, it was United’s eighth game without a win, and the seventh time they have played out a goalless draw this season. Chelsea continues to look lost. Their first half display was hopeless, and although they improved in the second half, they missed the nuisance factor of Diego Costa at the spearhead of their attack.

Everton and Stoke have been two of the Premier League’s most illuminating attacking sides and they didn’t disappoint in this blockbuster of a match at Goodison Park. The trio of Marko Arnautovic, Xherdan Shaqiri and Bojan Krkic had a hand in all four goals for Stoke. Shaqiri scored what could be the goal of the season with a neat chip over the onrushing Tim Howard. Stoke pinched it in the last few minutes when the referee incorrectly gave a penalty after John Stones won the ball in a tackle on Arnautovic. The Austrian picked himself up and rammed the ball home to send Stoke into 2016 with hopes of grabbing a Champions League spot. Everton continue to bang in the goals. Romelu Lukaku looks every inch a world class striker. But they are inexperienced in the back, and will have to grow up fast if they are to improve on their mid-table position.

At the bottom end of the table, Aston Villa continue to show nothing of value for new coach Remi Garde. Before the match, the Frenchman pinpointed ten victories from their remaining matches if they are going to go all Harry Houdini on us. Losing to Norwich was not in that game plan. They remain firmly rooted at the bottom after a 2-0 loss. They last won a match in the opening game of the season.

Likewise, Newcastle are only going to escape relegation if they beat teams like West Brom. Man Utd old boy Darren Fletcher sinking the Magpies in the 78th minute after his header squirmed underneath the frame of Newcastle’s stand-in keeper Karl Darlow.

Newcastle end the year in the bottom three alongside Sunderland and Aston Villa and I believe that’s the way it will end in another 19 games time.

Here are the rest of the results:

Week 19 Results

Watford 1 v 2 Spurs

Crystal Palace 0 v 0 Swansea

West Brom 1 v 0 Newcastle

Norwich 2 v 0 Aston Villa

Arsenal 2 v 0 Bournemouth

Everton 3 v 4 Stoke

Man Utd 0 v 0 Chelsea

West Ham 2 v 1 Southampton

Leicester 0 v 0 Man City

Matches to be Played (Wed 30 Dec)

Sunderland v Liverpool

Premier League Standings (After 19 Games)

1st. Arsenal – 39 pts.

2nd. Leicester – 39 pts.

3rd. Man City – 36 pts.

4th. Spurs – 35 pts.

5th. Crystal Palace – 31 pts.

6th. Man Utd – 30 pts.

7th. West Ham – 29 pts.

8th. Watford – 29 pts.

9th. Stoke – 29 pts.

10th. Liverpool – 27 pts.

11th. Everton – 26 pts.

12th. Southampton – 24 pts.

13th. West Brom- 23 pts.

14th. Chelsea – 20 pts.

15th. Norwich – 20 pts.

16th. Bournemouth – 20 pts.

17th. Swansea – 19 pts.

18th. Newcastle – 17 pts.

19th. Sunderland – 12 pts.

20th. Aston Villa  – 8 pts.


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