Week 22 of the Premier League saw Arsenal and Leicester held to draws allowing Man City to move to one point from the top with two tough home games against Leicester and Spurs on the horizon.
Arsenal drew away at Stoke. Leicester scraped a point against the already doomed Aston Villa. Man City stuck a nuclear warhead up the ass of Crystal Palace and blew them to smithereens.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side is now one point behind Arsenal and Leicester. They are even money for the title. They know how to win it. They have world class performers like David Silva and Sergio Aguero banging the ball into the back of the net.
City’s opponent’s, Crystal Palace, has been one of the Premier League’s most refreshing sides. At times, they have motored. Especially, their forward line. However, the wheels have come off recently. Alan Pardew’s men have failed to score in the last five games. They have conceded eight. They even lost to Aston Villa.
They were no match for City. Goals by Fabian Delph, two from Aguero and an 84th minute walk in by Silva easing them towards the top two like a stalker on stilts. They cast a long shadow. Both Arsenal and Leicester will want to get out of it pretty sharpish.
Man United exchanged places with West Ham after a boring one-nil win against arch-rivals Liverpool. It’s United’s fifth game without defeat since press speculation increased that Jose Mourinho would replace Louis Van Gaal. The press is reporting that United’s title race is back on, but after this performance I doubt it. Wayne Rooney continued the goal-scoring form that has seen him net five goals in the past five games scoring the winner after a Marouane Fellaini header rebounded off the crossbar.
West Ham’s defeat at Newcastle was a shock. They were undefeated in nine. They had won the previous four. It was Newcastle’s first win since beating Spurs in early December. The £12m clandestine signing of Jonjo Shelvey looking like a perfect fit. The young English star had a fantastic game, having a hand in both Newcastle goals scored by Ayoze Perez and Newcastle’s player of the season Georgino Wijnaldum. Nikica Jelavic came off the Hammers bench to show people that he can score goals. It was his first since signing from Hull. Newcastle moves out of the bottom three, Swansea drop into their place, but a win at home to Watford will see them do a flick-flack.
The other important match at the wrong end of the table involved Bournemouth and Norwich. These relegation six-pointers provide you with a naivety tester. The Cherries stuffed the Canaries. Dan Gosling, Charlie Daniels and the club’s £12m record signing Benik Afobe moving Bournemouth up to 15th, and dropping Norwich down to 16th, in a 3-0 win.
The only other two teams to exchange positions at the weekend were Southampton and Watford. Ronald Koeman’s men were back to their ruthless best after a season of fits and starts. James Ward-Prowse turned into David Beckham for the day with a fantastic brace. Previous to this game he had only ever scored once in 92 appearances.
“I need to add goals to my game,” he said after the match.
Yes, you do.
Dusan Tadic scored the other goal in a 3-0 win to spoil Tony Pulis 58th birthday celebrations. The Saints are now in 10th spot; Watford play on Monday night, and a win will see them go above them.
Spurs prepared for their midweek FA Cup replay against Leicester by smashing four past hapless Sunderland. Last week the Match of the Day panelists pointed out that Christian Eriksen had forgotten how to score. He must have been watching. The Dane put two past the Sunderland keeper. Mousa Dembele squeezed one in between those two goals. Harry Kane completed the rout from the penalty spot in the 79th minute. It was Kane’s 32nd goal in 50 premier league games. That’s a strike rate in the ballpark of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The game of the weekend was Chelsea v Everton. Quite why Everton aren’t challenging for a Champions League place is beyond me. When they move forward, they are good enough to beat anyone. But there is something wrong at the back. They have good players, but they concede far too many goals.
It was a game that saw Chelsea captain John Terry score at both ends of the park. It was also a game that saw the referee award eight-minutes of extra time. Terry back-heeling an equaliser in the final minute. Everton Manager Roberto Martinez was furious that the referee played on for so long. Perhaps, he should redirect that finger and point it at his players, after they spent nearly 90-seconds jumping into the crowd after Funes Mori thought he had pinched the winner in the 90th minute. Gus Hiddink’s men remain unbeaten since he took charge although too many draws mean progress up the table has been nullified.
Here are the rest of the weekend’s results:
Week 22 Results
Spurs 4 v 1 Sunderland
Chelsea 3 v 3 Everton
Bournemouth 3 v 0 Norwich
Aston Villa 1 v 1 Leicester
Newcastle 2 v 1 West Ham
Man City 4 v 0 Crystal Palace
Southampton 3 v 0 West Brom
Man Utd 1 v 0 Liverpool
Stoke 0 v 0 Arsenal
Games to be Played (Mon, 18 Jan)
Swansea v Watford
Premier League Standings (After 22 Games)
1st. Arsenal – 44 pts.
2nd. Leicester – 44 pts.
3rd. Man City – 43 pts.
4th. Spurs – 39 pts.
5th. Man Utd – 37 pts.
6th. West Ham – 35 pts.
7th. Stoke – 33 pts.
8th. Crystal Palace – 31 pts.
9th. Liverpool – 31 pts.
10th. Southampton – 30 pts.
11th. Everton – 29 pts.
12th. Watford – 29 pts.
13th. West Brom – 27 pts.
14th. Chelsea – 25 pts.
15th. Bournemouth – 24 pts.
16th. Norwich – 23 pts.
17th. Newcastle – 21 pts.
18th. Swansea – 19 pts.
19th. Sunderland – 18 pts.
20th. Aston Villa – 12 pts.