EPL Gameweek #22 review


There was big movement in the English Premier League this weekend, with some clubs rising up from the ashes of their early season and others sinking into a mid-season mire.

Leicester 1-2 Southampton

epl-gameweek-22-review_small-minSouthampton and Watford recorded vital wins at Leicester and Bournemouth respectively which pulled them free of the relegation zone. In the case of The Saints, it was sweet revenge for the 9-0 drubbing they endured on their home ground when the record Premier League win away from home saw them decimated 9-0 at St. Mary’s.

On that day, their manager Ralph Hassenhuttl was a picture of despondency. On Saturday, after exacting an exquisite reprisal on The Foxes, Hassenhuttl was the embodiment of modesty, passing the congratulations on to his players where before he had tried to absorb their failure as his own.

Danny Ings, architect of the winning goal and a man on a mission to keep the South Coast side up, is surely playing himself into Gareth Southgate’s plans should Harry Kane not recover from his injury in time to lead the England football team into the Euro 2020 finals. If he continues to score as he has in recent weeks, at the rate of a goal per game, he has to be.

Spurs 0-1 Liverpool

Jose Mourinho saw his defensive display ground down by Jurgen Klopp’s unstoppable industrial machine as the Reds achieved the best start to an English League season in history as they won their 20th game in their 21 so far.

Only Manchester United have so far stopped Liverpool winning every game, a solitary draw at Old Trafford Liverpool’s only blemish on their record. It is perhaps amusing to outside observers, then, that the Red Devils face Liverpool at Anfield next weekend in a summit meeting no-one would like to predict Liverpool losing that one, and with a Roberto Firmino goal the difference in North London, Liverpool proved that they could kill time and win ugly. It wasn’t pretty, but how many top six clashes featuring Mourinho sides are?

This time, however, the Portguese had no smash-and-grab result, no partisan crowd-lead victory to crow about. If Mourinho still is the head of the family at Tottenham, he must build a sturdy nest for some long months without his favourite lilywhite Cockerel, Harry Kane. Signing a replacement would appear to be something of a burning necessity.

Aston Villa 1-6 Man City

A drubbing, a hammering and beating took place at Villa Park on Sunday – and that was just in the first half. Aston Villa were humbled by a rampant Manchester City side who can’t stop scoring at the moment, and in Kevin De Bruyne, The Citizens have a playmaker who truly looks capable of playing any opposition with the array of passing at his disposal.

It was cruel on Villa, opened up time and time again in the first 30 minutes and 4-0 down at the break. It really could have been anything, as Sergio Aguero grabbed his 12th Premier League hat-trick, a new record for the competition. His goals were added to by two  for Rihad Mahrez and one for Gabriel Jesus. Villa grabbed a late consolation via the penalty spot, but that was all it was, and they have a long, hard 16 gameweeks ahead of them unless they can bolster their squad. Manchester City cannot catch Liverpool, but they’ll be runners-up, and can refocus their efforts on the UEFA Champions League when it rolls around again in a few weeks’ time.

Gameweek #22 results:

Friday 10th January

Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham United

Saturday 11th January         

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal

Chelsea 3-0 Burnley

Everton 1-0 Brighton

Leicester 1-2 Southampton

Man Utd 4-0 Norwich

Wolves 1-1 Newcastle

Spurs 0-1 Liverpool

Sunday 12th January            

Aston Villa 1-6 Man City

Bournemouth 0-3 Watford