EPL Week 20 Review
Arsenal are out on their own as leaders of the Barclays Premier League after a narrow 1-0 home win over Newcastle United. Their closest rivals Leicester City dropped home points against Bournemouth.Let’s take a look at the main headliners from last weekend’s action.
WENGER HAS HIS TROOPS GUNNING FOR THE TITLE
It wasn’t pretty and it was hard on the visitors Newcastle United, but a second-half strike from defender Laurent Koscielny was enough to give Arsenal the outright lead of the Premier League. For years, Arsène Wenger’s teams have been accused of not being able to win ugly – they tore up that particular script on Saturday in atrocious conditions, to prove beyond any doubt that they deserve their tag as favourites to lift the trophy in May.
RANIERI’S MEN FIRE BLANKS ONCE AGAIN
For the third game running, Leicester City failed to find the net on Saturday despite creating numerous chances and star player Riyad Mahrez failing to convert from the penalty spot. Press reports that this signifies the end of the fairy tale story of the season so far may be a little premature, but coach Claudio Ranieri must be concerned about his teams sudden lack of goals. The good news for Foxes fans is that the team has now achieved its first target of the season, to get to 40 points which will ensure top-flight football next season, Ranieri however, will still hold out hopes of claiming a Champions League spot next term. The best online football betting sites still quote them at 2.20 to achieve this.
NINTH TIME LUCKY FOR VAN GAAL
They say a week is a long time in football, for Manchester United, the past month and a half must have seemed like an eternity, but on Saturday they finally won again thanks in no small part to a wonderful winning goal from captain Wayne Rooney. Christmas trees were not even on sale the last time the Red Devils won a Premier League game on November 21st at Watford, but Rooney’s wonderful goal 13 minutes from time ensured that 2016 has started positively, bringing to an end the club’s worst run of results since 1989. Coach Louis van Gaal still maintains his side are in the title race, whilst this may be a little over optimistic; a top-four finish is still very much a reality.
LIVERPOOL SUNK BY ONE OF THEIR OLD BOYS
Jurgen Klopp must be wondering what an earth he has got himself into after seeing his team easily beaten at West Ham United on Saturday lunchtime. The match was a personal triumph for former Reds star Andy Carroll, who headed in his team’s second goal in a 2-0 win to condemn Klopp to his third away defeat in his last four outings on the road. It’s clear that the larger than life German needs to add to the squad but it seems fans of the Merseyside club may have to wait until the summer, to witness full reconstruction of a team that looks unlikely to play Champions League football next season.
LATE SHOW FROM AUGERO BREAKS WATFORD HEARTS
With eight minutes to go at Vicarage Road on Saturday, it looked as though Watford were going to claim another big scalp as they led title favourites Manchester City 1-0. Then a Yaya Touré goal got the visitors back into the game and just two minutes later, an exquisite header from Sergio Agüero ensured the points were heading back to Manchester. The return to form of the Argentine hitman may be the key to the clubs success this season, coach Manuel Pellegrini can ill afford to lose him for a substantial amount of time again. The betting exchanges still make the Citizens second favourites at *2.20 to be reclaim their crown in May.
CHELSEA LAY SEIGE AT THE PALACE
Crisis, what crisis? is the word on the street in West London after Chelsea’s emphatic 3-0 away win against Crystal Palace on Sunday. The champions look revitalised under interim coach Gus Hiddink and they swept the home side away with some delightful play that made a mockery of their lowly position in the league table. Brazilian midfielder Willian was simply magnificent and his wonderful goal on the hour mark capped off a man of the match display. After the match, former Chelsea skipper Dennis Wise concurred with Hiddink that the club could still reach the top-four this season; with more displays like this, who could argue with those statements.
*LATEST TITLE ODDS
Manchester City 2.20
Manchester United 21.00
Leicester City 26.00
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)