Premier League

Premier League Round-Up: Matchday 28

  1. MANCHESTER CITY (75 pts, GD + 62)
    LAST GAMES: 3-0 W at Arsenal
    NEXT GAME: vs Chelsea

After completely dominating Arsenal last weekend in the Carabao Cup final, City did it once again on Thursday but this time at the Emirates. Arsenal looked exponentially better than they did in the cup final and they still looked leagues apart from Manchester City. To truly understand the difference Pep Guardiola has made and how good this City team is, look no further than the build-up to City’s third goal. Arsenal, understandably desperate, were pushing high up the field, but even under intense pressure, City kept calm and passed their way out of pressure and it led to a simple tap in at the other end of the field. It was a true masterclass in passing and finishing that even Arsenal fans just had to watch in awe of the talent and skill on display. City’s 3-0 win was their largest away win at Arsenal since November 1912 (!!) win they beat Arsenal 4-0.

City is now 16 points clear and is only a few wins away from clinching the title. However, there is no rest for the wicked as Chelsea visit the Etihad on Sunday.

  1. MANCHESTER UNITED (59 pts, GD +33)
    LAST GAME: 2-1 W vs. Chelsea
    NEXT GAME: at Palace

Lukaku may have disappeared in other big games this season, but he was the star on Sunday against Chelsea. Lukaku was sensational and he was a big part of United’s comeback. He used his strength and ability to hold off pressure and equalize minutes before halftime. Lukaku almost had his second goal of the game on a beautiful half-volley but Courtois made a fantastic save. Then it was Lukaku’s cross to Lingard in front of the Stretford End that won United the game. Lukaku needed to play well in a big game, and now that he has, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes on a tear in the league.

The win takes United back into second place and their goal for the rest of the season will be to remain in the top four. If Lukaku plays the rest of the season like he did against Chelsea, there will be nothing for United fans to worry about.

  1. LIVERPOOL (57 PTS, GD +33)
    LAST GAME: 4-1 W vs. West Ham
    NEXT GAME: vs. Newcastle

Liverpool was at their very best on Saturday and West Ham didn’t even stand a chance. The Hammers couldn’t handle the front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Emre Can also had fantastic games. The only other time Liverpool were this dominant in a game was against Manchester City at Anfield. The win temporarily took Liverpool into second, but with United’s win over Chelsea means that Liverpool stays in third.

Liverpool welcome Newcastle to Anfield this weekend before traveling to arch-rivals United for a massive game next weekend.

    LAST GAME: 1-0 W at Palace
    NEXT GAME: vs. Huddersfield

I have no idea how this game ended 1-0, but Tottenham fans will be happy that Spurs took home all three points. Tottenham had chance after chance after chance throughout the entire game. Harry Kane could and probably should have had two or three goals before scoring the game-winner in the 87th minute. Tottenham dominated the game and it would have been unlucky if they only took a point. Spurs used skills, possession and flair and made easy work of Palace’s defense.

Pochettino may have his players working on finishing a little bit more this week in training, but Spurs looked like one of the best teams in Europe with their play at Selhurst Park. The most important thing was the three points and Tottenham took home all three.

  1. CHELSEA (53 PTS, GD +25)
    LAST GAME: 2-1 L at United
    NEXT GAME: at City

A tough loss for Chelsea, especially with Liverpool and Tottenham winning. Conte and Chelsea now sit outside the top four and two points behind Tottenham. The Blues started the game well and had a deserved lead. However, after Willian’s goal, Chelsea was the second-best team for the rest of the game. Chelsea struggled to keep up with Lukaku, Sanchez and Lingard. It doesn’t get any easier for Chelsea as they have to play City this weekend. Chelsea needs to take points from this game if they want to keep pace with Tottenham and Liverpool, who have very winnable games this weekend.

  1. ARSENAL (45 PTS, GD +12)
    LAST GAME: 3-0 L vs. City
    NEXT GAME: at Brighton

Yikes. The last week at Arsenal may be the worst week under Arsene Wenger. Losing to a tiny, Swedish side Ostersunds and then being embarrassed by City twice in five days. It gets worse for Arsenal because they are now 10 points off the top four and have a tough Europa league two-legged match-up against AC Milan to worry about on top of their league worries. In the PL matchup against City, the Gunners looked exponentially better compared to how they played in the Cup final and Arsenal still had no chance against City. Guardiola and his boys were leagues ahead of Arsenal. To make matters worse for Arsenal, boos were ringing out after 30 minutes while the City fans were chanting, “Arsene Wenger, we want you to stay.”

The Gunners have lost seven of the 13 games they have played in 2018. Arsenal fans have been calling for #WengerOut for the last few years and it looks like it may be the year Arsenal part ways with Wenger.

  1. BURNLEY (37 PTS, GD -3)
    LAST GAME: 1-1 D vs. Southampton
    NEXT GAME: vs. Everton

A tough point for Burnley to swallow. The Clarets pride themselves on their resilience at Turf Moore and they were seconds away from taking all three points. Manolo Gabbiadini broke Burnley’s hearts with one of the last kicks of the game when his shot beat Nick Pope. Burnley is now winless in their last 11 league games. Sean Dyche and his men will try to end that streak when they host Everton—who are awful on the road—on Saturday.

    LAST GAME: 1-1 D vs. Stoke
    NEXT GAME: vs. Bournemouth

Leicester was saved by Jack Butland’s howler and it earned the Foxes a point. Leicester didn’t play well against a side they should have beaten pretty easily, but they got a point and that is all that matters. The Foxes are safe and will only focus on the quality of their performances for the rest of the season.

  1. EVERTON (34 PTS, GD -15)
    LAST GAME: 1-0 L at Watford
    NEXT GAME: at Burnley

With Saturday’s loss to Watford, Everton has now lost four straight PL games on the road and have been outscored 12-2 in those games. Even worse, the Toffees have only one win in 14 away matches before this season. (1W 5 D 8L) With a stat like that, it is incredible that Everton is in the top half of the table. Everton was in a relegation battle a couple months ago, but now that they are safe and will be in the PL next season, they desperately need to improve on the road or they will be in a relegation battle again next season.

  1. WATFORD (33 PTS, GD -9)
    LAST GAME: 1-0 W vs. Everton
    NEXT GAME: vs. WBA

Troy Deeney’s first goal from open play in 326 days sealed Watford’s win over Everton. In all fairness, it was a pretty boring game with not a lot of attacking play, but Watford did what they needed to do in order to get all three points. With WBA visiting Vicarage Road this weekend, Watford fans will feel very confident about their team’s chances.

    LAST GAME: 2-2 D vs. Newcastle
    NEXT GAME: at Leicester

A massive point for Eddie Howe and the Cherries. Bournemouth was awful for almost 60 minutes, but when the home fans are behind you, anything can happen. The come from behind draw should give Bournemouth plenty of confidence as they travel to Leicester this weekend. If Howe can get his team to play the full game against Leicester like they did in the last ten minutes against Newcastle, Bournemouth will leave the KP with all three points.

    LAST GAME: 4-1 W vs Swansea
    NEXT GAME: vs. Arsenal

The Seagulls dominance against Swansea will give their fans a lot of hope going forward in the relegation fight. Swansea didn’t stand a chance against Brighton and this may have been Brighton’s best performance of the season. It’s an important time for Brighton to build some momentum with games against Arsenal and Everton in the next two weeks. With Arsenal struggling, Brighton will feel that their game against the Gunners at the Amex is a very winnable game.

  1. WEST HAM UNITED (30 PTS, GD -15)
    LAST GAME: 4-1 L at Liverpool
    NEXT GAME: at Swansea

The Hammers were completely outplayed by Liverpool last weekend. There was no real point in the game where West Ham looked like they could knick away a win, let alone a point. The bright spot for West Ham, as it has been for most of the last two seasons, was Michail Antonio. Still coming back from injury, Antonio scored seconds after coming into the game. West Ham is safe, for now, but if they don’t show signs of improvement soon, they may be dragged into the tight relegation fight.

    LAST GAME: 2-1 W vs. WBA
    NEXT GAME: at Spurs

In a big relegation six-pointer, the Terriers picked up a massive win. With other relegation-stricken teams playing one another, Huddersfield needed a win and they got it at the Hawthorns. The win took Huddersfield from the relegation zone all the way up to 14th. It’s still very tight at the bottom-half of the table and the Terriers have a very difficult game against Tottenham next weekend, but then have four massive games against relegation rivals. The next month is going to be very important for Huddersfield and their fight to stay in the PL.

  1. NEWCASTLE (29 PTS, GD -11)
    LAST GAME: 2-2 D at Bournemouth
    NEXT GAME: at Liverpool

Massive points dropped by Newcastle. The Magpies were 2-0 up with 10 minutes left in the game away from home and it resulted in a draw. That was a game Newcastle needs and needed to win. If Newcastle does get relegated, they will look back at this game as one of the reasons why. Rafa Benitez prides himself on discipline and organization, but it all fell apart in the last ten minutes. Newcastle must improve if they want to take anything away from their matchup against Liverpool.

  1. SOUTHAMPTON (27 PTS, GD -12)
    LAST GAME: 2-0 L vs. Liverpool
    NEXT GAME: vs Stoke

A massive point for Southampton. Their late equalizer lifted them out of the bottom three. Though the point lifted the Saints to safety, they have two massive games against relegation rivals Stoke and Newcastle in the next two weeks. If the Saints can manage at least four points, their season will be saved. Every season has a make-or-break point and these next two games will determine Southampton’s season.

  1. CRYSTAL PALACE (27 PTS, GD -18)
    LAST GAME: 1-0 L vs. Tottenham
    NEXT GAME: vs. United

Heartbreak for Palace. They never threatened in attack and it was clear that Palace was only concerned with not conceding. Palace’s gameplan almost paid off, but Harry Kane once again proved his brilliance with his goal in the 87th minute. Palace is now just one spot ahead of the relegation zone, solely ahead on goal differential. It doesn’t get any easier for Roy Hodgson and Palace as United visit Selhurst this weekend while the teams around them have winnable games. This time next week, we may see Palace in the relegation zone once again.

  1. SWANSEA CITY (27 PTS, GD -20)
    LAST GAME: 4-1 L at Brighton
    NEXT GAME: vs. West Ham

The Swans were blitzed at the Amex over the weekend. Swansea only managed one shot on target the entire game. The loss takes Swansea back into the relegation zone and ends their streak of four straight games of registering a point. Even though it seemed like Swansea had revived their season, this one loss proves how vital and dangerous the bottom-half of the table really is. For Carlos Carvalhal and his boys, every game is a big game until their safety is guaranteed.

  1. STOKE CITY (26 PTS, GD -26)
    LAST GAME: 1-1 D at Leicester
    NEXT GAME: at Southampton

A heart-breaking draw for Stoke. Shaqiri’s beautiful curling effort put the Potters ahead right before halftime, but it was Jack Butland’s own goal in the second half that sunk Stoke. Butland is one of the best young keepers in England, but he has not been at his best this season. No one at Stoke—aside from Shaqiri—has played well this season. Stoke have the worst goal differential in the league and a massive game against Southampton next happen. The game between Stoke and Southampton is going to be the biggest game of the weekend.  If Stoke does not win next weekend, I think it will be safe to bet that Stoke will be relegated.

    LAST GAME: 2-1 vs. Huddersfield
    NEXT GAME: at Watford

WBA needed to beat the Terriers if they wanted to keep pace in the relegation battle. With their loss, I’m afraid there is no coming back. WBA will be relegated from the Premier League and play next season in the Championship.


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