10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 18

It’s a big weekend for Arsenal and a good one for Manchester United and Liverpool as the Premier League continues its festive schedule this weekend as the only ‘big six’ team to score three points.

The Gunners beat Brighton, Manchester United beat Wolves, and Arsenal are now seven points clear of the league and can hold a 10-point advantage the next time City play. Liverpool also beat Leicester City to retain their place in the top four.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in the USA ]

That’s as second-placed Citizens dominated Everton – Erling Haaland scored again – but were beaten by De Malegre’s beauty to join Chelsea and beat Tottenham Tottenham drop points as top team. Third-placed Newcastle continued their unbeaten run but failed to score numerous chances in the draw with Leeds, who have a big game against Arsenal on Tuesday.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

So what does all this mean?

Here are 10 notable things to watch (Gameweek 17 continues Tuesday and Wednesday), our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE) and Nicholas Mendola (NM) shared their observations of recent PL games around the world.

10 things we learned in the Premier League: Week 18

1. Arsenal have sent their chasers a new, menacing headline message (Brighton 2-4 Arsenal): Mikel Arteta’s side won’t be happy with their defensive inconsistency as they lead 3-0 and 4-1 at the Amex Stadium, but they send the rest of the league to the table in a six-goal thriller. The logos displayed by the team are loud. The idea that Arsenal could now lose both of their Premier League games to Manchester City and still control their title fortunes seemed out of reach before the season and insane just a year ago. The Gunners are second in the league for goals scored (Manchester City) and second in defense (Newcastle). There is no doubt that the current Gunners must be a team that can win the Premier League. Wow. Soak it, Gooners. (nautical miles)

2. Everton defend with 9, 10, 11; make life difficult for Man City (Manchester City 1-1 Everton: Three centre-backs and two full-backs have been at home almost all the time. The three midfielders are almost exclusively active in their own half. Toffees center Dominic Calvert-Lewin touched the ball 15 times in 70 minutes, more than half of which came in Everton’s half. It was the ugly negative football of Frank Lampard’s side, and it proved effective in giving City valuable time or space inside the box. Riyad Mahrez’s frenzied run for City’s assist was brilliant only because that was what it took to beat the Everton defense that day. The final xG statistic favored City, 2.04 to 0.09. Everton less than a tenth. 598 passes completed, 183. 16 shots, 2. 74% possession, 26. Alas, one goal, one goal. (AE)

Also Read :  Ex-Chelsea, Juventus star Gianluca Vialli dies at 58

3. Marcus Rashford returns from ‘internal discipline’ bench (Wolves 0-1 Manchester United): Marcus Rashford was left out of the starting XI after arriving late to a meeting, but he regained his good graces as he jumped from the bench and helped United into the top four of the Premier League. This season, especially in recent months, he has been outstanding for club and country. The United manager was in a good mood when asked by BT Sport after the game if Rashford had given the right answer about being dropped. “That’s the right reaction.” When asked if the Rashford affair was over, the Manchester United coach had this to say: “Of course. Everyone has to conform to the rules and values. If you work like this, that’s the right thing to do.” answer.” (JPW)

4. Conte may leave early as sluggish Spurs lose more ground (Spurs 0-2 Aston Villa): Yes, Tottenham are without Dejan Kulusevski, Rodrygo Bentancur and Richarlison, but Tottenham should have more to say about the their information. They looked disinterested from the start, although we’re used to them starting games slowly and then roaring back in the second half. This time they were worse in the second half. The fact that Antonio Conte is yet to determine his future beyond this season says it all. He doesn’t really believe Tottenham will give him the squad he needs to succeed in north London. There is an unease within the Spurs squad that has at its core the uncertainty of Conte’s future. They need a January addition, but they also need a manager’s commitment. If they don’t arrive soon, then they should part ways sooner. (JPW)

Also Read :  USMNT: 'We're not finished yet,' says Walker Zimmerman ahead of knockout stages

5. Chelsea fall short as Bolly’s Forest bully a point (Nottingham Forest 1-1 Chelsea): Raheem Sterling scored but will regret his lack of company on the scoresheet as the wide players provided chances but the scorer was not in the blue shirt. USMNT star Christian Pulisic has been as active as Sterling from the start. He dribbled across his own half before surging from the right at the start of the game to propel Chelsea forward and shortly after, he delivered a cross which Sterling darted on the left edge of Forest’s backline to help Sterling Lin scored. Kai Havertz had 48 touches, but Willy Boly was with him all the way, and when he jumped up with Pulisic, the Forest center back was ready for a challenge at the other end – without whistling, reaching for the American’s face – A second ball to Aurier after Havertz cleared the field for an attempt to fire straight into the air. Graham Potter could get reinforcements elsewhere, but if Chelsea are to secure a top-four finish, they must finish consistently at the center – and Havertz appears to be the best option. (NM)

6. Newcastle waste and Leeds’ Meslier, Adams handles the rest (Newcastle 0-0 Leeds): Newcastle created some huge chances from wide or in the box – Sean Longstaff’s two wayward efforts were the most obvious examples – while Ilan Messler won a bunch with aplomb cross. Leeds got good form from Liam Cooper and Robin Koch and got really firm after Rasmus Christensen got in Luke Ayling. But the real star was Tyler Adams, who handled the challenges of Bruno Guimarez and Miguel Almiron well. With nine recoveries and two chances created (according to Fotmob), the USMNT man was one of the few Leeds players able to make that statement on the day. (nautical miles)

7. Wout Faes ill-fated day led to Liverpool comeback win (Liverpool 2-1 Leicester): Leicester City scored Wout Faes’ first own goal in the 38th minute when he tried to clear a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross over the head of goalkeeper Danny Ward. Seven minutes later, Firth sent the ball into his own goal again, and the performance of the ball was equally distressing. Darwin Nunes lifted the ball over Ward but only found the face of the far post. The ball bounced back into play, entering Faes’ path about two yards from the goal line. Firth scrambled to clear the ball into the top of the net and Anfield rejoiced again. The Foxes lead 1-0, but Liverpool remain ahead. (AE)

Also Read :  Week 10 Fantasy Football: Sneak Peek at top Waiver Wire Pickups

8. Bees learn from their mistakes and keep humming to keep the lead (West Ham 0-2 Brentford): Brentford started for the second time in five days and led 2-0, but this time the Bees won 2-0 away at West Ham on Friday. Despite leading Tottenham 2-0 after the hour on Boxing Day, Brentford (23 points – ninth) took just one point in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Thomas Frank’s men learned from Monday’s blunder and completed the full 90 minutes against West Ham. (AE)

9. Improved Saints shut out while Farmers grab all points (Fulham 2-1 Southampton): Southampton were unlucky to fall behind after James Ward-Prowse’s shot went wide and flew into goal, and that’s what happens when you’re at the bottom of the table. To the Saints’ credit, they were there and deservedly leveled through Ward-Prowse’s almost customary free-kick magic. The Saints have a chance to win it and it looks very dangerous. But Nathan Jones was going to be a shocker for his side: Fulham cornered and an unmarked Parhinha scored the winner. There are plenty of positives for the Saints, but Wednesday’s home game against Nottingham Forest is important and they just need a win to give them more confidence to come out of the bottom three. (JPW)

10. Palace calm down with deserved win at Bournemouth(AFC Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace: Patrick Vieira was extremely disappointed to see his side not only lose 3-0 to Fulham on Monday, but finish with just nine players in truly disastrous circumstances game. Saturday’s result – and a performance to match – will help ease fears following back-to-back losses to Nottingham Forest and Fulham during the World Cup break. (AE)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button