Matchday 23 was definitely not short of intense fixtures that involved the big dogs as we saw in Southampton vs Manchester City, Manchester United vs West Ham United, Crystal Palace vs Liverpool, and Chelsea vs Tottenham.
Guess the above is a huge reason why the EPL will always be identified as one of the best leagues in the world, if not the best.
Moving straight to seeing how the big 5 performed, we will start with the league leaders, Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola and his boys failed to maintain the 12 points gap between them and 2nd placed Liverpool prior to this game after they played a 1 all draw against Ralph Hassenhuetti.s Southampton.
In short, this is the 2nd time the Citizens are dropping points against the Saints this season after both sides played a goalless draw in the reverse fixture, a game that saw the former register only 1 shot on target which game at the tail end of the game.
This draw also ensured the Citizens’ winning streak, which stood at 12 prior to this game, came to a premature end. Not really the very best ending to a majestic run, isn’t it?
Moving on to the next team, we will be looking at Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Jurgen Klopp’s men were definitely in no mood to let go of the chance to close the gap between them and 1st placed Manchester City as they brushed aside Patrick Viera’s Crystal Palace with ease right at the latter’s backyard.
The Reds were 2 nil up in the first 32 minutes of the game, and although Palace was able to reduce the deficit by half in the early minutes of the 2nd half, there was no way they could come back after Fabinho slot in a kick from the penalty spot at the tail end of the game.
On a final note, we can bet the Reds will be eager to reduce the point gap between them and City to 6 points considering they still have a game at hand.
The Blues finally got back to winning ways in the EPL having only won 1 in the previous 7 they have played.
Prior to this game, many including myself was curious to see if Thomas Tuchel’s side will be able to gain a hattrick of victory over Antonio Conte’s men with the 2 factors looking to be against them alongside their poor run of games in the EPL:
· Antonio Conte is yet to suffer a defeat in the EPL since he replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as Tottenham Hotspur’s coach,
· And his side already suffered 2 defeats to the Blues this month, all 2 being in the Carabao Cup, which means they should be all out to get revenge.
Fortunately, Thomas Tuchel’s side looked unfazed as they swept aside Antonio Conte’s men in the same manner as they did in the past with Hakim Ziyech scoring a “Goal of the Month” contender in the process.
This win ensures Chelsea still gets to remain in the Top 4 even if Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur win all their outstanding games with all other factors being constant.
After getting a massive win over Brentford in their last game prior to this, Ralf Ragnick’s men sought to improve on that as they faced David Moyes’ West Ham United.
Definitely, the game was to decide who will occupy 4th position for the time being till all outstanding games are played, and as we all expected, it was a keenly contested affair with the Hammers doing everything in their power to ensure they do not let go of the highly sought after position.
Unfortunately for the Hammers, there was no way they could stop a resilient and persistent Red devils’ side as the latter, after myriads of attempts, got an injury-time all-important goal thanks to an unselfish Edison Cavani teeing up Marcus Rashford for a simple tap in.
This victory saw Ralf Ragnick’s Red devils leapfrog David Moyes’s Hammers to complete the last Champions League qualification spot for now.
Mikel Arteta’s men January woes continued against Burnley as they failed to record a win in 5 matches across all competition this month.
Really, it seems super safe to say that this Arsenal team lost the blistering form they were in after their self-inflicted loss to Manchester City.
Although they showed a glimpse of hope in their first leg tie stalemate against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup after a shocking defeat to Chesterfield in the FA Cup tie, a home loss to the Reds in the second leg looked to have destroyed any ounce of confidence that was left in them as they were held to a goalless draw by 20th placed Burnley.
This draw ensured Mikel.s Arteta’s men failed to leapfrog both West Ham United and Manchester United to occupy 4th position, a very devastating event that broke the hearts of every Arsenal faithful all over the world.
With the 2 weeks currently upon us, we can bet that all coaches will be back at their drawing board with the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta drafting out plans on how they can get their teams back to winning ways, while the remaining 3 coaches will be on the lookout on areas they can improve their respective teams and ensure they remain on winning track.
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