Yet another Premier League weekend concludes in England. The 21st Premier League week saw many surprises and shocks along the way. Starting with an away victory for Liverpool at Sunderland, the weekend ended with an away victory for Southamapton in one of the giant killing acts at Old Trafford. With plenty to digest from the weekends action, let us look at the five talking points:
Liverpool on the rise
Since losing to Reds at Old Trafford on December 14th, Liverpool have been unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competition. Of the seven, the Merseyside outfit have won five matches. After a slow and inconsistent start to the season, Reds looked to have regained their last season form with good run of results.
The performance is not there yet for the Anfield outfit but, they are managing to somehow grind the results. They are now sitting in the eight position with just five points behind their fierce rival Manchester United’s fourth place. Also, the Reds are in the semifinals of the Carling cup and have also reached the next round of the FA cup. With Sturridge set to return from injury, the Reds might finish the second half of the season on a high.
Chelsea take advantage of their rivals slipping
After Chelsea’s New Year day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City closed the gap on the Blues with a victory against Sunderland. But, City failed to maintain the momentum as they lost ground to their rivals with a 1-1 draw at Goodison park. It allowed Chelsea to reclaim their lead at the top of the table with two points.
Chelsea started the match against Newcastle slowly as the Toon hit five shots on target before Chelsea struck their first on target. Incidentally that turned out to be a goal for Oscar on the 42nd minute. The opening goal jolted Chelsea into their expected dominance, as Costa’s second before the hour mark sealed the deal for the Blues. If Chelsea can keep up this form, it will be hard to see anyone except for the Londoners to win the league title.
A much needed point for Everton
After enduring a disastrous festive period when they lost all four games, things looked to have changed for the Merseyside outfit. They where on the verge of defeat against West Ham United in the FA cup but, a late equaliser from Lukaku ended their four match losing run. They followed that late fightback into the game against Manchester City in the weekend.
When these two sides met five weeks ago, City coasted to a comfortable three points at the Etihad. It was a different Everton this time around. Those in royal blue resembled a team and not a bunch of frustrated individuals. They defended and attacked as a unit to earn a late equaliser through Naismith. The assist from Leighton Baines was his 45th of his career, making him the most creative defender in Premier League history.
Debut victories for Pulis and Pardew
After the appointment of Tony Pulis, the sense of optimism around the Albion stadium grew by minute. The expectations turned into reality as Pulis kick started his time in charge with a debut victory against a struggling Hull City. Solitary goal from the most wanted Berahino in the second half was enough for the Baggies. The win moves them up to 14th in the table. A couple of quality additions in the right areas can change the teams fortune in the second half of the season.
Like Pulis, Alan Pardew enjoyed a come from behind victory against Tottenham Hotspur. It was Crystal Palace’s first victory in nine attempts against Spurs. Goals from Gayle and Puncheon canceled out Harry Kane’s impressive opening goal. There’s a long way to go before Palace can feel safe, but the way Crystal palace players responded to Pardew’s call on the night after going behind, might make the fans believe in their teams survival hopes again.
Money does not buy victory
Manchester United’s performance against the Saints on Sunday night proved that money alone cannot guarantee results. The Reds started the match with a dream lineup against Southampton, as Van persie, Rooney, Di Maria, Mata, Carrick and Blind where all present in the same team for the first time this season.
After seeing the line up on the screen, many predicted a comfortable victory for the Reds but, that wasn’t the case on the night. United never played like a team, as they looked like 11 individual players who where put together on the same pitch. Their understanding between each other was neither good as they moved the ball slowly and as usual they looked shaky at the back.
Through out the season injuries affected Van Gaal from naming his best eleven on the pitch. However, on Sunday, the Reds failed to hit the target even once despite having their best team on board. With Van Gaal getting the same number of points which David Moyes managed this time last season, the nervousness among supporters have returned again.
Image Courtesy: Dailymail and ESPN
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