- Another week and again where else can you start but Leicester. They return to the top of the table with a 2-1 win over Chelsea and have put a 20 point gap between themselves and last seasons league Champions. It was another night where the combination of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez combined with devastating effect, although Vardy got on the scoresheet it must be Mahrez who takes the plaudits after setting up the first and scoring the second.
Do we now honestly have to mention Leicester in title winning conversation? – Claudio Ranieri doesn’t believe so stating last night in his post match interview that The Foxes still need 5 more points for them to be safe of relegation. If they can get 2 wins in the next month then surely the focus then has to be on European aspiriations
- They sat top themselves for 24 hours after a routine victory over Aston Villa in which Mesut Ozil made his 13th assist of the season and Oliver Giroud bagged his 4th goal of the week. There was some slight confusion in regards to the penalty award that led to Arsenal’s subsequent opener. Although it was a delayed decision it was certainly the right one and once ahead The Gunners never looked back. Two wins in a row in the league for Arsenal they just need to make sure they stay in touching distance of the top while this long injury list threatens to derail them. Wins on the road like on Sunday do them no harm at all in terms of their title tilt
- Manchester City. It seems as if leading the league is a game of hot potato at the moment as City occupied it for 24 hours prior to Arsenal who in turn gave the baton up to Leicester. It needed a massive stroke of luck for City’s winner as Yaya Toure’s effort looped off team mate Kelechi Iheanacho’s back and past the stricken Lukasz Fabianski to snatch a last minute winner when Swansea themselves thought they had snatched a late late point. City look a different proposition when without their spine of the team namely Vincent Kompany and Sergio Aguero and the decision to put Kevin De Bruyne on the bench raised a lot of eyebrows but it’s 3 points on the board and a relative return to form after their miserable afternoon in Stoke the weekend before. It may not have been pretty but those kind of late goals can have a massive say in way a title ends up come May.
- Two wins in a row for Steve McClaren’s men and sizeable scalps in the way of Liverpool and Tottenham. In the first half at White Hart Lane they offered very little and were just setup to keep Spurs at bay but going 1-0 down meant McClaren had to change his ideas at half time if they were to get anything out of the game and they did exactly that. It was the substitutions that seemed to win with supersubs Alexsander Mitrovic and Ayose Perez both coming off the bench and scoring. It was nothing more than they deserved as they were the much more dangerous side in the second half and Perez’s last minute winner secured a smash and grab in the Capital. That win moves them up to 15th and they face Villa at home next week, another win and they can potentially start to put some daylight between them and the drop zone
- Another team edging away from the bottom 3 is Bournemouth. If Newcastle gained two sizeable scalps over the past fortnight then Bournemouth have probably claimed the biggest in Chelsea and Manchester United. The Vitality Stadium was rocking after Junior Stanislas freak goal direct from a corner in the 1st minute and in Josh King playing against his first club they had someone who ran United’s young defence ragged. Bournemouth are growing in confidence with every week and the results are starting to reflect that. Another positive is that for every win that Eddie Howe gets it keeps the vulture which is Harry Redknapp away from the job. There’s every chance that Bournemouth could still go down come May but what a fortnight it’s been for them in their debut Premier League season.
- If I could start an extra category called The Ugly then Chelsea’s season would find itself in there. Last night saw their 9th defeat of the season already and they are now sit an astonishing 16th in the Premier League just a solitary point off the drop zone. They were made to look ordinary against Leicester last night and with Eden Hazard hobbling off after half an hour and Jose Mourinho’s post match comments last night seeming to throw the whole team under the bus it seems as if dressing room harmony is at an all time low at Stamford Bridge. Surely the top 4 has to be an afterthought now and the only route back into the Champions League will be winning the tournament outright, the only problem with that is that they’ve been drawn up against PSG in the Round of 16. Better focus on their relegation battle and the 6 pointer with Sunderland next week
- Well the run finally had to come an end and Spurs surrendered it in quite a meek fashion. They were in front and in charge of the game against Newcastle on Sunday after going into the break 1-0 up but their failure to kill off opposition has come back to haunt them as they passed up on an opportunity to move into the Top 4. They certainly missed the energy from Midfield that Mousa Demble provides but to be fair a few players had an off day such as Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen but fatigue can’t be blamed due to the fact that they were rested on Thursday for Spurs’ Europa League win over Monaco. It’s not doom and gloom at White Hart Lane but maybe a grounding that for all their talk of potential title challengers they still have a fight to get into the coveted Champions League places.
- Manchester United. No fit first team defenders and Danny Blind pinning together what was for all intents and purposes and Under 21’s back four. Bournemouth must have looked at the team sheet and thought “hang on” we can get something out of this and that’s exactly what they did. Defeat on the South Coast rounded off a miserable week for Manchester United and Louis Van Gaal as accusations from the fans that his brand of Football is killing the club got louder at the weekend following The Cherries upset win. There is no urgency in the Manchester United side and it’s only fortune from the wasted opportunities by sides such as Tottenham and Liverpool that the Red Devils still find themselves in the Top 4. Selections and substitutions that Van Gaal has made as of late has left fans baffled and if he continues to get them wrong then they are more likely going to find themselves in a real battle for 4th place
- Aston Villa. The Master faced The Apprentice on Sunday and it seemed as if Remi Garde still has a lot to learn as his Villa side fell to another defeat as they are cast further adrift at the bottom of the Premier League. If you could sum up their season so far then the manner in which they conceded their season would be the perfect snapshot, failure to track back from what should have been a simple defensive mop up and the collective groan that rang around Villa Park once Arsenal made it 2-0 says it all. Surely Aston Villa are done for, for the last few years they have relied on their being 3 worse sides than them to keep them up this season they are easily the worst side. Very few players look worthy of wearing a Villa shirt last night and I don’t know who you bring in during the transfer window to solve this problem. The Villa are done for
- A resurgent second half performance at home to Everton saw them get a point and were it not for Cameron Jerome fluffing his lines from 4 yards then they could have snatched a win. That said they could honestly have been 5-0 down at half time had Romelu Lukaku bought the right shooting boots. At 2:30pm a point looked like a decent result for The Canaries but then wins for Bournemouth and Newcastle over the weekend saw them fall into the drop zone and it seems as if Norwich’s season is taking shape and they are now in midst of a relegation battle for the remainder of the term. It’s only 1 win in the last 5 matches for Alex Neil’s men and his side have 2nd highest amount of goals conceded in the league a gap need to plug if they have any real hope of staying up. Alex Neil is going to be the Sean Dyche of this season, his job won’t be under threat at any time but for all the wise head on his young shoulders it’s seems as if his plucky side will gallantly lose the fight against the drop.