8 Things We Learnt From Premier League GW19
17 Jan 2023
We are officially half way through the season and the Premier League table is starting to take shape. We’ve rounded up the key action areas at the top and bottom of the standings from the previous Premier League weekend:
Arteta’s Arsenal Extend Lead At The Lane
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal took another big step in certifying their title credentials with their 2-0 victory against Tottenham in the North London derby. While Arsenal entered the game in scintillating form the same could not be said for Spurs. Antonio Conte’s side have looked off the pace since the post World Cup restartm continuing that trend with their first half
Taking a defence first approach when you have a bad goalkeeper and
defence is certainly interesting and the Italian was made to pay for his tactical error barely 15 minutes in. A fierce deflected cross from Bukayo Saka saw French number one Hugo Lloris flap the ball into his own net, earning him the disdain of all Spurs fans. Lloris in fact set the tone with a
few shaky moments leading up to the goal which went unpunished. Martin Odegaard was not so merciful, rifling in the Gunners second in the 36th minute following a slick move from a Lloris giveaway.
Tottehmam did have their moments but some excellent goalkeeping from Aaron Ramsdale kept the Lilywhites at bay. Earning MOTM, he was one of the standout performers alongside Eddie Nketiah, Thomas Partey and Oleksander Zinchenko. In reality the match was already lost in the first half, with the changes and increase in energy post half time proving ineffectual.
Eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table after 18 games, the unlikely situation that Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side find themselves in is all the more impressive with wins like this. It will be interesting to see how they cope with squad depth issues and if they make the necessary winter window purchases to maintain their title push. Two of the three games they dropped points this season have come post midweek european ties, and with those set to return in February Arsenal will need to find a way to curb the impact of player fatigue.
Rashford Runs Riot In Controversial Derby
The Christmas period had been full of presents for Manchester United, while dropped points and a League Cup exit had ruined City’s party. This made for an exciting derby and a chance for the team in red to get revenge for that embarrassing 6-3 defeat early on in the campaign. Not only would this result give one team bragging rights but would also have a say on this year’s title race.
Manchester United made the best chances in the first half, but despite poor defending and the best efforts of Ederson to punish his team, City held on. The second half saw the team in blue take their chance with Kevin De Bruyne’s cross headed home by Jack Grealish, as United’s defenders were too busy ball-watching or marking Erling Haaland. However, controversy struck when the Red Devils equalised late on thanks to Bruno Fernandes.
Casemiro’s ball was played forward to Marcus Rashford who was in an offside position and appeared to be guarding the ball for Fernandes. After initially being given offside, VAR overruled the decision, causing much anger for City and leaving many bemused as to why similar decisions have been ruled offside in other games. There was then a late winner as Alejandro Garnacho found Rashford at the second time of asking who poked home. He now has scored in 9 consecutive home games equalling Dennis Viollet’s record from 1959.
It was a game that showed how much United have changed since that miserable early season form, as they move within one point of their rivals. City next face a struggling Tottenham side, hoping to restore some form after a mixed bag of results since the restart. While Crystal Palace is next up, all eyes will be on next Sunday at the Emirates Stadium for fans of Manchester United.
March Madness As Liverpool Lose Ground
Roberto De Zerbi’s soaring Seagull’s hosted Jurgen Klopp’s lacking Liverpool side on Saturday afternoon, with the team on the South coast cruising to an emphatic 3-0 victory after a great team performance.
Liverpool set up a strong side at the Amex, yet never managed to develop any rhythm of play, opting to play high pressure football which worked to the Seagull’s advantage. With a substantial 61% possession, Brighton dominated the game as a whole – however the first half was tight knit and ended as a 0-0 draw, with both teams having a couple of half chances. Solly March opened the scoring for Brighton in the 46th minute, beating Allison to a loose ball in the box and getting the second half off to the perfect start. 7 minutes later, March bagged a second, this time with an impeccable left foot finish into the bottom right corner from just outside the box. Liverpool struggled to create anything of note in the final third to respond, and none other than March again set up Danny Welbeck to score a third, who flicked it over Joe Gomez’ head before lashing the ball home in the 81st minute. 3-0 Brighton, no response.
An excellent performance from Brighton and Hove Albion contrasting with a disappointing Liverpool performance, who alongside Jurgen Klopp have found themselves on a run of intense pressure – made the perfect game for De Zerbi’s men. Brighton will be challenging for a European spot should they be able to keep up good form, and the work Roberto has done so far has been nothing short of sensational.
Brentford Breeze Past Broken Bournemouth
Brentford put on another solid performance on Saturday evening as they comfortably dispatched Bournemouth on their home turf. Thomas Frank’s side barely had to get out of second gear, finding themselves a goal up before half time thanks to an Ivan Toney penalty. The spot kick was somewhat contentious after it appeared that Toney initiated the contact with Cherries defender Marcos Senesi, but the striker managed to sell it just enough to stop the decision from being overturned.
Mathias Jensen put the game to bed, firing a Josh DaSilva cross past Neto in the Bournemouth goal. Brentford have come out of the other side of the World Cup break in excellent form and have managed to turn their home ground into a fortress. The Bees will feel as if a top half finish is within their reach this season if they can find a similar consistency on the road.
The Cherries however will be starting to look over their shoulder at the relegation spots. Gary O’Neil has now been in charge for a dismal run of form stretching back to October and may well be feeling the pressure if he can’t turn his side’s fortunes around soon. With new ownership and an ambitious board, relegation is not an option, and O’Neil’s head might be the first to roll if he cannot find an attacking spark in this team. Bournemouth looked devoid of ideas without Dom Solanke and have been defensively sloppy all season. Big changes are needed on the South Coast.
Mitrovic Mishap Gives Magpies Victory
The Newcastle locomotive continues to chug along on their way to Champions League paradise, taking all the points in an evenly contested 1-0 victory over Fulham. Eddie Howe’s men returned to winning ways following back to back draws in the league, avoiding a hat-trick of stalemates. The story of the match is exactly what the scoreline suggests, a tight affair with not much between either side. In fact the game’s outcome really came down to luck.
Newcastle looked to dominate but again struggled to break down their opponents in the first half, with Callum Wilson twice denied by Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Fulham remained a threat, springing fast counter attacks after absorbing waves of Newcastle pressure. The game looked to be trudging along to a goalless conclusion before VAR intervened to award a penalty for Kieran Trippier’s clumsy challenge on Bobby Decordova-Reid just inside the penalty area.
Fulham would have left St James’ Park with something if not for ex-Newcastle forward Mitrovic slipping while taking a penalty which unfortunately clipped his plant leg before going into the goal, a rare case of double touch. Not too long after star signing Alexander Isak came off the bench to help himself to a heartbreaking 89th minute header.
Fulham however stayed sixth, an amazing achievement by the newly promoted side almost halfway through the season. This win sees Newcastle move back into third place, a point behind Man City and six back of Arsenal. On a slightly less positive note Magpies midfield linchpin Bruno Guimaraes going off injured will certainly have fans worried. If he was to be out for an extended period of time, one may wonder how destabilising that would be to this season’s surprise package team. Eddie Howe and staff will surely have one cursory eye on the market over these next two weeks.
Lampard Luckless As Saints Put Toffees To The Sword
Everton and Southampton were both going into this game in poor form, with Everton picking up just one point in the festive period and Southampton sitting bottom of the league. This made this a very important game and while Nathan Jones hadn’t started well in the league, cup victories including against Manchester City had rejuvenated his side. We had here a relegation six-pointer and it was one to remember.
Tensions were already high on Merseyside with the owners asked not to come to the ground for their own safety. It looked like the best start for Everton when Demarai Gray’s corner was headed home by Amadou Onana, following some poor marking by Mohamed Elyounoussi. Southampton
stayed in it and after testing Pickford in the first half, a looping ball, a header down by Che Adams, and some silky footwork and a finish by James Ward-Prowse brought the game level.
Everton will rue missed chances with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s deflected effort hitting the underside of the crossbar, and a dangerous ball in was dealt with by the glove of Gavin Bazunu. It left Ward-Prowse to be the match-winner, as he scored one of his trademark free kicks. The result left Everton
fans furious, who had a sit-down protest after the game and showed their disgust at players outside the stadium.
Southampton remain bottom but are clearly moving in the right direction. They face a tricky Aston Villa side next weekend. Everton are out of sorts, having now not won since October and sitting in 19th place. The anger amongst fans towards the board show they see this as a problem that goes
right to the top and are furious about yet another relegation battle. They face another six-pointer away at West Ham next week and defeat there could see the hostilities and crisis widen at this once great club.
Havertz Eases Pressure On Potter Against Palace
Since being appointed Chelsea manager, Graham Potter has been under heavy criticism for their very poor run of results – with many fans calling for the Englishman to get the sack already. Hosting Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon, an unconvincing 1-0 win by the Blues was just enough to ease past Patrick Viera’s Eagles.
A game that was mirrored with the excitement of new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk being unveiled as a Chelsea player at Stamford Bridge the same day, a cagey first half saw a number of big chances be squandered for either side. It wasn’t until the second half that the intensity of the game picked up, and Potter’s team managed to take the lead through a Kai Havertz header, assisted by Hakim Ziyech in the 65th minute. Although Crystal Palace ramped up the play to try and search for an equaliser, Kepa was never really severely tested, with the South London side only managing one shot on target after conceding.
Chelsea fans won’t be convinced at all, but must hold some confidence knowing that some of their injured and suspended players will be on their way back to the side soon. In terms of Viera’s Palace, 1 in in 5 recent Premier League games will be a source of frustration for the fans, and I can only assume they will be working hard on the training ground to try and find a bit more of a cutting edge in games.
Bailey Shines Bright As Villa Snatch Victory
Unai Emery has turned Aston Villa’s season around since arriving back in the Premier League. Leon Bailey’s sweet strike to cap off a fine breakaway move gave Villa the advantage against Leeds inside the first 5 minutes.
After World Cup hero Emi Martinez pulled off a string of top saves, the home side were able to double their advantage in the second half thanks to a header from a rebounded Bailey strike from Emi Buendia.
Leeds battled throughout the game and clawed their way back in with a late effort from Patrick Bamford, but it proved too little too late in the end. Emery has now secured four wins from six games in the league, and seems to have revitalised the likes of Bailey and Buendia, allowing them to play with a freedom they lacked under Steven Gerrard. Leeds on the other hand will be starting to worry for their Premier League status, as Jesse Marsch’s credit in the bank of Leeds supporters is starting to run low. It will be interesting to see which sides battling relegation will be the first to blink when it comes to managerial replacements.