These are five things we learned from matchday 16 fixtures played this midweek.
1. Everton 2 Vs Arsenal 2: Don’t count Gunners out yet
Pundits, as usual, have begun to poke holes in Arsenal’s title credentials following their 2-1 loss at Everton. The Gunners were bullied physically but were unlucky to lose. The decision to award Everton the corner they scored the winning goal from was wrong, while Alexis Sanchez could have gotten a penalty in the dying minute. The eventual Premier League champions will lose games, how they bounce back is what will make them champions. Arsenal need to bounce back hard, don’t count them out.
2. Sunderland 0 Vs Chelsea 1: Unimpressive Chelsea still raking in points
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Chelsea stretched their winning run to 10 games and are currently six points ahead on the Premier League table. They are guaranteed to be top on Christmas, a feat that usually tells us who the eventual champion will be, come May, but I think it will be a different this season. Chelsea were not impressive in that win over Sunderland. Potential champions should be able to go to the Sunderland and win with a certain degree of pomp and swagger. It is often described as ‘stuff of champions’ when clubs scrap wins when despite not playing well, but Chelsea’s performance shows the title fight is just beginning.
3. Manchester City 2 Vs Watford 0: Pep Guardiola goes back to basics
After being on the end of a 3-0 thrashing at Leicester City, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola seems to have learned more about the Premier League and gone back to bases. See, I England, it is more than just football. With Barcelona and Bayern Munich, all Pep did was to make sure he outplayed opponents with the ball. In England, it is not just the ball, it’s the tackles, the physicality and the method. Long balls, set pieces all these are huge parts of the English game and Pep is beginning to know that. Against Watford, he went to the basics, played players in their positions and got the results.
4. Crystal Palace 1 Vs Manchester United 2: Pogba finally steps up
It’s been four months since Manchester United splashed a world record £100m signing of Paul Pogba and that decision has been questioned since then. After months of unimpressive performance, the midfielder against Palace finally showed the form why United spent that huge sum on him. Pogba dominated the game, scored one and assisted the winner. He’s beginning to step and United fans will be delighted.
5. Middlesbrough 0 Vs Liverpool 3: Reds got much-needed win
Liverpool bounced back with a 3-0 win at Middlesbrough, a huge result considering how tough this fixture has been for other big sides this season. Jurgen Klopp’s men totally dominated the game and showed why they are considered title contenders this season. They need to keep a more consistent winning run and the title might be theirs in May.