This Matchday happened a week ago, and it had quite a lot of consequences to the league table, as some teams rose up the rankings, and some dropped down. Let’s take a look at the results, and what they mean to each and every EPL club.
Everton vs West Ham: 0–1
Truth be told, I had expected Everton to win this tie. In former seasons, this tie would have been a battle between two mid-table clubs, but this season is different as both the Toffees and the Hammers are aiming for European football. Both sides improved massively over the summer due to new managers and better playears, and David Moyes will be overjoyed with clinching the full 3 points despite having to play second-string ‘keeper, Darren Randolph. Everton have been on the fence in recent times, sometimes world-class, sometimes lethargic, and they were the latter this match as they succumbed to a deadly Hammers’ side. My MOTM has to be Tomas Soucek, who scored the winner, and played magnificently throughout the game.
Manchester United vs Aston Villa: 2–1
What a result this was for the Red Devils, and their fans. For the first time since Sir Alex’s retirement, Manchester United are joint-top of the table on New Year’s Eve! They played quite well, and they continue to remain on an impressive streak which has helped them reach the top of the table and the deeper stages of competitions too. Aston Villa weren’t bad, and were dominant over United in terms of stats, but just couldn’t grab their chances by the neck and put the ball in the net for a second time. The foul on Paul Pogba was certainly sketchy, but I’m sure the Mancunians would have scored and won the game even IF it wasn’t a penalty. MY MOTM will be Eric Baily, for his phenomenal defending against the rapid and deadly Villa attackers. The towering Ivorian has struggled with injuries throughout his career, but has impressed this season after he returned from injury recently.
Tottenham Hotspur vs Leeds United: 3–0
The Lilywhites will be super pleased to start 2021 off with a win, and while their style of play was flawless, they will be disappointed with Matt Doherty’s red card due to his importance to the squad. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son were once again on the scoresheet as Mourinho’s men rose to 4th. Leeds United, on the other hand, will be utterly disappointed with their loss and performance, and Marcelo Bielsa will soon have to learn how to adapt to defensive-minded teams by counterattacking, not sitting deep and playing attacking, attractive football no matter how easy on the eye it is. My MOTM is Harry Kane, who continues his rich vein of form to grab the number one spot in the assists stats.
Crystal Palace vs Sheffield United: 2–0
Could the Blades sink any deeper? EPL fans have been waiting for a Sheffield United win for a really long time, but unfortunately the Sheffield players once again failed to impress as they slumped to yet another defeat. Crystal Palace took the opportunity to win a game amid a slump in form, however, and looked much better than they have in recent weeks. To be fair to Shffield, they are experiencing a COVID crisis, which certainly didn’t make coping with a revitalised Palace easier. My MOTM is Eberechi Eze, who was back on the scoresheet as the Palace returned to decent form after a couple of tough weeks.
Brighton vs Wolves: 3–3
What a game, what a scoreline. This six goal thriller was nothing short of breathtaking, as a toothless Brighton suddenly came to life to steal a point of Nuno’s men. Both teams were stunning up front, but both also struggled to defend against each other, which led to this entertaining 6 goal match. Nuno will be disappointed to have dropped 2 points after leading 3–1, but there was not much he could do from the dugout as Wolves’ defence toiled and laboured to keep the likes of Trossard, Solly March and Maupay quiet, to no avail. My MOTM is Leonardo Trossard, who has been the underrated and unrecognised engine of the Seagulls team. It takes time, but if you keep watching highlights or matches of Brighton, you will realise he is their major creative source.
West Brom vs Arsenal: 0–4
The Hawthorns expected a lot more from Sam Allardyce when they hired him, but it’s safe to say things have been going downhill for the Baggies, despite his appointment. To put things simply, West Brom are starting to resemble the Norwich side of last season; loads of potential, decent playing style, but no results. Arsenal, on the flip side, will be delighted with the win, considering just weeks ago it would have been plausible for the Baggies to have won against them. E.S Rowe has been a vital part of the Gunners’ resurgence, and was once again a surprisingly efficient, and creative player in the middle of the park. My MOTM, despite E.S Rowe’s performance, has to be Alexandre Lacazette. He is another player benefiting from Rowe’s emergence, and scored yet another brace for the Gunners. We are finally seeing the stylish, prolific style of play Lacazette is known for, and hopefully for him it stays that way.
Newcastle United vs Leicester City: 1–2
What a result for Brendan Rodgers, and what a disappointment for Steve Bruce. Both teams have been aiming for European football, and yet Leicester have been the more consistent team. Newcastle United actually played well in defence and midfield, but Callum Wilson was unable to do much on his own on top. Wilson is known for being a prolific striker if he’s not the only one, so Newcastle better find a partner for their star man- fast. Leicester played at the same level, but their stellar midfield was what made the difference as both Tielemans and James Maddison scored to clinch the 3 points. My MOTM is James Maddison, who has been on FIRE this season. The Foxes just aren’t the same without him, especially since he is one of the only CAMs who have the ability to play as a second striker. This special role of his has been the catalyst for more than a couple of games in the past two seasons, and I’m sure he will continue to be a game-changer at Leicester for many more seasons.
Chelsea vs Manchester City: 1–3
This was one of the more exciting matches, as Manchester City cruised past a despondent Chelsea. Chelsea fans, you can’t deny that the match was a horror show, given that your most creative player was Kai Havertz, which isn’t a compliment at the current point of time. The Sky Blues dominated the Normal Blues in all aspects, as Gundogan, Phil Foden and De Bruyne all netted for Guardiola’s men to bring them up to 5th. After a stuttering start to the season, Pep’s Sky Blues are back to tip-top shape, and that win certainly reaffirms their place in the title race. My MOTM is Ilkay Gundogan, who once again forced a ‘keeper to pick the ball out of their net as he had a field day against the Londoners. Ilkay Gundogan has been a stand-out performer for Manchester City this season, and it’s surprising to think that he still isn’t getting the minutes a midfielder of his quality should be getting in the first team.
Southampton vs Liverpool: 1–0
This was a genuine shocker. I prayed for a loss, and my wish was granted as the Reds slipped up in the title race with a loss. It’s too early in the season for it to have detrimental effects, but come May, it could be a main factor in whether Jurgen Klopp gets the honour of lifting the trophy once more, or if his rival managers do. This Liverpool were the exact opposite of the lively, high-pressing, risk-taking we all have come to known, as former Scouser Danny Ings came back to haunt them as he scored the winner just 2 minutes into the game. Southampton, on the other hand, were amazing as they controlled proceedings with the little possession they had. All in all, it was a managerial, and footballing masterclass by Hassenhuttl and the Saints players respectively, as they inch closer to Europa league football. My MOTM is Danny Ings, as he once again scored to win the game against his former employers. He hasn’t scored much since his return from injury, and this goal will be a huge confidence booster.
My POTW is Eric Baily, for his sensational performance against Villa. This may seem a tad biased, but I honestly can’t see past him after those acrobatic blocks and slick tackles. He will be crucial to United’s title race, and now the only thing in between him and success plus fame at United is a serious injury.
So, that’s all for MatchDay 17’s review. Matchday 18 is due to start soon, and even with lesser matches being played out this week, it’s still set to prove a crucial week. Do look out for my Review on it soon, and till next time, au revoir.