Matchday 19: Potentially the most crucial matchday of this season.
This week was the Matchday which was the most hectic, and there were a variety of results. Let’s take a look at each and every result of the 18 matches, except this time the article will be split into two, so that you will not fall asleep reading a 18-match review at once. Hope you enjoy the reviews, because if not my fingers turning stiff would have been for nothing.
Wolves vs West Brom: 2–3
What a shocker this was. Wolves have been off form, but surely they could have done WAY better. I mean, they were playing the West Brom team who have been on the receiving end of multiple trashings this season. Kudos to Big Sam, who seems to have finally settled on what formation to use, and the required tactics to beat teams. The West Brom team i saw finally seems to be working as an unit, rather than a group of individual players who have their own agendas. Wolves, meanwhile, were a complete trainwreck. Similar to Liverpool, the Midlands side have been struggling to win games after their main man Raul Jimenez got his skull fractured a few weeks ago. Since then, Nuno’s men have struggled both offensively and defensively, although Fabio Silva did try his best to replicate Jimnez. My MOTM is Matheus Pereira, who scored twice from the spot to give the Baggies the W.
West Ham United vs Burnley: 1–0
This match has much more in it than it seems, as Antonio scored a stunner to bag a win for David Moyes’ men. West Ham have been a totally different team compared to last season, as they went from escaping relegation to challenging for the Europa League spots. Burnley, on the other hand, have had a completely different journey, as they overachieved by finishing 10th last season, but have struggled for form this season. Both teams played decently well, but it was the Hammers’ who went all the way for the W, not Burnley. My MOTM is obviously Antonio, for his great performance as yet again he was the match winner for the Hammers.
Leeds United vs Brighton Hove & Albion: 0–1
Marcelo Bielsa, the footballing mastermind, has just been beaten by Graham Potter. That’s right. And now we’ll have to call Potter a genius and suggest that he take over the English national team. Sarcasm aside, it really was a huge shock as Brighton somehow outplayed Leeds, despite Leeds fielding a pretty strong team. The Seagulls have experienced some of the worst luck I have ever seen this season, and finally results seem to be going their way. Leeds, however, will be deeply worried that they were unable to at least scrape a draw, as the Whites were unable to break down a resilient Seagulls defence. My MOTM has to be Robert Sanchez, who has started to perform well in goal for the Seagulls, despite being picked as number one only a few weeks ago. He experienced a tough start to life as Brighton were far from their best, but has looked more and more solid, proving he is the undisputed number one.
Fulham vs Chelsea: 0–1
Yet another one goal match, it wasn’t as lively as you’d expect as Chelsea scraped past the Cottagers. Fulham had a couple of chances, but just couldn’t place the ball into the back of the net. Chelsea, meanwhile, performed mediocrely and were fortunate that Areola wasn’t able to divert the ball away from Mount’s reach, even if Mount did volley it well. My MOTM has to be Mount, who, as I said, scored a great volley to win the Blues a crucial 3 points.
Leicester City vs Southampton FC: 2–0
The Foxes closed the gap between themselves and MUFC with yet another outstanding display, as goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were enough to beat an uninsipired Saints team. The Saints did really well to handle Liverpool in the last match, but were simply outplayed by the Foxes as both Maddison and Barnes grabbed yet another goal in the PL. Brendan Rodgers has done an amazing job at Leicester in the 2 years he’s been there, despite limited funds. They showed why many fear them, as they played flowing football to flummox the opposition. My MOTM is James Maddison, whose thunder strike reminded me of prime Lampard. He has always been a great CAM, but this season he has defied all expectations with his world class and consistent performances, apparently driven by feedback he recieved by commentator Jamie Carragher.
Sheffield United vs Tottenham Hotspur: 1–3
That astonishing win against Newcastle United seems to be a false dawn, as the Blades suffered yet another defeat at the hands of Jose Mourinho’s Spurs. As I have mentioned multiple times, the Blades weren’t playing horribly, but they were just too lazy and lethargic, which led to their opponents’ triumph. Tottenham, meanwhile, played extremely well, and showed why they are seen as title contenders. My MOTM is Tanguy Ndombele, for his world-class flick to score the third goal. The Frenchman has revived his career this season after a tough start to life in England, and Mourinho will be relieved they didn’t sell him last summer after his recent performances have solidified his place in the first 11.
Liverpool vs Manchester United: 0–0
This match was expected to be full of goals, but good defending from both sides led to a stalemate between the two title contenders. Liverpool have struggled both defensively and offensively in recent weeks, but missed opportunities from the United attackers and a quiet night for Anthony Martial meant that they dealt easily with the Red Devils’ offence. However, the Liverpool front three were much more active. This was countered by a brilliant performance by MUFC’s back four. Luke Shaw pocketed Salah, Maguire was dominant in the air, Lindelof contributed with some great clearances, and AWB’s tackles were on point as usual. My MOTM has to be Luke Shaw. Keeping a player of Salah’s stature quiet is no easy task, yet Luke Shaw made doing so look quite easy, as the Englishman produced what was arguably the best performance at left-back for MUFC since Evra’s departure. His Manchester United career has been a mixed bag so far, but the 25 year-old has thrived under OGS, and looks to have nailed down a place in the first 11 for years to come (hopefully).
Manchester City vs Crystal Palace: 4–0
What a game this was. Pep Guardiola’s men totally routed the Eagles, as the Mancunians gear up for a title challenge. The Sky Blues had a rough start to the season, but like their neighbours have turned things around. John Stones was on fire that night as he netted his first two goals in a Man City shirt, and also remained defensively dominant over the Eagles’ attackers. Both Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling scored wonder goals too, bringing even more intensity into an already heated up title race. Palace, meanwhile, were horrendous. This isn’t the first time they have been on the receiving end of a routing, but their performance this time was even worse as they didn’t even try to make up for conceding 4 goals. My MOTM is John Stones, who like the previous two MOTMs, has revived his career this season, after he was mostly on the fringes for the past two seasons. His emergence may have been due to a defensive crisis, but he has turned the crisis into a dilemma as City now have 4 good centre backs, with both Laporte and Nathan Ake having to sit on the bench after Dias’ and Stones’ impressive performance as a pair this season.
Arsenal vs Newcastle: 3–0
This wasn’t unpredictable, but I’m still surprised on how one-sided it was. Newcastle have been far from great in recent weeks, but this match’s performance by them was appalling. They have a top squad and a decent manager, but a combination of bad luck and performances have led to a huge drop in both form and morale. Arsenal, however, played quite well, and will be pleased to see themselves barely two points away from the top half of the table and London rivals Chelsea. Bukayo Saka showed why he’s rated so highly by English fans and Gunners talisman PEA played unexpectedly well, considering the form he’s been since signing that new contract. Therefore, Aubameyang has to be my MOTM for his two goals, which will surely be a confidence booster. Now, the only thing left for him to do is perform this way consistently for the next 18 weeks to secure European football.
As for Player of the Week, you can find out who he is in the next article. If you ask why, let me just say it’s more fun that way.
So that’s all for part 1 of this article. Do look out for the second part, hope you enjoyed this one and till then, addio.