There has been a lot of drama in the Premier League this season, but in its own way it still feels like the biggest moment in the title race yet – Roberto Firmino dodging Harry Kane and Toby Alderworld to win Liverpool’s match against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.
It was Tottenham who started the evening leaders of the Premier League table and it was Tottenham who had better chances that night. Stephen Burgoyne wasted two, squandered another Kane. But when it was all over, the champions were three points ahead of the rest.
Firmino scored some big goals for Liverpool. Almost a year ago, he scored the only goal in the match against Flamengo as Jurgen Klopp’s men became world champions. But there hasn’t been much since then. This was only the third of the season so far. timing.
It felt great. Liverpool had a lot of ball possession but they never took control. The Spurs were good, but they weren’t good enough which might be important psychologically now.
Despite all the talk of injuries and turmoil this season, and with all the constant talk about the possibility of an unexpected victory in the Premier League, Liverpool are the ones in favor. The race for the title is not over, of course it is not over. But the rest are now playing catch-up again.
When Firmino’s late bullet landed from his header in the top corner, and Spurs ‘heads landed in Spurs’ hands, you would quickly jump to the finale of “Old Tottenham himself”, but that assessment would have been rough.
By the hook, by the impostor, or perhaps by the flexibility that Jose Mourinho has put in place recently, Tottenham were still in a game you could argue they had no right to be around when we got to the tiebreak at Anfield.
Heung-Min Son did what he was doing best to raise his team’s level versus the series of play after the opening match of Mo Salah, and the stage was set for Mourinho’s newly assembled star group to mark the title race. They almost did exactly that.
Who knew the way the match would have gone if Tottenham had taken advantage of a spell when Liverpool were on alert? What would have happened if Stephen Burgoyne had not been sent in by the mail, and Harry Kane hadn’t sent a six-yard free header?
Liverpool may have been playing the starring role in their first home defeat in the league in more than two and a half years, but in a match on the best margins, Tottenham’s squandering settled their fate.
There were plenty of positives for Tottenham to take from another fruitless trip to Anfield, but nothing more than a valuable lesson that would help them transform from title-hoping players to true contenders for the Liverpool title.
That tough edge that Mourinho demanded the moment he walked in the door, it is clear he still needs some fine tuning, and fortunately for Tottenham, it is time on their side to reach title-winning levels before the season ends.
Arsenal avoided their fifth consecutive home defeat as they clung to a 1-1 draw with Southampton on Wednesday night, but this was another unconvincing performance by Mikel Arteta, complete with a new display of poor discipline and a meager 35 per cent stake. Of possession.
They will need to show a big improvement if they want to use the draw as a turning point and start climbing the table, especially with their next opponents Everton and Chelsea, but they have at least one player they can count on at Bukayo Saka.
The 19-year-old Academy graduate has been a glimmer of light in a bleak season, as he started all but two of Arsenal’s Premier League matches, and his eye-catching performance in testing conditions has put his senior teammates to shame.
He stood out again against Southampton, most notably his role in Arsenal’s goal. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang scored the goal, quietly ending the match on Alex McCarthy to end a barren six-match run, but the opportunity came only because of Saka’s brilliance.
Picked by Gabriel on the left flank of Arsenal, and from there he danced past Theo Walcott, Kyle Walker Peters and Oriole Romeo to feed Eddie Nikitiah, who had the simple task of tapping the ball in Aubameyang’s path. He was exactly the kind of skill and spontaneity that the Arsenal team often lacked.
It takes courage to try to make things happen when it’s not happening around you, then Saka shows his teammates the way off the field as well as on the field. “You deserve more, Arsenal fans,” he wrote on social media. It may be true, but they are lucky to have it.
Everton was a more sophisticated piece of bacon under Carlo Ancelotti, either generally in flamboyant form or scratching the dots with very little in between.
After three wins and 10 points from five matches, we are in the former camp a lot. The kind of level that saw the Toffees jump to the top of the Premier League in the early weeks of the season. 12 matches in European competition and back to it, are they here to stay?
Some consistency should help. Ancelotti knows better than anyone how this will be built with solid defensiveness. His team has conceded only two goals in the last four matches, to keep their nets clean, against Leicester and Chelsea, who scored twice, and this in itself is not easy.
An interim four-wheeler did an impressive job at King Power Stadium on Wednesday night, but it looks like his team has hit something deeper; The Toffees were pressed from the front, Abdullah Ducur made three men in midfield and Yerry Mina and Michael Kane stood tall when needed.
Arsenal and Manchester City make up two of the next three matches to die for – some good results from them and perhaps this is more than just another line-up.
It’s strange to think that the team that could have finished the day at the top of the Premier League table could only have nine points from six home matches this season – but Leicester’s stadium at home and away forms the conventional logic.
Five wins on the road compared to three wins at home show exactly where the problems lie for Brendan Rodgers, and they’re nothing new to Leicester in recent years.
His predecessor, Claude Boyle, fought back against the teams that came to King Power and sat deep inside, and although Rodgers seemed to solve this puzzle at first with James Madison’s skill in playmaking, Everton proved to be the latest firm defensive team to frustrate them while making the most of the opportunities. On their wednesday.
“We need to be better, there is no escaping it,” Rodgers admitted. There was definitely a lot of attacking talent in Madison, Harvey Barnes, Jings Under and Yuri Tillmans on screen on Wednesday.
Maybe it’s more in the mind. When Leicester rolled the ball at a rapid pace it seemed dangerous. They just didn’t do it enough.
Whatever the problem, if the Foxes want to avoid another false dawn and return to the Champions League next season, he needs a quick fix.
Jack Harrison was tied between the halves during Leeds’ defeat to West Ham last Friday – but he definitely rebounded against Newcastle with a superb performance and an impressive attack of late.
The 24-year-old was below his best in recent weeks, but he looked back at the most dangerous threats on Wednesday night, tying up nicely with left-back Izgan Alyoski to give Newcastle all sorts of trouble on that winger.
Harrison created four chances in the match – more than any other player – and flogged nine crosses from the left. But the stats don’t show the superb skill he produced to drop a powerful pass by Rodrigo when he was well placed in preparation for Leeds’ second goal, or the frenzy he put into a cross pass by his teammate. Transformation.
They also do not paint a picture of his great goal two minutes before the end of time, as he counterattacked by smashing the ball in the upper corner with his left foot outside the penalty area. Excellent, exciting show – and a great response to his first half exit last time on Elland Road.
It’s easy to forget that Declan Rice is still only 21 years old. He plays like the guy who has been around for many years and holds the West Ham badge with such confidence. Once again, he was the standout for the Hammers in their somewhat lukewarm performance in a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
No player on the field has made more passes than (74) with everything positive he has done and swings through his ability to move the ball quickly to his more offensive-minded teammates, all achieved with a passing accuracy of 93.2 per cent. He also has the ability to turn 50-50 challenges into 75-25 challenges in his favor, and that is his timing and aggressiveness to step in but he does so without accepting mistakes.
It was a performance worth the winning goal but his rolling effort from 25 yards cut the bar in the final stages.
It’s really a scary opportunity for club and country. A person who is advancing at a fast rate.
On Sunday, Scott Parker played Fulham hard and fought hardly seen below the bottom of the Premier League this season. Three days and only one change in their squad after that, they looked tame in a match that would put the light of day between them and the drop zone for the first time since promotion.
In the end, they are knocked out of the relegation zone for at least 24 hours, but the fear is that Fulham’s style requires energy that will be hard to rely on this season.
They missed their fans, who were already 12th man in a 1-1 draw with champions Liverpool, and struggled to find that strength to get the ball back in midfield to save it.
They beat Liverpool on Sunday, both in distance and in sprints – but on Wednesday, they beat Brighton who made six changes and would have scored points had it not been for the video assistant referee and the crossbar.
If vitality is the key to Fulham, the timeline is just a little wrong. The rest of the Premier League will soon learn what European teams have dealt with, and for Fulham in particular, 10 games in 42 Days from Boxing Day onwards, or 11 games if they overtake Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup.
There are huge away matches in that round – Burnley, West Bromwich Albion and Brighton in January – and Parker may have to use more of his squad.
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