Gameweek 12 of the Barclays Premier League was eventful with only two draws out of the ten games played. Chelsea extended their lead at the top of the table to 6 points after Southampton dropped points against Aston Villa.
Van Gaal gets his first away win as United boss
Manchester United beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates courtesy a Kieran Gibbs own goal and Rooney`s exquisite finish on the counter attack. United were the under dogs for the majority part of the game as Arsenal dominated possession and looked threatening going forward. But the Gunners lacked the cutting edge in the final third and managed to score just a single goal in 23 attempts. United, despite their injury woes at the back, managed to defend in numbers and were lucky to have De Gea on their side. The Spanish custodian was rock solid at the back making as many as 9 saves and denying Jack Wilshere from getting a certain goal. He, however couldn’t stop a ferocious hit from substitute Olivier Giroud as Arsenal grabbed a consolation. This morale boosting win has come at a crucial juncture for United and they would be looking to cement themselves in the top four, especially with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool struggling.
Arsene Wenger has to sort out his toothless attack and the early return of Giroud from injury should give the Arsenal manager the much needed focal point to provide support to Alexis Sanchez and the midfielders.
Chelsea are running away with the title
Jose Mourinho must be a very happy man with his Chelsea side 8 points clear of their closest rivals Manchester City. Sure, Southampton are only 6 points behind Chelsea, but Mourinho would be vary of City`s strong squad and their ability to catch up with Chelsea in the title race. Saturday`s 2-0 win against a 10 man West Brom turned out to benothing short of a routine win for the Blues as they set a club record of going unbeaten in the first 12 games of a Premiership season. Costa proved once again proved his credentials as a deadly finisher by scoring his eleventh of the season in just ten appearances. Hazard added Chelsea`s second and Mourinho`s side picked up their third clean sheet so far. They have a very solid backline and it will take some skill to disturb the Chelsea defence.
Toure wins it for City
Age may have caught up with Toure, but the Ivorian showed he can still be a match winner on his day by bullying the Swansea defence to score City`s winner. It was by no means an easy game for City as the Swans were laborious and hardly gave the Citzens any time on the ball. Wilfried Bony was a constant threat to Kompany and Demichelis and even scored the opening goal with a neat finish. City were constantly knocking on the door and Stevan Jovetic levelled things for City before Yaya Toure produced the winner with a penetrating run into the Swansea defence. It was a much needed win for City to stay within touching distance of Chelsea and also give some confidence in thedo or die fixture against Bayeern Munich on Tuesday.
Nathaniel Clyne: England`s first choice right-back
If there were any lingering doubts about Nathaniel Clyne`s quality at right back or if he`s good enough to don the England shirt, then the game at Villa Park would have quashed all those doubts. The Southampton right back showed his attacking and defensive qualities throughout the 90 minutes in the 1-1 draw against Aston Villa. The 23 year old scored Southampton`s leveller with a powerful finish from the edge of the box after Ryan Bertrand had squared the ball to him. Southampton may feel disappointed after dropping 2 points against Villa, but their desire to win and their fighting attitude should see Ronald Koeman`s side getting atleast a spot in Europe next season.
Paul Lambert on the other hand, wouldn’t have been too happy to see his side concede after having the lead for 81 minutes. The Aston Villa manager, in his 100th game in charge of the East midlands club, has seen his side score just 2 goals in their last 8 games. Results are hard to come by at the moment, but there were encouraging signs for Villa. They looked threatening on the counter attack and Andy Weimann was guilty of missing a very good opportunity to win it for his team and secure the 3 points.
Liverpool in turmoil
When Rickie Lambert slotted past Julian Speroni courtesy a neat Lallana pass, one would have thought that Liverpool are back to where they left off from last season. The Reds begun the match in quick fashion and the passing and movement was very good for the first 10 minutes. The next 80 minutes belonged to Palace though. Neil Warnock`s men showed more desire, character and appetite for the game and were duly rewarded through Liverpool`s lackadaisical defending. The back four for Liverpool was shaky as usual and they simply couldn’t contain the pace of Bolasie and Dwight Gayle. Glen Johnson was dreadful on the left as he usually is on the right and the communication between Lovren and Skrtel was almost close to non -existent for the whole of the 90 minutes. Liverpool`s organisation and their appetite to win has become a huge question mark and unless Rodgers sorts out these major issues, then we may have a new Liverpool manager very soon. Crystal Palace would have been relieved with the 3-1 win which pushed them to 15th in the table.
Tottenham, Everton and Newcastle post wins
Newcastle are on a high after beating QPR 1-0, which is their fifth straight victory on the bounce. The Magpies will look to consolidate their place in the top 6 and have some easy fixtures to look forward to ahead of the tough game against Arsenal at the Emirates in the second week of December. Everton outclassed West Ham 2-1 to get back to winning ways through Leon Osman`s winner. Tottenham bounced back from 1-0 down to defeat Hull 2-1 through Eriksen and Harry Kane. Leicester City drew 0-0 with Sunderland while Burnley won away at Stoke to win their second consecutive game.