Gameweek 16 saw league leaders Chelsea and second place Manchester City register expected wins, Southampton lose against lowly Burnley and Manchester United beating Liverpool through David de Gea excellent performance.
Arsenal’s win eases pressure off Wenger
Arsenal won 4-1 against an in-form Newcastle United thanks to braces from Giroud and Cazorla. After failing to beat Stoke last weekend serious doubts were cast over Wenger’s ability to lead and the mentality of his players to win against sides playing physical football. Going in to this match the midweek win over Galatasaray in the Champions League surely seemed to have boosted the morale of the. Arsenal exerted pressure from the beginning and laid a siege over the Newcastle goal with Sanchez involved in almost every move as Arsenal played with dizzying pace. The pressure soon paid off as Arsenal took lead through Giroud’s headed goal from a Sanchez cross in the 15th minute. Soon after the game would have been sealed but a wonderful effort from Welbeck was ruled out and going into the break Arsenal had the rare luxury of having the lead. Arsenal doubled their lead soon after the start through a well taken goal from Cazorla and Giroud made it 3-0 inside 5 minutes of the second goal. Newcastle made it 3-1 from a free kick after Giroud fouled Colback but there was one more goal in the game as Arsenal were awarded a penalty towards the end of the game which Cazorla converted. While Cazorla and Giroud were on the scoresheet it is Sanchez who deserves a special mention. He got into all sorts of positions and made life difficult for Newcastle through his running and crosses. However one cannot but feel bad for Newcastle who deserved to win but were outplayed by an excellent Arsenal who played as a single unit and were disciplined at the back. It was one of those days where Arsenal are unplayable with their movement silky and goals imaginative and the manager’s philosophy taking a physical form. For Arsene Wenger it was a personal victory after the hardship and insults suffered post the Stoke game as towards the end of the game some of the fans chanted, “There’s Only One Arsene Wenger.”
Manchester City continue their relentless chase of Chelsea
While both Manchester City and Chelsea registered victories it was the contrasting nature of their fortune that marked this game week for these teams. Chelsea won 2-0 against Hull City while Manchester City won 0-1 against Leicester City. Chelsea were fortunate for having Cahill on the pitch after he escaped a booking for diving while on a yellow card collected earlier and Chelsea leading 1-0. There was suspicion of foul on a Hull City player in the build of the first goal which again went unpunished. Costa provided the second goal ending his four-match goal drought. Matic was back in the team after missing the game against Newcastle and took his place along with Mikel in front of the defense. Chelsea missed Fabregas’ passing game as evident from lack of incision in attack. Chelsea also lacked tempo that comes from the understanding between Matic and Fabregas. However Hazard more than made up for his absence through his skill. Hull on their part had Tom Huddlestone sent off for an awful studs up challenge on Luis and Dawson limped off early on. Manchester City’s luck however was not with them. With Aguero missing till mid January, Manchester City were relying on Dzeko to provide the goals. Dzeko injured himself in the pre-match warm up and youngster Pozo started in his place but failed to impress. During the match Manchester City also lost Kompany through injury. With Manhester City’s defensive rock and captain missing Leicester sought their chances but could not break down Manchester City’s defense. City had to rely on old Chelsea boy Lampard to provide the goal which secured three points for them. With his 175th premier league goal Lampard has reached heights never seemed possible for a midfielder and is the joint fourth highest Premier League scorer along with former Arsenal striker Henry. With such performances Manchester City are sure to think about extending his loan from MLS side New York City.
Southampton’s miserable run continues
With the loss to Burnley, Southampton have endured their fourth straight Premier League defeat. Southampton’s best ever start to the Premier League season is fast becoming a memory. With consecutive defeats against Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and now Burnley; Southampton have dropped from 2nd to 5th in the table. For Burnely this was a welcome win as this win saw them climbing out of the relegation zone. Southampton assumed control of the game midway through the first half but failed to create any meaningful chances and paid the penalty for it after Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton saved Tadic’s penalty on 61st minute and soon after a tame shot from Ashley Barnes took a slight defelction off Toby Alderweireld and went past Forster in the Southampton goal. A late Victor Wanyama header hitting the crossbar summed up the visitor’s luck. Southampton had bulk of the chances but like against Manchester United the previous week failed to capitalize on them. For Burnley however, their high octane running game is winning praise from all and one hopes to see them against next year.
In De Gea we trust – Manchester United’s number one saves the day again
A 3-0 score line might present a lopsided view of the match but Manchester United owe the latest win to their Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea. Manchester United have notched their sixth straight win of the season and this brings them just 5 points behind second placed Manchester City. Manchester United fans are entitled to feel their team can still win the league. Like their last win over Southampton; Manchester United were the second best team and de Gea was tested no less than seven times, first by Sterling employed as the lone striker and then by Balotelli who replaced Lallana at the stroke of half time. Manchester United’s defensive frailties were exposed again as Liverpool produced a string of chances only for de Gea to deny them. Manchester United took the chances which came their way and scored through Rooney, Mata and van Persie but Liverpool fans will feel aggrieved over the Mata goal which was offside by at least two yards but was allowed stand. The latest loss puts tremendous pressure on Rodgers but the owners of Liverpool might not sack him as yet due to the work he has done last term. Manchester United’s manager may deny it but he will count his lucky stars for having a world class goalkeeper protecting his goal.
Premier League Gameweek 16 round up
Burnley 1-0 Southampton
Chelsea 2-0 Hull
Crystal Palace 1-1 Stoke
Leicester 0-1 Manchester City
Sunderland 1-1 West Ham
West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa
Arsenal 4-1 Newcastle
Manchester United 3 -0 Liverpool
Swansea 1-2 Tottenham
Everton 3-1 QPR