BurnFM Premier League Weekly
Hello and welcome to BurnFM Sport’s weekly segment on all things Premier League! Join us as we delve into the weekend’s action, exploring headlines and highlights across all league fixtures, before previewing the week to come! Settle down, grab a cuppa and let the football enthusiasts of BurnFM’s Sports team walk you through England’s top-tier this week.
Resurgent City Extend Lead At The Top
Manchester City continued their incredible vein of form by vanquishing Tottenham 3-0 at the Etihad to record their 16th consecutive victory! Ilkay Gundogan scored his 10th and 11th goals in 12 games, bagging a brace to set his side on the path to victory although he picked up a groin injury in the second half, which will undoubtedly cause concern for City fans. However with the sky blues sitting comfortably at the top of the table and seven points above arch rivals Manchester United with a game in hand, Pep’s side are looking increasingly likely to run away with the title unless they trip in the final few months.
Tottenham emerged victors in the reverse fixture back in November when Mourinho’s side were looking like title contenders, but having collected 16 points in 14 games since then Spurs have dropped to 9th and are in trouble of seeing an initially exciting season fail to live up to its potential. Gareth Bale is still yet to make an impact on his return to the club, featuring for just 20 minutes but again failing to produce on the pitch. The hype surrounding his return has well and truly fizzled and pundits are beginning to question both his talent and his attitude as a result. Spurs will hope he can find his star touch before the end of the season, as despite sitting 9th they are just 4 points away from a tightly contested top four.
United are within range of mounting a title challenge, but the Red Devils will be disappointed after the weekend’s action, as they dropped points in a 1-1 draw with relegation candidates West Brom which allowed City to further assert their dominance at the top of the table. Shocked by Diagne’s early goal, United were able to draw level thanks to Fernandes but Sam Allardyce’s side clung on to what could be an important point. Ole will take positives from his team’s 19th game unbeaten, but he knows they can’t afford to lose these fixtures if they hope to win their first Premier League title since 2013.
Current Champions Liverpool were also stunned this week by a resilient Leicester side, who slotted three goals in the final ten minutes to win 3-1 and temporarily move second in the table. Klopp’s side completely capitulated at the death, as Leicester scored from a free kick before a mistake from Allison gifted Vardy a second for the Foxes. This was the Reds third league defeat in a row, the first time Liverpool have lost three consecutive matches since November 2014. Klopp conceded defeat in the title race with Liverpool now 13 points behind leaders City, and multiple injuries rendering his side cruelly depleted. Leicester by contrast now sit third and are fighting for a deserved spot in the Champions League next season, a realistic goal for a Foxes side thriving under Brendan Rodgers.
Arsenal Bounce Back
After their worst start to a season in years, Arsenal have managed to break back into the top ten this week after Aubameyang’s first Premier League hattrick helped the Gunners on to a 4-2 victory over Leeds. The Gabonese captain, emerging from a difficult personal period during which his mother fell ill, was vocally grateful for the support of the fans and his teammates, and Gunners fans will surely be jubilant to see their star striker back amongst the goals. Leeds slipped into 11th as a result of the defeat, having now conceded four or more goals for the fifth time since gaining promotion to the Premier League. Only West Brom have conceded more goals in the league, so Bielsa will be eager to patch his side’s leaky defence to ensure a stronger end to their first season back at the top level.
Tuchel’s Chelsea side also saw a struggling striker return to scoring ways, as Timo Werner brought an end to his 14 game goal drought to help the Blues beat Newcastle 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. The German hadn’t found the back of the net in the league since 7th November 2020, but was awarded a goal by VAR to open the scoring against the Magpies. Newcastle have performed well of late, picking up two wins from their last three games, but were undone by an in-form Chelsea side full of attacking flair. Chelsea moved 4th with the win, as Tuchel’s side quietly rise up the table in the battle for Europe.
Everton too will hope that at the very least they can compete for European football next season. After a blistering start to the campaign saw the Toffees labelled as title contenders, a drop in form over the last few months has seen the Merseyside team fall to 7th, 16 points off the top but just 5 away from those coveted top four positions. Unfortunately for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin was out injured for this week’s fixture against Fulham and the Toffees struggled to attack without him. Fulham’s new signing Josh Maja instead took centre stage, blasting in a second half brace to earn the Cottagers a shock win which cut the gap to safety down to just 7 points. Everton will hope that the return of Calvert-Lewin for their game against Manchester City midweek yields greater attacking potential as they aim to win at home for the first time in the league since 19th December.
Hammers March On Towards Europe
Although David Moyes is eager to play down West Ham’s chances of reaching Europe, there is no doubting that the Hammers have a golden opportunity to capitalise on their success this season and qualify for European competition if they can maintain their form. The London based side eased to a 3-0 victory over Premier League relegation favourites Sheffield United on Sunday, leaving the Blades 14 points adrift from safety with just 14 games to go. Sheffield’s fate may already be sealed, but after solidifying their position in 5th it seems West Ham are enjoying their strongest season in years.
Southampton started the campaign similarly strong, but after their 2-1 defeat to Wolves on the weekend made it six consecutive league defeats for the first time in Saints history, Hasenhuttl’s side will be eager to stop the rot. Victory over Wolves in the cup midweek seemed like a turning point, but having outperformed the opposition in the first half Southampton lost their edge after half-time and allowed Wolves to claw back into the game after VAR awarded a controversial penalty for Ryan Bertrand’s ‘hand ball’. Buoyed by their turn of luck, Neto scored a brilliant individual goal to settle the contest in Wolves’ favour and ensure Nuno Espirito Santo’s side leapfrogged Saints into 12th position.
Burnley turned on the style in their 3-0 win over Palace on Saturday, increasing the gap between the Clarets and the relegation zone to a comfortable 11 points. The result means that Palace have now lost 18 of the last 20 games without their talisman Wilfried Zaha and have failed to score in 16 of those, an issue Hodgson and co. didn’t address in the January transfer market. This oversight could come back to bite them as although they are probably safe on 29 points, without Zaha the club might suffer a torturous end to the season.
Brighton and Aston Villa’s goalless draw was the only other action of the weekend where Brighton registered 26 shots on target, more than they had ever managed before in a single Premier League match, yet failed to score thanks to the heroics of Martinez between the sticks. The result extended the Seagull’s unbeaten streak to six league matches, but they remain in 15th just 8 points away from the relegation zone. Villa managed a single, tame shot on target all match which will frustrate Dean Smith, but with his side currently 8th and within reach of European competition I’m sure he is content with the weekend’s result.
Changing Tide on Merseyside – Matchweek 25 Preview
The standout fixture next weekend has to be the impending clash between derby rivals Liverpool and Everton, in which the Toffees will attempt to earn their first victory at Anfield in over 20 years. This is the perfect opportunity for Ancelotti’s side to stake their claim on Merseyside – with Liverpool looking much depleted by injuries and having lost three in a row, Klopp’s men are looking truly frail for the first time since they became Champions. If Calvert-Lewin is fit I think Everton stand a great chance of winning, although naturally Liverpool will be eager and determined to turn their fortunes around.
Arsenal take on Manchester City in the other big game of the weekend, one of the last few top six clashes standing between City and another Premier League title. After Aubameyang’s hattrick last time out the Gunners will be brimming with confidence, but Pep’s side are rampant at the moment and I can’t see Arteta outwitting Guardiola on the day. Manchester United will take on Newcastle, a game which could easily trip up the title hopefuls if they aren’t careful. Chelsea face Southampton in a clash between one team basking in form and another struggling to score, let alone gain points, so Tuchel will be confident he can assert his side’s position in the top four.
Leicester travel to Birmingham to face Aston Villa as they attempt to retain their place amongst the big six at the top of the table, whilst Spurs face a difficult task at West Ham, who I think will shock Mourinho’s men on the weekend. The Hammers look more ruthless right now and Tottenham are slipping deeper into obscurity as they fall down the table. Burnley will probably achieve back-to-back wins against desolate Sheffield United, whilst Brighton and Crystal Palace will battle out a mid-table match on Monday night. Finally, Leeds will play twice against both Wolves and Southampton, two games Bielsa’s side will be favourites to win.
Will City extend their lead and in effect begin to kill the title race? Or can the top four compete once more and spark life back into the contest? The Premier League resumes on Friday night with Wolves taking on Leeds at 20:00.
Stats of the Week
- Manchester City have now gained 41 out of the last possible 45 points
- Danny Ings’ sublime volley was his 30th goal since the start of last season – only Salah (36), Vardy (35) and Kane (31) have managed as many
- Portuguese players have now scored more Premier League goals for Wolves than players from any other nation (47), outscoring Englishmen by one goal
- Tuchel has picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Chelsea (W4 D1), level with Jose Mourinho’s first five with the club and bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15 pts each)
- Leeds have won just one of their last 24 away league games in London (D6 L17), losing all four such matches this season by an aggregate 14-4 score
- Aubameyang was the third player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick on Valentine’s Day, after Matt le Tissier vs Liverpool in 1994 and Michael Owen vs Sheffield Wednesday in 1998