Spurs beat Chelsea to reduce deficit, Manchester United win 6 in a row and Swansea dampen Allardyce’s home debut – we discuss these EPL TALKING POINTS and more for Match Week 20.
Spurs open up Title Race
Tottenham beat leaders Chelsea 2-0 thanks to two goals from inform midfielder Dele Alli – to open up the Premier League title race as Chelsea suffered their first defeat in thirteen games.
Alli dispatched his headers either side of halftime from two pinpoint crosses from compatriot Christian Eriksen to take all three points. Dele Alli’s goals not only extended his teams winning streak to five matches in a row; but was also his third consecutive brace, taking his seasons tally to ten goals thus far – seven scored in the last four games!
The win leap frogs Spurs to joint third in the Premier League table with Manchester City– just seven points behind leaders Chelsea. Liverpool are now just five points behind whilst Arsenal drop out of the top 4 after their failure to beat Bournemouth, leaving Spurs North London rival’s eight points adrift of the leaders.
Manchester United win 6th in a row
Manchester United continued their resurgence up the league table with their sixth win in a row beating 10-man West Ham 2-0.
West Ham started the game brightly but the turning point was no doubt the debatable sending off of midfielder Sofiane Feghouli after only fifteen minutes.
Goals from substitute Juan Mata and the ever reliable Zlatan Ibrahimovic – scoring his thirteenth goal of the season, secured all three points to leave United only two points off 5th placed Arsenal and just three points behind local rivals Manchester City.
The Feghouli red card has since been rescinded meaning he serves no suspension.
Swansea beat Palace in Big Sam’s home debut
Swansea, under the watchful eye of new manager Paul Clement, defeated relegation rivals Crystal Palace 2-1, in Sam Allardyce’s debut fixture at Selhurst Park.
Centre back Alfie Mawson opened the scoring with a header from a Sigurdsson free kick before half time. It seemed to be enough for the victory until Wilfried Zaha fired an impressive scissor kick volley to equalise with just seven minutes remaining.
There was still enough time however, for a dramatic winner in this potential six pointer. Full Back Angel Rangel becoming the unlikely hero as he fired home with just two minutes to go after collecting Leroy Fer’s pass.
Swansea thoroughly deserved the victory as they out fought and out played The Eagles in every department, including more possession (CRY 47% – SWA 53%) and more shots on target (CRY 7 – SWA 11).
After the game, Swans first team coach Alan Curtis stated that new boss Clement spoke to the players prior the game and also aided with substitutions after making his way to the touchline for the second half of this game.
His influence seems to be immediate. Arsenal next however, may prove to be a more difficult opponent, though it is at The Liberty Stadium.
Sam Allardyce on the other hand has only picked up one point from his first three matches. The team themselves have only managed to keep one clean sheet in their last 25 matches and he needs to change the clubs fortunes fast, if they are to break away from the teams among the relegation mire. Next up, former club West Ham at The London Stadium!
Additional Talking Points from EPL Match Week 20
(2nd-4th January 2017).
- Have Tottenham really opened up the title race or is it still Chelsea’s to lose?
- Are Spurs good enough to win title?
- With Arsenal dropping out of top four – is this the beginning of the end for Wenger, with no new contract still signed?
- Can Allardyce save Palace?
- Will Clement and Swansea be a perfect fit?
- After a great start Mazzari is starting to struggle at Watford. Will the Pozzo’s back him?
- Boro and Leicester share the spoils – will both continue to struggle for season?
- Everton convincingly beat Saints at Goodison. Can Koeman take the Toffees to Europe?
- How many games does Van Dijk have left in a Saints shirt, now transfer window is open? Everton and Manchester City linked.
- Is it all getting too much for Pep? Manchester City beat Burnley 2-1 with 10 men for most the match, as Fernandinho gets his 3rd red card in six games! Why the red cards? Why the inconsistencies? Is a title challenge a step to far for Pep in his debut season?
- How much will Liverpool regret dropping two points at Sunderland? Will they sign a defender in the window?
- How many goals can Defoe get this year and will he stay in the window – West Ham and Crystal Palace heavily linked?
- West Bromwich Albion continue their good form as they beat Hull 3-1- consequently ending Mike Phelan’s reign as Hull City manager. Were Hull right to fire him?
LET’S DISCUSS – LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW!