Hazard’s wonder goal, Lukaku scores four on his own while Sunderland smash four of their own away to add more misery to Crystal Palace’s season – we discuss these EPL TALKING POINTS & more from Match Week 24
Hazard wonder goal seals title in January!
Eden Hazard inspired Chelsea to get revenge on Arsenal for their earlier season defeat as the Blues technically wrapped up the premier league title with this convincing home win.
It was the 3-0 defeat at the Emirates that acted as a catalyst for Conte’s 3-4-3 formation change and the subsequent 13 consecutive victories that saw the Blues fly to the top of the table.
Marcos Alonso opened the scoring after slack defending from Theo Walcott in particular left the Spaniard unmarked to head home a Diego Costa rebound of the cross bar – taking out Hector Bellerin in the process; his fellow country man was replaced early on with fears of concussion.
The game remained 1-0 until Eden Hazard took it upon himself to seal the game with a wonder goal; which saw him run the ball from his own half, beating 5 players as he charged towards the Arsenal goal before dispatching a driven shot past the hapless Petr Cech.
The Arsenal defending was suspect but take nothing away from the magical Belgium.
Former Gunners Captain Cesc Fabregas capitilised on another defensive error as he went on to lob the ball over Cech to make it 3-0 before Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score a consolation for the reds.
This Match Week’s win over rivals Arsenal now extends that lead to nine points over Tottenham and ten over Arsenal and Manchester City. By beating Arsenal – they have now beaten all 19 teams this season!
In seasons past, teams have pulled it back from such a deficit – think Manchester United 95/96 and Arsenal in Wenger’s first full season 97/98. This Chelsea team look to good and to regiment under Conte to allow such a feat to happen. Expect blue and white ribbons to return upon the premier league title this season.
TALKING POINTS: Have Chelsea been to good this season or have the other top teams just failed to deliver? With Man City winning games again and Man United on an impressive unbeaten run – will Arsenal drop out of the top 4?
Lukaku hits 4 in 9 goal thriller
Romelu Lukaku scored four goals as Everton beat Bournemouth 6-3 at Goodison Park.
Lukaku opened the scoring with a screamer of a shot, after just 30 seconds – equaling the fastest goal scored this season (equaling Pedro’s strike for Chelsea v Man Utd).
Lukaku and James McCarthey scored to give Everton a convincing lead before Joshua King brought Bournemouth back into the game and made the score line a bit more respectable at 3-2.
With ten minutes remaining Everton made the score line emphatic by scoring another three goals – two from Lukaku and in stoppage time from Ross Barkley. There was even time for Harry Arter to fire in another consolation for the Cherries.
TALKING POINTS: Can Everton keep hold of Lukaku beyond this season? Will he finish top goal scorer? Will Bournemouth get sucked into the relegation dog fight?
Sunderland hit 4 at Palace in 6 pointer
Sunderland ran riot at Selhurst Park with four first half goals – to pile on the pressure on Crystal Palace and boss Sam Allardyce as they remain in the relegation zone.
This was no doubt a six pointer of a fixture – with Sunderland’s win matched with Hull City’s victory over Liverpool; now leaving just two points between the bottom club and Middlesbrough in 15th place.
Palace were defensively all over the place with Patrick Van Arnolt playing against his former side after moving in the recent transfer window.
Recent African Cup of Nations returnee Lamine Kone opened the scoring. The Wearsiders than scored three goals in six first half minutes as another ACON returnee Didier Ndong struck from 25 yards before Jermain Defoe helped himself to a brace (that’s now 6 goals in 6 games for the striker)- all just before half time!
Crystal Palace were left shell shocked and as much as they were improved in the second half – they could find no way past a stern and organised Sunderland side.
The Crystal Palace fans were left disgruntled, so much so, one ran on the pitch to confront Damien Delaney. The recent new signings need to adapt quickly to the demands of a relegation fight as they are seeming more and more likely to face the drop. Big games against rivals Hull and Swansea sandwiched between matches against Liverpool and Arsenal await Palace over the coming weeks.
Sunderland on the other hand – may just be starting to find the form that normally sees them to safety this time of year.
A delighted David Moyes told BBC:
“Once we got the goal you could see the confidence grew..
I don’t think I can think of many times as a manager I have been 4-0 up at half-time, I don’t know if I ever have been…
It gets us three points and more confidence, more belief. It is going to be a tough job but if we had lost it would have been much tougher. Every game is must-win.”
TALKING POINTS: Will either side beat the drop? Who made the better Transfer window signings – Allardyce or Moyes?
Additional EPL Talking Points Match Week 24 (4th and 5th February 2017)..
Hull city beat Liverpool 2-0. Niasse scoring the winner. Thats now 4 successive hoime wins for Hull City whilst Liverpool have failed to win in 10 matches. Whats SIlva’s secret to getting the Tigers playing? Where has it gone wrong for Klopp?
Gabriel Jesus scored two to justify Guardiola’s decision to start him ahead of Sergio Aguero again, in their 2-1 win over Swansea at the Etihad. Will Pep do the same again next match? Is Gylfi Sigurdsson the most under rated midfielder in the Premier League?
Manchester United convincingly beat Leicester City at The King Power Stadium with goals from Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic and Mata. Will Manchester United make top four? How high can they realistically finish? Can Champions Leicester really go down?
Spurs were made to sweat as they beat Middlesbrough 1-0 at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane scoring a penalty. Can Spurs go to Anfield and beat Liverpool this weekend? Can Boro avoid the drop? Do they have enough fire power?
Andy Carroll again inspired West Ham to beat Southampton 3-1 at St Marys- who have now won only one of their last eight games. Manolo Gabbiadini scoring on his debut. Good player? Does Puel need to win EFL cup to stay on as manager? Can Andy Carroll fire his way into England recognition?
Watford beat Burnley on the back of beating Arsenal at The Emirates. M’Baye Niang looking impressive on his debut, as he scored one and set up Troy Deeneys opener. Jeff Hendricks saw red after only six minutes! How good can Niang be? How big a miss will the suspended Hendricks and the injured Steven Defour be over next few matches?
James Morrison scored his second goal in as many games as West Brom beat Stoke. Saido Berahino was greeted with ‘boo’s’ – to no surprise. Can Berahino make an impact at Stoke? How foul have West Brom been re: Saido Berahino’s transfer?