Matchday sixteen decided to throw a couple of spanners in the works, didn’t it? We had a few upsets from teams down in the relegation battle, a few massive derby’s, and a fantastic two days of English football. So without further ado, here are the takeaways from matchday sixteen of the English Premier League.
What the Heck, West Ham?
Where on Earth was this during the start of the season? Has David Moyes started to work his Scottish magic in London? The boys from West Ham just upset the defending champions in Chelsea, thanks to a Marko Arnautovic goal with six minutes remaining, that ended up giving Moyes his first win as manager. Chelsea really had the bulk of the chances, but that could not get anything on target as West Ham was able to stay in the relegation battle, yet a positive result next match could briefly get them out of the bottom three. The focus from here on out is getting points, rising out of the relegation zone, and dropping that goal differential (-18 after their win). As for Chelsea, is their title reign over?
Burnley/Spurs Keep the Pressure on Arsenal
A 1-0 win at home against Watford for Burnley, as well as a 5-1 drubbing of Stoke by Tottenham, kept both teams firmly in the hunt for European football next season. Arsenal could have done worse, but they definitely should have won at Southampton. Over sixty-percent of possession as well as nearly double the chances of Southampton, but only a late equalizer for Oliver Giroud saved the Gunners from an away loss. Only four points separate Chelsea in third from Burnley in seventh, so these next three weeks leading up to the new year really will be crucial in the battle for European football next season.
Battle of the Aussies Goes to Mooy
Huddersfield really needed to get a result after the last few weeks. Not only did they need it for the sake of team morale, but they really needed it to stay away from the relegation battle. Enter Steve Mounie, as his double pushed Huddersfield to a 2-0 win at home against Brighton. For the Australian fans, it was arguably their best player in Aaron Mooy against the incumbent goalkeeper in Mat Ryan. Mooy had a decent showing, with Ryan having a couple of saves as well. The “Socceroos” fans watching would want to see more of what Ryan did in the second half, as they prepare for Russia in 2018, while Mooy just needs to stay healthy.
Leicester Bypass a Buoyant Newcastle
In what seems to be an appropriate way to sum up Newcastle’s recent form, it was an own goal that sealed the 3-2 win for Leicester. Joselu gave Newcastle the lead after four minutes, but goals to Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray, put the Foxes in front. Dwight Gayle tied it up for the Magpies, but a Perez own goal in the final few minutes of regular play gifted the Foxes all three points away from home. The win keeps Leicester firmly within the top half of the table while Newcastle are within striking distance of the relegation zone. Has everyone figured out the promoted teams, finally?
Manchester City to Win the League?
Some people will see this as a question that is being asked way too early in the season, but hear this one out. Manchester City just defeated Manchester United at Old Trafford. The Blues are eleven points away from United in second. They have Aguero, De Bruyne, Jesus, Silva, a strong back-line, and an even stronger goalkeeper. The depth of that squad is the deepest in English football. The points they have now after sixteen games would have put them in eighth, last season. It is a really compelling argument. The final nail in the coffin was Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, saying that his squad’s title defense is over…in December. There is still five months of football to be played, and it is over. City would have to have a late season breakdown in order to lose the title from here on out. With the talent that they have, as well as Master Pep on the sidelines, I think the bookies can start paying out on those who placed a bet against City winning the title.