Would you believe that it’s the holiday season? The presents have been handed out to all the boys and girls, everyone is taking their holiday leave over the few days between Christmas and New Years, and the English Premier League just keeps on giving us some brilliant football. It has been a few rounds since we have had a look at the top flight of English football, and we’ve missed more in the last three rounds than we have had in the previous seventeen. With that being said, here are the takeaways from Matchday 20, as well as the rest of December in the English Premier League:
Swansea is Sinking
It has not been a pretty month for Swansea. If a picture supposedly says a thousand words, then we can just picture the five managers that the Swans have gone through in the last two calendar years, and that’ll paint the rest of the picture for itself. The Swans started December off well enough, with a victory against West Brom, and followed with a decent performance in their loss to Chelsea.
From there, it just went downhill, as Manchester City, Everton and Liverpool all picked apart the Swansea defense, or lack thereof. Paul Clement was sacked after losing at Everton 3-1, with Carlos Carvahal being appointed as of December 29th. Swans fans will be hoping for another Christmas miracle, similar to that of last year. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll be back in the Championship quicker than Fernando Torres could miss a goal at Chelsea.
Burnley is the United Bunny
According to flashscore.com, Burnley and Manchester United have played seven games against one another since the beginning of 2009. Manchester won three, and Burnley has won just once, as they have drawn three times. The more important statistic is that out of the last five meetings, United has just won two. Two of the three draws in those meetings were at Old Trafford, while the other was at Turf Moor in 2014.
As a matter of fact, Manchester United should consider themselves lucky to even scrape a point out of the game. It took a double from Jesse Lingard, which saw his final goal coming in added time, in order for the Red Devils to snatch a point. It was another two points that United needed to stay a game away from Chelsea, but they fluffed that chance. As for Burnley, it was a much needed point, as they look to get the win against Huddersfield this weekend.
Money Vanishes for Van Dijk
Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool coaching staff are looking to tighten up their backline, and they finally got their man in Virgil Van Dijk. How is Van Dijk worth seventy-five million pounds? He is a solid defender, and is one of the best central defenders in the league, but that contract is absolutely absurd. When Van Dijk does end up moving on at the start of the January transfer window, Liverpool will be praying that he performs as well as the money suggests he does. They don’t need another signing like Oxlade-Chamberlain to start off 2018.
What the Ford is Happening at Watford?
For those who do not get the reference, go see the 1:45 point of the video made up by 442oons (link in the text). The Hornets have only managed to scrounge up four points out of their last seven games, with only three clubs in the relegation zone having a worse return from the last seven weeks. It is not as if Watford doesn’t have the talent to compete with the bigger clubs, with Richarlison and Doucoure playing some fantastic football on occasion.
Gomes has a handful of clean sheets, and Mariappa on his day can be as dangerous as anyone in the league, yet Watford can’t string together efficient performances. The next month is absolutely vital for the Hornets, as they try to get back up the ladder, with three very winnable games against Swansea, Southampton and Stoke. Watch as they will have a solid second half of the season, yet their manager gets sacked once again in the summer.
Guardiola the God of Manchester
Move aside Zlatan, there is a new God in Manchester, and his name is Pep Guardiola. Allow me to throw out a few statistics for you just to prove the point: half of the games that Manchester City has played in the Premier League this season have ended with City scoring at least three goals. Manchester City has not relinquished the top spot since the fifth matchday. In the bigger picture, that’s three-quarters of the season so far that have ended with Manchester City on top.
The club has dropped two points all season, with those points away at Everton during the second matchday. Every other game, they have won. Their wins against Chelsea and Manchester United, their two closest rivals, were away wins. They have also scored the most goal; fifteen ahead of the next best team in Liverpool, and have conceded the least goals, two less than Chelsea.
Fans all over the world can complain that Manchester City is built on money, and that if the money goes away, so will the club. You can not deny the facts and the statistics though, as it will require a monumental choke-job for City to lose this year.
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