Matchday 23 has come and gone in the English Premier League to the joy of almost every team except Manchester City. The term ‘upset’ seemed to be the word of the weekend, with a few of the teams battling for European football spots losing points to relegation battlers. Arsenal seemed to have hit a little bit of a slump, while Manchester United started their attempt to reel in their rivals at the top. With that being said, let’s have a look at the takeaways from Matchday 23 of the English Premier League.
Sterling Shuts Down as Liverpool Upsets City
Raheem Sterling had his worst game of the year, but one could say that it was not due to a lack of effort. One of the major reasons for the demise of City’s streak was the ability of Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson to shut down the ex-Reds player. Robertson was all over Sterling in the final third before Sterling was subbed off with twenty minutes left, while Gomez was great on the opposite side of the field.
This game, potentially the game of the season so far, was really a tale of two halves. The first half had some decent football, but it was nothing spectacular. Both teams had a goal to show for their efforts, but the second half was action packed. Liverpool scored three goals in eight minutes, capped off by a fantastic touch and shot from Mohamed Salah to make it 4-1 with a touch over twenty minutes left.
The introduction of Bernardo Silva was a game changer, with two goals for Manchester City coming off the back of the work he and Sergio Aguero put in the last bit of the game. If Nicolas Otamendi was able to put his two chances in the back of the net, we would have had a very different result. In the end though, Liverpool was able to hold on and not only give City their first loss, but also finish the weekend in third place.
Has Arsenal Forgotten How To Win?
Earlier on in the week, The Athletes Hub posted a piece on if it was time for Arsene Wenger’s time to end with the Gunners. Two wins in the last nine English Premier League games is not enough for any team, let alone a team like Arsenal. Their form slump was just compounded more after a 2-1 loss to Bournemouth, with the Gunners conceding two goal in four minutes to drop away from the European places.
Those two wins out of the last nine appearances came against Crystal Palace (3-2) and Newcastle (1-0). Two of those games have been draws against teams that are currently in the bottom four of the league. The Crystal Palace game was one of the better overall games this season in terms of sheer atmosphere, with Palace giving the Gunners a huge scare. Arsenal is flying somewhat under the radar with this, purely because of how dominant City has been this year. This has not gone unnoticed though, with fans starting to once again ask for #WengerOut.
Huddersfield Is Huffing Wind
Pundits within the UK are starting to question whether the Terriers will be able to stay up for more than just this season, and you can see why. In the first half of the game against West Ham, Huddersfield was within one shot of taking the cake. In the second half, Huddersfield was out on their feet. Fans are starting to question the tactics of David Wagner, while others are pointing the fingers at the players. There was one post in the Huddersfield fan group on Facebook that really stood out, and hit the nail on the head with what is wrong.
“Aaron Mooy and Chris Schindler look tired. If they are struggling, how are we meant to win?”
Mooy has played over fifty games for club and country in 2017, and the Australian is looking absolutely fried on the pitch. Schindler has been the best of the Huddersfield defense, but he is in need of a break. Within the last few games, both players have not been in great form. It is not a coincidence, with Huddersfield’s last win coming against Watford. Who scored twice? Aaron Mooy. Who was one of the best players of the match? Chris Schindler.
Huddersfield needs to find a way to support their two best players, because they won’t be around next season if Huddersfield goes down.
United Starts The Climb
The day after Manchester City slipped up against Liverpool, Manchester United started to reel their rivals in after a 3-0 win against a disappointing Stoke City. Romelu Lukaku decided to put one away, having not scored in his last three Premier League games. Paul Pogba absolutely dominated throughout the midfield, while the United defense was hardly troubled by a Stoke team that a decent Sunday league team could have taken down.
Xherdan Shaqiri has been a shining light during a dismal season for Stoke City, with his shot saved by David De Gea in what was Stoke’s best chance of winning the game. Stoke will need a big game against Huddersfield to try and climb out of the relegation zone, while Manchester United plays the team that they seem to struggle with in Burnley.
Everton, Burnley and Southampton Need a Win
This is the statement of the week from Captain Obvious, as these three sides have not had a win in their last five matches. They aren’t the only ones, but Huddersfield has already been covered in depth, so they get a pass here.
The ‘Big Sam’ effect is starting to wear off for the Toffees, who have only scored once in the last 450 minutes. You definitely won’t be winning with that kind of strike rate, so the introduction of Tosun will give Everton fans a little bit of hope, as well as a lot of support to Rooney and Calvert-Lewin. They have West Bromwich Albion at home this weekend, so there is a big chance to get the three points they need.
Burnley and Sean Dyche seem to have lost their early season spark, however, they have played against three of the top five in the past five games. A loss against a resurgent Crystal Palace this past weekend did not help the Burnley cause, and a game away to United won’t exactly be a great way to snap this streak. It was mentioned earlier that Burnley a bit of a troublesome for the Red Devils, so there is a chance here to at least scab a point.
Southampton is having a shocking season this year. There is no other way to put it, with the Saints not seeing a win in the last ten games. Hosting Tottenham is not exactly the way to break that streak, however, we have seen funnier things happen in the Premier League. Either way, Southampton needs a win and soon. If that doesn’t happen, they may be looking for a new manager.