5 Issues Discovered From First Premier League Weekend Of February
It’s hotting up at each ends of the Premier League desk as we head in the direction of the ultimate third of the season.
Liverpool face a must-win recreation away in opposition to West Ham on Monday night time if they’re to keep up a big benefit over Manchester Metropolis after the champions noticed off Arsenal 3-1. Spurs stored in contact with a win of their very own, however face right into a busy interval with out the companies of Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Behind them now are Chelsea and Manchester United following Arsenal’s defeat.
On the different finish of the desk, as many as eight groups look to be mired in a relegation battle.
Listed here are 5 issues we realized from the opening spherical of February fixtures within the Premier League:
1) Marcus Rashford is the person to steer the road for United
Rashford’s winner in opposition to Leicester right this moment marked a collection of spectacular statistics in what was his 100th Premier League look.
Since getting the nod from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to minimize the centre, he has scored six in eight league video games. In all, it was the Englishman’s 26th league aim – probably the most for the Crimson Devils since his debut three years in the past.
Winners in opposition to Spurs, Brighton and now Leicester mark him out as United’s first-choice centre ahead, although the now oft-benched Romelu Lukaku nonetheless has a task to play as evidenced by his important cameo on the fitting in opposition to Arsenal final month.
2) The extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical for Arsenal
Regardless of a change in supervisor and enjoying personnel, defensive woes undone the Gunners but once more in opposition to Metropolis.
To be truthful to Unai Emery, the absences of Hector Bellerin and Sokratis have been dearly felt within the Arsenal again 4. Stephan Lichtsteiner’s proper facet specifically was hammered, with every of Metropolis’s three targets coming from that flank.
Certainly, Arsenal have been fortunate to not concede extra early, as their slim again 4 (that maybe ought to’ve been a again 5 in hindsight) barely held courtroom in opposition to a vengeful Metropolis who had suffered an enormous upset in opposition to Newcastle in midweek. It was solely a matter of time earlier than Metropolis would exploit that weak point once more, nonetheless.
With the data in thoughts that Bellerin was out for as much as 9 months, Arsenal would have been higher served bringing in a defensive recruit within the January window, quite than Barcelona’s Denis Suarez, who was at all times unlikely to show the match of their favour at 3-1 down.
3) Maurizio Sarri’s gamble is paying off already
Having shipped the struggling Alvaro Morata off to Atletico Madrid on mortgage, the Chelsea boss put his religion in Gonzalo Higuain to avoid wasting the membership’s season.
The hammering courtesy of Bournemouth apart, the Argentine might but hearth the Blues to Champions League soccer. Although some fear that his finest days are behind him, the way during which he took the primary of two targets in opposition to Huddersfield indicated a participant who stays assured regardless of his unfamiliarity with the powder keg of enjoying for Chelsea within the Premier League.
His presence will put the Eden Hazard false 9 experiment to mattress, and with the Belgian getting two targets of his personal in his most well-liked winger place, Chelsea might now have the ample firepower to complete prime 4 and even win the Europa League.
4) Spurs’ gamble might not have the identical outcome
Whereas they preserve an out of doors likelihood of a league title, Spurs face a Champions League tie in opposition to Borussia Dortmund and home motion in opposition to Chelsea and Arsenal of their subsequent set of fixtures.
They may greater than probably have to take action with out the companies of the talismanic Harry Kane, if not Dele Alli additionally. Whereas cult hero Heung-Min Son has saved them twice already since his return from the Asian Video games (together with on Saturday in opposition to Newcastle), it’s asking a variety of the South Korean to carry down the fort.
Spurs have been reportedly out there for Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, however in apparently not desirous to promote him to a rival, the Blues as an alternative let him go to Crystal Palace. Not bringing in him or one other loanee of comparable high quality might but derail a promising season for the North Londoners.
5) Cardiff confirmed a exceptional spirit that would but save them
The Welsh outfit have been dealt a devastating blow with the disappearance of document signing Emiliano Sala after the Nantes participant’s airplane went lacking.
Whereas their first recreation for the reason that tragedy noticed their fourth defeat in 5 video games, Neil Warnock’s facet rallied in an emotional residence return in opposition to a buoyant Bournemouth who had swept apart Chelsea. The out-of-favour Oumar Niasse of Everton was drafted in on mortgage to assist Cardiff rating the targets wanted to outlive relegation.
Whereas he didn’t rating, Bobby Reid confirmed the promise that made him a favorite at Bristol Metropolis by grabbing a brace. Now simply two factors from security and with a bevy of factors nonetheless to play for, Cardiff can look to capitalise on being the one facet within the backside six to win this weekend.