Premier League Review – Gameweek 15

Stoke 2 – 0 Manchester City

Saturday’s early Premier League kickoff saw the first in a long line of shock results, with Stoke denting Manchester City’s title hopes with a 2-0 win.

Xherdan Shaqiri started off an excellent afternoon for both him and Stoke when he wormed his way through the Manchester City defence and put it on a plate for Marco Arnautovic to smash home seven minutes in to the match. Eight minutes later he was at it again, playing a perfectly weighted through ball for Arnautovic to get on the end of again and put the home side two goals to the good. Jack Butland impressively saved from Kevin De Bruyne and Aleksandar Kolarov, but without Sergio Aguero Man City looked relatively lifeless going forward.

Manchester City have now not won on the road in four Premier League games, and drop to 3rd in the table with this defeat. Stoke remain in a solid but uninspiring 11th place, but they will be hoping that this win breathes some life into their squad.

Arsenal 3 – 1 Sunderland

Arsenal had to battle their way past a drastically improved Sunderland side, but eventually managed to get a rather flattering 3-1 victory over the relegation candidates.

Arsenal never really got going in this match. They were very poor for long periods of the game, and it took them until the 33rd minute to get their first real breakthrough. A Mesut Ozil through ball put Joel Campbell through to open the scoring. Sunderland got a deserved equaliser as Olivier Giroud deflected a free kick into his own net, but the striker came out after half time and made amends for his own goal with a header for the correct team. Aaron Ramsey scored a late goal to make the scoreline look much more comfortable than it was.

Sunderland, despite their best efforts, have now been dragged back into the Premier League drop zone. But surely with their recent improvement they can start picking up the results soon. Arsenal move into 2nd after ending their winless streak, but they trail Leicester by two points.

Manchester United 0 – 0 West Ham

Another uninspiring performance by Manchester United led to yet another goalless draw when they faced up against West Ham on Saturday afternoon.

You can’t fault Manchester United’s defence. They have only conceded once at Old Trafford all season in the league and they have the best defensive record in the league. However, they just don’t work going forward, and that was evident again on Saturday. They only mustered a single shot on target, and it was actually West Ham who came the closest to breaking the deadlock as Mauro Zarate and Winston Reid struck the post. All in all it was a drab match, and there’s not really much more to say.

Manchester United drop to 4th after failing to win here, level on points with 3rd placed Manchester City but three points behind top of the table Leicester. West Ham’s current run of poor form has seen them slip down to 7th.

Southampton 1 – 1 Aston Villa

Aston Villa came close to picking up their first win since the opening day of the season, but ultimately were denied by a timely equaliser as Southampton drew level.

Joleon Lescott managed to put the struggling Aston Villa in front just before half time when Joleon Lescott put the ball in the back of the net from a corner. Few could argue that they deserved the lead though. Southampton had missed a host of early chances as Dusan Tadic, Graziano Pelle, and Jose Fonte all failed to find the net. It took until the 74th minute for Oriol Romeu to poke in from a corner and level the scores. Aston Villa will just be happy to have got a rare point from this game, as it could have easily been a hammering had Southampton taken their chances.

Southampton are down to 12th in the Premier League after failing to win this game, but at least their three match losing streak is over now. Aston Villa have still not won since their first game of the season against Bournemouth, and they remain bottom of the table with six points from their opening 15 games.

Swansea 0 – 3 Leicester

Swansea’s terrible run of form continued as the surprising Premier League title challengers Leicester put them to the sword on Saturday.

It didn’t take long for Leicester to start firing, with Riyad Mahrez netting his first of the game after just five minutes. The flag stayed down for him as he slotted home his 2nd 15 minutes later as well, and in the second half he completed his first ever hat trick as he finished off a swiftly executed counter attack. Swansea posed little threat even to the defensively poor Leicester, with only Ki-Seung Yeung’s header to speak of, which cannoned back off the crossbar.

This leaves Swansea in 15th position and just four points above the relegation zone, and the pressure must be becoming unbearable for Garry Monk. Jamie Vardy’s record breaking run might be over, but Leicester are now sitting pretty at the top of the table.

Watford 2 – 0 Norwich

Watford’s two shining stars struck for the home side as they beat the struggling Norwich 2-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Odion Ighalo carried Watford in the opening stages of the season, either scoring or assisting a run of 11 Watford goals as the rest of the squad failed to find the net. But Troy Deeney has joined the party recently, scoring five in his last six games. The Premier League’s most potent strike partnership have scored 14 league goals between them and created more chances for each other than any other partnership in the league. They did it again on Saturday, with Ighalo winning a penalty half an hour in for Troy Deeney to convert. They followed this when Troy Deeney set up Ighalo to add a second in injury time. Norwich defended well despite conceding twice, but they lacked any sort of bite when going forward.

This lifts Watford to 10th in the Premier League and they are looking like they will easily stay up this season. Norwich aren’t so confident. They have lost six of their last eight games and find themselves in 16th place; just a point above the drop zone.

West Brom 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur saw their chase of the top four in the Premier League take a hit as they failed to perform to their best against West Brom on Saturday.

Spurs started this game brightly, and they were rewarded 15 minutes in when a long ball from Toby Alderweireld found Dele Alli, who whipped a volley past Boaz Myhill. Their performance dipped after they took the lead though, and West Brom took advantage before the break as James McClean headed in an equaliser. Not much of interest happened in the second half, apart from a rash and reckless challenge from the West Brom goalscorer inciting the Spurs players, but McClean escaped with just a booking.

West Brom stay 13th with this result, and sit a relatively safe six points off the drop zone. Spurs have been gaining ground on the top four for a while now, but despite their unbeaten streak stretching to 14 games on Saturday their failure to win has seen them drop to three points off 4th place Manchester United.

Chelsea 0 – 1 Bournemouth

A late goal from the relegation threatened Bournemouth secured them an unexpected and legendary win at Stamford Bridge against the faltering Premier League champions.

Chelsea looked like they might be recovering from their dismal start to the season recently. They had kept three clean sheets on the trot and started slowly creeping up the Premier League table. However, they couldn’t find it in themselves to break down a very leaky Bournemouth defence, and even with Diego Costa coming on at half time they failed to threaten at all. Bournemouth were much the better side, with the returning Thibaut Courtois saving well from Josh King three times in just the first half. It took until the 82nd minute for either team to find the net though, with Glenn Murray heading in after some awful defensive work from Chelsea during a Bournemouth corner.

This leaves Chelsea in 14th position in the Premier league, and they are now just two points clear of the relegation zone and look to be well and truly out of the top four race. Bournemouth’s win moves them out of the drop spots and up to 17th.

Newcastle 2 – 0 Liverpool

Newcastle moved closer to safety as they picked up their 3rd Premier League win of the season against a poor Liverpool.

Newcastle came into this game having conceded eight goals in their last two games, and the renewed determination in defence was the basis for limiting Liverpool’s opportunities. The visitors came into this match on the back of some excellent form, but they failed to threaten the Newcastle defence, although they did have an excellent goal ruled out incorrectly. It was Georginio Wijnaldum who spurred the hosts on to a win though, with his deflected shot going in off Martin Skrtel to open the scoring partway through the second half. He added a second in injury time to round off an impressive win for Newcastle.

Newcastle couldn’t escape the relegation zone with this win due to Bournemouth winning the day before. But they do keep pace with the rest of the table, with them level on points with Bournemouth and Norwich above them. Liverpool have lost pace on the top four with this defeat, dropping to 8th in the table.

Everton 1 – 1 Crystal Palace

Two late goals saw Everton and Crystal Palace each take home a point as the two played out a very entertaining match on Monday evening.

Everton dominated possession throughout the game and displayed an impressive amount of attacking flair as they searched for a continuation of their excellent goalscoring form. Romelu Lukaku struck the woodwork twice and Crystal Palace searched for a winner at the other end as both teams played their part in an entertaining match. It was a surprise that it took until the 76th minute to see a goal, and it was poor Everton defending that allowed Scott Dann to head in the opener. Palace’s lead only lasted five minutes though as Lukaku finally found the net with his 6th goal in five games.

This takes Crystal Palace up to 6th place in the Premier League on goal difference, and they are only three points behind a Europa League qualification spot. Everton remain in 9th, but do gain ground on their arch rivals Liverpool.

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