Premier League: Matchweek 22 notes and a look ahead

Chelsea 2 – Newcastle United 1

This fixture featured a team in Chelsea looking to keep its foot firmly planted between the top four and the door, while struggling Newcastle was doing anything to escape from the bottom three regulation zone it has found itself familiar with this season.

An early goal, a cheeky lob by Pedro, found Chelsea ahead in only the ninth minute of action. The Magpies would not easily be pushed away, however. Defender Ciaran Clark would put a header resulting from a corner kick past keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga just before the half. In the end, a few too many opportunities opened up in the second half for the Blues as rumored Barcelona-bound Willian found himself in position to curl a beautiful shot around the keeper in the 57′ minute and keep Chelsea comfortably — for now — in the top four.

Liverpool 1 – Brighton & Hove Albion 0

In their first match since their epic clash against Manchester City, fans were eager to see what Liverpool would be found on the pitch. Would it be the ferocious attack that we have been accustomed to seeing all year or a sedated team dwelling in a missed opportunity to really pull away from the pack?

Mo Salah earned the penalty he later scored against Brighton. (Getty Images)

As per Premier League usual, neither of the two possible outcomes were the true result. Liverpool, with a slightly shuffled around team-sheet from their last outing, slid by with a Mo Salah penalty conversion.

Not to be condescending, the Reds seemed like a force throughout the match, but perhaps something is still amiss for the team that has looked so lethal through the season.

West Ham 1 – Arsenal 0

This London derby result added more pressure to Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who not too long ago was flying high with the Gunners. Declan Rice, the Irish international who turned 20 on Monday, saw his first goal for the club come in the 47′ minute. This result will please the West Ham supporters, which have not always been in such good graces with their team as this year.

Manchester United 1 – Tottenham Hotspurs 0

Oh, to be a United fan. Five consecutive wins in league play see Ole Gunner Solskjaer’s group closing point differential week by week. After Arsenal’s nightmare this weekend, the Red Devils find themselves even with the Gunners and only two matches off of the top four, a space that only a month ago everyone had written off as a possible finishing spot for United. These results have exceeded the typical swing of morale that comes with a new manager. It is a match that has lit the fuse of talent which is all over the team-sheet of Manchester United.

Tottenham, however, fell to another “Spursy” result. Marcus Rashford’s shot sent across Hugo Lloris’ goal in the dying minutes of the first half was enough to get the three points. An unfortunate day for Spurs, who had their fair share of opportunities that might have gone in any other day, if not for one of the world’s best David de Gea having an outstanding performance in net. One thing is for sure, this result did not help to put an end to stereotype that Tottenham cannot seem to break that threshold to seriously contend for a title for too long.

Manchester City 3 – Wolverhampton Wanderers 0

A brace on the day for Gabriel Jesus and a Kevin de Bruyne cross, turned own goal by Connor Coady, was more than enough to flex City’s muscle and retain their spot in the title race.

Of course, last time we saw them in a league fixture it was against leaders Liverpool and that great form is still there. It was said on that day and it rings true now more than ever, with these results coming and momentum flowing, City surely seems to be coming with force towards the top in 2019.

What does next week hold?

Matchweek 23 could surely show some of the true colors of the contenders and pretenders. With fixtures that the top three would expect to get maximum points from, a Liverpool or City slip could change the whole dynamic of that race. While Spurs could keep their heads above water with a win, another disheartening result at Craven Cottage on Sunday could potentially be the nail in their coffin. Meanwhile, Manchester United will look to keep its undeniably hot form against Brighton.

Chelsea and Arsenal will face off in a South vs North London Derby. (Getty Images)

The match all eyes will be fixed on? Chelsea and Arsenal’s clash at the Emirates on Saturday. A Blue’s victory would put a comfortable cushion between the Champions League and Europa spot, while an Arsenal victory would find Unai Emery’s crusaders back amongst the Premier League voices.

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Author: Will Copeland

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