It is quite odd that one of the more dull, less action packed weekend of Premier League action has resulted in a thrilling shake up at the top of the table. For the first time since November, a side other than Liverpool sits atop the table.
Manchester City came into the week sitting on 68 points, only a point away from the Reds. On paper it certainly appeared that the Citizens would have the more simple path to the top, facing against Bournemouth who sat 12th on the table.
In retrospect, City dominated the match, holding over 80% of possession and not allowing even a shot from Bournemouth. It seemed, however, that it just might not be their day to succeed. This would have been quite the blunder, considering a slip and Liverpool capitalizing would take the difference to above a single weeks lead.
Pep Guardiola’s squad was able to show some willpower in the end. All of their attack culminated in the 55′ minute when a ball batted around inside the box fell to David Silva, who played Riyad Mahrez on the right side and he powered it home. A collective sigh could be heard and felt from the visitor’s section and that would be the only goal that came in the 90 minutes.
Manchester United had a rougher go then most in a game that should have been a little bit easier on the blood pressure of Red Devil supporters. Southampton are in the heat of a relegation battle and they would not have been too optimistic entering the match as visitors. Earlier I mentioned that this match week might not be the best highlight reel, but this was certainly an exception.
Yan Valery scored a sensational goal from outside that box that caught De Gea a little off guard it appeared. That was enough to see Southampton into the lead at the half, but they were brought back down to earth by a spectacular hit from Andreas Pereira in the 53rd minute. This appeared to set United on the right track and Lukaku put them in the lead only 6 minutes later. The road side was not to be deterred as the third absolute banger of the day was off a James Ward-Prowse free kick. It appeared that Southampton would escape with a vital point until Manchester’s leading scorer Lukaku grabbed another in the 88th minute to secure a win.
American followers that support Spurs or Arsenal were met with an unappreciated early morning kick-off for the North London derby. The morning started off a lot better the Gunners when Aaron Ramsey went around Hugo Lloris and put the visitors ahead. They held onto that lead for awhile until Harry Kane took a shove in the back and won a penalty in the 74′ minute, which he converted. As if the matchup itself doesn’t have the supporter’s high strung enough, a 90′ minute penalty awarded to Arsenal put them over the edge. If you thought that was bad, imagine the scenes when Aubamayeng had it parred away by Lloris. The 1-1 result seems to disgruntle both fan bases, but a neutral would probably find it fitting.
The Merseyside derby would be the deciding factor in the weekend. This was the reason many had City tipped to surpass Liverpool because of the intensity of a derby with the pressure on. They had handle it well last week but were unable to pull it out again. No Salah magic, no Jurgen Klopp celebrations, or Van Dijk headers were able to bring three points to the Kop.
Where does this leave the bottom of the table?
The bottom five all lost so in terms of shape, it remains the same. Southampton proved that they could hang, as they have for quite a few years now, which is why I would still tip them to hold above that bottom three position. Cardiff still stands within striking distance, though, so it is worth keeping up with.
How does the top shape up?
Chelsea and Arsenal seem to be keeping their heads above water, clinging around that fourth spot. The Blues have seemed to weathered their storm in the league as of late, although there is plenty to read into following their League Cup final loss. Manchester United are holding onto that coveted fourth spot and are within striking distance of Spurs, with a big match coming up against Arsenal shortly.
Spurs find themselves in a little bit of no man’s land. They really were out of the title race, then back in it, now they find themselves potentially in a top four battle. In a few weeks time they will face up to Liverpool, which will probably seal their fate.
Between the top two, their runs in seem to be about even, with a slight edge to the Reds, as City still have a Manchester Derby and a match against Spurs to play. With that in mind, it has been over a month since the Citizens have dropped points and as they continue this dominance, it is hard to see them stumble more than Liverpool into the finish.