After the latest round of Premier League matches, the top of the table remains unchanged. Arsenal still lead Manchester City by five points, with a game in hand, despite the Gunners surprisingly losing to Everton in what was Sean Dyche’s first match in charge of the Merseyside club.
City, though, missed the opportunity by losing at Spurs courtesy of a landmark goal from Harry Kane.
At the bottom, Southampton and Bournemouth are both in trouble, whilst another defeat for Leeds United leaves Jesse Marsch the latest manager fearing for his job.
Arsenal had hopes of extending their lead when they travelled to Goodison Park on Saturday, but they found Everton revitalised under Dyche as they pressed them all over the pitch and gave them very little time on the ball. Everton scored the only goal with a header from James Tarkowski, but they fully deserved the win and will be confident they can now pull away from trouble in the second half of the season.
That gave City the chance to close the gap when the played Tottenham at the White Hart Lane Stadium on Sunday. But they have a poor record on the ground, having lost all four of the matches they had played there previously, without scoring a goal.
And that run continued as they lost to a goal from Harry Kane, although City were caught on the ball dallying on the edge of their own penalty area. It was Kane’s 200th Premier League goal (only Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney have scored more) and also broke Jimmy Greaves’ Spurs goal scoring record, which had stood for 53 years. Kane has now scored 267 goals in a Spurs shirt.
The win revives Spurs hopes of finishing in the Champions League places.
Manchester United and Newcastle United
The two league cup finalists swapped places after their games on Saturday. That was because Newcastle dropped points after they could only draw at home to West Ham United, whilst Manchester United beat Crystal Palace 2 – 1.
Marcus Rashford, who was named Premier League player of the month for January, continued his fine form with another goal, but the win came at a cost. Influential midfielder Casemiro received a straight red card for his part in a mass brawl, and is set to miss three games.
Chelsea and Liverpool
Chelsea and Liverpool continue to misfire in their attempts to reach the top four. Despite fielding some of their expensive new signings, Chelsea drew a blank against Fulham in the West London derby on Friday night, with a lack of cutting edge a clear problem.
Liverpool’s miserable recent run continued with a 3 – 0 loss away to Wolves, who continue to climb the table under Julen Lopetegui. Already some fans are beginning to utter what was previously unthinkable – that Jurgen Klopp’s job may be on the line.
The relegation picture
Southampton remain rooted to the foot of the table after being well beaten by Brentford, who are now seventh in the table. Now one place above them are South Coast neighbours Bournemouth, who were beaten by a late goal at Brighton.
That win keeps Brighton in sixth place, and they remain on course to qualify for European football for the first time in their career.
Everton’s win was not enough to move them out of the relegation zone, but they have now risen to 18th in the table.
However, Leeds United are now very much looking after their shoulder after losing by a single goal at Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
Leeds had 70% possession but could not find a way past Keylor Navas who was playing his first game in the Forest goal.
Manager Jesse Marsch, who had to listen to Leeds fans calling for him to be sacked at half-time, has won just two of his last 17 league games in charge, and now knows that his future is very much in doubt.
Already there are suggestions that Carlos Calderon, who is currently in charge at West Bromwich Albion is being lined-up to replace him.
In the other game, Leicester City beat Aston Villa 4 -2 away, despite twice coming from behind in the first half.
Leicester have now reached mid-table safety, whilst some of the bloom that seemed to exist when Unai Emery was appointed as Villa manager now seems to have worn off.
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