Winners

Tottenham

If Manchester United were optimistic of a double over Tottenham, especially after the acquisition of Alexis Sanchez, it was extinguished with frightening start. Christian Eriksen – forever underrated – made it 1-0 with just 10 seconds on the clock. Manchester, to their credit, didn’t let it go without a fightback but with the Spurs backline reigning supreme, it was all rather too late. Phil Jones, who was impressive before the own goal, was desperately unlucky as the ball ricochet off his boot awkwardly into the net.

Spurs high pressing meant the likes of Pogba and Sanchez weren’t given room to roam and dictate play. It was a stirring performance from the players hurt by the 1-0 reverse at Old Trafford where they were stifled by United’s over negativity.

They are now just two points off fourth place, making the race to the Champions league place something worth some excitement. You might grapple about how they haven’t won a trophy despite their strong finishing places in recent years, but they are still a brilliant team to watch and have added real quality in Lucas Moura. It is looking up for Tottenham.

Bournemouth

Chelsea may not be in the best of health lately but no one gave Bournemouth a chance against the Champions. Hazard – constant thorn in their flesh – started brightly but it was The Cherries who landed the decisive blow as Callum Wilson stroked home after stunning work through the heart of Chelsea’s defense. Chelsea didn’t recover nor put up a convincing fightback.

That win has propelled them up to 10th; incredible achievement considering they were in the relegation mix not an age ago. They have added Chelsea to their list of Giant killings which would bode well in the future.

Swansea and Carlos Carvalhal

Beating Liverpool was mightily impressive. Beating Arsenal the following week is testament to Carlos Carvalhal’s work since his appointment. 10 points in 5 games is a fantastic achievement considering they were listless in most of their games before the arrival of the Portuguese.

It wasn’t just the result, it was the performance. Swansea looked a different animal even to the side that won against Liverpool. They pressed Arsenal high up and passed with conviction. You would struggle to reconcile the side on the pitch with the one which huffed and puffed, asking for a beating in nearly every game.

They are still 19th but they have given themselves a hell of a chance. Swansea fans would expect at sometime that they would go down eventually but not in this meek manner. Carlos has reinvigorate the playing staff and the fans in the stands. Together, there is nothing they can’t achieve.

Jordan Ayew

The younger Ayew will soon be reconciled with his brother and it is will be a delicious partnership if the two get on the pitch. Jordan Ayew has been inspiration in his role as a false nine. Using his pace and trickery to very good effects, he’s helped taken Swansea off their half to play in the half of the opposition. It is a welcome change in tactic and one which the Ghanaian is very instrumental in creating.

Liverpool

The Swansea result was unexpected but – credit due to them – they have changed the narrative very quickly. They are third, above the rest not named Manchester. Liverpool will be fine. They are quietly the form team in the Premier League.

Everton

The unrest at Merseyside was reaching an increasing crescendo. Everton have been disappointing not winning a premier league game for over a month but this win will surely pacify the fans who were expecting more. For the first time in a long time, Everton were quick and inventive; eager to press the ball and looked like a team rather than the caricature of the term.

That it was achieved against a Leicester City team in good form was even more impressive.

Theo Walcott

The 28 year old looked almost unrecognisable in blue but with displays like this, they’d get used to him pretty quickly. Having taken a step down to enjoy regular playing time, Walcott has shown that money isn’t the only motivation in the sport. Sometimes players play for the fun of it; for pride. Walcott is no longer an up and comig teenager. He’ll be 30 in 2019 but he still has plenty to give this Everton team. His pace and goal threat from out wide is a very welcome addition. This is a marriage of convenience for both parties but one which may blossom into a more romantic arrangement.

Christian Benteke

A goal which shared the spoils at the Olympic Stadium which he needed desperately. With talks of Crystal Palace letting him go after hitting a disgusting run of poor form, goals will be saving grace. That’s why he’s on the pitch in the first place.

Losers

Chelsea

This sort of result, has in recent weeks, seem almost inevitable. Chelsea have been dire, putting in shockingly bad displays. They were lucky against Everton and more so against Leicester City. Bournemouth have put in clear evidence what we have thought about Chelsea lately. This is a team not in contention for a League title and are sleepwalking through matches without the vigour of last season. Antonio Conte will surely leave this summer. It’s a pity it’s come to this.

Chelsea have been in luck as they keep winning trophies despite managerial changes but stability is a welcome virtue especially for a club having eyes set on European domination.

Where will this leave Chelsea? Finishing outside the top four will be a disaster. Chelsea need the money to keep things afloat. The youngsters out on loan are unsure of their future. Bakayoko looks like money wasted. Perhaps Fabregas importance has been underplayed as Chelsea look lost without him on the pitch.

Chelsea will need to find some sort of inspiration to keep their season from falling apart. It’ll be the least the fans – and owner – expect.

Arsenal

Never far from a crisis, eh? Arsenal looked lethargic with Swansea growing bolder with each attack. Many Arsenal fans have grown numb to this sort of results. Arsenal will be stronger with Aubameyang in the starting lineup – but this is a reminder of where Arsenal need to move away from. It is left to Arsene Wenger to make sense of the attacking riches at his disposal to at least blow teams apart before they inflict damage at their goal.

It’ll be intriguing watching Wenger try to piece this present puzzle onto the pitch.

Petr Cech

Hasn’t always looked his dominant self since swapping blue for red. Petr Cech is a good goalie but Arsenal need a great keeper. The mistakes keep pilling up for the 35 year old. A simple ball played into his feet was neatly placed into Ayew’s path for a simple tap-in. A very good assist if you ignore they are playing for opposite sides.

Manchester United 

Manchester United didn’t do many things wrong. They were unfortunate recipients of Tottenham’s harrying – no pun intended. They are still second and will be up there but losing to a rival hurts. They just couldn’t find an answer and a way back into the game. Fashioning how his attacking players fit into his plan will be Jose Mourinho’s top priority. And Zlantan’s barely had a sniff since his comeback. We need to see him and his pony tail.

 

 

Michael Okoye
Blogger/Football Analyst at Sportskick
Michael Okoye is an ardent football fan as well as a writer. He lives somewhere in West Africa with Lions and Leopards for company. He takes interest in football and detests mediocrity in sports writing. He has a massive man crush on Juan Mata. A Chelsea fan and a great lover of wits and sarcasm.
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