Winners

Arsenal

It didn’t matter who Arsenal were playing, they were going to get the punishment handed out to Everton. Before the Toffees settled on a game plan, they were 4 goals down. It was a return to the sort of football Arsene Wenger craves and one Arsenal fans and neutrals admire about The Gunners. It was almost as if Arsenal wanted to prove they were better off without the disruptive element in the club. Alexis Sanchez did have an encouraging debut but even he himself would have sat back in envy(?) at the football Arsenal produced.

Aubameyang had a promising debut, injecting pace and ruthlessness in the no 9 role. His goal was offside but the way he combined well with his ex-Dortmund teammate would have wet appetites around The Emirates. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a hattrick of assists. Suddenly liberated at a club that welcomes his sort of talent, he dovetailed really well with his new teammates and is already looking to fill the shoes Sanchez left.

Arsenal have had these sort of performances before an inevitable collapse and Arsenal fans would be quietly optimistic. However with so many members of the squad playing well and looking to cement their place in the first team, it’s looking so bright after the glum of Sanchez’s exit.

Arsenal’s attacking riches 

Try fitting Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazzete, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang into a lineup not containing Iwobi and you have a conundrum most coaches only dream about. Arsene Wenger has made glitter out of a gloomy situation.

 Henrikh Mkhitaryan

His body language at his unveiling could barely contain the disappointment of his inability at achieving success at a big club. German’s best player was a commodity – no less – used for the purchase of a higher target. No player wants to be used in an exchange deal.

Part of the criticism levelled against the Armenian is his knack of morphing into a ghost on the pitch. it seemed he wasn’t applying himself well enough despite being very talented. At 29, he still has time to turn an unpleasant situation to his benefit.

A trio of assists on his full debut? Not bad, at all.

Aaron Ramsey 

Whisper it softly, Arsenal play better with Ramsey than without. A hattrick on his return will make selections a tad bit difficult for his manager.

Burnley

The fourth team this term to stop Man City from winning a game. It is feat that are denied most in the Premier League. Sean Dyche will be pleased with how the team stuck to the game plan when the first goal went in. Their extraordinary story this season will now include stopping City at home. It may do little to stop City from lifting the title in May but let’s see a Burnley fan who cares.

Brighton 

A fine display in dismantling a team on the rise. Brighton fans were getting worried after a winless run that stretched from late December. In 13th and three points from the drop, they can breath easy. In a season where the fight for safety is intense, every point counts.

Southampton

Southampton last win came on the 26th of November against Everton. Since then, they have scored just 12 goals and let in 21 goals. Southampton are a puzzle. They look very decent when you watch them play. They don’t create a whole lot but the ball retention is quite good. They lack the killer instinct to move firther up the table. Mauricio Pellegrino will know it is too early to celebrate but God, the results have been dire. They needed a win and it was extra sweeter knowing it came against a fellow relegation candidate.

 Bournemouth

Up to ninth after overcoming early season troubled waters. They are safer with 31 points in the top half of the table. Eddie Howe’s insistence on offensive football has paid dividends.

Losers

Everton and Sam Allardyche 

A encouraging display against Leicester was quickly followed by a 5-1 humbling at the hands of Arsenal. Sam have had no luck in meetings versus Wenger and it showed. Everton were grasping at straws all game as Arsenal purred. They were lucky it was 5. It could have been worse.

Everton will not sack Sam at this point in the season. He’s given the club a boost and has since looked lost on how to garner motivation for his players. Will they stick with the Englishman next season. More insults like these and it will appear unlikely.

Jon Moss

A referee entering the losers column is a first but a necessity after Jon Moss allowed his assistant to turn a victory to a draw with very questionable decisions. Both penalties awarded Tottenham weren’t penalties. Kloop has said revealing his true feelings about the game would earn him the mother of all fines. He is right to feel aggrieved after the officials made themselves the headlines in a crucial game.

Spurs will feel they deserve something from the game after snatching initiative from Liverpool in the second half but surely, they’d recognise the hand of the match officials in a game they should have lost.

West Brom

Time is running out to salvage a season that could end in the Championship. They couldn’t build on the impressive display against Everton and are still at the runt of the litter. Alan Pardew has 12 games to save West Brom and it’s looking unlikely he’ll pull it off.

Sterling

Raheem Sterling has improved in leaps and bounds this season, breaking personal records and achievement along the way. His finishing, always a flaw in his game, has improved as well. But he was abysmal against Burnley. First skying a very presentable chance after Aguero’s center. His next miss was arguably the miss of the season. Racing into the box with the goal at his mercy, he contrived to miss from three yards out under no pressure. Burnley equalized soon after. His manager was sore displeased and took him off the firing line.

He’ll want to forget this one very quickly. In Pep, he has a coach who’ll nurture the best out of him. Still only 23, he’ll get better.

Matchday 26

We had four draws in just nine games. Blimey, this weekend was a bore.

 

 

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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