Premier League Matchday 17 review: Title race heating up
Top three separated by 1 point and Man City’s not involved? What year are we in…
Another gameweek, another new leader. This season is shaping up to have one of the most memorable runs to the title in recent history.
With 17 weeks under its belt, let’s check out the good, the bad and the ugly plus the biggest winners and key players in our Premier League Matchday 17 review.
A quick note before we get into it; our thoughts are with Tom Lockyer, his family and the players involved in the Bournemouth vs Luton game after he suffered a cardiac arrest midway through the second half.
We must start with the surprise result that saw Manchester City held due to a late goal that now opens up a slight gap at the top that doesn’t include them.
It should’ve been a straight-forward victory for the Cityzens at home but instead, some amazing stops in goal coupled with the determination of Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side earned them a point and cost City far more than just two.
West Ham’s convincing 3-0 win over Wolves moved them up to eighth in the table, ahead of Brighton. It’s been a good week for the Hammers, now sitting comfortably in the top 10 and confirming a bye week by finishing top of their group in the Europa League on Thursday.
Newcastle also avoided a third consecutive loss with a 3-0 win over Fulham. It was a win they needed to get back on track for a place in the Europa League at least next season, with Manchester United, West Ham and Brighton all within three points of the Magpies’ sixth spot.
Also, well done (I guess) to Chelsea for remembering how to win a game. You really stuck it to the team at the bottom of the table.
Liverpool and Manchester United encounters are usually a lot of fun - see 5th March 2023. But this time around, it was largely a snoozefest.
United had a whole host of injuries so to them, it was about surviving against an inform Liverpool side.
But lucky for the Red Devils, the home side decided to play very individualistically, seemingly playing as though the win was guaranteed so they didn't have to put in as much effort.
Overall, it was a sucky game where both sides didn’t really deserve a point. But United should get a gold star for their defending, especially Andre Onana for remembering how to stop the ball from going into the goal.
As if it were an early Christmas present, there was nothing ugly to report this week!
It’s the usual suspects for the biggest winners, with Arsenal and Aston Villa capitalising on the results of those around them while Everton continue to put a middle finger up to the league’s decision-makers.
Arsenal have moved back to the top of the table due to their 2-0 victory over Brighton and Liverpool’s draw. They looked confident when in possession and it showed with 48% possession, 26 shots with nine on target to Brighton’s 52% possession, six shots and one on target.
Close behind them, though, is Aston Villa, who came from behind to beat Brentford 2-1 and move them to joint-level points with Liverpool in second on 38, with only goal difference putting them behind. They are dark horses for the title but right now look more than capable of the challenge.
As for Everton, they’ve made it four wins in four now, pushing ahead of Forest to 16th in the table. Sean Dyche is a master at keeping a team up, and should the rumours of another possible investigation and potential second 10-point deduction be true, he will likely be laughing when it counts for nought because he’s got the Toffees far safe enough already.
Three players stood out to me this week, each attributing majorly to their teams’ success.
Despite dark days for Tottenham at the moment with a host of injuries to major players, other players have had to step up. Dejan Kulusevski is one of them, creating magic for Spurs when needed. A goal and an assist in their 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest keeps them within the title race conversation.
Ajax’s loss is starting to become West Ham’s gain as Mohammed Kudus continues to find his footing in the league. Two goals this week and a third Man of the Match performance this season helped the Hammers to a 3-0 win over Wolves and into eighth in the table.
The shock of the weekend wasn’t possible if it weren’t for debutant Dean Henderson’s heroics. In his first appearance for Crystal Palace this season, he pulled off seven saves, including some truly outstanding stops, showing up the fraudulent Ederson in the other net and helping his side to a deserved 2-2 draw against the reigning champions.