Manchester United Open Up A Small Gap And Everybody Else Makes Up Ground On Liverpool

Posted: March 13, 2018 in Arsenal, Chelsea, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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The race for the final three places in the top four is certainly hotting up with Chelsea now within four points of Liverpool who currently occupy fourth spot.

It would appear though, that despite a morale-boosting win in the Europa League over AC Milan being followed by a comfortable home win against Watford, Arsenal’s Premier League race is run and the best they can hope for is to maybe catch Chelsea in fifth. Even for that to happen there would need to be a major derailment of Antonio Conte’s train, as the gap between the two is currently eight points.

So with Arsenal sitting twelve points off fourth place we can safely say they will be concentrating on trying to win the Europa League in order to qualify for next season’s Champion’s League which, if Stubborn Old Man is still in charge, they will exit at the “round of Arsenal”.

Manchester United’s win over Liverpool at Old Trafford opened up a five points gap over their near rivals who were in third place after the match. This, of course, was only a temporary state of affairs because Tottenham Hotspur had a comfortable romp at Bournemouth on Sunday with a resounding 1-4 win over Eddie Howe’s team.

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Eddie Howe – May be regretting certain comments made before the Spurs game!

Yes folks, that is the same Eddie Howe who could be heard the previous day saying how he would not like to have to face his Bournemouth side and how difficult it must be for the opposition to come up with a tactic to play against them, particularly at Dean Court where the crowd are the twelfth man!

Mauricio Pochettino didn’t look too intimidated by the prospect of taking his Spurs side to the south coast and he also didn’t appear to have much difficulty in finding a tactic which kept the twelfth man reasonably quiet as well as putting four goals past the “difficult to play against” Bournemouth team.

We bet he wishes all of his opponents were THAT difficult.

Prior to this game and, as previously mentioned, Arsenal had strolled through their match against an insipid Watford who even managed to miss a penalty allowing Petr Čech to finally keep his 200th clean sheet in the Premier League, becoming the first goalkeeper to do so in the process.

On Saturday, also as previously mentioned, Manchester United had beaten Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford with many people lauding Mourinho’s tactics in winning the game. These were the same tactics that the same people continually moan about if he doesn’t win the game but, as is evidenced by his record over the years, he gets it right more often than he gets it wrong.

In fact, if Juan Mata had controlled the ball when receiving it unmarked in the penalty area, he would have had a tap-in and the score would probably have been 3-1. As it was, with plenty of time and space, he had a rush of blood to the head and, no doubt remembering his goal at Anfield last season, chose to go for the spectacular, which proved to be the wrong decision.

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Juan Mata – Went for the spectacular when a tap-in would have given United a comfortable lead

The final game of the weekend was Manchester City proving that they could do it on a cold, windy night in Stoke even though it was neither cold nor windy. In fact, we had to double check that the game was actually played in Stoke! The result was only really meaningful to City and their fans from a confidence point of view and to keep their winning Premier League run going.

It was somewhat meaningful for Stoke because it kept alive their interest in the relegation battle but it also showed that, had Paul Lambert been appointed earlier in the season, then the club may have been able to avoid this dogfight.

In conclusion then it was business as usual for all but Liverpool who, out of all of the top six, had the toughest game of the weekend. They will, however, expect to return to winning ways when they face Watford at Anfield next Saturday.

With United, Chelsea and Tottenham all involved in FA Cup quarter-final action next weekend and Arsenal’s game with Leicester City postponed as The Foxes are also still in the competition, Liverpool must take advantage and put the points on the board to exert at least little pressure on the rest.

 

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