The Premier League treated us to a cracking round of games over the last couple of days. There was loads of cracking goals and as usual, plenty of talking points to be dissected. Let’s check out five things we learned from the midweek Premier League.
A couple of weeks is a long time in North London
In the build up to Arsenal v Spurs just a couple of weeks ago, all the talk was about how there was a power shift between the two teams, and everybody was in agreement, Spurs where now, very much the top dogs in North London.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men has just spanked European Champions Real Madrid, playing some beautifully decisive attacking football and sat in third place in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger’s men, on the other hand, were struggling away in sixth and it looked as if their drop from the top-four last season was about to become a recurring theme.
Arsenal, of course deservedly won the derby and have gone to pick up wins against Burnley and Huddersfield. Spurs, have since drew at home to a struggling West Brom and then lost on Tuesday to Leicester, making it one point from a possible nine in three games.
This means The Gunners have now climbed back to their spiritual home of fourth position, while their bitter rivals have dropped to a lowly seventh position, and a whopping 16 points behind league leaders Man City. What a difference a couple of weeks makes.
Raheem Sterling is defying his critics
As Raheem Sterling bent the ball into the top corner of Southampton’s net to seal a last-minute win for Pep Guardiola’s men, and thus maintain their sensational winning run in the Premier League, it capped quite the week for the 22-year-old. In the space of seven short days, the England international has now scored late winners against Feyenoord, Huddersfield and Southampton.
The former Liverpool winger has had his fair share of critics over the last couple of years, these critics can be split in to two parts; the first being questions over his playing ability, which have been entirely justified at times, the second an attempt at character assassination by a hate fueling and click hungry section of the media. The second part of course has been nothing more than a disgrace, and sadly many fans have bought into it.
In terms of the questions over his ability and whether he was worth the £50 million fee City had to pay Liverpool for his services, Sterling is now well and truly proving everybody – and I include myself in that – wrong. His movement and his previously much maligned finishing, has improved beyond measure this season. Well done, the hated one.
To check out just how important Sterling is for Man City, check out Ben Guest brilliant article here.
Burnley’s rise continues
Sean Dyche, and his Burnley side showed absolutely no sign of their sensational early season form letting up. Many of us expected that after the heartbreak of losing to Arsenal from yet another last minute winner, that Tuesdays game might come a bit too quickly against an in form Bournemouth, but The Clarets had different ideas.
It wasn’t just the result that was impressive, however the nature of the performance. This was no smash and grab job, built off a solid defensive rearguard, Dyche’s men were much the better team, and not for the first time this season played some really good football.
Burnley are back up to sixth in the table, and if you’re a Claret, life has never been so good.
Hard work and perseverance pay off for Ashley Young
It’s seemed that for probably the last four seasons, most people would have thought that each year would be Ashley Young’s last at Old Trafford.
No longer considered good enough to command a starting position in his favoured left-wing role, the one-time England regular has had to make do with fighting for a spot at full-back for United.
Most players would probably have moved on in search of regular first-team football. However, the 32-year-old was determined to succeed at Old Trafford, so he put his head down in training and fought for his chance. Therefore, his ever growing influence on the team over recent weeks has been well deserved.
Ok, so nobody saw him banging home two absolute screamers against Watford, but he has become a constant threat down the left flank of late, and was also his sides’ most dangerous player in their narrow 1-0 over Brighton last weekend.
It seems all that hard work and perseverance is paying off for Young, and he his very much United’s first-choice left-back now.
This was the midweek of Golazo’s
It’s hard to ever remember a single round of Premier League games that produced so many absolutely belting strikes, that if treated individually, would all have more than a decent shout of winning goal of the month.
It all started on Tuesday, with Ashley Young’s blinding free-kick and Jesse Linagards Messi-esque solo effort against Watford.
Over at The King Power, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, also decided to join the party, netting a wonderful first-time volleyed lob, and a thunderous long-ranger that flew into the top corner respectively.
Not to be outdone, a man who has scored some of the most famous Premier League goals ever, Wayne Rooney, saved the best for last. The England and Manchester United record goal scorer’s 60-yard-strike was a thing of pure beauty. The technique required to strike a ball, so true and accurately from such a distance, is at a level that few players possess.
In all honesty 99% of Premier League players first thought when the falls to them 60 yards out – even if the keeper is off his line is simply to control it, most would not even have the capacity to think of shooting let alone executing it to perfection.
Ladies and gentlemen prepare to see re-runs of Rooney’s strike for many years to come, as it will surely go down as one of the all-time iconic Premier League goals.
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