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Premier League matchweek 16 – Five things we learned

After a thrilling weekend of Premier League action, the title race has been all but ended before the halfway stage, the relegation battle is well and truly on, and sides are moving up and down midtable like a yo-yo! So, what have we learned from the latest set of fixtures in the Premier League?

The title is well and truly City’s!

After a derby win away at city rivals Manchester United, Manchester City have all but sealed the Premier League crown, making it incredibly difficult for any side to get within a sniff of top spot. A   2-1 win at Old Trafford left City with a huge 11-point advantage over 2nd placed United.

With 3rd placed Chelsea behind by 14 points and 4th placed Liverpool 16 points behind, the title must be City’s! Having only dropped two points so far this term, setting a new record for consecutive wins in a season, City continue to grind out results, and with a gap so huge already, it won’t be a surprise if they’ve sealed the title by February!

 

 

Klopp continues to make odd team selections

After a 1-1 draw with Merseyside rivals Everton, Liverpool really did miss out on three points after a dominant display at Anfield on Sunday. Mo Salah could’ve had a couple and Sadio Mane should’ve had at least one but, yet again, manager Jurgen Klopp made some unexpected decisions when drafting the team sheet.

The main exclusion was of the Brazilian pair Roberto Firmino and Phillipe Coutinho, who lost their places to youngster Dominic Solanke and James Milner. Klopp, also continues to tinker with his defence, especially at right-back as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez continue to replace one-another.

The situation with rotating attackers though has happened before recently, as Sadio Mane waited over 80 minutes to play at home to Chelsea a few weeks ago. Whether Klopp was rotating ahead of a midweek league fixture we don’t know, but the same situation is becoming a regular occurance and Mane was caught by cameras showing his disgust at waiting so long to come off the bench against Chelsea, which he shouldn’t have been on in the first place!

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The relegation battle is getting heated!

After Swansea’s first win in nine league games over West Brom, Crystal Palace returned to the foot of the table after a 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, their third consecutive stalemate. What also made matters more interesting was that West Ham managed to beat Chelsea 1-0, keeping them in the relegation zone but only by goal difference due to West Brom’s defeat at the Liberty.

Now four teams outside the relegation zone are only three points or less away from the dreaded drop zone, making the next few fixtures at the bottom of the table very interesting. Newcastle’s loss to Leicester has seen them drop into 16th, just two points off of 18th , and both Stoke and Bournemouth remain closer to the bottom three than what they’d see as comfortable.

Burnley continue to grind out results!

After a 1-0 win over Watford on Saturday, Burnley cemented their place in 7th and remain only two points off of the top four! Despite having scored fewer goals than games played, the Clarets have been incredibly organised at the back this season, picking up 7 clean sheets and conceding only 12 goals in 16 games.

Even though they may not be the most entertaining side to watch this season, they are definitely one of the stories of the season as they’ve gone under the radar from finishing 16th last season to being only two points off of the top four in December! They will have to be careful though if they are to maintain this position as there’ll be many teams continuing to climb the table!

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Leicester are finally where they should be!

After having a poor season defending the title last year and a poor start to this campaign, Leicester finally look like the side they should be after their title triumph two seasons prior! When I say this, I don’t mean ready to challenge for the title again and triumph in Europe, I mean challenge for the Europa League and finish firmly in the top half.

Leicester’s title win was a fairytale, but also meant that they should’ve finished in the top half last season with the quality of their squad. Now, after three consecutive wins in the league, Leicester have climbed up to eighth, overtaking Watford who’ve received lots of plaudits this season.

Mahrez, Vardy and Demarai Gray are all banging in the goals, displaying a potent attack each time the three feature together. However, the defence still remains shaky but it’s good to see Leicester in a good place after a disappointing campaign last term following their miraculous title win.

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