Is the contention for the Premier League title becoming a six-horse race? Things are continually changing on the table and it’s great to monitor if you are a neutral.
There were some action-packed games and there are plenty of talking points that have come out of the weekend.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin is keeping Everton alive in their free fall
Everton currently sit in ninth and have capitulated since the Merseyside derby. They have won one game which they struggled against Fulham and drew against Burnley. The other four games saw the Toffees lose and their promising start has been wasted.
Currently, Dominic Calvert-Lewin is the leading goal scorer in the league and without his breakout season, who knows where this team would currently be.
It’s certainly concerning to see their recent form. They have struggled defensively and outside of their win against Fulham, they have also struggled to score goals outside of Calvert-Lewin.
Carlo Ancelotti has a big task to steer the team around on the right path.
The state of Manchester City will be revealed in the Manchester derby
Since their loss to Tottenham, City were gifted two games against teams fighting relegation to follow. They dominated both Burnley and Fulham and now have a highly anticipated test against rivals Manchester United.
The last two games have demonstrated what fans expected City to look like. They now sit three points outside the Top 4 with an extra game in hand. But the Manchester derby will be a great sign to see where both teams are. We still don’t really know the identity of Manchester United.
City and United have had their ups and downs and everyone will be anxiously waiting to see what unfolds in the upcoming match-up.
Manchester United are becoming comeback specialists
After losing to Arsenal, Manchester United have managed to respond in a big way winning four straight league games. They now sit sixth on the table only two points outside the Top 4 with an extra game in hand.
The common theme in their games outside of West Brom have seen United concede goals early. United would be trailing and required a response. Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani have been instrumental in keeping United alive. In the four-game winning streak, Fernandes and Cavani combined to score seven goals.
They have done plenty of their damage in the second half showcasing the quality that they possess. The fact that they can turn a game around in the space of minutes exemplifies what they are capable of.
Against West Ham, it was encouraging to see others getting involved on the scoresheet such as Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.
In the next game against Manchester City, United will have to ensure they have a complete performance as they might get punished for showing up for a limited time.
Chelsea showcase their firepower in a gunfight
Chelsea continue to score goals for fun and it’s the variety of opportunities created which is scary. Chelsea only trail Liverpool in goals scored but the impressive aspect is that everyone is getting involved.
Timo Werner and Kurt Zouma lead the team with four goals each with 13 other players having scored in addition. Werner could honestly have more goals to his name however he has missed plenty of chances throughout the season so far.
Chelsea can break you down with possession or whether they are counterattacking. They have also utilised set piece plays to their advantage with Zouma being the beneficiary on multiple occasions.
If you list all their players in the midfield and up front at their disposal, they have enough depth to cover two teams. The money has been spent effectively and with their defence solidifying, they continue to take care of business in their quest of the Premier League title.
Wilfried Zaha finally has support in Christian Benteke to lead rout of West Brom
Crystal Palace were enjoying themselves in the second half against West Brom who were down to ten men. It was a much-needed win having lost two straight games but more importantly, it provided the return of Wilfried Zaha.
Zaha is pivotal to Palace having success as he now has seven goals and two assists after scoring two goals last weekend. The main positive aspect is that Zaha managed to get assistance through Christian Benteke who scored two goals of his own against West Brom.
Benteke in one game becomes the second leading goal scorer for Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson has attempted to partner Zaha with Jordan Ayew and Michy Batshuayi but they haven’t made significant impacts.
Hopefully for Palace, Zaha and Benteke can be a fruitful pairing going forward.
There are some warning signs in Leicester that need to be monitored
Leicester managed to hold on to fourth place after a late winner from Jamie Vardy saw them defeat lowly Sheffield United.
Leicester have been up and down this season so far. They started off on shaky grounds until they won six straight games in all competitions. But more recently, they slumped again having secured one point in all competitions before their win against Sheffield.
The defence of Leicester has regressed significantly from last season. They’ve kept only three clean sheets and look more vulnerable defensively overall.
It places plenty of pressure on their forwards and having success heavily reliant on Vardy is going to have its limits.
They’ve managed to hang in the Top 4 race, but Leicester are going to need other players step up. Only Harvey Barnes has scored more than one goal in open play, so they’ll need the likes of James Maddison, Youri Tielemans and Ayoze Perez to contribute.
Tottenham continue to overcome obstacles on their mission for a title
Jose Mourinho and Tottenham continue to win games and stay on top of the league. Whether you like their playstyle or not, Spurs continue to generate results and have not lost a league game since the opening meeting against Everton.
By defending deep and hitting teams on the counterattack, the partnership of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son continue to terrorise teams.
Early on, Tottenham seemed a lot more free-flowing and open but Mourinho has decided to become a lot more intentional with their playstyle.
They have now managed five clean sheets in the last six league games while conceding only one goal.
While they haven’t been flashy, they have proven that they are going to be very difficult to beat and if they can continue on this path, they will solidify their contention for the title. With some tough fixtures to come and a long time to go, anything can happen but currently, they look very good.
Liverpool continue to show up for big games
After people assumed that there was going to be concerns for the defending champions Liverpool, they have certainly responded with authority after dispatching Leicester and Wolves for a combined 7-0.
While many people would have claimed that Brighton should’ve defeated Liverpool, Liverpool were also a few VAR calls from running them off the park also.
They’ve continued to hang in with Tottenham at the top of the table. The match between Spurs and Liverpool next week is now shaping up to be a massive game that could have significant implications for the title race.
Southampton receive big boost with return of Danny Ings
Southampton recovered nicely after a disappointing loss to Manchester United last weekend. That loss ended their seven-game unbeaten streak but the still sit fifth on the table and most importantly, Danny Ings made his return and score a goal.
The fact that they have only lost once with Ings’ absence bodes well for their imminent future.
Heading into the new year, they will need Ings to pick up where he left off with games against Manchester City, Arsenal, West Ham and Liverpool coming up.
Nonetheless, Saints fans have to be happy with where they’re at and are certainly capable of beating any team on a good day.