Liverpool lost to Swansea, United draw against Stoke, relegation changes23rd Jan 2017 |
It has been a weekend where a lot has happened in the Premier League and where things have really tightened up in the Championship. There is no doubt that the big winners are the red and blue sides from London, as well as a great weekend for the team from Wales.
Wenger and Conte smiling
The results in all games turned out great for the two. When their games started on Sunday, none of their competitors had been able to get three points the preceding day. Liverpool lost surprisingly to Swansea, Manchester United only managed a draw against Stoke and Manchester City-Tottenham ended with a 2-2 draw. This was their perfect setting, but it looked like Arsenal was going to mess it up for themselves against Burnley. Granit Xhaka got a red card while The Gunners were up 1-0. Francois Coquelin came in for Alex Iwobi to take Xhaka’s place, but he only created a penalty for the visitors at three minutes past 90. That penalty went into goal, and every Arsenal fan in the world was frustrated. That was until the 97th (!) minute, when Laurent Koscielny got a penalty. Alexis Sanchez chose to but it into goal by a Panenka-style finish. How brilliant. Chelsea had control over Hull in their game, and they won 2-0. The thing most talked about was not the win though, but Ryan Mason. Reports says that he got a crack in his head when he crashed with Gary Cahill, and the injury is reported to have been life threatening at some point. He is in good condition now though, which we are all happy to hear.Changes in the relegation ahead
The biggest new from the other side of the table is that Swansea are out of the relegation zone while Crystal Palace are now inside it. All the other teams, Sunderland, Hull, Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Leicester lost their games this weekend, while Swansea gave us all a huge surprise at Anfield. Those who put money on that to happen in the first game of the weekend could definitely afford an extra pint to the rest of the games. It looked like Liverpool were going to get something out of it though. After being 0-2 down they managed to get back to 2-2. But a team with a player from Iceland should never be underestimated. Gylfi Sigurdsson gave Swansea a great 2-3 victory.
Who will qualify?
Newcastle and Brighton looks like they have a firm grip on the places that gives direct promotion to the Premier League, and it does not look like any of them are going to lose their form in the near future. But the struggle for the qualification places is very much alive. Every team from 3rd to 13th place can be said to have a real chance at it. There are only nine points separating Sheffield Wednesday at 6th place from Aston Villa on 13th place. The Championship is a very unstable league, and it will be very exciting to watch it in the future.
EFL Cup and Championship in the midweek
It looks like we will get a calm midweek, with three games in the Championship and the last games of the EFL Cup semi-finals going on. Tuesday will give us Brighton-Cardiff and Reading-Fulham – the latter being a game between two teams aiming for the qualification area. Wednesday will give us Leeds-Forest from The Championship and Liverpool-Southampton in the EFL Cup. With the Saints up 1-0 from the previous game, Liverpool has something to catch up with. Many of their fans will probably feel that they are using unnecessarily much strength these days, with a return game against Plymouth in the FA Cup and now more games in the EFL Cup. This strength might have been in better use in the Premier League. Hull-Manchester United will be played on Thursday. I doubt that many people believe that Hull will be able to catch up with The Red Devils’ 2-0 lead.