Another day of Premier League football brought important wins and damning losses for a number of teams. Manchester City are now 4 points clear in first place with second place Liverpool yet to play. Contrastingly, local rivals United failed to register a win yet again as they look to be losing touch of any hope of clinching a Champion’s League spot. Meanwhile, despite looking impressive in recent weeks, both Huddersfield and Newcastle suffered defeats in their fights to avoid relegation.
Let’s start at the top with City continuing their winning form in their match against Bournemouth. The home side really flicked a switch in the second half after being level at the end of the first. The game ended 3-1 to earn City 3 points as they take another step towards claiming the Premier League title for the second consecutive season. With City being so impressive this year, some might label Guardiola’s side as unbeatable. Yet, yesterday’s match could suggest this may not necessarily be accurate. The two teams were level for much of the game and Bournemouth might have expected to score more than 1 goal given some of the chances they had. The away side will also be feeling unlucky having had a fairly blatant penalty shout completely ignored after Fernandinho shoved Tyrone Mings to the ground. Had some of those key opportunities been taken and that penalty claim given it could have been a different outcome at the Etihad. Liverpool and other title competitors will be more optimistic that City are capable of dropping points throughout the rest of the season after seeing yesterday’s game.
As for the red side of Manchester, it was another difficult day as United travelled to Southampton. Away fans who made the long journey down South witnessed their side concede twice only 20 minutes into the game. Thankfully for them though, United scored two of their own in short succession to earn a point and make the trip somewhat worthwhile. Having been behind early on, a draw may seem like a good result in the end, but a point against a struggling Southampton side being viewed as a positive just highlights the sorry state United are currently in. The reds look like they could be beaten by any team they come up against at this moment in time. Changes certainly need to be made and the manager could be an ideal place to start. Yesterday’s result prompted another outburst from Mourinho in which he called Paul Pogba a ‘”virus”. It appears the United board will have to choose between losing the current manager or losing a number of key players, like Pogba, who will surely be growing increasingly frustrated by Mourinho’s attitude.
Aside from the Manchester clubs, there were some significant results for some teams lower in the table. Crystal Palace earned a crucial three points in a must-win game at home to fellow strugglers Burnley. The eagles now sit 3 points clear of the relegation zone. Unlike Palace, Huddersfield and Newcastle were unable to build on some decent performances recently. Whilst Newcastle were simply outplayed in their 3-0 defeat to West Ham, Huddersfield will feel hard done by following their 1-2 loss to Brighton. The referee made a poor decision in sending off Steve Mounie, a real contributing factor in the home side being unable to hold on to a 1-0 lead. Points are hard to come by in a relegation scrap and the terriers will not be happy to have potentially missed out on 3 due to an incorrect refereeing decision.
Overall, the latest Saturday of Premier League action has further shown the unpredictability of English football’s top tier. The battle at the bottom is still as tight as ever and the title race certainly isn’t set in stone. Whilst it was business as usual for City in terms of the result, there did look to be a slight hint of Pep and his side possibly dropping points making for an exciting remainder of the season.