Always a roller-coaster ride, the English Premier League is without a doubt the most entertaining football competition in the world.
The Statesman lists the major talking points from Gameweek 31 below, which created a flutter and not just on social media below:
Have Manchester United completed the worst unbeaten run in history?
Jose Mourinho’s men haven't lost in the league since October. A stat that will bring unbridled joy to the Red Devils faithful, right? You couldn't be more wrong. For United have drawn 10 games since then, of which eight have been at Old Trafford (The Theatre of Dreams). So despite having talents such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial at their disposal, United seem to be unable to finish off games. They have scored 43 goals in 29 games so far, a tally which is the lowest by a considerable margin among the top seven teams in the league. So unless they find a way to start scoring on a regular basis, they might as well kiss Champions League football good bye.
Liverpool’s ‘small team’ woes continue
Give Liverpool a match against a top-six side every weekend and they will waltz to the title. The stats back it up as well. Jurgen Klopp’s men have lost five games this season and the teams that have bested them are: Burnley, Hull, Leicester City, Swansea and Bournemouth.
After dismantling Everton on the weekend, they were supposed to beat Bournemouth. Yes, they were missing Sadio Mane, but a team challenging for the top-four spots shouldn't let one man’s absence affect them so. And despite overturning a deficit, the Reds were unable to hold on for the win, as the Cherries fought back to ensure Liverpool dropped points at Anfield.
Is Slaven Bilic’s time at West Ham United over?
Five losses back-to-back. Winless in seven games. Five points from the drop zone. Any way you look at it, West Ham’s 2016-17 season is not going according to plan. A far cry from the “Challenge the established clubs for the European spots” target they had set prior to the season and they will be lucky to finish in the top 10. Slaven Bilic is a good manager, but it is obvious his methods are failing. The Hammers' shooting accuracy is pathetic and after Dimitri Payet’s acrimonious departure, they do not have a player the team can be built around.
Perhaps, a managerial change in the summer will bring about a change in fortunes, but will the board wait till then as the Hammers slump brings them closer to relegation than they would prefer?
Chelsea still favourites to win the title despite Spurs’ late comeback
After Crystal Palace had stunned them on the weekend, Chelsea had to make a statement against Manchester City in midweek. And they did, running out 2-1 winners on the night, thanks to a brace from the mercurial Eden Hazard. With their seven-point lead intact despite Tottenham’s remarkable comeback (Three late goals by Mauricio Pochettino’s men!) and some relatively easy fixtures ahead of them, the Blues are looking good to win their second title in three years.
Leicester City and Jamie Vardy: Better late than never!
Along with Tottenham, Leicester City are the form team in the Premier League. Yes, the same team that sacked their manager Claudio Ranieri as recently as February! On a roll since then, the Foxes have won their last five games on the trot. With striker Jamie Vardy finding his shooting boots once again (five goals in as many games), Leicester are on the verge of breaking into the top half of the table, a far cry from the time they were flirting with relegation. Credit must be given to caretaker manager Craig Shakespeare, who has revived a team that seemed shorn of all confidence, not so long ago and if they continue in the same vein, he may even be given the job full-time!