The Premier League is renown for it’s unmatched entertainment value and Matcheweek 15 proved that the English top-flight never disappoints with another round of games that had plenty of top-drawer action.
From the goalkeeper who equalled a record to the manager feeling the heat, The Statesman has outlined the five talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action for you:
David de Gea keeps Arsenal at bay after Gunners shoot themselves in the foot
Considering Jesse Lingard had just registered his first-ever Premier League brace, that may seem odd but if one looks at the statistics closely, the Spaniard custodian’s contribution is impossible to ignore.
United fans must have been thanking their club’s faulty fax machine once again for de Gea made a record-equalling 14 saves over the course of 90 minutes at the Emirates. Of which, a double-save from Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez was the highlight.
— David De Gea (@D_DeGea) December 2, 2017
And to seemingly settle the debate on who the world’s best goalkeeper is, the Spaniard prevented a Romelu Lukaku own goal with an jaw-dropping reflex save. For all of de Gea’s brilliance, however, the real reason Arsenal lost was their calamitous defending.
Less than 15 minutes had passed and the Gunners were 2-0 down, with Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi culpable of glaring errors, which the visitors gleefully exploited.
The Gunners mounted a commendable response but thanks to the aforementioned de Gea, were unable to get back on level terms and their defensive shortcomings were exposed once again in the second-half when Paul Pobga shrugged off Koscielny to set up Lingard for United’s third.
At that level, one cannot hand opponents chances on a platter and it’s time for Koscielny and co to take a long, hard look at themselves.
Tottenham Hotspurs’ free fall continues
At one stage threatening to give the Manchester clubs a run for their money, Tottenham are in danger of missing out on the top four in a span of few weeks. A 1-0 loss to United towards the end of October sparked a downward spiral and Spurs have managed to win just once in their last five games.
Arsenal bested them in the North London Derby and so did Leicester in mid-week while draws against West Bromwich Albion and most recently, Watford have threatened to undo all their good work of the last few seasons.
Suddenly, the vibrant side that had been lauded for its brave approach, are struggling to find the back of the net (six goals scored in their last six games).
The loss of centre-back Toby Alderweireld has seen their otherwise steely defence become porous overnight, while star midfielders Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen have looked jaded and bereft of any invention in the final third.
Harry Kane keeps plugging away up top but the striker can only do so much and in a team sport, one man cannot carry his teammates on a regular basis.
Moussa Sissoko’s resurgence seems to have been a false dawn and the writing is on the wall for the Lilywhites as another season is set to go by without a serious title challenge.
Their continental displays have been excellent, no doubt, but the Premier League is your bread and butter.
January is less than a month away and it’s time Daniel Levy brought out the chequebook as quality reinforcements are sorely needed.
Manchester City the new ‘Fergie Time’ team?
After blowing everyone away in the first few months, Manchester City have been forced to dig deep of late as teams have parked the bus in a bid to stifle their verve.
To an extent it has worked, if that extent is not losing by an embarrassing scoreline but City’s winning streak has continued, much to the chagrin of Manchester United and Chelsea.
And after David Silva’s acrobatic volley sealed a 2-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday night, Pep Guardiola revealed he had heard of the famous ‘Fergie Time’ and spoke of his side’s inability to give up.
So far, City have won six games by a slender one-goal margin. Of those, five games were won by second-half goals, all of which came with less than thirty minutes remaining.
If one delves into the stats a little more, Raheem Sterling’s name pops up more often than not for the Sky Blues winger has scored three late winners this season already, from which two have been deep in injury-time (90+7 against Bournemouth and 90+5 against Southampton).
Everton in form ahead of Merseyside Derby
Sam Allardyce’s reign as Everton manager has begun on an auspicious note and with wins over West Ham United and Huddersfield Town, the Toffees are beginning to look more like the team they should be, rather than the one they were like for the first few months of the season.
Ronald Koeman’s inevitable sacking had the Merseysiders scrambling to find his replacement and in ‘Big Sam’, they have a man who is tailor-made for crisis situations.
Considering the Toffees are in 10th place, a crisis may seem a bit much but a club that have been on the edge of the European spots, a mid-table finish is nothing short of a disaster.
With back-to-back wins under their belt (albeit only one with Allardyce in charge), Everton can now approach the Merseyside Derby with guarded optimism.
For had the clash with Liverpool come a few weeks earlier, the Reds would have, in all probability, swatted aside their neighbours without breaking a sweat.
Liverpool are going great guns at the moment and are still favourites claim bragging rights, but at least now the Blue half of Merseyside has a fighting chance.
Swansea manager Paul Clement feeling the heat
Swansea dropped to rock bottom after a narrow loss to Stoke City on Saturday and manager Paul Clement was at a loss for words when asked to explain his side’s 10th loss of the season.
Wilfried Bony (remember him?) had given the visitors the lead but goals from Mame Biram Diouf and Xherdhan Shaqiri consigned Clement’s men to defeat at the Bet365 Stadium.
No other team in the Premier League have lost more than the Swans and if the Welsh outfit continue to stutter like this, Clement may well get the sack before the New Year.
Swansea’s fixture list in December: West Brom (away), Manchester City (home), Everton (away), Crystal Palace (away), Liverpool (away) and Watford (away).
Games against the likes of City, Everton, Liverpool and Watford won’t be easy and unless the Swans can start scoring, their board will be forced to let their beleaguered manager go.
After 15 games played, Swansea have a joint-worst total in terms of goals scored (along with 18th-ranked Crystal Palace): eight.
That means the Welsh side are almost averaging 0.5 goals per games and it’s not a wonder to see them occupy the last spot in the league table as a result.
Defence wins titles but forwards win matches and the Swans could definitely do with a win or two as they head into a hectic winter period.