A One-Man Race in the English Premier League

As we get ready for 17 of the English Premier League, let’s look back at what happened in round 16, which teams made their fans proud, which underperformed and ultimately answer the question: is there any team that can derail Liverpool on their charge towards the title.

salah mane firmino

Liverpool showing no mercy

Another round if EPL is behind us and Liverpool added another win to their record with yet another dominant display, which earned them a convincing 3:0 win against Bournemouth. At this point, we need to ask ourselves if any team has the needed strength and quality to defeat Liverpool and while there were most likely quite a few Bournemouth fans who were hoping to see an upset win at Vitality Stadium, the reality is completely different. Liverpool entered the said match as heavy favourites and it’s not hard to see why. Klopp’s men entered round 16 with 14 wins to their name and only one draw, meaning they are the only remaining English team that has not yet suffered and the Reds made sure this past weekend won’t change that.

Liverpool arrived at Vitality Stadium hungry for a win and it showed, seeing how they managed to score twice in 35th and 44th minute to get themselves in a comfortable 2:0 lead before the half time mark. In regards to what the two sides showed in the opening 45 minutes, it should not come off as a surprise Liverpool were the alpha dogs. With 73% ball possession, the Reds produced 11 goal attempts and five shots on goal, while Bournemouth struggled to achieve the same success, seeing how they produced only two-goal attempts and no shots on goal with barely 27% ball possession.

The second half continued in a similar fashion, as Liverpool put up impressive numbers once more. With 75% ball possession, they produced 10 goal attempts and four shots on goal, meanwhile, Bournemouth again failed to shoot the ball towards the Reds’ net. The hosts ended the second half with 25% ball possession and only one goal attempt. Suffice to say, Liverpool scored their third in 54th and seemingly cooled down a bit in the remainder of the match, to presumably save some energy. The match ended with a 3:0 win for the visitors, who completely outplayed their opponents which cemented them as the top dogs in the league.

Manchester City’s struggles

Despite their best attempts to catch up to Liverpool Man City have seemingly ran out of steam relatively early into the season, seeing how they dropped their fourth match of the year against Manchester United last weekend, who dug City’s hole even deeper as it was before.

John Stones of Manchester City

The match between two city rivals was deemed as an easy one for Guardiola’s men who were looking to win their second in a row in a bid to keep up the tempo with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the Sky Blues failed to achieve that goal, as they had to admit defeat to Red Devils, who arrived at Etihad Stadium with all guns blazing. Rashford scored the game opener in 23rd minute via a penalty with his teammate – Martial following with another barely six minutes later. City failed to find a response for the remained of the first half, meaning they were to enter the second half two goals down.

Man City found their rhythm in the second half, but it was way too late to salvage anything from the match. Otamendi scored a goal in 85th minute to give Man City five more minutes to squeeze in a draw but to no avail. The match ended with a 2:1 win for the visitors who got themselves a much-needed win which helped them make it into the top five. Man United won despite ending the match with only 28% ball possession, 11 goal attempts and seven shots on goal, while City put up 22 goal attempts and five shots on goal with 72% ball possession. From that it’s easy to see it was Manchester City’s poor shooting that contributed to a defeat which just might have lost them a chance to win the league once more.

Tottenham and Arsenal claim three points, while Chelsea fall flat

Tottenham and Arsenal both impressed with what they have shown last round, seeing how the Spurs demolished Burnley (5:0) while Arsenal defeated West Ham (3:1), thus won their first league fixture since early October, when they edged past Bournemouth (1:0). Same, however, can’t be said for Chelsea, who disappointed with a loss against Everton (1:3), which marked their fifth defeat of the season and their third from last four fixtures. While they remain in the top four, their form fails to inspire much hope Lampard’s men will manage to keep themselves among the top teams for long.

As we are now 16 rounds deep into 2019/20 season, the standings in the EPL show Liverpool (15-1-0) still at the top, followed by Leicester (12-2-2), who are still eight points adrift from the Reds. At third, we have Manchester City (10-2-4) with 32 points, which is 14 short of Liverpool and Chelsea (9-2-5) at fourth with 29 points. Manchester United (6-6-4) made it into top five where they sit with 24 points next to their name, which tie them with Wolves (5-9-2) who are sixth. Tottenham (6-5-5) rose up to seventh place in the league where they remain with 23 points, while Arsenal (5-7-4) trail them by one point at ninth place.

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