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Goals, a revelation, a humbling (and Tom Cruise): Premier League round-up

29 goals with a game left to play. An unlikely leader at the top. A numbing defeat for the so-called champions-elect. (And a silent force slowly making its presence felt.) It was an eventful weekend in the Barclays Premier League.

Barclays Premier League photo
Barclays Premier League photo

Let’s start with Leicester City. And what a start the Foxes have had this season!

Consider this: On April 4 this year, Leicester were bottom of the table. Since then they have gone on a run that defines the club’s ambition. Banking on the prolific Jamie Vardy, who has now scored in each of the last 10 games – equalling Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record – and the astuteness of new coach Claudio Ranieri, Leicester City have now amassed an incredible 50 points from 22 games since April 4. Their closest rivals are City with 44 from 21.

After their latest result, a 3-0 demolition of Newcastle United, Leicester now sit on top of the Barclays Premier League, a point above second-placed Manchester United, and two points more than Manchester City and Arsenal.

Barclays Premier League photo

Leicester host Manchester United next week, a team that has slipped under the radar so far, but is now making its presence felt. The Red Devils are now second on the table with a third of the season gone. Coach Louis Van Gaal’s philosophy, which has drawn flak from pundits, commentators and even United players, suddenly seems to be bearing fruit. United have the tightest defence in the league, conceding just 9 goals in 13 games.

Going forward, though, they leave a lot be desired. going into the Watford game, United’s had scored only 17 goals. And with strikers Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial and James Wilson out with injury, the proposition looked bleak. However, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Memphis Depay, who has had a forgettable season so far, met a pin-point Ander Herrera pass with a stunning first-time volley to open the scoring. Watford’s Troy Deeney pulled one back late in the game, but then turned Bastian Schweinsteiger’s cross into his won net four minutes later to give United a 2-1 win.

Barclays Premier League photo

In the weekend’s ‘big match’, Liverpool trampled all over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. City defender Eliaquim Mangala opened the scoring at the wrong end, deflecting a Firminho cross into his own net. The Brazilian and his compatriot Philippe Countinho both added to the tally for Liverpool in the first half, before Sergio Aguero capitalised on a Martin Skrtel defensive error to pull one back. However, Skrtel had the last laugh, powering in a thumping volley past a hapless Joe Hart towards the end of the game to make it 4-1 to the visitors.

The win gives Jurgen Klopp his first major result as Liverpool manager, leaving his City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini to pick up the pieces and get his title charge back on track.

Barclays Premier League photo
Barclays Premier League photo

The other title challenger, Arsenal, lost their chance to go to the top of the table, losing 1-2 to a lucky West Brom. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for Arsenal, before James Morrison scored before the break to restore parity. Arsenal had a forgettable second half, with Mikel Arteta scoring an own goal, Mesut Ozil hitting the post and Santi Cazorla fluffing a penalty.

Arsenal play Norwich next week, and coach Arsene Wenger will hope the Gunners start firing and return to winning ways.

Barclays Premier League photo
Barclays Premier League photo

Meanwhile, their fellow London rivals Chelsea were in the news for the right reasons this week around. Jose Mourinho’s Blues scraped through for a much-needed win against Norwich. Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa combined to give Chelsea the lead and the win. The result leaves Chelsea on 15th place, up from 16th two weeks ago.

In the post-match conference, Jose Mourinho was asked about Chelsea’s chances for the remainder of the season, and the quote-a-minute manager produced yet another gem: “Fourth position for me is not an impossible mission. If you ask me about winning the the title, I would say impossible mission,” said Mourinho.

“Maybe Tom Cruise can do it but it’s complicated.”

Complicated, indeed.

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