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English Premier League round-up: Week 7 of 38

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Liverpool retained their stranglehold on the Premier League title race by winning their seventh successive fixture, beating Sheffield United in a hard-fought encounter at Bramall Lane. Just when the Blades threatened to take the match to a goalless conclusion, Georginio Wijnaldum struck the winner for the visiting Reds with just 20 minutes of the game to go. The normally attacking Liverpool were frustrated no end by the dogged hosts which was illustrated by the fact that Wijnaldum’s goal was the first shot on target in the match. This was the longest the Reds have had to wait for a shot on target in the Premier League since 6 December 2015. Jurgen Klopp’s men are on 21 points now from their 7 games, a clear 5 points ahead of Manchester City who were a bit muted by their own belligerent standards at Goodison Park when they brushed aside Everton 1-3. Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 33rd minute equalizing effort to Gabriel Jesus’s 24th minute strike was cancelled out by the Citizens courtesy goals from Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling in the 71st and 84th minute respectively. Pep Guardiola’s men, despite their 2nd spot are way ahead of any other side as far as goal-getting goes. Their 27 goals from 7 games are 10 more than League leader Liverpool’s 17.

Leicester City looked dominant at the Bet365 stadium and consolidated their position in the Top 4 when they thrashed a hapless Newcastle 5-0 on Sunday. Jamie Vardy scored a brace, while Ricardo Pereira and Wilfred Ndidi chipped in with a goal apiece, running rough shod over the visiting Magpies who were down to 10 men in the 43rd minute when Isaac Hayden was sent off for a terrible tackle on fellow midfielder Dennis Praet. The Foxes moved to the 3rd spot with 14 points, 2 ahead of Arsenal who were able to hold Manchester United to 1-1 draw at Old Trafford and steal a point from the game. It was a patchy encounter that was suddenly brought to life by Scott McTominay whose scorcher to the top roof of the Gunner’s net gave the Red Devils the lead just a minute before half-time. The VAR (Video Assisted Referee) came into play in Arsenal’s equalizer in the 58th minute. Pierre Aubameyang’s goal coming from a cool finish when he chipped the ball over goalkeeper De Gea, was confirmed by the VAR, that showed the striker had been played onside by Harry Maguire. Manchester United are now down in 10th place after the drawn game at Old Trafford which means they have made their worst start after seven games in 30 years, failing to reach even 10 points for the first time since 1989-90, a season in which they finished 13th.

West Ham are having one of their best seasons in recent times. They are in the 5th spot and equal points with Arsenal but are one notch below the Gunners by virtue of an inferior goal difference. A late goal by Aaron Cresswell in the 74th minute helped Manuel Pellegrini’s Hammers bring the game with Bournemouth to parity at 2-2 away at Dean Court and keeping the visitors in hunt for a place in the Top Four. 

Last season’s Top Four entrants Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea find themselves tottering at 11 points in the 6th and 7th spots even after wins of 2-1 and 2-0 over Southampton and Brighton respectively. Two defeats each along the way have reduced both the London clubs to a position where they are rubbing shoulders with the likes of Bournemouth (8th) and Crystal Palace (9th) who too are on 11 points. 

Everton’s heavy spending this season on new talent have had little effect as they find themselves languishing in the 15th spot after 4 defeats from their 7 games. Norwich City who caused a major shock of the season, beating champions Manchester City 3-2, have just 2 wins from their 7 games and are only a place away from relegation territory in the 17th.

Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolverhampton who were so impressive last season, finishing in the Top 8 and a scourge of Top teams, are struggling at the 13th spot. The Wolves first and only Premier League win of the ongoing 2019-20 season came only last weekend in their 7th outing when the they beat bottom-scrappers Watford (20th place) 2-0. The Wolves have played out 4 draws and lost 2 games so far (including a 2-5 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea at home a fortnight ago) and it will take a phenomenal effort from the West Midlands team to come up to their previous season’s levels. The Wolves have managed to muster just 7 points, that’s on par with teams like Southampton and Everton and just a point ahead of 16th and 17th placed Brighton and Norwich City. 

Aston Villa and Newcastle are in the 18th and 19th spots, having managed to win only 1 match each from their 7 games so far while Watford are at the bottom of the heap having failed to register a win in the ongoing season and losing in 5 games, which is the most by any team.

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