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2019-20 English Premier League round-up: Week 13 of 38

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For the fourth time within a space of two months, Liverpool have been able to salvage a win from matches heading towards certain draws and muster valuable points in the process. Jurgen Klopp’s Reds pulled off a victory to break a 1-1 deadlock against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday, thanks to an 84th minute winner from Mo Salah. The three points from the Palace game helped the Merseyside club maintain their top position in the Premier League with 37 points from their 13 games. 

Leicester City, too, have kept their remarkable run on this season with a 0-2 away win over Brighton & Hove with goals coming from usual suspects Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy. The Foxes remain entrenched in the 2nd spot with 29 points and look likely to remain in that place for at least some time given that most of their coming fixtures are against bottom-half clubs.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City pipped Chelsea to the third place after an emphatic 2-1 win over Chelsea at the Etihad on Saturday evening. But it was Frank Lampard’s visiting Blues who took the lead early in the 21st minute of play when N’Golo Kante slipped the ball past Ederson from Mateo Kovacic’s aerial pass. Barely six minutes later, City equalized through Kevin De Bruyne when the Belgian’s shot deflected of Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma and wrongfooted goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga. The 37th minute saw Riyad Mahrez put the reigning champions ahead with a fine finish after cutting in from the right wing. The hosts could have killed off the match a little before the interval when Kepa mis-passed the ball straight to Sergie Aguero who lifted the ball over the Chelsea keeper but the ball unfortunately hit the bar. City were dominant in the second half and were almost celebrating their third goal as Mahrez headed the ball on for Raheem Sterling to blast home but a VAR (Video Assisted Referee) check ruled that the England forward was marginally offside. Pep Guardiola’s now men have 28 points from their 13 outings while Chelsea have slipped to the 4th spot after the Etihad loss with 26 points to their name.

Manchester United came from behind to nearly pull off a dramatic win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday but had to settle for a 3-3 draw. Just when it seemed that goals in either halves from John Fleck and Lys Mousset had put the hosts on the road to a comfortable win, a 7-minute counter-blitz from United completely turned the game on its head. Nineteen-year old newbie United defender Brandon Williams led the fightback with a volley to far bottom corner of the net in the 72nd minute. Substitute Mason Greenwood levelled the score in the 77th minute, sliding in to convert a cross and two minutes later Marcus Rashford put the visitors sensationally in front by tucking home from eight yards. Oliver McBurnie put the finishing touches to a dramatic game of football by levelling for the Blades in the 90th minute, that too, after a VAR check ensured that the Scottish striker hadn’t handled the ball before volleying past De Gea. Ole Solskjaer’s Red Devils are still a place away from the top 8 after the draw and are on 17 points from their 13 games. Sheffield have slipped a place below to the 6th, one below Nuno Santos’s Wolves who have recovered in incredible fashion from a horrendous start to the season.

From going through 6 of their initial games without a win (4 draws and 2 losses), Wolverhampton have rebounded well, not dropping a single match in the following seven outings and in fact, winning 4 of them. A useful draw against Arsenal earlier this month and wins over Aston Villa and Bournemouth during the fortnight have catapulted them from the 13th spot (where they were languishing for quite some time) to an incredible 5th place currently. 

Arsenal’s standards have deteriorated to such an extent that they have started giving away games even at the Emirates, considered a “fortress” for the Gunners not very long ago. The denouement came when they were held by relegation candidates Southampton (19th on the EPL table) to a 2-2 draw. In fact, the Saints would have walked away with a win had it not been for a close-range equalizer from Arsenal striker Alexander Lacazette just seconds before the final whistle. Unai Emery’s men have been moving down the table gradually and are in the 8th spot currently with 18 points and are in danger of losing out on the Europa League, too, next season. Incidentally, the draw against Southampton was the North London club’s fifth outing without a win.

One of the big breaking news of the Premier League was the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham Hotspur coach. Replacing him was none other than former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho. For a change, fortune seemed to smile on the Spurs as they recorded their first victory in an away game since January, beating a struggling West Ham 2-3. It wasn’t the most convincing of performances from Tottenham as they rode home on the back of goals from Harry Kane, Hueng Ming Son and Lucas Moura and some last-ditch defending to stave off the Hammers from equalizing. Jose Mourinho’s side after the West Ham win broke into the Top ten for the first time in months.

Newcastle’s bid to break into the Top 10 of the Premier League for the first time in the season was thwarted by Aston Villa on Monday night at Villa Park. Villa’s lead came from a curled free-kick off Conor Hourihane in the 32nd minute followed by another goal just 4 minutes later from Anwar El Ghazi. Villa custodian Tom Heaton did a splendid job in preventing Steve Bruce’s Magpies from equalizing when he effected a couple of superb saves from Federico Fernandez and Allan Saint-Maximin attempts. The 2-0 win for Aston Villa meant that they moved to the 15th spot and just a point behind Newcastle who are placed at 14th.

Meanwhile, Norwich City, Southampton and Watford are still struggling to come out of the relegation territory.

Following are the team standings with points after 13 games 

1Liverpool37
2Leicester City29
3Man City28
4Chelsea26
5Wolves19
6Sheff Utd18
7Burnley FC18
8Arsenal18
9Manchester United17
10Tottenham 17
11Bournemouth16
12Brighton15
13Crystal Palace15
14Newcastle15
15Aston Villa14
16Everton14
17West Ham13
18Norwich City10
19Southampton9
20Watford8

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