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Interesting Talking points from EPL Game-week 17

SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10 18 Dec 2012, 16:06 IST
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NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Yaya Toure of Manchester City battles with James Perch of Newcastle United during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James’ Park on December 15, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Presenting the Game-week that was in the EPL:

Yaya ‘The Leader’:

The Ivorian had failed to match his overall level of performances from last season, but came to life on Tyneside. An indirect assist and a goal will quantify his performance against Newcastle but there was much more quality in his surging runs, determination to win the ball and the defensive work he did in front of the backline. The midfielder wore the captain’s armband in Kompany’s enforced absence, and looked every bit a natural leader. With a performance like that, Man City are sure to miss his presence during the African Cup of Nations.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 25: Jermain Defoe of Tottenham Hotspur celebrates scoring their third goal and his second during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United at White Hart Lane on November 25, 2012 in London, England.

The Selfless Striker:

Ask Jermaine Defoe, the best finishers are supposed to be selfish when they sense an opportunity. But this season Robin Van Persie has clearly been trying to be more of an ‘assist’ guy. He even has been vocal about him trying to set up more goals than scoring. It was quite evident against Sunderland this week as he decided to play in Rooney on a couple of occasions where ordinarily a striker would have gone for a strike at goal. Amazingly, even with the ‘assist mode’ on he is the joint top scorer this season with Michu, both scoring 12 league goals. It surely makes us wonder as to how many he would score if he played the Defoe way.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Ryan Shawcross of Stoke City is helped up off the ground by team mate Robert Huth during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at the Britannia Stadium on December 15, 2012, in Stoke-on-Trent, England.

The Afro Headbutt:

As far as giving opponents a tough time is concerned, no team does it better than Stoke. The match against Everton was a true testament to their physical style of play. It was enough to make perhaps the midfielder of the season Fellaini lose his temper. The grappling, pushing, pulling and touch-tight marking approach that Stoke and especially Shawcross used made Fellaini so frustrated that he lost his cool and head-butted Shawcross, although  the impact was maybe not that great with the huge Afro that Fellaini sports.

Fellaini did come out and apologize but he now faces a three-match ban. On the bright side, being ruled out from the next three games  he does get to enjoy Christmas a bit more than the other EPL players.

FILE PHOTO: ROME, ITALY – NOVEMBER 22: The fans of Tottenham before the UEFA Europa League Group J match between S.S. Lazio and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Stadio Olimpico on November 22, 2012 in Rome, Italy.

Getting safely across the last 10 minutes of the match…finally:

If not for the numerous comebacks that Manchester United have had this season, Spurs losing points in the final 10 minutes would have been the theme of the season. In just their last game, against Everton, they had conceded two goals after the 90 minute mark to lose 2-1. The scene was set for a repeat against high-flying Swansea this week. Leading 1-0 in the final 10 minutes, one could easily sense the nervousness among the crowd and the Spurs players. But, they did hold on to the lead even after eight-odd minutes of added time.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: QPR assistant manager Kevin Bond (R) celebrates victory with manager Harry Redknapp and Shaun Wright-Phillips (L) after the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Fulham at Loftus Road on December 15, 2012 in London, England.

Harry, The Magician

The name ‘Harry’ thanks to J.K.Rowling is now synonymous with magic. What Harry Redknapp has achieved at QPR in a short term can certainly be termed magical. Unbeaten since he took over from Mark Hughes, and now their first win of the season. It’s not just the results, but the performances that look a level higher to the ones they were showing four to five matches ago. Christmas, for the QPR faithful and Tony Fernandes is starting to look a bit less gloomy.

READING, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 17: Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their fifth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Reading and Arsenal at Madejski Stadium on December 17, 2012 in Reading, England.

Walcott, The Forward:

Arsene Wenger played Theo Walcott as a forward and not on the wings against Reading. They got the result they wanted, a win. But it raises questions over whether it was a ploy to make Walcott happy so that he signs the contract extension? or was it a move to increase the price of a possible January transfer.

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – DECEMBER 16: Chelsea players line up before during the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between Corinthians and Chelsea at International Stadium Yokohama on December 16, 2012 in Yokohama, Japan.

Chelsea ‘The Project’:

Okay not Game-week 17 related, but Chelsea keep making records. The Champions League winners went on to lose the UEFA Super Cup, they were the first reigning champions to be knocked out of the Champions league at the group stage and they’ve now lost the World Club Cup!

What was that Hazard said while signing for Chelsea? Chelsea have the best project’

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