Premier League 2019-20 | 3 talking points from match week 23
It's fair to say that week 23 of the Premier League delivered on its entertainment promise with games like Liverpool vs Manchester United at the forefront of an action-packed weekend. This weekend has also been a crucial one in the relegation battle with Norwich and Watford securing key points as they look to survive in the top division. By contrast, it was another damaging weekend for Jose Mourinho's Spurs side who have failed to score in 3 consecutive games. Leicester, also, suffered a damaging defeat which has left their title hopes in tatters after suffering defeat at Burnley.
With that being said, here are 3 talking points from match week 23 of the Premier League.
Liverpool take a big step towards the title
Going into the game, Manchester United were the only team yet to lose to Liverpool in the Premier League. However, after going over 1000 days unbeaten at Anfield, Liverpool were the clear favourites going into the tie. And this showed on the pitch. Liverpool found the opener within the opening 15 minutes with Alexander Arnold's 9th assist of the season finding the head of a jumping Virgil van Dijk who made no mistake to put Liverpool 1-0 up. The goal completely turned the game on its head and Liverpool began to dominate. It wasn't long before they had the ball in the back of the net again. Although, this time VAR spared David De Gea the embarrassment of dropping the ball which led to the Roberto Firmino goal. And this wasn't the only disallowed goal that Liverpool scored after Georginio Wijnaldum's goal was chalked off for offside to leave the score at 1-0 at half-time. This scoreline would have been a relief for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer whose side would have been at least 2 goals down but for the intervention of VAR.
The scoreline would've been an encouragement for the Manchester United players who went on to survive several more scares in the second half to keep the scoreline tight going into the last 10 minutes. However, despite the Manchester United pressure towards the end, a swift counter-attack in the last minute of the game from Liverpool finished the tie at 2-0 with Mohamed Salah slotting home 1 on 1 after a superb Alisson pass. This has left Liverpool 16 points clear with a game in hand and closer than ever to a first Premier League title.
Newcastle defeat wasteful Chelsea
After a resolute draw in midweek against Wolves, Steve Bruce would have been going into the game against Chelsea hoping for, at least, the same result. And with Allan Saint-Maximin back in the side, Newcastle's chances were boosted. However, it would be a difficult test against a youthful, energised Chelsea side with Frank Lampard at the helm. The game itself began in predictable fashion with Newcastle dropping deep and remaining compact as Chelsea kept the ball. Although, despite all the possession, Chelsea never really created a clear cut chance against a Newcastle defence that remained resolute.
And as a result, the scores were still level going into the later stages of the game which meant Newcastle still had a chance of pulling off an underdog victory. Chelsea would have been feeling disappointed to be coming away with a point in what was a flat performance. However, things got even worse after a Chelsea clearance fell to Saint-Maximin whose cross found the unmarked Isaac Hayden who headed home to send the home fans crazy. The underdog victory against Chelsea wasn't the first for Steve Bruce this season who has also beaten Spurs, Manchester United along with a draw against Manchester City.
Burnley demolish Leicester's title hopes
If Leicester's title hopes weren't over last week, they're certainly over this week after consecutive defeats against Southampton and now - Burnley at Turf Moor. The loss has left Leicester City 19 points adrift of Liverpool who sit clear at the top of the table. However, despite the end result, Leicester started well and scored the opener in the 33rd minute. The goal came in stunning individual fashion after Harvey Barnes sprinted through to finish past Nick Pope in the Burnley goal. The game seemed to go downhill for Leicester after that, especially in the second half.
Burnley came out in the second half knowing they needed a better performance than the one in the first and 10 minutes into the second half, they found the back of the net for the equaliser. The goal came against the run of play when a Burnley corner, like on many previous occasions, fell to Chris Wood who found the back of the net. But, Leicester did respond well to the equaliser and even earned themselves a penalty in the 66th minute which, surprisingly, the in-form Jamie Vardy failed to convert. Leicester's luck then got worse when Ashley Westwood netted the winner in the 79th minute to all but end any remaining Leicester title hopes.
To conclude, week 23 of the Premier League has seen the end of Leicester City's title hopes and the further boosted that of Liverpool's who after more dropped points from Manchester City, look closer to a their first Premier League title than ever before.
Published 20 Jan 2020, 07:45 IST