Midweek.

Drawn against Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League on Monday, lose against Everton away from home on Tuesday.

As weeks go, Arsenal have had a pretty shocking one.

The loss at Goodison Park on Tuesday evening turned out to be a disastrous result, as every single team around them in the top 6 picked up wins. One of those teams was Chelsea, who have now gone 6 points clear of Arsenal in 2nd place and look unstoppable, racking up 10 wins in a row with a 1-0 win away to Sunderland (what a save by Courtois, by the way). A fantastic achievement. With the news of Brazillian Midfielder Oscar moving to China for £60m (yes, sixty million pounds), there will also be funds for Conte to spend in January – who will he pick to replace Oscar – Naingollan? Marchisio? Further strength being added to this already solid Chelsea team poses a frightening challenge for opponents looking to beat them.

Liverpool maintained their top 4/title push with the most dominant away performance seen in a very long time at Middlesbrough, winning 3-0. Goals from Adam Lallana – who is the Premier League’s most improved player this season and Sadio Mane gave the Reds all 3 points.

Manchester United arguably secured the most important 3 points of the gameweek at Selhurst Park, beating Crystal Palace 2-1, thanks to a late goal by the main man Zlatan, who, at 35 years old, shows no sign of the fatigue which many experts tipped him to struggle with when adapting to the Premier League at the beginning of the season. United, who only got to the ground 45 minutes before kick-off thanks to congestion in and around London, stay in the race for a top 4 place and built on their win over Spurs at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. The game however was not helped by a horrendous performance by the referee, who somehow managed to miss a two footed tackle, an off the ball elbow, two clear handballs and an offside goal. United haven’t been playing well, but they’re starting to grind out wins now; a strength which Jose Mourinho’s sides are famous for. If they can keep this run going, we might see an unlikely push for the title after all.

The team United beat on Sunday, Spurs, cruised to a 3-0 home win against Hull, who are looking like a side who are going to find the second half of the season seriously difficult. In order for them to have any chance of staying up, they will need to strengthen significantly almost all over the pitch, but need to ensure they can afford the players they sign (if they do sign anyone that is). Time and time before we have seen clubs throw millions at a relegation battle, only to get relegated and find themselves in serious financial trouble when they can’t afford those players in the Championship. It’s a tricky situation and I assume it’s one which other Premier League clubs such as Swansea, Sunderland and Palace are also contemplating, giving their perilous league positions.

Looking forward, there are some tasty looking matches to look forward to this weekend, with Man City v Arsenal being the standout fixture. It’s a huge game for both teams, who will be desperate to win this to get their title challenge going again after stalling in the last few weeks.

The final note of this trimmed down entry on the blog is for Ilkay Gundogan’s expected knee injury which looks like will keep him out for the rest of the season. One of my favourite players around, he has been crippled with several long-term injuries, but has always come back stronger from them. I hope the same happens this time and we see him at his free flowing best as soon as possible. On his day, he’s an effortless, technically perfect playmaker who makes it look easy.

 

-EastTerrace.

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