Goals, red cards, and comebacks! The past Gameweek gave yet another reason of why fans and pundits consider the Premier League the best in the world with some adrenaline-filled matches. Arsenal’s North London derby victory against Tottenham Hotspur was the highlight of the matches, but Liverpool’s last-minute victory against Merseyside rivals Everton will have a crucial role in the title chase, with Manchester City showing no chinks in their armour.
It was back to winning ways for Real Madrid, who overcame fellow strugglers Valencia in an uninspired game, while Barcelona capitalised on Atletico Madrid’s slip-up to build a small lead on to the top of the LaLiga table by beating Villarreal.
Here are the major talking points from the Gameweek that went by:
Fireworks on Premier League derby-day
Three derby matches, three contrasting games! Chelsea dominated their neighbours Fulham, thanks to a back-to-form-again Jorginho pulling the strings from the midfield. The Blues showed no signs of a team struggling for confidence as they overcame a spirited Fulham 2-0 courtesy goals from Pedro and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The Merseyside derby proved to be a cagey affair, with both teams taking a cautious approach to the match. That said, both the teams’ keepers, Allison Becker and Jordan Pickford, had an outstanding match until the last minute of the match, when the Everton keeper had a brain fade and presented a golden opportunity to Divock Origi to score. Nevertheless, the game showed how Liverpool were willing to take the tough route when there is a need, with Fabinho putting in his best display for the Reds so far.
But the biggest talking of the Gameweek was Arsenal’s comeback victory against Tottenham in the North London derby. Inspired by the forwards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, and an inspired Lucas Torreira, who was ready to tackle everything moving on the pitch, Arsenal showed they are a team to reckon with, and rolled back the years to draw comparisons with previous great Arsenal teams.
Torreira’s exemplary performance in the midfield was reminiscent of what Brazilian Gilbetro Silva used to do for the club. The Gunners are developing an identity under new manager Unai Emery and Torreira is key to the manager’s quick, dynamic strategy. Arsenal also showed they aren’t a one-dimensional team, with team shifting from a fluid 3-4-2-1 set-up to a 4-3-3 to change the match.
Manchester United need inspiration
The fact that Southampton coach Mark Hughes was sacked after a 2-2 draw against Manchester United should go a long way in explaining the current situation at Old Trafford. The Red Devils need creativity, motivation and a spark that can light up United again. How can a team with attacking talents such as Alexis Sanchez, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku not be tearing teams apart?
It is clear Jose Mourinho has lost his dressing room, with news coming in that he has called Paul Pogba a ‘virus’, and it is now a question of how much patience the decision-makers at Manchester United will have. While it is sometimes hard to blame the coach for a team’s lack of motivation, sacking him might be the only easy way out for a team that is in desperate need of success. Mourinho’s third season syndrome is well and truly here!
Real and Barcelona have it easy as Atletico falter
Real Madrid versus Valencia not featuring in the major build-ups for the weekend is a testimony to how both teams have been struggling in the season. Real Madrid have struggled to show any kind of form this season under various managers while Valencia are going through a rough patch themselves after staging a revival last season. The Los Blancos secured a 2-0 win and climbed to fifth in the LaLiga table, which will come as a comfort to new coach Santiago Solari.
Real’s arch-rivals also secured an important win against Villarreal to get a one-point lead over surprise-package Sevilla at the top of the LaLiga table. The biggest positive for Barcelona would have been the clean-sheet, which has been a rarity these days for Ernesto Valverde’s side. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen could have fallen asleep at Camp Nou on Sunday as Barca shut out Villarreal through a defensively astute performance.
Diego Costa-inspired fightback could only salvage a point for Atletico Madrid, who drew with Girona to add more drama to what is developing into an interesting title race.
No stopping the Dortmund juggernaut
13 games into the season and Borussia Dortmund have a healthy seven-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga table. The men-in-yellow beat Freiburg by two goals through captain Marco Reus and can’t-stop-scoring Paco Alcacer. But it wasn’t certainly a walk in the park for Dortmund, who were made to sweat it out against a well-organised Freiburg side, who closed down spaces and restricted Dortmund’s efforts from outside the box.
The Ruhr valley club are top on 33 points, with Borussia Moenchengladbach (26) sitting second on the table after losing to RB Leipzig 2-0. Champions Bayern Munich are third on 24 after beating Werder Bremen 2-1.
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Updated Date: Dec 04, 2018 07:34:28 IST