It’s been an exciting week for all football lovers. Big teams have struggled whereas less fancied opponents have given them a run for their money. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin, the top three teams in the Bundesliga all dropped points. Barcelona and Real Madrid managed unconvincing victories against bottom placed sides. In the BPL, Manchester City lost to table toppers Leicester City, and Chelsea and Manchester City had to settle for a draw. Tottenham creep us ever closer to the top and are now in second. Arsenal managed to defeat Bournemouth whereas Southampton registered another win. Aston Villa finally managed three points in their bid to fight off relegation. Let us have a look at what we have learned from the Barclays Premier League this weekend-
5) Red Devils muster 1 single point from Stamford Bridge
Gone are the days of Didier Drogba vs. Nemanja Vidic or Cristiano Ronaldo against Peter Cech. Once upon a time, these matches were top of the table clashes. Now it has been reduced to teams fighting relegation and another battling for just a top four finish.
However Jese Lingard showed signs of brilliance again with his fantastic finish. Lingard has scored three important goals recently, against Newcastle, Stoke and now at Stamford Bridge. With Roy Hodgson in the stands watching the game, Lingard may well have an outside chance of making it to the Euros. But credit must go to the two goal keepers who made some important saves today. De Gea and Courtois were clearly the best player of their two teams.
4) Ross Barkley tipped to be a future captain
After yet another piece of performance, it can be said that Rosa Barkley will be on the plane to France come this summer. The lad has 11 goals and 7 assists in 29 games for Everton in all competitions this season. His dribbling has been top class, as have been his long shots and crosses.
However, he can do well to improve his defensive contribution to the team and we might be having one of the most promising players from the Premier League this season. Gerard Deulofeu, Barkley and Romelu Lukaku have teamed up to form a formidable partnership and pushing hard for a Europa League spot.
With some fine performances, he has been tipped by many to be a future Everton captain. And who can deny so. Sky is the limit for this lad.
3) Joe Hart has got some company
With Fraser Forster returning from injury looking as sharp as ever and Jack Butland’s emergence this season Joe Hart has some genuine rivals pushing him for the England spot.
Forster was heroic against Arsenal in midweek and produced another important save to keep out Winston Reid’s first half header. He also notched a fifth clean sheet in a row since his return.
Competition has always been stiff for the No. 1 spot, but Joe Hart has kept his rivals at bay since the last few years. But he must never get complacent should he lose his place just before the Euro’s. But with the Champions League knockout rounds on the horizon, a competition where Hart shows his real class, Forster and Butland may well have to wait a little bit longer to displace their nemesis.
2) Liverpool fans show who the real boss is
The sight of about 10,000 Liverpool fans getting up and leaving Anfield after 77 minutes of their game against Sunderland in protest at next season’s ticket prices made a powerful point. And the fact the team conceded twice after the walkout and had to settle for a draw will have reinforced it.
Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has eloquently outlined the club’s case, and rightly pointed out where they will be delivering better value next season, but they are losing this PR battle as increased TV cash floods in. But there is no pointing to the fact that clubs have been charging exorbitant rates and the fans decision to stage a walkout will have made a strong case to other clubs trying to increase their own stadium ticket prices.
No matter what happens, the fans are the real strength of a team. Imagine Borussia without their Signa Iduna Park atmosphere. It is impossible to imagine Galatasaray without their vociferous fans. Football is a spectator sport, for the common man. Let’s not forget that.
1) Leicester City favourites to lift the Barclays Premier League
Leicester City are undoubtedly the team of the weekend in the Premier League, after going to title favourites Manchester City and coming away with a 3-1 win to go five points clear at the summit. Huth, the towering German centreback scored twice in either half and a fine goal from Riyad Mahrez capping off a 1-3 win. Sergio Aguero headed home in the last quarter to give the hosts some consolation.
Mahrez is on course of being named the Premier League Player of the Season. With 14 goals and 10 assists this season, he has been the Foxes’ most impressive player this season. If the team manage to beat Arsenal this Sunday, odds are we will see the Foxes lifting the coveted trophy in May.