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English Premier League - Week 23 Roundup

Tuesday Jan 22, 2019

 The English Premier League slowly entered the second half of the season. This weekend saw the 23rd round of the most spectacular football competition in the world. 

 There haven't been any surprises, and most of the favourites went as planned, but still, it doesn't mean that we didn't see exciting and high-quality encounters.

 Arsenal Routinely Defeats Helpless Chelsea

 One game was especially interesting for all the football fans around the world. It was the local derby between Arsenal and Chelsea, played at the Emirates Stadium. The home team defeated their great rivals, 2-0, and closed the gap between them to only three points. That is important because Chelsea hold the fourth sport which leads to the Champions League. If Arsenal failed to win here, that would enormously decrease their chances of appearing in the most significant club competition in Europe. After last year's miss, that would be a huge setback for the Gunners.

 Speaking about the game, the hosts dominated throughout the whole 90 minutes, not allowing a single chance for Maurizio Sarri's team. Scorers for Arsenal were Alexander Lacazette and Laurent Koscielny, who netted a spectacular goal using his shoulder. Both of them managed to beat Kepa in the first 45 minutes, keeping the edge easily throughout the second half. A really frustrating fact for Chelsea's fans is that their team had only one shot on goal, which was Marcos Alonso's header in the late part of the first half. Besides that, the Blues were very poor.

 Liverpool's Tough Win Over Crystal Palace

 The leaders, Liverpool, won at home against Crystal Palace in one efficient and appealing clash, which ended 4-3 for the hosts. Mohamed Salah scored twice, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane once each, to give the Reds a much-needed win. Palace were ahead one goal at the halftime, after Andros Townsend's stunner which silenced Anfield. Liverpool turned the game around, but the visitors came back one more time before the final knockout. This is a very, very big triumph for Jurgen Klopp's boys, as they maintained a four-point distance between them (60) and Manchester City (56) in second place.

 The Citizens were merciless against Huddersfield Town, winning 0-3 on the road. The home team didn't have anything to hope for, and that was obvious right from the start. City was constantly pressuring the back line of the last-placed team in the league, not giving them the time to organize and try to create something upfront. Danilo brought the lead to the guests, and that was the result at the halftime. In the span of just two minutes, after the starting whistle for the second half, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane struck twice, setting up the final score.

 Another crazy game was seen in Wolverhampton, where Wolves managed to grab a win in a crazy ending with Diogo Jota becoming the absolute hero of the day. The Portuguese scored a goal in the last seconds of the clash, lifting the Wolves to 4-3. It was his third in the game, posting a hat-trick for the first time this season. Previously, The Foxes came back twice to equalize, with the 2nd goal coming just 2 minutes before end of regulation by Wes Morgan. The result at the halftime was 2-0 for Nuno Espirito Santo's boys, but the former champions came back after 6 minutes of play in the second period. Somehow, the hosts got away with a win and three points, leaving them one point ahead of their opponent.

 Hasenhuttl Revives Southampton

 If you’ve ever read any sort of soccer betting guide, then you’ll surely be family with the expression “safe bet”. For many tipsters around the world, Southampton's win in the game against Everton was a safe bet. Since Ralph Hasenuttl landed at St. Marry's, the Saints are a totally different team, and their 2-1 victory over the Toffees isn't surprising at all. James Ward-Prowse proved to be in great shape with another goal, while Lucas Digne doubled the hosts’ lead after an own goal.

 Manchester United once again triumphed. Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sat on the bench of the Red Devils this team is unstoppable. Their victim this time was Brighton and Hove Albion, 2-1. Paul Pogba scored the opener from a penalty kick and Marcus Rashford doubled the lead, while on the other side Pascal Gros netted the only goal for the Seagulls. United are now just three points behind Chelsea, and after a disastrous first half of the season, they have realistic chance of reaching top 4 and the ticket to the Champions League.

 Unpredictable West Ham once again disappointed their fans. The Hammers went to Bournemouth with high hopes after winning against Arsenal in the previous round. They came back home empty-handed and beaten. The Cherries striking duo Callum Wilson and Joshua King were up to the task once again, and they contributed to this win with one goal apiece. After six straight matches without a triumph, this result comes as a breath of fresh air for Eddie Howe's boys.

 Newcastle Better in the Relegation Derby

 Newcastle swept Cardiff in a relegation 6 pointer, 3-0, inflicting a hard loss to a direct rival in the relegation battle. Fabian Schar with two and Ayoze Perez with one goal ignited the crowd at St. James Park, easing the pressure on Rafa Benitez. The Spanish coach has been criticized heavily because of recent performances.

 And finally, in the last game of the round, Tottenham came back from the dead and won at Craven Cottage against Fulham. Claudio Ranieri's boys had a lead heading into the break, but Spurs quickly equalized after the start of the second. When most of the spectators thought that there wouldn't be any more goals, Harry Winks delivered a dagger in the last minute of the injury time, crushing the hearts of all Fulham's fans. This victory is a huge morale boost for the guests, who were playing without their two top strikers Harry Kane and Son.

 Liverpool is still at the top with 60 points; Manchester City is right behind with 56, Tottenham has 47 while Chelsea stands fourth with 47. Arsenal and Manchester United have 44 each.

 At the bottom of the standings sits Huddersfield with only 11 points after 23 rounds. Fulham is above with 14, and Cardiff have 19. The first team outside the red zone is Newcastle who have two points more than the Welsh club.


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