As we inch ever closer towards Christmas and the halfway point of the season, the games get ever more important, and this weekend was no different – a number of crucial clashes in the title race, the race for Europe and the battle to avoid the drop. Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from this weekend’s Premier League action.
Three weeks ago, United and Mourinho were in a spot of bother, seemingly destined to fall short of the minimum expected Champions League qualification, with key players failing to perform and a manager whose antics getting out of control.
This week, things are a whole lot rosier at Old Trafford. Not only have they won three games on the trot to sit just three points behind Tottenham and four behind Arsenal, but they’ve proved that they can do a Jose – play defensively and win.
That looked to be beyond them as they surrendered their lead at Everton, but after grinding out a 1-0 win at home to Spurs they will have renewed confidence that they have the steel and solidarity to win these clashes. I’d be optimistic about United’s chances of success in 2017.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 18, 2016
A win that Pep badly needed, and on e which leaves the Citizens second, if only for 24 hours. Given his failure to win the big matches with Tottenham and Chelsea, it was vital that Guardiola found a way to win at home to Arsenal.
FT | City 2-1 Arsenal
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 18, 2016
Antonio Conte’s blue army just keep on winning. My banker to win the division.
They might still be in the relegation zone, and they might still have lost a lot of games this season, but on Saturday, David Moyes’ team proved once again that they’re prepared to fight to stay in this division. That fight will be vital during a cold January, during which they can pull clear of the drop zone.
— Black Cats Chat (@blackcatschat1) December 16, 2016
Not even close to being good enough. Swansea are swiftly becoming the bookies’ favourites for bottom spot. How have the Swans fallen so quickly? The heady days of Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Garry Monk seem like only yesterday.
The short answer here is that Swansea board don’t seem to have a clue what they’re doing, which a series of bizarre managerial appointments which look set to condemn them to Championship football next season.
Swansea City’s manager Bob Bradley has claimed that some critics want him out because of his accent.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 8, 2016
It might seem harsh to place the Gunners in the ‘not’ column, but until they can win these games, they’re always going to end up second best. When you go 1-0 up in the Premier League, it’s criminal to leave with nothing, but that’s exactly what Arsenal did, leaving arch rivals Tottenham just a point behind heading into the festive period.
Is it time to replace Alan Pardew? It may have been Chelsea, but the Palace boss set up his side not to lose, and…well…lost.