Here’s what happened in the Premier this weekend, in case you missed it…
WATCH MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:
Watford 1, Manchester United 2 || Chelsea 1, Norwich City 0 || West Bromwich Albion 2, Arsenal 1 || Everton 4, Aston Villa 0 || Swansea City 2, Bournemouth 2 || Southampton 0, Stoke City 1 || Newcastle United 0, Leicester City 3 || Manchester City 1, Liverpool 4 || Tottenham 4, West Ham United 1
WHAT STOOD OUT
A breakout performance by Klopp’s Liverpool
Is it now time to take Leicester seriously?
The Foxes sit atop the Premier League table following their road win over Newcastle United, a game that saw Jamie Vardy tie Ruud van Nistelrooy’s league record for scoring in 10 consecutive matches. Leicester narrowly avoided relegation last season—now they’re the best team in England, with eight wins and just one loss in their first 13 matches to start the current campaign.
Serious doubts lingered about this club when it hired Claudio Ranieri in the summer, as the Italian’s reputation as a tactical tinker preceded him. But Ranieri has managed to keep the Foxes’ momentum going after they won seven of their last nine games last season to beat the drop. In 22 games since April, 4, Leicester has won 15 of 22 games with only two losses. That’s championship form that any team would envy.
Can they sustain it? As great of a story Leicester have been, it’s hard to believe they can. While Vardy and midfielder Riyad Mahrez (two of the best players in the league thus far) have been brilliant in leading an attack that has scored a league-high 28 goals, the Foxes have also conceded 20 times, the most of any side in the top half of the table, and have kept just two clean sheets. They also have a tough schedule ahead, with games against Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea before Dec. 31.
To answer the question: Yes, it is time to take Leicester seriously. Their incredible run can’t be laughed off or dismissed. At the same time, we’ll soon find out if they are legitimate title contenders.
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Premier League clubs played La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, prior to the kickoff this weekend in a show of respect to those who died in the Paris terrorist attacks. The gesture was particularly poignant at St. James’ Park where Newcastle United had seven French players in its starting 11.
Swansea City vs. Bournemouth. Who’d have thought that at the start of the weekend? Down two goals at home, the Swans battled back and knotted the score just before halftime in what was a breathtaking contest.
“Fourth position for me is not an impossible mission. If you ask me about winning the title, I would say impossible mission. Maybe Tom Cruise can do it but it’s complicated.” – Jose Mourinho
SIX PACK OF STATS
• Manchester United on Saturday conceded their first goal in 641 minutes in all competitions.
• Watford’s Troy Deeney is the first player to score a goal and an own goal in the same Premier League game since Damien Delaney in May 2014.
• Everton’s Romelu Lukaku is the fifth different player to score 50 goals in the Premier League before the age of 23.
• Sergio Aguero is now the top-scoring South American player in Premier League history with 85 goals.
• Diego Costa ended a run of 603 minutes without a goal in all competitions for Chelsea on Saturday.
• Mesut Ozil has assisted on a goal in seven consecutive Premier League appearances for Arsenal.
Stats courtesy of Opta
1) Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku: The both had two goals in Everton’s 4-0 win over lowly Aston Villa.
2) Harry Kane: Bagged a brace for Spurs in a comprehensive win over West Ham United.
3) Philippe Coutinho: Scored a goal and was the driving force behind Liverpool’s upset win away to Manchester City.