Late November and the whole of December tend to be the busiest games for English football teams. In the next installment of our weekly Premier League news column, we’ll look at the aspirants for the top spot.
Arsenal first in the Premier League, but no title
Thanks to Manchester City’s draw with Liverpool, Arsenal have taken the top spot. However, unlike last season, its fans are not celebrating too much, as the performance of their darlings remains below expectations. At Brentford at the weekend it was again a hard earned win by a goal.
Last season Arsenal played the best football in the league for a long time, beating their opponents by a difference of two or three goals. This year, they’re winning, but it’s usually after a big battle and not a pretty one. This style will start to lose in a busy December and won’t work for the rest of the season.
Few would have thought Granit Xhaka would be missed so much. However, it’s not just him, Martin Odegaard’s performance has been affected by numerous injuries and the rest of the offensive line is not yet at 100% either. If anything can break the season, it’s the demolition of Lens in the Champions League.
Citizens without motivation?
Manchester City are not leading the league also because they are losing games won cheaply. Before the national break it had Chelsea, now Liverpool, but both games only went to a draw. That would not have happened to Pep Guardiola’s charges last year.
Even the coach himself looks as if he is getting a bit bored of constantly winning domestic competitions. That didn’t happen to him in previous seasons, he always kept the team focused on all the trophies that were in play. Manchester are still the biggest favourites, but they need to wake up and start adding breakthrough goals from pressure to take a two-goal lead.
League spring salvation for United
Manchester came close to being relegated on the fifth game day of the Champions League already in the group stage, although in theory they can still go further in the Champions League. But if that doesn’t work out and only the league remains, it might be a good thing in the long run. Erik ten Hag’s squad is certainly not inflatable.
All the more so because he has basically shut down three players himself. The replacements don’t seem to be of sufficient quality, Anthony or Facundo Pellistri are wanted, Anthony Martial will play one good game out of five. Plus, the Red Devils are clearly doing well in the league, top 4 through the Premier League may not be unrealistic.
Source: Premier League
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