Five Things The Premier League Taught Us This Weekend
After we were forced to go without Premier League action last week, the league returned in fine form this weekend.
Leicester moved closer to the title, Villa continued to sink without trace at the other end and somehow, West Brom vs Crystal Palace was a goal fest.
Marcus Rashford single handedly downed Arsenal and Louis van Gaal pulled off the Premier League’s best ever dive on the touchline at Old Trafford, to complete another cracking weekend in the English top flight.
Here’s five things we learned from the weekend’s action:
Leicester Have The Mark Of Champions
For years, Manchester United used to grind out 1-0 wins when they weren’t at their best and when they’d score a jammy late goal, the commentators would come out with ‘it’s the mark of champions that, winning when you’re not playing well’.
Well, now Leicester have proved they can win ugly too.
For most of the season, the Foxes have blown teams away with quick counter-attacking football but against Norwich, Claudio Ranieri’s side encountered a new problem.
The Canaries sat deep and challenged Leicester to break them down and the plan worked for 89 minutes, when Leonardo Ulloa scored to keep the title challenge alive.
As the run-in heats up, more teams will employ these tactics and the ‘Tinkerman’ will have to be at his best to keep the dream title challenge on track.
Shit Goals End Goalkeeping Runs
Going into Southampton vs Chelsea, Fraser Forster hadn’t conceded a goal in six matches since returning from a bad knee injury.
It was all going well at St Mary’s, too. Shane Long had scored to give the Saints the lead and heading into the second half, Southampton only had to hang on to their slender lead.
The former Newcastle United goalkeeper had made a couple of good stops to prolong his excellent run, before Cesc Fabregas’ cross-cum-shot dribbled past him and brought the record to an end at 615 minutes.
It wouldn’t have been as bad if Fabregas had slammed in a 30-yard screamer but instead it was a shit cross that somehow deceived everyone and trickled into the far corner.
Still, Forster will get over it and should easily make Roy Hodgson’s England squad this summer.
Michail Antonio Knows How To Celebrate
Celebration of the season so far definitely goes to Michail Antonio of West Ham.
His goal against Sunderland in Saturday’s early kick off was decent but his celebration trumped anything we’ve seen this season, as he pulled off a Homer Simpson inspired move.
To be fair, it was always going to be hard to make people laugh more at something other than Sunderland’s defending but Antonio’s effort certainly managed it.
Sky Got Their TV Pick Right
When I was flicking through the TV listings on Saturday, it can’t have only been me who questioned Sky’s decision to go for West Brom vs Crystal Palace as their televised game.
In fairness, I’d have rather watched two tramps fight over a bag of chips but as it turned out it was a cracker, with some excellent goals to boot.
Saido Berahino stopped being a spoiled little brat long enough to score a decent goal, before Connor Wickham – arguably the biggest waste of £8m ever – pulled Palace back into it with his second and third goals of the season.
West Brom’s usually dire style of football went missing for 90 minutes, and anyone who had the thirst for football so much that they actually watched the game were rewarded for their efforts.
Man United Have A New Boy Wonder
Even some die-hard Manchester United fans hadn’t heard of Marcus Rashford until Thursday, so to see him start two games in a week was a surprise.
To see him score more goals in four days than Eden Hazard has all season was even more of a shock.
The 18-year-old is the latest youngster off the Man Utd production line and his two goals against Arsenal kept United’s faint hopes of a top four finish alive…just.
Today, he’s sitting an A-level exam. Back down to earth you come, Marcus.