Game for viewing – Liverpool – Arsenal
It looks like a lifetime ago, but it's only 55 days since Arsenal and Liverpool played a pulsating 1: 1 draw at the Emirates stadium. This result meant that the two sides were separated by just four points after 11 games. Eight matches later, the gap is now 13 points.
Their respective form has indeed been different since they met last month. Liverpool holds eight consecutive Premier League victories, and his club record 11 is solid in their sights. Arsenal won four games, played three games and lost one, with its own invincible run of distant memory. Despite Jurgen Klopp ProtestsThey are definitely not in the race for the Premier League title.
And should not be. This spot has always been inevitable for the party, both at the transitional stage and to combat injuries. Unai Emery's contact with Midas has ceased, many players still have long-term doubts, and familiar mistakes reappear. The honeymoon is over, but this does not mean that it will not be a successful marriage.
It is simply regrettable that they are faced with a side that is much more advanced in its development, much longer in the teeth and much more stable in the image of its manager. Liverpool Klopp never looked so brilliant; Liverpool as a whole is also quite long.
Only in three cases, the Premier League club went half the season without a defeat. Arsenal (2003/04), Manchester United (2010/11) and Manchester City (2017/18) combined attacking talent with defensive hardness to win the Premier League title, and Liverpool is cut from similar fabric . They missed at least eight goals less than either side, scoring more than all but the third city.
The lone black mark on Klopp's side was – until the victory over Manchester United – their record against the other members of the Big Six. In the mini-league between these teams, Liverpool was the best from 2015/16 to 2016/17. But their gradual transition from chaos to control led to the fact that they dropped to fifth place in the same table from 2017/18 to the current season. The only club under them is Arsenal.
As mentioned in 16 conclusions from the draw last month: “Before, these games were Klopp’s playground, but he has to remember how to select people of his own size if Liverpool succeeds this season.” Their last points were scored against Strelkov; if they can correct it incorrectly, they will enter 2019 with a six-point lead at the top.
Players watch – Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez
Paul Pogba is not the only player made the most his clean slate of Manchester United. Nemanja Matic and Fred look lively next to him, Victor Lindelof reminds the player that Jose Mourinho thought he had signed, and Marcus Rushford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial enjoy more freedom under Ole Gunnar Solschiere.
Those who would like to assume that these players simply stopped playing under the previous manager, well remember that this manager also ceased to manage these players properly. It works both ways.
But there are those who have not yet received a second chance. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez were unavailable to defeat Cardiff and Huddersfield, so they must be desperately trying to meet Bournemouth.
Considering that the last game of Lukaku ended up with more yellow cards than Liverpool, and Sanchez was last seen as a substitute for the second half in a draw with Crystal Palace, it is safe to say that a lot has changed. Shackles are no longer and are no excuses.
The pressure has never been higher. United scored eight goals in two games without the most expensive attacking and highly paid player, and theoretically should welcome such elite strikers to the target with open arms. But Rushford is not so easy to give up his central role, while Lingard, Martial and Mata breathed new life into them. Lukaku and Sanchez must fight hard for their abilities.
Manager Watch – Pep Guardiola
“We started the season with a clean sheet, we missed five goals, I do not know how many games. It was incredible how stable it was. We have players who play with the ball, and this is not a team created to simply defend a lot of time. But you must make an effort to change this dynamic. ”
Pep Guardiola quickly does not have enough time to change the worst defensive dynamics of his entire management career. The consequences of the defeat of Lester were twofold: first, Manchester City didn’t keep a clean slate in its last nine games – the longest such experience Guardiola ever endured as a manager. You must return before October 2008 and the first few months of the Spaniard in Barcelona for his only other spell of nine games without a clean slate.
Secondly, Guardiola never lost three matches in a row in the league as a coach. He lost twice in a row in City, Bavaria, Munich and Barça, but not three. Since it is unlikely that Southampton will complete this first hat-trick, champions should avoid complacency on Sunday at St. Mary's.
In the end, the Saints gave the City a rather hot time last season. They needed goals during the break in order to defeat them both at home and outside, as Guardiola’s side tried its best to break stubborn, decisive defense. And Nathan Redmond will want to avoid another talk from the opposition manager.
The side that lost 14 Premier League points for the entire past season has already dropped to 13 after 19 games of this campaign. The dominance of Liverpool means that the margin of error is already negligible. Guardiola is on a tightrope.
Team Watch – Huddersfield
Not only is the 19th host of the 20th on Saturday, but the two teams in the longest current winning Premier League are facing each other Fulham and Huddersfield have played six games without a win to support the table, and they will have chances change the situation before the end of the year.
Fulham regained defensive stability can play into the hands of the side of Huddersfield, which deals with adventures, as well as sleepless grandparents. The previously expressive Kottedzhery actually scored fewer goals (3) than the dumb Terriers (4) in the last six games – although the draw with the Wolves finally raised them from the bottom of the table.
But a six-game loss doesn’t look like the end in the near future for Huddersfield, whose club record for consecutive defeats in the league is seven. Few will bet against them, either by matching or surpassing it.
When the middle of the table and the seven crap below start to get a little thinner, Huddersfield’s position becomes clearer. They are already five points in the safety course, and time is running out.
This may not cause concern to many parties, but the terriers should be in a panic. They won only three of their last 19 league games in 2017/18, gaining 15 points. The wolves are above them in the calendar year table for 2018, and Swansea is only six points behind. This slide began last season and shows no signs of a softening of this campaign.
Football League Game Watch – Leeds vs Hull
Norwich will meet with Derby in a game between the two sides, who were in the Premier League in a total of 15 of 26 seasons, but never at the same time; Leeds championship leaders face a much more benign task on Elland Road.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side this season has turned even the most faithful non-believers into disciples. Those who remained uncertain, were surely turned back to victory with a score of 3: 2 through the winners in extra time. Such an impulse is impossible to create, and it is just as difficult to resist.
Thus, a home game against the 16th side, which was 21 points behind, usually seems easy. However, Hull found his own form, winning four and winning one of the last five league games.
Nigel Adkins did turn over the ship at KCOM Stadium, and Hull held a draw even at the end of last month. But it will take tremendous efforts to repeat this feat against the leaders. Leeds has lost their homes once in a league since March, and are busy guaranteeing that the wheels are securely attached to their promotion progress.
European game for viewing – Rangers – Celtic
With more than half the season gone, there may be be a genuine title race, brewing in the Scottish Premier League. Celtic won the title with three, eight, two and three games left respectively in the past four seasons. This time they will probably be pushed a little closer.
They are still on top, of course. But the gap with the ranked second Rangers is three points, although the leaders have the game in their hands. Kilmarnock hides in the shadows, further behind.
If the Celts need to stop, there is a feeling that the Rangers must win here. A defeat would have given Celtic too much advantage, and a draw a lost opportunity. But the victory of Brendan Rogers would be the same psychological blow, like everything else. Celtic lost as many matches as the Rangers (3), so this is not as ridiculous as it seems.
The last time Steven Gerrard was so immersed in the title race with Rogers, he lost his balance and nerves in a spectacular way. If he can stay calm and focus on the task Ibrox faces, the Rangers have a wonderful old chance.