Cleat Geeks

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Leicester are Christmas number One  ranieri

Another week, another Leicester City victory, and their 3-2 win away at Everton guarantees Claudio Ranieri’s men will be top on Christmas Day.

Most people will tell you that the Foxes won’t be there come May, but history tells a different story; in five out of the last six seasons the team at the top of the table on December 25th has gone on to win the title.

Between them, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have scored more goals between them than the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea and Leicester have picked up more points than away from home than any other side in the league.

If the Foxes don’t have enough to win the title, their fans will probably be consoled by the fact that no side with their current total of 38 points after 17 games has ever finished outside the top four, which would mean Champions League football at the King Power Stadium next season.

Van Gaal under pressure at misfiring United lvgg

It has been hard work watching Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal this season, and now it seems as though the Dutchman is coming under pressure in the Old Trafford hot seat.

Poor performances, disappointing results and the availability of a certain ‘Special One’ are the circumstances that are conspiring against the 64 year-old and this Saturday’s shocking home defeat to Norwich didn’t go down well with the fans.

In years gone by this sort of game would have been a home banker, with the last time Norwich won at Old Trafford being back in 1989, but it is the low level of entertainment the Red Devils are serving up that is irking their fans.

Despite bossing possession, United managed just 11 shots in the game and only two that troubled Norwich’s second-choice ‘keeper Declan Rudd against the team with the fifth-worst defence in the league.

Saturday’s defeat highlighted United’s failings in front of goal this season; Van Gaal’s men have had more shots than only two other teams and have created the third fewest chances in the league.

Defeat to Norwich left them nine points behind Leicester in 5th place in the table and in desperate need of some Festive cheer away to Stoke on Boxing Day.

Gunners new favorites for title after City win wng

Goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud earned Arsenal a 2-1 win over title rivals Manchester City at the Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

That win took Arsene Wenger’s men to within two points of league leaders Leicester and four points ahead of City heading into the Christmas period.

With Chelsea struggling in the bottom half of the table and Manchester United struggling in front of goal, the bookmakers believe that this year’s title will be fought out between Arsenal and City.

But Monday’s defeat left Manuel Pellegrini’s men with just three wins from eight away games this season and with just two wins in their last six league matches.

It definitely looks like Arsenal’s best chance to win the title for the first time since 2004, but with playmaker Alexis Sanchez ruled out until January 10th, the Christmas period could well make or break the Gunners Premier League aspirations.

Watford defeat proves Liverpool squad isn’t good enough  lfc

A heavy defeat at Vicarage Road on Sunday underlines the job that Jurgen Klopp has on his hands at Liverpool in the coming seasons.

Some were tipping them for a title challenge this season or at least a top four finish, but Sunday’s 3-0 hammering at the Premier League’s new boys makes those aspirations seem a long, long way off.

In truth, it would take a miracle for the Reds to top the table and, even despite Manchester United and Chelsea’s troubles this season, it would be something special for Liverpool to finish the season in the top four.

There seems to be a real lack of quality throughout the squad, barring Phillippe Coutinho, and they seem anything but sound defensively, which is why they sit in 9th place in the table.

In attack, Christian Benteke hasn’t been able to deliver with goals as consistently as he did at Aston Villa, and Roberto Firmino seems hit and miss in his debut season. Divock Origi will become a reliable operator at this level but needs to get a couple of seasons under his belt before he can be relied on to supply the goals.

In Simon Mignolet, they don’t have a goalkeeper that inspires much confidence and the likes of Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure have their limitations in defense.

Jordan Henderson probably wouldn’t get into any of the last 10 Premier League winning starting XI’s and Adam Lallana doesn’t have the class of Coutinho, who they desperately need to hold onto.

9th is about right for Liverpool with their current squad, and Klopp will have his work cut out clearing out the deadwood at Anfield and taking the Reds back to the top level of European football.

Lukaku on course to break Vardy’s record  luk

That’s right, Romelu Lukaku has netted in each of Everton’s last seven Premier League games, drawing him closer to Jamie Vardy’s record of scoring in 12 straight Premier League games, set earlier this month.

The pair were up against each other on Saturday and the Belgian striker managed to find the net in defeat as the Toffees lost 3-2.

In between the run of Premier League goal scoring Lukaku has also found the net in a League Cup tie, making it eight successive games in which he has found the net.

Everton face Newcastle, Stoke, Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea their next five Premier League games so it looks a tough ask for the 22 year-old to match Vardy’s record, but he is the form of his life at the moment so you wouldn’t rule it out.

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