Cleat Geeks

Five things we learned from the Premier League this week

Leicester definite contenders  huth

After going three Premier League games without scoring it was starting to look as though the Leicester City bubble was finally bursting.

The Foxes had fallen two points behind league leaders Arsenal and faced a very tricky looking trip to Tottenham on Wednesday night.

However, Claudio Ranieri’s men kept the Spurs out and defended admirably, before Robert Huth headed a late winner against the league’s best defence so far this season.

Tottenham themselves had also been touted as possible title contenders over New Year so Leicester’s victory is even more impressive.

Next up in the Premier League for the Foxes is a trip to bottom of the table Aston Villa, before home games against Stoke City and Liverpool, and you wouldn’t rule out the Foxes picking up six or seven points from those fixtures.

Arsenal and Liverpool thriller no case for defense   mignolet

What a game it was at Anfield on Wednesday night. Joe Allen’s late equalizer earning Liverpool a point in a 3-3 draw against Arsenal.

However, neither Jurgen Klopp or Arsene Wenger will enjoy looking at their respective sides defending. Liverpool have been conceding several goals from set pieces and Olivier Giroud’s soft finish from Aaron Ramsey’s corner underlined that defect.

The Gunners couldn’t handle Liverpool’s fast and furious pressing game early on, which forced Arsenal’s backline into all sorts of errors throughout.

If either side had been more secure they would have won comfortably. Liverpool bossed the opening stages, putting Arsenal under all sorts of pressure, however after 25 minutes it was 2-2 and the Gunners had looked nowhere near as threatening as their hosts.

Arsenal led until the dying stages when they failed to deal with a corner and substitute Allen popped up to secure a point for the Merseysiders.

One probability is that Klopp will be on the lookout for a new goalkeeper to replace Simon Mignolet. The Belgium international has looked nervous and edgy on several occasions over the past year or so, and Adam Bogdan’s howler in the cup against Exeter suggests that Klopp will need to bring in a top class ‘keeper if Liverpool are to have any sort of success.

Villa and Sunderland not going down without a fight villa

A week or so ago I confidently wrote that both Aston Villa and Sunderland were certainties for relegation, so naturally they both went out and won their very next games.

Sunderland were aided by a red card away to an indifferent Swansea while Villa benefited from an error by Crystal Palace ‘keeper Wayne Hennessey to claim only their second league win of the season.

“We earned our luck by being very aggressive on the ball. We didn’t sit back after we scored, we tried to score a second,” said Villa boss Remi Garde via the BBC. “We had a very good attitude.”

The Black Cats, meanwhile, came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 at the Liberty Stadium, with Jermain Defoe scoring a hat-trick in the process.

Both sides have made changes this past week too, with Steven Hollis being appointed as new Villa chairman by owner Randy Lerner while Sunderland have landed striker Dame N’Doye on loan until the end of the season.

It still looks like Villa will have to much to do to survive and Sunderland will need to sort out their defensive problems, not their attack, if they are to beat the drop.

City still off the pace pell

Manchester City were held to a goalless draw at home to Everton, leaving them three points behind both Arsenal and Leicester at the top of the table.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have had a mixed season to date but despite dominating for large periods at the Etihad, they failed to close the gap on the top two.

More bad news for City fans is that influential skipper Vincent Kompany won’t be returning from injury any time soon according to Pellegrini, and City’s record without the Belgium international is far, far worse than with the centre half in the team.

City face Crystal Palace at home this weekend and then travel to West Ham, before they continue their assault in both domestic cup competitions.

Sergio Aguero’s return to the first team in recent weeks has been a massive boost and David Silva is nearing a return to full fitness so things are looking up, but there isn’t much margin for error for City in the title race.

England striker injuries mount  ac

Danny Welbeck seems to have been out of action through injury for ages and Daniel Sturridge made only the briefest of returns from injury earlier this season before requiring another spell on the sidelines.

Now it appears as though West Ham striker Andy Carroll is set for a return to the doctor’s table having already missed substantial game time with a knee injury.

Carroll was taken off after only 15 minutes of his side’s draw with Bournemouth, this time with a hamstring injury, and it seems he will be out for six weeks.

The 27 year-old was ruled out for seven months in February 2015 for his knee surgery, and that followed lengthy absences through torn ankle ligaments, a damaged heel, a twisted knee and a previous hamstring injury over the past 3 years.

Obviously the three strikers’ absences are tough to take for their clubs, it could well make England less potent when it comes to this summers European Championships.

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