As a rare treat for fans of the game, we were treated to a midweek set of fixtures in the Premier League over the past couple of days after the previous weekend was taken up by the fourth round of the FA Cup. There were some important results towards the top and bottom of the table. After such excitement, we now have only a few more days to wait until action from England’s top flight is upon us once more, with the highlight being Manchester City hosting Leicester City on Saturday and the other half of Manchester travelling to Chelsea. Saving that for another time however, read on to re-live the key moments from the most recent matches and discover who made it into The Boot Room’s Premier League Team of the Week.
In a run of fixtures that appear to be their most challenging on paper, Leicester City were looking to secure all three points at home to a stuttering Liverpool side on Tuesday night. A first 45 minutes of few golden opportunities gave way to the ‘Jamie Vardy show’ once the second period had begun. The top scorer in the Premier League demonstrated just why he has been the recipient of such acclaim throughout the campaign, notching twice in fairly quick succession in just after the hour mark. The first really was a word-class effort and after he has been slightly below par in recent weeks, this came as a timely reminder of the brilliance he is capable of producing. As a result, The Foxes are sitting pretty on top of the league for at least another round of fixtures and are inching closer to the seemingly impossible.
Louis Van Gaal was granted a much-needed boost with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Stoke City. Having advanced through to the FA Cup 5th round by defeating Derby County at the weekend, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney continued their fine partnership in recent times to cause The Potters a great deal of trouble. Exciting and attacking play returned to Old Trafford; having been absent for far too long in the opinion of The Red Devils’ fans, and the attacking duo mentioned earlier; along with Jesse Lingard, bagged the goals to secure a fruitful night in Manchester.
On Wednesday night, Watford entertained a Chelsea side riding the crest of a wave following the drubbing they had handed out to MK Dons in the FA Cup. Both sides enjoyed periods of relative dominance in the first 45 minutes but as is too often the case, Diego Costa’s argumentative antics were the main focus. He had run-ins with Sebastien Prödl, Etienne Capoue and Juan Carlos Paredes before finally picking up a booking just before half-time. Eden Hazard began the game on the bench but; after finally bagging his 50th Chelsea goal at the weekend, last season’s Premier League Player of the Year came onto the field with a little less than 20 minutes remaining. He tried to pep up Chelsea’s attacking endeavours and certainly made a positive impact but was unable to strike a fatal blow. In the end, the game ended 0-0 but was far from a bore draw, despite both defences being on top overall.
Spurs consigned Alex Neil’s side to their fourth consecutive Premier League defeat and The Canaries must arrest this slump sooner rather than later to prevent them becoming firmly engaged in an unwanted relegation dog-fight as the end of the season draws ever closer. Pochettino’s men ran out 3-0 victors away from home and continued their impressive march up the table. North London rivals Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton and with the Gunners enduring a sticky spell which has seen them fail to win in four Premier League matches, Spurs overtook them into third place.