(Photo via bleacherreport.com)
Just about ever since I was a child, I’ve heard that the NFL is, “The Greatest Soap Opera in Sports.” This season, and most recently this past weekend has been enough proof that the English Premier League has overthrown the NFL of that title. Before the weekend started, there were many questions about the teams in the league that will finish both in the top and in the bottom. Some of these questions were answered as the top four teams squared off against one another. Here are my top three takeaways from this past weekend.
- This one is simple, Aston Villa is going down faster than the titanic. This weekend, Aston Villa played against a very out-of-form Liverpool team. Now Liverpool did get an injury boost with their two best players, Phillipe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, making their come back from injuries. But the performance Villa gave considering being eight points from getting out of the drop zone, was horrific to watch, losing 6-0 in their own back yard. It seems as though Villa fans will need to get their minds wrapped around the idea of playing in the Championship next year.
- Manchester City are for once on the outside looking in. Going into the weekend, Manchester City trailed only 6 points behind leaders Leicester City. While Leicester was preparing for 3rd place Arsenal and trying to maintain their five point lead, Manchester City was preparing for a must win game against 2nd place Tottenham. In the past five seasons, this would have been a game where City would go in and win with no questions asked. Man City was the better of the two teams in their game despite there being no goals in the first half. This trend continued into the second half and it seemed history would repeat itself again, but this season continues to prove as the craziest one in history, as Man City lost 2-1 thanks to a Harry Kane PK and a Christian Eriksen winner with just seven minutes left in the game. After this loss, Man City sits still just six points from 1st, but now they are four points from 2nd and 3rd. This by no means says that Man City doesn’t have a chance to win the league, but this is definitely a huge opportunity missed and they have some serious ground to make up in the coming weeks.
- Arsenal no longer pretenders? In what was probably the biggest match of the season thus far, 3rd place Arsenal faced off against league leaders Leicester. A defeat for Arsenal would prove everyone right about being pretenders just like they’ve been for the past ten years, finishing 3rd or 4th every year. The game ended up being one of the most intense games of the season. Both teams were too afraid of giving up the first goal. The deadlock was broken thanks to a Jamie Vardy PK. At half time, Arsenal was down a goal and it seemed as though it was same ole Arsenal giving up their best chance to make up ground. Things changed, however, in the second half when Leicester City’s right back, Danny Simpson, got two yellow cards within five minutes and received a red card, therefor reducing Leicester City to just ten men. Thanks to this red card, Leicester was forced to take off one of the two best players in the premier league this season, Riyad Mahrez, and put in an extra defender to help defend their lead. This change ended up proving a gift for Arsenal because Leicester City no longer had the balance in their team and no longer threatened in attack. Arsenal ended up leveling the score out with twenty minutes left in the game. It seemed it would be a well-deserved draw for both teams until Arsenal won the game with the final kick of the game. This was the most un-Arsenal thing we have seen in years. The result now puts them just two points off Leicester with twelve games left and as the favorite to win the title. I am not quite ready to consider them the favorite but they are definitely proving many people wrong.
– J. Barras