Chelsea Champions elect in early Feb?
Arsenal swatted aside as pressure on Wenger mounts
At the risk of repeating myself, we start this week’s round-up of the Premier League football action by mentioning just how great Chelsea are. The Blues are not without their haters (mostly Man Utd fans) but even their biggest critic must admit that they have been impressive so far.
Conte’s crew racked up win number 19 of the season when battering Arsenal to go nine points clear at the top of the league. The race is now about who can finish second. Goals from Alonso, Hazard and Fabregas won the day on Saturday in the early lunchtime kick-off and, if things couldn’t get any worse for their opponents, the fact ex-Gooner Fabregas punished a mistake by ex-Chelsea keeper Czech just about summed up where their club is going these days.
Three more goals from the ruthless Blues
We have had no lack of contenders for goal of the season, including that peach from Andy Carroll, but it was given a run for its money by Hazard’s solo effort on Saturday. If you haven’t watched it yet, then make the effort to. It’s very different from Carroll’s but is, perhaps, better.
Manager Antonio Conte called it an important win for his side, and the gaffer looks to be thoroughly enjoying his team’s form at the minute. He is a likeable character, and English football is better off with him in it. Giving a thinly-veiled dig, he said that putting Arsenal 12-points behind was very important.
Arsenal fans were left calling for the head of manager Arsene Wenger and, although many have been for a while, his few remaining defenders are turning against him, and fast. Wenger chose, once again, to highlight the referee’s performance, rather than that of his own team. He says his side can feel sorry if looking at a number of their recent matches, but did credit Chelsea for their efforts.
Sunderland crush Palace in relegation 6 pointer
The other big winners of the day were, surprisingly, Sunderland, and you won’t see that published here too often.
David Moyes’ side gave themselves a real chance of escaping the relegation zone when hammering Crystal Palace 4-0 to record their first win since beating Watford 1-0 in mid-December. The Black Cats are now just two points off the pace set by Swansea and safety.
Goals from Kone, Ndong and a Defoe double sealed the deal and manager Moyes probably couldn’t believe his luck. The rest of us couldn’t believe just how bad Palace are this season and are a relegated side, as far as I can see. Moyes spoke to the press after full-time about the importance of his side taking their chances. He thought that his boys took confidence from the opening goal and he doesn’t remember many games in his career where he was 4-0 up at half-time. Everyone at the club would’ve enjoyed that win.
Raining Goals at Goodison
Everton once again caught the eye when hammering Bournemouth 6-3 in a great advert for English football. That means that the Toffees, who beat Man City 4-0 recently, are unbeaten in seven, and up to seventh in the table.
They are just five points behind Man Utd and have only seven to find to catch Arsenal and the top-four. The fixture list looks to have been kind to them this season and, by the time they meet Spurs in March, they’ll be hoping to be pushing hard for the major places.