Premier League round up, April 17th 2017
Not quite time for the title party yet!
Chelsea wobble as the finish line gets nearer
Football fans didn’t think it was possible, but we have a genuine Premier League title race at Easter, with Manchester United delivering the shock result of the weekend, and one of the biggest upsets of the year so far, when beating Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.
It was fancied by the bookies, who had a home win marked up as favourite pre-match, but no one could’ve guessed just how convincingly they would’ve achieved it, The Red Devils running out 2-0 winners thanks to an inspired performance from wonderkid Marcus Rashford. The attacker broke the deadlock with just seven minutes on the clock to set the pace for the day and he was behind everything good about the locals in that monumental win.
Chelsea blunted by Mourinho masterclass
Opposite number Diego Costa once again failed to deliver when it mattered, instead choosing to focus on winning a petty battle with United defender Rojo, which raged for much of the game. It was a pathetic waste of energy from the Spaniard, but looked a shrewd tactic by the defender, serving to keep one of the best players on the park occupied. Both men were booked during the match.
Herrera added a second shortly after the restart to put a line through Diego Costa’s half-time team talk. That result strengthened United’s push for a Champions League finish, but they have two shots at entering Europe’s premier competition, with a Europa League win also offering them access.
Spurs brush Bournemouth aside, but have they left it too late?
At the same time, it dented the title ambitions of Chelsea, and rivals Spurs, currently in second place and on an incredible winning run, are now just four points behind. Interesting stuff, but a look ahead only adds further needle, with Spurs away to Crystal Palace, at home to Arsenal and then away to West Ham, three London derbies that could make or break their chances.
Chelsea manager Diego Costa told the press that he was to blame for his side’s defeat, while Jose Mourinho credited his own tactics for the masterclass. He thought The Blues were the best counter-attacking side in the country, but told the media that his boys controlled them very well. The Special One, who was involved in a spat with Chelsea fans at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup earlier this year, says beating Chelsea didn’t make it any better, picking up a much-needed three points was the most important thing. We believe you Jose!
The bookies don’t think Spurs can catch them
Chelsea are now no better than 2/11 with 888Sport to win the league, while there’s a value 5/1 at bet365 on Spurs turning the tables. United trade 7/2 (bet365) to finish in the top-four.
The most interesting match on Saturday in the Premier League saw Crystal Palace and Leicester battle out an entertaining 2-2 draw in London. The two most-improved sides in the division went at it from the start, and it was Huth who put The Foxes ahead on six minutes with a powerful header, a lead they took into the break. Vardy doubled up on 52, but Cabaye scored an important goal shortly after, and Benteke netted the equaliser on 70-minutes.
Relegation battle rages on
That share leaves Palace seven points clear of the relegation zone, and they now look to be safe for another season, having won five and drawn one of their last seven. Punters will find The Eagles at 33/1 (bet365) to be relegated, while Leicester are further clear, at 250/1. Sunderland are already down, according to the betting, and 1/200 is the general feeling on The Black Cats playing Championship football after the summer.
Some of our star performers from the weekend, and players you may want to keep an eye out for going forward, either in your dream teams or with relevant bets, is goalkeeper of the week – Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), defender of the week – Vincent Kompany (Man City), midfielder of the week – Ross Barkley (Everton) and striker of the week – Marcus Rashford (Man Utd).