Latest Articles

Talking Points From Matchweek 17: Arsenal Reach The Summit While Man United Outcast Makes A Point

From Manchester City and Crystal Palace sharing the spoils at the Etihad Stadium to Arsenal getting the better of Brighton and Hove Albion, matchweek 17 of the 2023/24 Premier League season was not short of entertainment, drama and goals.

A total of 23 goals were scored across 10 games over the weekend, with two games ending in a draw—Manchester City vs Crystal Palace and Liverpool vs Manchester United. After the end of this weekend, Arsenal leapfrogged Liverpool at the summit of the table. Meanwhile, Bournemouth’s clash with Luton Town was suspended in the second half after Tom Lockyer collapsed.

Without further delay, let’s take a look at the 10 talking points from the Premier League matchweek 17.

#Manchester City’s defence falters again

Manchester City have gone seven games without a clean sheet and have conceded more goals in their last six Premier League games than in their first 11 of this ongoing season. On Saturday, they gave away a two-goal lead in a 2-2 home draw with Crystal Palace at the Etihad Stadium, leaving manager Pep Guardiola furious.

While the Sky Blues have been without their top scorer Erling Haaland for the last two league fixtures, it seems their defence is their weak spot, not scoring goals. Man City’s poor defensive organisation and a needless penalty in the stoppage time resulted in two late goals, which seems to be a recurring theme this campaign. They have dropped nine points by leaking goals after the 80th minute and Pep Guardiola must do something with his team’s defence.

#Raphael Varane proves a point

It remains a mystery why Erik ten Hag did not play Raphael Varane for more than two months.

Varane returned against Bayern Munich in Man United’s final Champions League group-stage clash last week and performed very well considering his rustiness. He kept his place in defence for the visit to Anfield to face an in-form Liverpool side but, alongside Jonny Evans, helped the Red Devils earn a point on Sunday.

Not many expected Ten Hag’s side to draw at Anfield or even keep a clean sheet due to their current injury problems and form, but Man United did just that and a lot of credit goes to how Varane performed. In a hostile environment at Anfield, the Frenchman’s cool head and bags of experience helped the Red Devils blunt Liverpool’s attacking verve.

Following a Man of the Match display against Liverpool, not only did Varane prove he is still United’s best defender but also how wrong Ten Hag was in benching him over the last two months.

#Liverpool drop two title points

Liverpool missed the chance to go back to the summit of the Premier League after being held to a lacklustre 0-0 draw by ten-man Manchester United. it was incredibly frustrating from Liverpool’s point of view as they failed to capitalise on early pressure and beat Erik ten Hag’s side at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp’s side looked less assured of themselves as they failed to break down a disciplined Man United, who were without the services of so many key players. Take everything away from the nature of the game, and this was simply two title points dropped by a Liverpool team who witnessed Man City drop points a day before.

#Arsenal go top of the table

Arsenal put their three-game losing run at home to Brighton and Hove Albion with a solid 2-0 victory on Sunday. With the win over Brighton thanks to second-half goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kai Havertz, Mikel Arteta’s side returned to the Premier League summit.

The Gunners played some lovely stuff and frequently showed their class in creating chances. They were relentless in attack in the first half and produced 26 shots overall against the Seagulls, who failed to score for the first time this season while nullifying the visitors’ attacking threat when they had possession.

#Newcastle United’s injuries pile up

Another game, two new injury problems for Newcastle United. This time it was Fabian Schar and Joelinton entering the already bloated treatment room.

Due to so many injuries this season, the time for a full-scale evaluation—not just of the club’s medical department but also of Eddie Howe’s training methods, player management and playing style—has certainly arrived. Nonetheless, thanks majorly to Raul Jimenez’s early red card for a ridiculous flying challenge on Sean Longstaff, Newcastle snapped a three-game losing run in all competitions with a 3-0 win over Fulham at home on Saturday.

#Lucas Paqueta, Mohammed Kudus combine to sink Wolves

Two incisive passes, two fine finishes and two extremely talented footballers—Lucas Paqueta and Mohammed Kudus combined twice in the space of 10 first-half minutes to help West Ham sink Wolves at the London Stadium. Later, Jarrod Bowen’s strike in the 74th minute—assisted by Paqueta too—sealed the deal for the Hammers.

There is a chemistry brewing between Paqueta and Kudus. Twice Paqueta pierced Wolves’ defence with simple but effective passes and twice Kudus scored before celebrating by sitting in front of opposition supporters. Paqueta joined Kudus on both occasions to celebrate, with the duo’s blossoming partnership lifting West Ham to eighth in the table.

#Lack of goal threat could cost Nottingham Forest

Nottingham Forest started without a recognised striker against Tottenham Hotspur on Friday, a bold move considering the desperate situation Steve Cooper found himself in. Without the injured Taiwo Awoniyi, the Tricky Trees have struggled in the final third, scoring just once in their last four games.

Despite their lack of goal threat, Chris Wood and Divock Origi were overlooked against Spurs, with Cooper sticking with Anthony Elanga and Morgan Gibbs-White up front. Wood is a completely different striker to Awoniyi, while Origi has barely done anything to fill the Forest faithful with hope that he could be the club’s solution to scoring goals.

Thus, it was of little surprise that Forest rarely threatened Spurs and had only one shot on target out of 15, which was a Harry Toffolo header miraculously saved by Guglielmo Vicario two minutes from time.

#Everton move out of relegation zone

Everton’s 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday made it four consecutive league victories without conceding a goal. It also made it four away wins in a row. Had the Toffees not been deducted 10 points, the club would now be one point outside the European spots.

Sean Dyche might not offer an exhilarating, free-flowing brand of football but he certainly knows how to organise a team. After being decimated by injury and suspension, he adapted to a back-five system at Turf Moor and the players responded brilliantly.

The way Everton managed the game against Burnley and limited them to only two shots on target shows the team is adaptable and organised, giving Dyche’s boys the perfect base to build on.

#Tottenham’s big disciplinary issue

The shine of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest was taken away by a straight red card for Yves Bissouma, who will serve a four-match ban because his dismissal at City Ground was his second of the season.

In addition to Bissouma’s sending-off, four Tottenham players got booked. Destiny Udogie, who was dismissed in last month’s game against Chelsea, also picked up a yellow card against Forest, which means he will be suspended for next week’s match at home to Everton.

This means Spurs have racked up 44 yellow cards and four reds this term, and with fixtures coming thick and fast and the squad already stretched through a host of injuries, Ange Postecoglou definitely needs to take a look at his team’s disciplinary issues.

#The table looks ominous for Sheffield United

Sheffield United are finding it difficult to compete in the Premier League following their promotion. Chris Wilder has replaced Paul Heckingbottom at the helm, but despite the Blades being far more solid under him, it is a long way road from here for them to achieve safety.

Having beaten Brentford 1-0 last weekend, Sheffield United fell to a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea last weekend. Wilder’s plan in the first half worked well as they limited Chelsea to few chances but his team lost the plot in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, conceding twice.

Rooted at the bottom of the table and with games to come against Aston Villa, Luton Town and Manchester City during the festive period, things are looking gloomy for Wilder and the Blades.

Rohan Sengupta

Recent Posts

X Reacts As Man City Pip Arsenal To Record Breaking 4th Consecutive Title Win

Manchester City rode on a brilliant Phil Foden brace to romp their way to a…

2 days ago

Kyle Walker In: 4-1-4-1 Manchester City Predicted XI vs Tottenham Hotspur

Manchester City face off against Tottenham Hotspur tonight in what Pep Guardiola has described as…

1 week ago

4 Changes With Start For Foden: 3-2-4-1 Manchester City Predicted XI vs Real Madrid| UCL

Manchester City had a fairly positive weekend of Premier League action. They came from behind…

1 month ago

KDB Dropped? 4-1-4-1 Manchester City Predicted XI vs Aston Villa

Manchester City were dealt a huge blow in the pursuit of their fourth consecutive Premier…

2 months ago

Palmer & Sterling On The Flanks: 4-2-3-1 Chelsea Predicted XI vs Burnley

Chelsea return to Premier League duty tomorrow and they will face a relatively easy task,…

2 months ago

3 things Erik ten Hag should fix to bolster Manchester United’s top four hopes

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Manchester City in the derby at the Etihad Stadium…

2 months ago