Congratulations, Liverpool, on winning the 2019-2020 Premier League! With Wolves’s stunning comeback to beat Manchester City and Liverpool’s dismantling of Leicester on Boxing Day, the gulf in class (and actual gulf) has proven to be vast. Liverpool are now fully 13 points clear with a game in hand over Leicester, who have now dropped eight of their last nine available points after an eight-game win streak. After starting the season with four draws and two losses, Wolves have gone on to only lose one of their last 13 matches, and are now firmly in 5th place, one point ahead of a newly-revitalized Tottenham, and two points behind a stumbling Chelsea. Let’s dive in:
3: All of Adama Traore’s last three goals have come against Manchester City, and you couldn’t ask for better goals than these. Traore completely turned around the match against City, one which City very easily could have won with smarter play in the defensive third, despite going a man down (more on that later).
100: Harry Kane reached the 100 mark at home, tallying 100 goals in 172 home appearances at club level.
17: Arsenal put together 17 shots in a match that displayed their utter inability to finish, and raised questions as to whether Lacazette is worth what was paid for him. Might start betting against Arsenal, seems to be a safe bet at this point, with the Gunners falling out of the top ten and having won only one of their last five league fixtures.
Nunu Espiritu Santo: not a number, but he deserves it, becoming just the second manager ever to win the league double against Pep Guardiola, a massive accomplishment for Santo and his giant-killers (Conte’s Chelsea did it in 2016/17).
Carlo Ancelotti won his first match as Everton manager, continuing his streak of never losing an opening match anywhere he has managed.
4: Mason Greenwood’s goal against Newcastle made him the fourth ever United teen to score in consecutive Premier League home matches, joining names like Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs.
4: Liverpool’s margin of victory over Leicester marked the largest beat-down by the top team versus the second team since Manchester City slaughtered Manchester United 6-1 in 2011.
251: Despite losing to Wolves today, Manchester City have a chance this week to earn their 251st win of the decade against Sheffield United, extending their record.
Really? Tottenham fans? In 30 minutes, Tottenham fans were able to set English football’s development back five years with idiotic, senseless gestures towards Rudiger shortly after Son’s red card. The moment marred what otherwise was a phenomenal performance by Frank Lampard’s men against their old manager, and Frank’s first matchup against Mourinho. The fact that we’re ending a decade on the same old idiotic, juvenile rubbish is disheartening, and deserves swift, strong action from the FA. Closed stadiums, forfeiture of points, permanent banning and arrest of fans involved, something has to be done, otherwise we risk descending into the madness that plagues Europe.
Scheduling and Other Topics
Thank you so much, Football Association, for deciding that breaks are unnecessary in the Premier League, and instead allowing the Premier League to create schedules that have Wolves playing Manchester City and Liverpool with a 45 hour gap between the two games. Truly great matchmaking and scheduling. On another note, I’m extremely glad that the FA seems to have changed its stance on keeper fouls over Christmas, with Ederson smashing into two players in two games but only getting a red card for the second one. This type of foul is ridiculous, dangerous, and something that has been overlooked for a long time, and to see it called correctly today was a beautiful thing to watch.
As this will be the last article of the year and of the decade, I hope readers everywhere enjoy this weekly column, and I’ll write more next decade! Please always feel free to reach out with questions, comments, concerns, or just to slate Arsenal, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @GadsbysEngland.
P.S.: Manuel Pellegrini just got fired, making all of my managerial firing predictions correct thus far. Next on the block: Ralph Hassenhuttl or Eddie Howe. We’re running out of managers to sack this season, and we’re not even fully through Matchweek 20!
Norwich City versus Tottenham Hotspur -1 (+120) is a brilliant matchup for Tottenham. In what should be a resounding win, a win by a single goal gets you your money back.
West Ham versus Leicester CIty -.5 (-115). Leicester are in a spot of bad form, but good teams tend to pick up the slack against weaker ones, and that’s exactly the opportunity this provides Leicester.
Manchester City versus Sheffield United +2 (-130). Sheffield won’t get blown out here, as they’ve been brilliant away all season and Manchester just came off a crushing loss.
Arsenal versus Chelsea 0 (-140). Time to prove my thesis: I’ll take Chelsea on this one and see if Arsenal are actually worth betting against, or if they’re just generally terrible to bet around.
All of the other matches are either too even or too risky, in my opinion.