Premier League Update
A look at the Premier League at the halfway point of the season
February 1, 2017
Filed under Sports
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The Premier League is in full swing with the season passing it’s half way point. The current leaders “Chelsea” moved eight points clear of second place Arsenal. It seems that everyone is chasing Chelsea at the moment, but they are reluctant to give up ground. Spurs, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool all dropped points on the weekend, allowing the title race to become even more stretched out. Despite all the drama around Chelsea, they keep winning, but with a tough stretch of games ahead, the race could get a lot more exciting.
The league leaders Chelsea are currently 18-1-3 on 55 points. The team is firing on all cylinders with stars Diego Costa and Eden Hazard leading their title push. Costa is the joint top scorer with Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez on 15 goals. Despite rumors of Costa being moved to China or that the manager and him had had a falling out, Costa rebounded with his first game back by scoring a goal and silencing the critics. Manager Antonio Conte has the team playing flawlessly with the defense conceding the least amount of goals in the league. Summer signings David Luiz and N’golo Kante have been the backbone of the team. Although they are overlooked, their hard work allows the team to play the attacking, free-flowing football that they have been playing. Conte is aiming to further strengthen his squad in the winter transfer window with some massive targets. The targets include Arturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, and Dimitri Payet. Every single one of these players would add a massive boost to an already strong squad and allow the team to continue their push for the title.
Second place Arsenal scraped out a narrow 2-1 win on the weekend over Burnley. Arsenal received a questionable penalty in the 98th minute of stoppage time, which their leading goal scorer Alexis Sanchez finished. Arsenal’s season has not been pretty, but they have managed to scrap out many close games this season and find themselves eight points off first place. Arsenal has many top players, and if the team can stay healthy and play to their full ability. They are one of the only three teams to beat Chelsea this year, and this weekend, they are set to face off with them for the second time this season. They have good potential and should not be counted out of the title race. Once Chelsea plays Arsenal, they have a big matchup with fourth place Liverpool, who is also one of the three teams to have beaten Chelsea.
Liverpool suffered a devastating defeat to Swansea City on the weekend. Liverpool, who seemed to be the hottest team off the start, have hit a rough patch suffering draws and losses in games that they should have been able to breeze through. Luckily for Liverpool, their star, Philippe Coutinho, is back from injury. Unfortunately, Liverpool’s attack suffered a loss with Sadio Mane headed to the Africa Cup of Nations for one month. The front three of Coutinho, Firmino, and Mane were flying at the beginning of the season, but with the injury to Coutinho and the loss of Mane, there was a decline in Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Another interesting story in the premier league is the fall of the champions. Leicester City have started off their title defense in a historic failure. At this halfway point of the season, they have had the worst point total for a defending champion. The team have gone from winning the league to fighting relegation. The defense is leaking goals, and their star players, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, are not scoring as profoundly as last season. One of the biggest blows to their team was losing star midfielder N’golo Kante to Chelsea. The midfield is in shambles, and Kante is showing his class by taking Chelsea to the top of the table.
The second half of the season should be extremely riveting. Even though the title race is spread out now, it will undoubtedly become closer towards the finish. Also, the race for the golden boot is heating up with Sanchez and Costa both on 15 goals, followed closely by Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 14 goals and Harry Kane on 13 goals. Will Chelsea continue their current form, or will one of the chasers scratch their way back and contend for the Premier League title? Who will take home the golden boot? These questions will all be answered in the coming months.