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EPL – Week 25 review
In what is becoming the most dramatic Premier League season since its inception in 1992, the latest round of matches produced what is arguably, the stand-out moment so far.
RANIERI’S FOXES BECOME THE TITLE FAVOURITES
12 months ago, Leicester City visited the Etihad Stadium bottom of the Premier League with survival looking unlikely. Fast-forward 12 months and the league-leaders put top-spot on the line against a Manchester City side who had not been beaten at home since the end of November. In one of the most dramatic games of this or any season, Claudio Ranieri’s team destroyed their hosts to become title favourites for the first time this year. The best online sports betting sites now have them as short as *3.00 to lift the trophy in May; not bad for a team that started the season priced at 5001.00. The way Leicester City took their opponents apart, thanks to goals from Robert Huth (2) and the magnificent RiyadMahrez, has surely silenced any doubters that the club from the East Midlands can produce one of the biggest shocks the English game has ever witnessed.
SPURS SLIP UNDER THE RADAR AND INTO SECOND SPOT
Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-0 home win over Watford on Saturday moves them up to second-place in the Premier League standings, five points off the summit. A goal from defender Kieran Trippier was enough to give Mauricio Pocchetino’s team the win, with the coach firmly believing his team can lift their first domestic league championship since 1961 after he explained that he could see the “feeling and the energy” in his players eyes. A trip to the Etihad to face Manchester City is next on the agenda for the club from North London.
GUNNERS EASE TO BOURNEMOUTH WIN TO STAY IN CONTENTION
Two first-half goals from German midfielder MezutOzil and England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (his first of the season) got Arsenal’s title challenge back on track on the South-Coast on Sunday. The Gunners are now level on points in second place with their North London rivals Spurs and host leaders Leicester City this coming weekend. They warmed up for next weekend’s big game with an easy win against Premier League new boys Bournemouth however, they did have goalkeeper Petr Cech to thank for a couple of outstanding saves and were also lucky to keep 11 men on the field, after French midfielder Mathieu Flamini’s reckless challenge just before the interval. Coach Arsene Wenger knows that victory at the Emiratesnext weekend is now vital to their championship aspirations.
IMPROVING UNITED HELD BY CHELSEA
With all the talk of Jose Mourinho’s impending summer arrival at Old Trafford, Manchester United put on their most impressive display of the season at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but only left with a point, thanks to the rejuvenated Diego Costa’s injury-time leveller for Chelsea. A superb strike mid-way through the second-half by Jesse Lingard looked to have given the visitors all three points but Gus Hiddink’s side were not to be denied and pulled level late on through the big Spanish striker. United coach Louis van Gaal was happy to declare to reporters afterwards that his side had put on a great display, but his mood changed dramatically when he was asked to comment on the latest Mourinho reports. Currently priced at *2.75 on the best football betting sites to finish in a Champions League place, performances like this suggest they are more than capable.
KLOPP ABSENT AS LIVERPOOL IMPLODE AGAIN
As it turned out, it was an afternoon to forget for Liverpool who gave away two late goals at Anfield against Sunderland to drop further behind the Premier League pacesetters. With coach Jurgen Klopp unable to attend the game due to an appendicitis, everything looked be passing off without a hitch as goals from Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana put the home side into a commanding lead. Things started to change on 77 minutes, when sections of the crowd walked out of the stadium in protest at proposed ticket price increases next season. Within five minutes, Sunderland were back in it, as an Adam Johnson free-kick somehow managed to squirm under the body of goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and their miserable end to the match was confirmed a minute from time, when striker Jermaine Defoe fired home to give the visitors an unlikely point.
*odds courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell