BPL: Week Fifteen Review

Gerard Deulofeu, on-loan from Barcelona, has proven to be a shrewd signing by Roberto Martinez.
Gerard Deulofeu, on-loan from Barcelona, has proven to be a shrewd signing by Roberto Martinez.

Arsenal missed the chance to extend their lead at the summit of the Premier League to seven points as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton on Sunday. Roberto Martinez’s in-from Everton side traveled to the Emirates Stadium full of confidence, following their 1-0 victory over Manchester United. Substitute Gerard Deulofeu’s late strike cancelled out Mesut Ozil’s close ranger opener to earn the Toffees their much deserved point. Everton’s defeat at Manchester City in October remains their only league loss of the season. No side in the Premier League have proven harder to beat. Arsenal, on the other hand, will be disappointed having squandered their advantage, especially with the prospect of Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday.

Manchester United slumped to their second home defeat in a row as Newcastle picked up a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Saturday. Yohan Cabaye scored from a Moussa Sissoko cross in the 61st minute to give the Magpies their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972. The home side struggled to break down Newcastle and the defending champions lacked fluidity and creativity, especially in mid-field areas. The defeat condemned United to their first back to back defeats at Old Trafford since the 2001-02 season, and piled yet more pressure on manager David Moyes. His side have dropped 13 points, out of a possible 24, at home this season and are win-less in their last four matches. United are also 13 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal, and their title hopes dangle by a thread. Newcastle, on the other hand, have won five out of their last six, including victories over United, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Alan Pardew has guided the Magpies to an impressive seventh in the table.

Chelsea also slipped to a surprise defeat as Stoke City came from behind to win 3-2 at the Britannia Stadium. Oussama Assaidi scored a superb late winner to earn the Potter’s only their fourth victory of the season. Andre Schurrle scored two magnificent goals for the Blues but Jose Mourinho’s side were pegged back courtesy of Peter Crouch and Stephen Ireland, before Assaidi stepped up to curve home the winner. Chelsea dropped down to third place in the table and Mourinho’s team have now conceded more goals this season  than they did in the whole of his debut season as Chelsea manager in 2004-05.

Dani Osvaldo, who joined from Roma during the summer, is Southampton's record signing
Dani Osvaldo, who joined from Roma during the summer, is Southampton’s record signing

Dani Osvaldo’s sublime strike earned Southampton a point as they drew 1-1 with Manchester City at the Etihad. Manchester City started the game brightly and took the lead courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s 12 goal of the season. However, the Saints put in a vibrant and energetic performance throughout the encounter, and were good value for their point. Mauricio Pochettino’s side had lost three on the bounce coming into the match, and were desperate for a return to form after their spectacular start to the campaign. City dropped to fourth in the table, and face league leaders Arsenal on Saturday.

Liverpool went second in the table with a 4-1 victory over West Ham at Anfield. The match’s key talking points were two own-goals and two more strikes for Reds talisman Luis Suarez. Brendan Rodgers’ side have now scored an impressive  17 goals in their last four BPL matches and the Northern Irish manager believes his side are genuine title contenders this season, they currently sit 5 points behind Arsenal.

Elsewhere, Sunderland remain bottom of the table following their 2-1 defeat by Tottenham. Spurs came back from a goal down to ease the pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas. Tony Pulis’ Crystal Palace earned back-to-back wins for the first time this season as they beat fellow new boys Cardiff City 2-0. Gary Hooper’s fifth goal of the season helped earn Norwich City a 2-0 win over West Bromich Albion. Fulham ended a run of seven consecutive defeats by beating Aston Villa 2-0, to give head coach Rene Meulensteen his first win in charge of the Cottagers. Finally, Swansea and Hull City played out a 1-1 draw at the Liberty Stadium on Monday.

Sources: BBC Sport, sportsmole.co.uk