The title race is really starting now. Another weekend of Premier League action ended with leaders Manchester City slipping away at Crystal Palace, and they will likely have ended up in the runway in these last nine games with Liverpool winning again to close the gap by one point.
The title race taking another turn wasn’t the only big story at the top levels of the table, with Cristiano Ronaldo again making headlines after falling years with a stunning hat-trick, but one that was somewhat weakened by Arsenal’s side. Victory the next day. At the other end of the action, both Watford and Leeds have racked up invaluable victories in their battle to remain silent, the latter doing so in dramatic last-minute fashion.
As always, trying to pick five top players from among them takes a lot of action, but here are our picks for Matchweek 29’s Stars of the Week.
The Arsenal-Leicester game was a tie to end Sunday’s game, an entertaining game that was a fitting end to the day’s events as Arsenal won 2-0. Although the result looks relatively comfortable on paper, goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale produced his second brilliance at Leicester this season to play a major role in the win.
With Arsenal leading 1-0, Ramsdale saved two great goals from Harvey Barnes, including a superb save from a header that looked headed into the top corner, to help Arsenal stay in command and later seal victory with a crucial second goal.
They were two of the three saves he made during the match to lock down the Foxes again, and now Leicester must have gotten tired of seeing him.
Liverpool’s ever-increasing winning streak continues to grow, and in a potentially tough game against Brighton on Saturday lunchtime, the Reds emerged 2-0.
The praise recently received by Joel Matip is well documented, but is also justified as it is proven again here. Matip’s perfect long ball was the key to breaking the deadlock against The Seagull, picking out Luis Diaz who finished the match past Robert Sanchez.
Matip didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities either, making one and four block intercepts. Simply unmissable for Jurgen Klopp at the moment.
The match of week 29 was earthquake-strewn in the context of the relegation battle – of all the strugglers, it was Watford who pulled off the biggest result of the weekend with an unexpected 2-1 victory over self-defeating Southampton.
The winger made a difference for the Hornets, stealing from the early doors and jumping on a horrific back pass from Muhammed Salisu before finishing brilliantly from a tight corner to give his side the lead, before doubling it later in the first half with a fine back. The last barrage.
Despite the Saints attempting to strike back, the damage had already been done, and Watford champion Hernandez had to lift them toward the roof of the relegation zone. The Colombian appears to be starting to shine at such a critical time of the season.
Could it be anyone else? Manchester United may have a bad season, but it’s not enough to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from writing the headlines, as the soccer star scored a stunning hat-trick to help the Red Devils beat Spurs.
From almost nothing, Ronaldo set Old Trafford on fire early with a stunning long-range shot into the top corner of Hugo Lloris’ net. A simple counter-attack gave the number seven his second goal before the break, and with the match balanced at 2-2, Ronaldo headed home from a corner kick to finally defeat Spurs.
At the age of 37, few players in the world would manage to make such an impact in the world’s toughest league – a testament to Ronaldo’s unparalleled longevity, let alone talent.
The last weekend in the Premier League may not be full of drama and surprising results, but after a significant win and three potentially decisive points of the season, Roy Hodgson was well-deserved with the Coach of the Week award.
Watford’s side were ahead from the start, and brave pressure forced Southampton into the error they put in. The quick start paid off with not only a goal but also a clear improvement in confidence, resulting in a crucial second goal that made the Saints’ return highly unlikely.
Despite having to use their luck at times in the second half, Watford proved all the time that they can still beat Southampton in the first half, and can even score another goal with their multiple counter-attacks.
Could this win change Watford’s fortunes and start a great escape? Time will tell.
Manchester City and England fan. Opinion and feature writer on everything related to the Premier League and beyond.