Follow It's Round and It's White on Facebook

Premier League: Five talking points from week 17 as Liverpool edge Merseyside derby

Wednesday 21st December 2016
In the last set of Premier League fixtures before Christmas, Manchester City came from behind to defeat Arsenal, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to secure victory for Manchester United. Here are the main talking points from matchday 17.

Alvaro Negredo helps Middlesbrough to three points

Middlesbrough began their home clash against Swansea City looking to put some distance in the table between themselves and the bottom three. Boro took the lead in the 18th minute through Alvaro Negredo's half volley; ten minutes later, Aitor Karanka's side made it two when Negredo converted from the penalty spot for his second of the game. After the half time break, Dutch midfielder Marten de Roon wrapped up the victory for his side: Middlesbrough 3-0 Swansea.
Negredo was a big name signing at the Riverside this summer and he has established himself as the focal point in Middlesbrough's attack, scoring five times up to now. Aitor Karanka's side were the lowest scorers in the Premier League before this game; despite the win, improvements are still required, as Boro have been inconsistent this season. However, they possess enough quality to avoid the drop. Middlesbrough now sit 14th in the table, four points above the relegation zone.

Southampton take spoils in south coast derby

Sunday witnessed the south coast derby take place at Dean Court between two sides that continue to improve. Bournemouth started the game the quickest as Nathan Ake headed in after just six minutes to give his side the lead. That advantage lasted less than 10 minutes; Ryan Bertrand equalised for Saints with a superb low strike. With the game in the Balance, Jay Rodriguez took command by scoring twice in the second half to make it 3-1 to Southampton.

Southampton have been less dynamic this season but are just as effective: Saints have averaged only a goal per game; however, they have the third best defensive record in the Premier League. Rodriguez's two goals is also a big boost, a player whose career was blighted by injuries after scoring 15 times for the club three seasons ago. Claude Puel is doing a fine job in his debut season; Southampton are now up to seventh in the table and fully capable of a top half finish.

Manchester City victory takes them above Arsenal

Both Manchester City and Arsenal had to win this game to keep league leaders Chelsea in their sights. It was Arsene Wenger's side that gained the early advantage; Theo Walcott found space in the box to dispatch his shot. In the second half, Arsenal surrendered their lead in abject fashion: Leroy Sane capitalised on some slack defending to equalise and twenty minutes from time, Raheem Sterling found the near corner to give Pep Guardiola's side a valuable three points.

Despite a huge amount of criticism towards Guardiola, he's sticking to his principles. Man City have an immensely talented squad, but Guardiola's philosophy will take time to have an effect. Man City can improve and they aren't out of the title race just yet. It's been a terrible week for Arsenal and Wenger: defeat at Everton after taking the lead was repeated just days later at the Etihad. Those results have derailed Arsenal's title bid and left questions that need answering.

Dramatic late goal sees Liverpool down Everton

On Monday night, Goodison Park hosted the first Merseyside derby of the season. Ronald Koeman's side were in confident mood after coming from behind to defeat Arsenal, while Liverpool had also won their previous match. As anticipated, it was a feisty encounter between the old enemies. The only goal of the game came in added on time when Sadio Mane reacted fastest in the penalty box, which gave Liverpool a 1-0 victory and the bragging rights on Merseyside.
After their meltdown at Bournemouth, Liverpool have recovered well by winning the last two games. Mane has been excellent and he's proved one of the signings of the season. There is something special about Jurgen Klopp, which suggests Liverpool are on the right track. At Everton, the club plays a more direct style under Koeman, but they are yet to master it. Everton have good players, so expectations are high. However, their campaign remains in the balance.

Two goals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other key moments

Manchester United are starting to rectify their slow start to the season. This weekend, they overcame West Bromwich Albion, 2-0. Zlatan Ibrahimovic's first came from a header, with his second via a deflected shot. Ibrahimovic has 11 Premier League goals this season and he's proving his reputation as being one of the world's best strikers. After three consecutive victories, Man United have found some consistency, which has closed the gap on the teams above them.

Premier League top goalscorer, Diego Costa, was the match winner once again for Chelsea as they defeated Crystal Palace, 1-0. Chelsea winning is becoming a regular occurrence; Antonio Conte's side have won 11 successive games and sit six points clear at the top of the table. While at the bottom, Sunderland recorded a 1-0 victory over Watford courtesy of Patrick van Aanholt's goal. With four wins in seven games, Sunderland are beginning to improve, but they still face a huge battle to avoid the drop this season.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



Total articles: 225

Latest Opinion Articles