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Premier League: The real Leicester City returns and four other talking points from week 15

Tuesday 13th December 2016
The Premier League produced high drama over the weekend, with an incredible 36 goals scored in the 10 games. Here are the main talking points from matchday 15, which includes a crucial win for Swansea City and the extension of Chelsea's winning streak.

1 - Walter Mazzarri continues to overachieve at Watford

Watford faced Everton with Walter Mazzarri's side looking to return to winning ways after two straight league defeats. Everton took the lead in the 17th minute through Romelu Lukaku, but Watford equalised before half time with an inventive flick from Stefano Okaka. In the second half, the Hornets took full control: Sebastian Prodl gave his team the lead; five minutes later, Okaka scored his second of the game. Despite Lukaku finding the net once more, Watford held on to win 3-2.    
Among the Premier League managers, Mazzarri is arguably outperforming all of his counterparts. Watford were one of the favourites for relegation at the beginning of the campaign; However, in his debut season, the Italian coach has guided his side to seventh place, with 21 points from their opening 15 games. Watford have a balanced squad, they are also capable of scoring goals; with Mazzarri's astute tactical knowledge, Watford could be the surprise package this season.  

2 - Vital win for Swansea City over Sunderland

Swansea City and Sunderland were both in the bottom three heading into their game at the Liberty Stadium, which made picking up the three points essential for both clubs. Gylfi Sigurdsson eased the pressure on the Swans when he converted his penalty in the 51st minute; from then on, Bob Bradley's side took the initiative. Spanish striker Fernando Llorente scored twice more, which guaranteed Swansea a crucial victory - 3-0, and left David Moyes and Sunderland in deep trouble.  

The pressure has mounted on Bradley, but this win ensures him and his players of some breathing space. After a difficult start under their new manager, Swansea have won two of their last three games, which will have increased belief among their camp. After winning three of their previous four Premier League games, this result is a massive blow for Sunderland. Moyes faces an onerous task to restore confidence to his side as the Black Cats return to the foot of the table.

3 - Leicester City and Jamie Vardy back with a bang

Leicester City played host to Manchester City on Saturday. Claudio Ranieri's side have disappointed this season, but they blew Man City away in the opening 20 minutes. Jamie Vardy opened the scoring, followed two minutes later by a superb strike from Andy King. Vardy then finished off a typical Leicester counter attack, before completing a sensational hat trick. Goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito weren't enough for Man City, as the Foxes ran out 4-2 winners.

Vardy was yet to recapture the form he showed last season, which saw him score 24 Premier League goals, having netted just 2 this campaign. However, the England striker was back to his best at the weekend, and his three goals could reignite his season. Leicester defeated Man City by playing the football they have become synonymous with - fast counter attacks combined with devastating finishing. It's now time for Ranieri's side to climb the table over the coming weeks.

4 - Manchester United win as Henrikh Mkhitaryan shines

Manchester United's encounter with Tottenham Hotspur was a huge game for Jose Mourinho's team, as a victory would close the gap on fifth-placed Spurs to just three points, but defeat would see that margin increase to nine. Man United started the game on the front foot and they took the lead on the half-hour mark courtesy of an excellent finish from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Further chances came their way, but couldn't be taken. However, Man United secured a crucial 1-0 win.
Man United have been struggling to win games in the Premier League after three successive draws, but this result sets them back on the right track. Mkhitaryan's first league goal and outstanding performance were also a major boost; the Armenian has a big role to play at Old Trafford. It was essential for Man United to keep in touching distance of the teams above them; victory over Tottenham keeps Mourinho's side in the hunt for the top four, and possibly the title.

5 - Nine consecutive victories for Chelsea and other key moments

Chelsea left it late to see off West Brom as Diego Costa's superb solo goal proved decisive in helping Chelsea prolong their incredible run of victories in the Premier League. Antonio Conte's side have now won nine consecutive league games, which has seen them reach the top of the table, with a three-point advantage. There is an aura of invincibility surrounding Chelsea; Conte and his players believe they can win every game, which will make them difficult to stop this season.   

Burnley came away 3-2 winners over Bournemouth as goals from Jeff Hendrick, Stephen Ward, and George Boyd saw Sean Dyche's side climb up to 13th in the table. Burnley are exceeding expectations this season: Can Dyche maintain his team's standards? In the title race, Arsenal stayed on Chelsea's tail with a 3-1 victory at home to Stoke City - Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, and Alex Iwobi the scorers. While Liverpool lost further ground after drawing 2-2 at Anfield against a spirited West Ham United.
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.



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