Could someone please pause the Premier League so we can catch our breath and try to reflect for a moment what is going on? The twists, the surprise packages and the fact that any one team can beat the other has been evident throughout the season and predicting who will win in any given match is becoming increasingly more difficult.
The only team you can rely on presently is Manchester City who have won 9 consecutive games and look to be heading for the title, and are being quoted at odds of 1.15 to do so. City are only three points clear of Manchester United but have a game in hand. But what is putting the fear into bookmakers is their consistency of victories, no other Premier League team is able to keep up with that and if they beat Liverpool next weekend they would go 10 points clear of the champions with a game in hand.
Talking of the champions, maybe in this strange season it is too early to say that the recent batch of games spelt the end of their league hopes but Liverpool look on the canvas now. In their previous home game they lost to Burnley which ended their unbeaten run of over 60 home league games. Liverpool looked a shadow of the side that dominated last season and even in the early stages of this campaign.
They had 2 back to back games in London, went to Tottenham first to drive the nail in the coffin of Jose Mourinho's title dreams by winning 3-1, and it looked like Liverpool were back. The Reds followed that win by beating an in form and solid West Ham team and Mohamed Salah scored two brilliant goals to boot, Liverpool were definitely back. Returning to Anfield to face 17th placed Brighton surely it was an inevitability that they would make it 3 wins in a row? Surely Liverpool were not going to lose two home games in a row? And yet this is the season that knows no shocks as Brighton played a blinder and Liverpool played out the word 'frustration' for 90 minutes and lost the game 1-0.
Liverpool's odds of winning the title have slipped to 11.00 they are not even 2nd favourites, that honour goes to Manchester United who are 9.00 to win their first league since Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day in 2013. For United it was smiles in midweek as they hammered Southampton at Old Trafford 9-0. There were seven different scorers for the club and Anthony Martial scored 2 goals. United were 4-0 up by half time and scored another 4 goals in the last 23 minutes. Spare a thought for Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl who has already been through this last season when his side lost by the same score line against Leicester. Southampton will be breaking records that they do not want.
Arsenal lost against Wolves by 2-1 but that game felt over shadowed by David Luiz's sending off for his 'ghost foul' on Willian Jose. Jose had the pace on Luiz and surged forward into the area, Jose then seemed to slightly brush Luiz, the Arsenal defender had not attempted a tackle and Luiz was sent off and Wolves were given a penalty. It looked extremely harsh on the Brazilian and left media pundits puzzled up and down the country. One will hope along with the offside rule that the laws of the game can be changed somewhat this summer. This is a league that keeps you on your toes and keeps surprising and the story will continue this weekend.
The winter transfer window came to an end this week. Here are the best deals:
- Martin Odegaard to Arsenal
- Morgan Sanson to Aston Villa
- Joshua King loan to Everton
- Amad Diallo to Manchester City
- Takumi Minamino loan to Southampton
- Robert Snodgrass to West Bromwich Albion
- Jesse Lingard to West Ham
- Willian Jose to Wolves on loan