EPL & European Domestic League Round-up

11th November 2019

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Liverpool took a massive step to winning their first league title in 30 years with a 3-1 win against Manchester City at Anfield. It means that the Reds have gone 9 points clear of the champions and are leading the table by 8 points over the 2016 champions Leicester City.

Annoyingly though the game was ravaged by more VAR controversy when City believed that they had two penalties turned down and surely if given that would have changed the game. The one that did look a certain penalty was when Trent Alexander-Arnold clearly handled the ball in the area after just 5 minutes but nothing was given. Was it meant? Does it matter? Under new rules ball to hand, hand to ball it's a penalty, that's what we have been told, and the decision did seem harsh on Pep Guardiola's team and very fortunate for Jurgen Klopp's team who then went up the other end and scored.

At the same time Liverpool did get 3 goals, some brilliant, and City have an awful record at Anfield. However it's a sad time when a team wins 3-1 yet we still leave the game thinking what would have happened if the correct call had been made 5 minutes in? City probably would have gone 1-0 up and then Liverpool would have been chasing the game, creating a completely different dynamic to what actually happened.

It has seemed this season that after the disappointment of last season's campaign that Liverpool want the League title so bad, whereas for City, they appear to want the Champions League more. That doesn't mean that City will give up the fight and indeed it is odd to see them in 4th place albeit just a point behind Leicester and Chelsea, but this league looks like Liverpool's to lose now who have been defeated just once in their last 51 games.

Leicester keep on going and one is reminded of their title win, if it wasn't for Liverpool and Manchester City stepping up to another level maybe we would include them to win the title again. But if the Foxes qualify for the Champions League that would still be a massive achievement. The way they beat Arsenal was very professional. An end to end game where Arsenal battled but then wilted once Jamie Vardy's 75th minute goal took the canons out of the Gunners and they looked spent. When James Maddison added a second it almost felt inevitable.

Chelsea have won six games in a row in the Premier League and a lot of credit has to go to the youngsters such as Tammy Abraham. Frank Lampard has been justified in being named the manager and after a rocky first month has installed a belief in the team not seen for some time. Time will tell if it can last but like Leicester a top 4 finish has to be on the cards.

Every time it seems that Marco Silva is one game away from getting the sack at Everton the club bounce back and they did so again winning 2-1 at Southampton. What was impressive was that they were pulled back to 1-1 away from home and yet Richarlison came up trumps to get the winning goal and the team showed some mettle, they will play Norwich next and should be able to obtain another 3 points, which would divert the heat away from Silva for a bit.

Another manager feeling that heat is Arsenal's Unai Emery, with no wins in 4 games somehow the club remain in 6th place despite poor form but Emery was quick to say that everyone needs to remain calm. He is right because Arsenal's next fixtures are against the likes of Southampton, Norwich and Brighton all games he knows his team can win. However if the club slip up in those matches it wouldn't be a surprise if Arsenal were to cut their ties with him by the end of the month.

Maurizio Sarri hauled Cristiano Ronaldo off the pitch after 55 minutes in the Juventus-Milan game and that has made the headlines. Seeing Ronaldo subbed simply doesn't happen, but with Sarri in charge he's done it in two consecutive games. Ronaldo was none too pleased and reportedly left the ground before the end of the match. A great player but less of a professional at times, Ronaldo needs to question himself as Sarri replaced him because of a niggling knee injury and not because of how he played. Ronaldo himself signalled that his knee wasn't perfect during the game so to act as he did was bizarre. Maybe it was a complement to their rival Milan, but they stand as a big team in name only and have been poor for almost a decade now. To rub salt in the wounds Ronaldo's replacement Pablo Dybala got the winner in a 1-0 win.

Lionel Messi by his usual high standards has had a quiet campaign but the goals are coming in now and he scored a hat trick at the weekend to send Barca top of the standings, he now has 8 goals in 7 league games. Real Madrid also won but the story recently is one of Gareth Bale out injured. His episode started in the summer when manager Zinedine Zidane was adamant about offloading the Welshman. A China deal seemed on the cards but Bale fought hard to stay and Florentino Perez, the club president, fought even harder and Bale stayed. Well now it seems Bale could leave the club in January, don't shed too many tears because his deal in China could be worth £1m a week.

Finally there was trouble in France when Marseille took on Lyon. Lyon's bus was attacked before the game and the team clearly rattled went on to lose the match 2-1. PSG won again 2-1 at Brest and had to do so without both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe who are out injured. They have extended their lead at the top to 8 points.

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