EPL Round Up: March 4, 2019
We had a double dose of Premier League action this week with a lot going on at both ends of the table. Let’s check out all of the top stories from the past week.
The Brodge is Back
Days after firing Claude Puel, Leicester City name Brendan Rodgers as their new manager. Rodgers has spent the last two and a half years managing at Celtic in Scotland, but now he’s back in the Premier League for the first time since being sacked by Liverpool in October 2015. Unfortunately, his stint at Leicester did not get off to a positive start. After a mid-week win with Rodgers in the stands, the Foxes lost to Watford on Sunday, giving up a late goal to fall 2-1. Leicester City is now 11th in the Premier League table, eight points behind Wolves for 7th place and a possible spot in Europa League next season.
One Last Shot
Fulham also made a managerial change this week, firing Claudio Ranieri after a mid-week loss to Southampton, burying the club even further in the relegation battle. Ranieri only arrived at Craven Cottages in November, but Fulham earned just 12 points in his 16 matches. Scott Parker, who made 119 appearances at Fulham as a player from 2013 to 2017, is the caretaker manager. Under Parker, the Cottagers lost a hard-fought game to Chelsea on Sunday. They are 19th in the Premier League table, a full 10 points from safety with nine games left, so firing Ranieri could be a case of too little, too late.
And Then There Were Two
A Tottenham team with no home stadium and little depth put up a valiant fight, but the past week saw their title hopes take a serious hit. After a surprising loss to Burnley a week ago, the Spurs lost at Chelsea mid-week and could only muster a draw in the North London Derby on Saturday. They are now a full 10 points off the pace with nine games left and would need both Manchester City and Liverpool to collapse down the stretch to have a realistic chance. The good news is that they are in a good position to reach the Champions League quarterfinals later this week. However, they have just a 4-point lead over Arsenal for a spot in the top-4, so there is still some work left to do for Tottenham to secure a Champions League spot for next season.
With nine matches left to play, Manchester City holds a 1-point lead over Liverpool atop the table. After a crushing 5-0 win over Watford mid-week, the Reds lacked class in the final-third during Sunday’s Merseyside Derby against Everton, settling for a scoreless draw. Liverpool has settled for a draw in four of their last six Premier League games, causing them to lose their grip on first place.
Meanwhile, Manchester City scored a pair of 1-0 wins over West Ham United and Bournemouth over the past week, taking the defending champs back to the top of the table. Since their disappointing loss to Newcastle, the Citizens have won their last five Premier League games and now control their own fate in the title race despite games with Tottenham and Manchester United still left on their schedule.
At the Bottom
With Huddersfield Town and Fulham likely headed for relegation, the final relegated spot could be contested all the way to the end of the season. With three straight losses, Cardiff City has fallen back into the relegation zone with 25 points. Southampton is just two points clear with 27 while Burnley and Bright both have 30. Newcastle isn’t yet safe at 31 points. That means there are five teams within six points of one another, all trying to avoid being the third team to head down to the Championship.
And So It Goes
They say that when it rains it pours, and right now, it’s pouring injuries at Old Trafford. With over a handful of key players unavailable due to injury over the weekend, Manchester United’s Alexis Sanchez was pressed into duty despite his poor form throughout his tenure at the club. However, Sanchez was subbed off in the 2nd half of United’s 3-2 win over Southampton after picking up a knee injury. There is reportedly ligament damage in his knee that will keep the Chilean international out six to eight weeks. Not only are the Red Devils fighting to secure a top-4 spot, but they trail 2-0 heading into the second leg of their Champions League tie with PSG on Wednesday. Yet another injury is clearly not what the doctor ordered for United.
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