EPL Roundup: February 25, 2019
After a week away, the Premier League came back in a big way this weekend. Let’s catch up on everything that happened on the field and all the news around the league.
Manchester United managed to squeeze out a point in the rivalry game against Liverpool on Sunday, but it came at a price. The Red Devils saw Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard all subbed off due to injury in the first half. Marcus Rashford also played 90 minutes despite picking up an ankle injury early in the game. He likely would have come off had it not been for the earlier subs and Lingard picking up a knock right before halftime.
Needless to say, all four are question marks health-wise moving forward, especially Lingard, who only recently returned from a hamstring injury that he appeared to re-aggravate. On top of those three being forced off the field, United believes that Nemanja Matic could miss the next month of action after picking up an injury during training on Saturday. With three games in an 8-day span and four games in a 12-day span starting Wednesday, this will be a difficult stretch for Man U.
One day before Liverpool dropped points, Tottenham had a chance to inch closer to the top of the table, only to lose 2-1 away at Burnley. After the game, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino confronted referee Mike Dean, complaining about a missed call that gave Burnley a corner kick that led to their first goal. It was an out of character moment for the usually calm and collected Pochettino, who expressed his regret at going after Dean at the post-game press conference.
“When you feel so disappointed and upset, maybe you sometimes make some mistakes. We made mistakes on the pitch, and I made a mistake after,” said Pochettino. “You know it’s something where the feelings and emotions are there. Something stupid happens, and you react. Maybe I’ll go after (to apologize).
It wasn’t all bad news for Spurs on Saturday, as they saw the early return of striker Harry Kane from an ankle injury. Kane scored the team’s only goal on Saturday and has returned in time for a pair of London derby’s this week against Chelsea and Arsenal. Despite the loss, Tottenham remains just six points back of Liverpool with 11 games left to play. Their margin of error is small, but they still have time to factor into the title race if they can quickly bounce back from Saturday’s loss.
Out of Time
After a 4-1 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday, Leicester City ran out of patience with manager Claude Puel, firing him less than 18 months after he took the job. The Foxes have lost five of their last six league games and were also bounced from the FA Cup in the third round again Newport County of League Two. Leicester is now in 12th place, eight points from the relegation zone. This has been a rough season for both Puel and the club following the sudden death of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in October. Despite his best efforts, Puel has failed to guide the club through the storm. Assistant coaches Mike Stowell and Adam Sadler will run the club until a replacement can be found.
No More Spending
Speculation about Maurizio Sarri’s job at Chelsea continues, and even if he survives the season, it won’t be easy to turn things around. Chelsea has been hit with a signing ban by FIFA for the next two transfer windows. The club has also been fined $600,000 after an investigation into their signing of players under the age of 18. The good news is that Chelsea will appeal FIFA’s ban, which will allow them to sign players this summer and prepare for two windows without adding a player. The club will also add Christian Pulisic this summer after signing him in January and loaning him back to Borussia Dortmund. They also added Gonzalo Higuain on an 18-month loan in January. However, there is strong speculation that Eden Hazard will leave the club this summer, so it could be a challenge to replace him.
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