Premier League wrap up: Liverpool take control, Everton climb the table and Arsenal’s struggles continue
Premier League weekend action kicked off on Saturday with Liverpool dominating Crystal Palace, Everton climbing into second place in the standings, and Arsenal still searching for a win. Let’s take a closer look at some of the action across Premier League on Saturday.
Crystal Palace 0-7 Liverpool
It goes without saying that globally there has been imperfect soccer in an unpredictable year, but for Liverpool they have manage to find a way to dominate through the setbacks and challenges.
The team has struggled through a raft of injuries, lost two of their primary defenders in Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez, struggled through some indifferent form but have now strung together two consecutive Premier League wins for the first tie since October. In keeping wither their uneven season, the seven goal triumph over Crystal Palace was a history making performance for the club, as the first seven goal victory on the road for the club in Premier League, while also being their first win away from home in the Premier League since September.
It could be a turning point for the club, a return to image of dominance in domestic play and an answer to the question of whether or not the Reds can recapture the spark of play that they performed with last season. Takumi Minamino was able to kick off the scoring onslaught early in the 3rd minute of play after earning the start over Mo Salah who has had a heavy match load over two weeks. It was a bright spot for the Japanese international, who has yet to hit top form after last January’s transfer.
Roberto Firmino has also rediscovered his scoring boots, as he scored two goals in the seven goal drubbing, and has now scored three goals over two matches.
Everton sits in second
Everton ensured themselves a spot in the top four during the holidays with a 2-1 win against Arsenal.
The Toffees have had consistency in a tumultuous year, and are quietly climbing the table. They’re now just five points behind Liverpool and on a three game win streak in Premier League. The team has gone through player losses of their own, similarly to first place Liverpool, having to compensate for absence of James Rodriguez, Allan and Lucas Digne among others.
They been able to rely on the veteran presence of Gylfi Sigurdsson, the 31-year-old Icelandic midfielder who has started for the Toffees over their last three consecutive victories. Manager Carlo Ancelotti has his team playing with confidence on the pitch even in moments of pressure.
In an active first half team went up on an own goal from Arsenal, and after giving up an equalizing penalty kick, remained steadfast in their pursuit of a win. Yerry Mina would provide a first half stoppage time goal to put Everton ahead. Despite holding little of the possession and being out shot 9 to 13, the Toffees remained organized, perhaps thanks to their backline which included extra center backs Mason Holgate and Ben Godfrey filling in as emergency fullbacks, and ensured the win.
Arsenal hits new low
The Gunners latest defeat against Everton came partially at their own hands as they now winless in their last seven matches and have lost five games. Their recent stretch has the team with just 14 points and now sit in 15th in the Premier League standings.
Their latest loss can hardly be blamed on the absence of one player, it’s not like the team was playing markedly better with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who missed out on Saturday due to an injured calf. The consecutive losses are only making hot seat warmer for manager Mikel Arteta, who is just a year removed from Arsenal’s FA Cup win last season. The numbers are nauseating, a mere five points from 30, but when performances are consistently this abject it can’t merely be the fault of the man on the sideline alone. Everybody from the pitch to the boardroom shares some of the responsibility.
The team seems out of ideas, and performances are appearing less and less inspiring week to week. Clearly the Gunners need some form of change to help pull them out of their rut downward. If a shakeup in lineups and tactics doesn’t provide some kind of spark in the face of such an abysmal streak, Arsenal will find themselves on more than the edge of the relegation battle. And certainly at that point the change, at least for Mikel Arteta will be much more drastic.