Well, that was unexpected.
The Premier League returned with midweek Matchday 24 games. And things didn’t go as expected.
The Big 6 Premier League clubs trending up laid eggs, and the ones trending down showed up.
How will this impact the rest of the season?
Also read: Premier League Big 6 Futures
Liverpool Miss An Opportunity to Separate
Manchester City inexplicably lost to Newcastle United 2-1 despite going up 1-0 in the first minute on Tuesday. Liverpool had an opportunity to move 7 points clear playing at home. I even started writing this post on Tuesday night.
As High Press Soccer wrote though in the Liverpool Player Ratings vs. Leicester City report, only Mane, Bobby Firmino and Robbo really showed up, and even though they went up in the opening seconds like City, they also dropped points with a draw.
Instead of going up 7, they go up 5, and that ever elusive Premier League title is still up for grabs.
Tottenham and Arsenal Solidify Top 4 Spots
Welcome Arsenal to Champions League consideration!
After getting throttled 5-1 by Liverpool, Arsenal appeared destined for the Europa League in 2019-20. Then, they pulled off a key win against Chelsea 2-0. This was at the beginning of Chelsea’s slow and comical implosion, culminating with a 4-0 shellacking by AFC Bournemouth. Arsenal now find themselves tied for fourth in the Premier League table. Who’d have thunk?
Tottenham has seen Harry Kane and Dele Alli go down with injuries (and Son Heung-min go to the Asia Cup), yet, they’ve now gained points, moving within 7 of Liverpool. Son keyed a late 2-1 win against Watford on Wednesday, scoring the winner in the closing minutes.
Chelsea is the new Manchester United
Remember when Jose Mourinho was a curmudgeonly blowhard torpedoing a talented, expensive, and under-achieving squad? Maurizio Sarri was like, “Hold my beer.”
The addition of Gonzalo Higuain was supposed to solve their offensive woes, yet, they go scoreless to Bournemouth as his runs were overlooked and passes to him were consistently off target.
What a mess.
Suddenly, Chelsea is tied with Arsenal for fourth and trending the wrong way. If nothing else, they’ve filled the void left by United’s dysfunction.
A Tale of Two Manchesters
Manchester City, possibly feeling the pressure of a title pursuit from Liverpool, somehow drop points to relegation candidates Newcastle. The (Blue) sky is falling!
Manchester United, down 0-2 in the second half, storm back for a tie, and despite dropping valuable points in a race to get back into the top 4, still feel like they have all of the momentum.
Their derby on March 16th should provide plenty of fireworks. A title for City and Champions League qualification for United may be at stake.
The More Things Change…
Despite (or because of) this mixed bag of results, FiveThirtyEight title and top 4 percentages basically remain the same as they were at the beginning of the week.
After City’s loss, Liverpool was bumped to over 80% to win the Premier League, but fell back down to 74% after their draw. Chelsea is still almost 50% to qualify for the Champions League, while Arsenal and United stay around 35% and 23%, respectively.
With another matchday down, the Premier League picture only got more intriguing.