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Premier League Round-Up: A Changing of the Guard?

Premier League Round-Up: A Changing of the Guard?

In bygone years, come the North London derby, Tottenham Hotspur fans clung to moral victories, citing the reputation of Pires and Co. for “simulation.” Nowadays, the tables have turned – and before Saturday’s early kick-off, Wenger pointed to “English players” as the “masters” of diving, a thinly veiled jab at Dele Alli and Harry Kane. As it was, Tottenham dominated the majority of the play throughout their 1-0 victory and despite Alexandre Lacazette’s late miss, should have won by four or five. In a derby characterised by Spurs’ dominance and an unexpected lack of foul of play from either side, Arsene couldn’t even point to the supposed dishonesty of Dele and Kane afterwards.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino will now look to Tuesday’s tie versus Juventus
Mauricio Pochettino 2016 is licensed by CC 2.0

Spurs’ near-failure to kill the game off, along with Arsenal’s reluctance to capitalise, perhaps demonstrates why neither side have been able to compete with Manchester City at the top of the table this season, who buried Leicester City 5-1 in Saturday’s late kick-off.

Juventus vs Tottenham is showing live at Topgolf on Tuesday 13th February at 19.45pm
Ostersunds vs Arsenal is showing live at Topgolf on Thursday 15th February at 18.00pm

Such is the standard Guardiola and his team have set this season, their heavy defeat of The Foxes came as no surprise – although the game was not without a minor plot twist. Riyad Mahrez, who at the end of the transfer window declared he would never play for Leicester again after he was held hostage against his will/politely asked to see out his £100,000 per week contract, perked up and decided he wouldn’t mind taking part after all, in a transparent attempt to show City that he doesn’t have the selfish attitude of a spoilt child picking the ball up and taking it home after not getting his own way.

Manchester City vs FC Basel is also showing live at Topgolf on Tuesday 13th Feburary at 19.45pm

Kasper Schmeichel supported Mahrez’s right to protest during the week, a move seen by some supporters as an attempt to trigger a big move of his own. Indeed, Schmeichel did appear to try and replicate the playing style of City keeper Ederson, by clipping a killer pass straight into the feet of… Sergio Aguero, who chipped over the Dane for his fourth goal of the game. Perhaps Schmeichel should wait for his move to an elite club to happen before he assists their strikers.

Not the only Sergio who loves a nice chip
Sergio Aguero 6974 by is licensed by CC 3.0

Aguero’s four deadly finishes against Leicester rocketed the Argentine back into the top three of the goal-scoring charts. One ahead of him is Mo Salah, who found the net yet against Southampton in the final game of the weekend, as the Liverpool away fans belted out their seventeen favorite chants dedicated to the Egyptian.

Southampton fans started the game booing former centre-back Virgil Van Dijk - and continued their jeering throughout the entirety of the match when they realised half of Liverpool’s squad used to play for them. For current Saints stars such as James Ward-Prowse, it must have felt like walking into a nightclub with your girlfriend, only for her to spend the night jealously berating her exes who work behind the bar.

Porto vs Liverpool is showing live at Topgolf, on Wednesday 14th February at 19.45pm

Liverpool’s 2-0 win helped them gain three points on Manchester United, who were beaten one-nil at a thunderously loud St James’ Park. It’s been said Newcastle United are really a Championship side, and the Geordie support backed this up by celebrating every clearance and tackle as they would a ninety-minute equaliser. The game resembled a David vs Goliath cup tie more than it did a Premier League clash. The roar that greeted Matt Ritchie’s second-half winner must have been heard in Sunderland, along with the collective groans of United’s world-wide support at centre-back Chris Smalling’s dive that ultimately led to Ritchie’s goal.

Even Jose couldn’t summon a good excuse for United’s loss after the game, merely citing the “animal” spirit of Newcastle’s players as responsible for the result. If Arsene Wenger can’t point the finger after a derby defeat and the Special One isn’t interested in whipping up an anti-referee conspiracy following a shock loss, has the fighting spirit of the old guard been blown away for good by Pep, Poch and Klopp?

Thankfully, everyone apart from Manchester City have proven reliably unreliable throughout the course of the season; there are plenty of twists and turns left in the race for the Champions League.

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