Three games took place today in the EPL. We had games featuring six teams who really needed a result to make a statement on the rest of their season. Chelsea needed the win to make a bigger gap in their fight for the EPL title. Southampton needed the win to get themselves back into the top four Champions League race. Manchester United and Tottenham both needed to win to stay in the top four or get into position to get into the top four. Everton and Newcastle needed to win in order to help turn their season around from their own respective tailspin in the EPL.
Chelsea 1-1 Southampton
Chelsea gave Manchester City another lifeline as they drew Southampton 1-1. With the draw, Chelsea only picked up a point on City and are six points up on 2nd with a game against last place Leicester City in hand. Chelsea still has one hand on the Cup but they keep things interesting for another week. Southampton salvaged a point against the top team in the EPL and kept somewhat in touch on those in the top five. Southampton is now six points back of Manchester United for 4th so they are almost out of it but not completely.
Jose Mourinho always seems to have the last word on the action. For today, he is very “matter of fact” and turned the tables around on the interviewer and asked him his opinion on the PK against Chelsea which resulted in Southampton getting the draw.
Everton 3-0 Newcastle United
Both of these teams are desperate to get a win. Both are free falling in the EPL table and were hoping to use the other to stop that. Everton did just that by winning 3-0 and looks like they have kept themselves out of any sort of relegation talk. They have a tough two games against Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League on both sides of this game (Everton leads 2-1), but by scoring five goals within three days, Roberto Martinez has had the best stretch they have had all year.
Everton’s first goal was brilliant. The long pass to Romelu Lukaku along with the awareness to backheel to James McCarthy was perfect and McCarthy got Tim Krul to go the wrong way to give Everton their first goal of the day. It only got better for Everton and they won 3-0.
Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
WOW! I knew Manchester United was struggling a bit to get wins but they weren’t struggling today. They systematically dismantled Tottenham 3-0 and fully earned their win.
Look at how United won. They went back to an attacking style that didn’t rely so much on crosses and air balls. They connected with passes on the ground and through the middle of the field. Louis van Gaal played players in their natural positions, like Wayne Rooney at striker and look what happens.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, van Gaal seems to overthink things and make things harder than what they should be. Keep it simple like today and United can get these easy wins. Now they have pushed Tottenham to a tie with Southampton, while United is in 4th and only two points behind Manchester City in 2nd. The game against Liverpool will obviously be huge.