Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Matchweek 23 Results: The Race Is On As Man City Heads To Arsenal Wednesday!

Arsenal risks its first place standing in the table for the first time since August when the Gunners host Manchester City on Wednesday. The Gunners dropped points for a second consecutive match in a 1-1 draw with Brentford. It was the first time this season that Arsenal has gone two league matches without a victory. Manchester City, meanwhile, took advantage of the Gunners’ misfire to move within three points of Arsenal after the defending league champions smashed Aston Villa 3-1 at the Etihad. Brentford’s Ivan Toney ruined the day for Arsenal fans in the 74th minute at the Emirates when his 15th goal of the season equalized a match Arsenal hoped to have won with Leandro Trossard’s first goal as a Gunner just eight minutes earlier. A VAR review of a possible offside on Toney’s goal yielded no fruit for the Gunners.


Manchester City capitalized with its romp over suddenly struggling Aston Villa on Sunday. Rodri, Gundogan and Mahrez all tallied in the first half against a Villa side which has now given up seven goals in its last two matches. Ollie Watkins scored the second half consolation goal for Villa. Manchester City has now responded to its own recent slump in form and multiple allegations of financial impropriety by positioning itself to take control of the Premier League title chase once again. The Citizens possess the superior goal differential which would nudge them past Arsenal with a win on Wednesday. 

Manchester United is also creeping closer to the Gunners after a 2-0 win over managerless Leeds on Sunday. Marcus Rashford continued his dream season with his 12th Premier League goal and 24th score across all competitions. Alejandro Garnacho responded to recent criticism of his performances by manager Eric ten Hag by knocking home the Red Devils’ insurance goal. The Red Devils drew to within five points of Arsenal though they have played two more matches than the Gunners. 

Manchester United also put five points between themselves and fourth place Newcastle after a league leading 11th draw by the Magpies in a 1-1 decision at Bournemouth. Miguel Almiron’s goal in first half stoppage time earned the point against Newcastle Manager Eddie Howe’s former club. The draw was a fifth in the last six league matches for Newcastle which has managed to improve its advantage over Tottenham Hotspur for the final Champions League place during that run.


Spurs lost for a third time in six matches in a 4-1 defeat to suddenly dangerous Leicester. The Foxes have scored four goals in each of their last two matches, both victories which have helped to quell potential relegation battle concerns. Each four goal outburst by the Foxes featured four individual scorers for manager Brendan Rodgers’ suddenly robust attack. Spurs, meanwhile, suffered the heavy defeat just a week after a 1-0 triumph over Manchester City, continuing a trend of inconsistent performances which have maddened club supporters. Fifth place Tottenham Hotspur now trails Newcastle by two points and has played one more match than the Magpies. 

Brighton and Hove Albion are four points behind Spurs with two matches in hand after the Seagulls drew 1-1 with rival Crystal Place in the M23 derby. A Pervis Estupinan goal which would have provided all three points for the Seagulls was incorrectly ruled out by VAR. The Premier League’s referee association apologized to both Brighton and Arsenal (for an incorrect ruling on Brentford’s equalizing goal) after a rough weekend for officials. 

Fulham rebounded from a three-match winless run by thumping Nottingham Forest by a 2-0 margin at Craven Cottage. The Cottagers eased back ahead of Brentford into seventh position in the table by inflicting the first defeat of 2023 upon Nottingham Forest. 

Chelsea and West Ham tortured supporters for 90 minutes plus stoppage time in a dreary 1-1 result at London Stadium. Joao Felix scored his first goal for Chelsea in the 16th minute. West Ham’s Emerson equalized in the 28th minute. That was it. Futility for the balance of the match was such that neither side had a shot on target in the second half. 

Sean Dyche, after an exhilarating win over Arsenal, witnessed a more common Toffee performance on Monday when the new Everton manager saw his club fall 2-0 at Liverpool. A dreadful Everton attack, which had defeated Arsenal on a corner headed in by defender James Tarkowski, managed just a single shot on target at Anfield this week. Liverpool had gone three matches without scoring before seeing Mohamed Salah and Cody Pakpo find the net against their crosstown rival. The momentary elation over the derby victory does little to alleviate the gloom of a season which has Liverpool ninth in the league table. Everton, meanwhile, occupies the relegation zone with co-inhabitants Bournemouth and Southampton. 

Southampton is back in the manager search business again after the club mercifully sacked Nathan Jones after a short but odious stint as Saints manager. Jones took over in November after the sacking of Ralph Hasenhuttl. The Welsh manager, having previously succeeded only at Luton, presented an odd choice and soon proved his doubters correct. Jones lost seven of his first eight league matches in charge of the Saints. After throwing his players under the bus and claiming supporters were contributing to his lack of success, Jones was on shaky ground entering the weekend match with Wolves. Redemption teased momentarily as the Saints took a 1-0 lead and Wolves went down to 10 men. Unfortunately for Jones, his club collapsed against an opponent with a more accomplished manager in Julen Lopetegui. Wolverhampton scored twice, despite being a man down, to take all three points in a 2-1 victory. Jones ran quickly down the tunnel after the ignominious defeat, failing to acknowledge players or supporters after the match. He was sacked the next morning, ending the shortest managerial tenure in Southampton’s history. 

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