Premier League Monthly Recap – January
Manchester City – Not Backing Down Yet
After ending December with consecutive defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester City, Pep Guardiola’s men found themselves chasing Liverpool for the top spot on the Premier League table.
Manchester City are not backing out of this gripping title race just yet, bouncing back in the best way possible, with a 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad. That result could be one that had an even greater impact on the final table than already imagined, with City carrying the momentum into January with 3-0 wins against Wolves and Huddersfield.
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Perhaps the shock result of the entire season came in their final match of the month, losing to Newcastle 2-1 after leading the game through a Sergio Agüero goal just 24 seconds into the game. This result momentarily gave Liverpool the top spot once again.
Manchester City’s good record against Arsenal continued with a 3-1 win to kick off February. City can also look ahead to an EFL Cup final against Chelsea this coming month, which meant City’s match against Everton was pulled forward into the midweek. A 2-0 win at Goodison Park ensured City retained pole position once more, now level on points with Liverpool at 62, but with a better goal difference and having played one game more.
Manchester City host Chelsea next on Sunday, February 10th, 2019. K/O is at 9:30 pm IST.
Liverpool – Nerves and Pressure
The almost always smiling manager of Liverpool Jürgen Klopp may not be so happy at the moment, after seeing his Liverpool side squander the chance to go seven points clear at the beginning of January, to now conceding first place on goal difference a month later.
Liverpool held a four-point gap over City at the start of 2019, and a nervy 1-0 win over Brighton followed by a 4-3 thriller against Crystal Palace gave Liverpool the look of dogged and determined champions in the making.
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What followed was two rather uncharacteristic draws against Leicester City and West Ham. Liverpool led in both games through early goals by Sadio Mané, only to end the games at 1-1.
Whether nerves or pressure with Manchester City breathing down their necks, Liverpool sit second on the table and will hope for yet more slip-ups from City as the league inches closer and closer to the business end of the season.
Liverpool host Bournemouth today. February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Tottenham Hotspur – Well Done Son
Spurs began January with a 1-0 loss at home to Manchester United. They lost their talisman Harry Kane after this match, and lost Dele Ali in the following match, a 2-1 win over struggling Fulham that featured a Harry Winks winner in the 93rd minute.
Spurs then came from behind to defeat Watford 2-1 with Heung-Min Son starting the comeback. Their final game in January was a 1-0 win over Newcastle, with Son once again grabbing the late winner for Mauricio Pochettino.
These results have meant that Spurs, through all their new stadium delays and injuries up-front, remain amongst the conversation and hold a comfortable third place on the table. While the title looks to be just a two-horse race right now, underestimating Spurs would be unwise.
Spurs sit just five points off second with 57 and have a healthy seven-point gap ahead of Chelsea in fourth. Still a long shot for the title, results have proven that Spurs are worthy of their claim in the Top 4 this season.
Tottenham host Leicester City tomorrow, February 10th, 2019. K/O is at 7:00 pm IST.
Chelsea – In Danger of Dropping Out
Chelsea had an abysmal January, finishing with just one win against Newcastle in a 2-1 scoreline. That result proved to be their only win for January. 2019 began for the Blues with a 0-0 draw at home to Southampton, before the rails well and truly came off for Maurizio Sarri losing 2-0 away to Arsenal before being thrashed 4-0 at the hands of Bournemouth.
Chelsea secured the loan signing of Gonzalo Higuain before the winter transfer window closed, and Chelsea fans were in for a treat as their new number 9 scored a brace in a 5-0 win over Huddersfield in the first match-week of February.
Another brace in the match was scored by Eden Hazard, who has since revealed he has made a decision regarding his future, with Real Madrid being favourites to pry the Belgian away from Stamford Bridge. As to what his decision exactly remains to be seen of course, but the vagueness and flirtatious nature of comments made by Hazard when speaking of Real Madrid previously, point to a summer exit for the winger who has 12 goals so far this season.
Chelsea now face the task of repeating their earlier success in beating Manchester City this season when they travel to Manchester tomorrow, February 10th, 2019. K/O is at 9:30 pm IST.
Manchester United – Making A Comeback in Ole Time
Now undefeated in eight Premier League games under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, winning seven of them along the way, Manchester United are starting to showcase that never-say-die attitude that Ole knows all too well at Old Trafford.
Away wins at Newcastle and Tottenham, followed by a 2-1 win at home to Brighton, saw the Red Devils push up the table and be in contention for a Top 4 finish, something that seemed unrealistic just a few months ago.
The revival of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford under Ole has delivered results in spades under the Norwegian. Their only blip in an otherwise perfect month came at the hands of Burnley, who found themselves 2-0 up at Old Trafford with just nine minutes remaining on the clock.
Like the Manchester United teams of old, they began a thrilling comeback to draw 2-2 with goals from Pogba and Lindelöf sparing Solskjaer from what would have been his first taste of defeat as United’s interim manager.
Now just two points behind Chelsea, United will continue their red hot form and push for a return into the Top 4, something that has eluded the Premier League giants under former boss Jose Mourinho earlier this season.
Manchester United travel to Fulham today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 6:00 pm IST.
Arsenal – The Emery Revolution May Not Have Come Just Yet
Arsenal have slipped out of the Top 4 and dropped into sixth on the table after a January that had its highs and lows for Unai Emery.
A 4-1 win over Fulham on New Year’s day was followed by a 1-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham. The Gunners bounced back in style winning 2-0 against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium and then dispatched Cardiff City 2-1 to end the month. February began with a big clash against Manchester City, that saw Emery lose to Guardiola’s side 3-1.
Arsenal travel to Huddersfield next today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Wolverhampton Wanderers – High Flying Wolves
Sitting in an impressive seventh place, Wolves began January with a 2-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace, followed by a 3-0 away defeat at Manchester City.
2019 then became very happy for Wolves fans, after seeing the club win their next three games which began with a 4-3 classic against Leicester City. A 3-0 win over West Ham came next before February began with an emphatic 3-1 win away to Everton.
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Wolves are more than safe from the drop and will look to build momentum over the rest of the season and the summer ahead to solidify their place as a Premier League team.
Wolves host Newcastle United next on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019. K/O is at 1:30 am IST.
Watford – Mid Table Complacency
Watford seem comfortable where they are at this point in the season, and results in recent times have reflected a dip in form for the Hornets, who picked up just one win in January.
2019 began with a 3-3 exhibition at Bournemouth, before winning away to Crystal Palace 2-1. Their only game at home in January ended in a scoreless draw with Burnley, before losing to Watford at the end of the month. February also began with another 0-0 draw, this time away to Brighton.
Watford host Everton today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Everton – How Much Time Does Marco Silva Have Left?
Everton have managed just two wins in 2019 so far, with wins against Bournemouth and Huddersfield. Under fire manager Marco Silva saw his Toffees lose against Leicester City and Southampton to end January.
February began with a 3-1 defeat at home to in-form Wolves, leaving the club in ninth on the table.
Everton fans expect the club to be pushing towards Europa League positions or higher, but if results stay the same, Everton could drop further down into the bottom half of the table.
Everton travel to Watford today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Bournemouth – A Surprise Package Each Week
Eddie Howe’s side had a relatively good start to 2019, with a 3-3 draw at home to Watford followed by a 2-0 defeat away to Everton. Bournemouth turned their fortunes around mid-January with a 2-0 win against West Ham and a stunning 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea.
Their recent fixture was a 2-0 loss at Cardiff City, leaving much to be worked on for Eddie Howe if he wants to lead the club to a top half finish this season.
Bournemouth travel to face Liverpool today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Leicester City – A Work In Progress
Leicester City managed wins against Manchester City and Chelsea in December and looked set to continue that form winning their first game of January 1-0 away to Everton.
What followed, however, was consecutive defeats against Southampton and Wolves, before ending the month with a more respectable 1-1 draw vs Liverpool.
Manager Claude Puel has much to work on at Leicester City, with the side regularly dropping points against lower placed opposition this season. February continued with another loss, this time 1-0 at home to Manchester United.
Leicester City travel to Wembley to face Tottenham next tomorrow, February 10th, 2019. K/O is at 7:00 pm IST.
West Ham United – You’re Welcome Pep
West Ham United began the new year with a 2-2 draw with Brighton before beating Arsenal 1-0 at the London Stadium.
That positive result could not be built on, as West Ham crumbled to 2-0 and 3-0 defeats against Bournemouth and Wolves respectively.
Easily their most important impact on the Premier League this season came after former Manchester City boss Manual Pellegrini helped his former club after holding Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in the first game of February.
That result saved Pep’ blushes and potentially swung the title back into Manchester City’s favour.
West Ham United travel to London rivals Crystal Palace today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Brighton & Hove Albion – Safe At the Moment… Just
Brighton hover dangerously above the relegation with just five points between them and Cardiff who sit in 18th.
No wins in January saw the Seagulls pickup just one point in a 2-2 draw with West Ham. Defeats to Liverpool and Manchester United followed, before blowing a 2-0 lead at struggling Fulham to lose 4-2.
February began with a goalless affair against Watford at the Amex Stadium and Chris Hughton will look to Glen Murray to continue his recent form in front of goal to help widen the gap with the teams just below them.
Brighton host Burnley today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 11:00 pm IST.
Crystal Palace – Not Soaring Too High
Crystal Palace also find themselves just outside the relegation zone, with just four points picked up in January. Three of them came in a 2-0 win away to Wolves but the Eagles failed to capitalize on that result losing to Watford and Liverpool in their next games.
A crucial six-pointer with Southampton at the end of the month ended in a 1-1 draw before a massive three points came at the expense of Fulham in a 2-0 win at home in February.
Crystal Palace host West Ham United today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Newcastle United – Hope Still at St James Park
A tough fixture list in January saw the Magpies face both Manchester clubs and Chelsea.
Newcastle lost against Manchester United 2-0 and Chelsea 2-1 in consecutive games, before a 3-0 win over Cardiff City helped Newcastle creep out of the bottom three.
Their final game of January was at home to Manchester City, and Sergio Agüero’s goal after just 24 seconds left everyone thinking this could end in a tennis scoreline. However second-half goals from Salomón Rondón and a Matt Richie penalty gave Newcastle the unlikeliest victory.
February began against another Top 4 opponent, but this time Newcastle succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham.
Manager Rafa Benitez will hope for more intensity and desire from his squad, as they fight to stay up once again.
Newcastle travel to Wolves next on Tuesday, February 12th, 2019. K/O is at 1:30 am IST.
Southampton – Undefeated
Southampton seem to have turned their fortunes around under new manager Ralph Hasenhüttl. The club remained undefeated all January, beginning with a goalless draw at Chelsea.
Southampton then won 2-1 in consecutive games against Leicester City and Everton, before ending an impressive month with another draw at home to Crystal Palace.
February began with a 1-1 draw away to Burnley, helping the south coast side also climb out of the relegation zone temporarily.
Southampton host Cardiff City next on Saturday, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Burnley – Also Undefeated
Another undefeated side from the bottom half in January were Burnley.
Crucial wins against relegation-threatened Huddersfield and Fulham were followed by draws away to Watford and Manchester United.
Burnley will hope to do the same as Southampton and continue an impressive run of form coming into 2019 that saves them from relegation this season.
Burnley travel to Brighton today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 11:00 pm IST.
Cardiff City – FOREVER A BLUEBIRD EMILIANO SALA
Cardiff City had signed Emiliano Sala, an Argentinian forward from French club Nantes a few weeks ago. After saying his goodbyes in France, Sala boarded a charter aircraft that was to bring him to Wales to join up with his new teammates.
The plane was lost somewhere over the English Channel and after extensive rescue operations, the crashed plane was found and in more recent news, the body of the player was also found and confirmed by police.
Under such circumstances, similar to the tragedy at Leicester City earlier this season, all our thoughts and condolences at EADF are with the families and loved ones of Emiliano Sala and the plane’s pilot David Ibbotson, who is yet to be found.
Football, of course, did not matter for the Welsh side this month, which saw the Bluebirds pickup just a point against Huddersfield. Losses against Tottenham, Newcastle, and Arsenal followed.
Moving into February saw their first home game since the tragic events unfolded, Cardiff City and its fans paid a resounding tribute to their player with a 2-0 win over Bournemouth giving an emotional uplift to all involved at the club.
Cardiff City will travel to Southampton today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
Fulham – Grim Times Ahead
Fulham could make a swift return to the Championship at the end of the season, especially when looking at the fixtures to come for the London club.
Fulham’s next four home fixtures in the Premier League will see them face Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester City.
This means games away from home will have to be the main focus for Claudio Ranieri and his men. January saw the club manage just one win, a resounding comeback from 2-0 to defeat Brighton 4-2. However, losses to Burnley, Spurs, and Crystal Palace leave the Cottagers seven points away from safety.
Fulham host Manchester United today, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 6:00 pm IST.
Huddersfield Town – Preparing for Next Season
Sitting at the foot of the table 13 points adrift from safety, Huddersfield look destined to drop out of the Premier League at the end of the season.
January saw the club scoring just one goal and picking up a solitary point as well away to Cardiff City in a 0-0 scoreline.
Losses at home to Burnley, Manchester City, and Everton leave the club with little hope of survival. February began with a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Chelsea and their new striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Huddersfield Town host Arsenal next on Saturday, February 9th, 2019. K/O is at 8:30 pm IST.
The Premier League is set for another month of high drama with things shaking up every match-week on both ends of the table. Keep an eye out for EADF’s next monthly recap for February.
Feature Image via Sky Sports