EPL Update: Fight for top spot in Premier League

Chelsea and Arsenal lead fight for top spot in Premier League

There is a fierce battle for Premier League silverware this season between giant EPL clubs, with Antonio Conte’s Chelsea side still on top after Match Week 15. Other giant clubs Arsenal, Liverpool, Man City, Spurs, and Man United retained their places on the table. Chelsea is in first place on the England Premier League Table going into Match Week 16 with 37 points; Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal is close behind breathing on their necks in second with 34 points, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool is in third with 31 points; Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City is in fourth with 30 points; Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur is in fifth with 27 points; and Jose Mourniho’s Manchester United is in sixth with 24 points.

Match Week 15 was a record-breaking one in the Premier League with 29 goals scored on Saturday – an average of 4.8 goals scored per fixture. The 2016-17 EPL campaign may be the highest-scoring season in history after the previous highest-scoring season, in 2011-12. To date FC Arsenal are top scorers with 36 goals. Top EPL individual goal scorers to date are Chelsea’s Diego da Silva Costa with 12 goals; Arsenal’s Alexis Alejandro Sanchez with 11 goals; Manchester City’s Sergio Leonel Aguero del Castillo with 10 goals; Everton’s Romelu Lukaku Menama with 9 goals; and Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe, Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke, and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard with 8 goals apiece.

Premier League Results Match Week 15

Sunday, December 11, 2016
Chelsea 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
Manchester United 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Southampton 1-0 Middlesbrough
Liverpool 2-2 West Ham United

Saturday, December 10, 2016
Watford 3-2 Everton
Arsenal 3-1 Stoke City
Burnley 3-2 Crystal Palace
Swansea City 3-0 Sunderland
Leicester City 4-2 Manchester City

Match Reports

Chelsea 1-0 West Bromwich Albion
Diego Costa (76’ min)

Chelsea stays at the top of the Premier League and made it nine successive league wins as Spain striker Diego Costa scored the winner against a determined West Brom at Stamford Bridge in the Game of the Week. Costa took advantage of a mistake made by the Baggies Gareth McAuley in the 76th minute to rob the defender of possession and curl a left-foot shot past Ben Foster to score the winner and only goal of the game. The Blues had only one other shot on target, a 30-yard free kick by David Luiz. West Brom’s early missed chances were by Chris Brunt and Salomon Rondon.

Chelsea move three points ahead of Arsenal while West Brom stay ninth. The Blues had scored 22 goals in their previous eight league victories but came close to falling victim to a defensive master class from Tony Pulis' side until Costa struck due to 37-year-old Northern Irishman McAuley's error. Tony Pulis’ West Brom team had won three of their previous four league games, drawing the other. If they had been able to hold Chelsea for another 14 minutes they would have earned another point that would have lifted them into sixth position on the EPL Table. Dawson was shown his fifth booking of the season for pulling Costa off the ball. He will miss Wednesday's home game against Swansea.

After the win, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte expressed his delight in Chelsea's 'fantastic' run. "For sure there was relief, it was a tough game and we prepared for this situation. West Brom is a tough team, a physical team who are difficult to break down. It was a good win and now we must continue,” said Conte. "We have won nine in a row which is fantastic because this league is very tough. We are working very well. I think West Brom prepared well defensively and tried to close every space. This game, if you find the goal quickly, you can have an easier game. When you don't find the goal, it becomes more difficult but we were very good to find in the right moment to do it."

West Brom’s manager Tony Pulis was happy with his side throughout and after the match. "I was happy all the way through the game. They play a different system to most teams and we'd worked on a structure to beat them. It's disappointing because Gareth McAuley has got to deal with it. He's made a mistake and we move on. We don't really want to criticize anyone. Our structure and organization was very good,” said Pulis. “One mistake, one chance and the fella puts it away - that's the difference in quality that separates the teams at the top." Man of the Match is West Brom centre-half Jonny Evans.

Coming up in Match Week 16 & 17

Top of the table side Chelsea travel to bottom side Sunderland on Wednesday before competing in a not-to-be-missed London Derby at Crystal Palace on Saturday at 12:30. West Brom host Swansea on Wednesday and in another home game they host Manchester United on Saturday.

EPL Match Week 16 Fixtures

Chelsea are looking to win their tenth consecutive Premier League match and keep their spot in first place on the EPL Table. The Blues’ superstar striker Diego Costa has netted 12 goals and posted five assists this season to date. Only Manchester United and Arsenal have been able to stop the Spaniard from scoring or assisting this season.

Fouls on Diego Costa have resulted in nine cards being shown in the league this season, more than any other player. Costa has been involved in 17 goals in the league so far this season (12 goals, five assists); more than any other player. Costa has either scored or assisted in 15 of his last 17 league games, only failing to do so against Manchester United and Arsenal this season.

Sunderland have won only two matches from their last 10 Premier League games against Chelsea. Their top goal scorer Jermain Defoe is the only football player to have scored against Chelsea for four different Premier League clubs: West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth and the Black Cats. The 34-year-old striker is crucial to Sunderland in their current campaign, playing a part in 71% of Sunderland’s Premier League goals (8 goals, 2 assists). Borini reportedly enjoys playing against his former club finding the net against the Blues on four occasions – all for Sunderland, since leaving Stamford Bridge in 2011. Last season the Italian scored in both Premier League games against Chelsea and he’s expected to make his first appearance for Sunderland since August hoping to score at least one goal.

Tuesday 13 December
Bournemouth 1-0 Leicester City
Everton 2-1 Arsenal

Wednesday 14 December
Middlesborough v Liverpool
Sunderland v Chelsea
West Ham United v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Manchester United
Manchester City v Watford
Stoke City v Southampton
Tottenham Hotspur v Hull City
West Brom Albion v Swansea City

Chelsea superstar striker Diego Costa’s contributions to his first place side impresses goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois who played together with Costa at Atletico Madrid before transferring to the Blues. Courtois earned a clean sheet against West Brom. ‘I remember the year we were champions with Atletico he was very strong, and the year we were champions with Chelsea he was very strong as well,’ said Courtois. ‘This season up to now he has scored very important goals. He’s really strong on the ball as well and he dribbles past defenders like it’s nothing, so he’s very strong at the moment and we can only enjoy that and use him as our strength. It was a rough time for all the team last year, but from January or February Diego was already scoring a lot of goals, and he has just carried that form on.’

Costa has scored 22 goals for Chelsea this season including his thunderous goal against West Brom at the Bridge over the weekend. “The goal came from a little mistake by their defender and Diego scored fantastically” continue Courtois. “Then they put all their power up with Chadli, Robson-Kanu, Rondon who is so strong in the air, so it was a tough game for us but a very good three points.”

Leicester City 4-2 Man City

Jamie Vardy and Leicester City demonstrated their skills that won the Premier League title last season with a 4-2 victory over titan club Manchester City. The champions got off to a winning start as Vardy opened the scoring to end his scoreless run with a trademark finish in the third minute. Two minutes later Andy King curled in a second and Leicester were ahead 3-0 at 20 minutes when superstar Riyad Mahrez’s sublime pass allowed Vardy to beat Man City goalie Claudio Bravo to score again. Vardy pounced on John Stones’s back pass at 78 minutes to score his first Premier League hat-trick. Aleksandar Kolarov’s free-kick and Nolito’s close-range finish gave Man City manager Pep Guardiola’s side their two goals.

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