Arsenal enjoy a post-Alexis life, Burnley pick up a new trophy, Pipita hits form and Vincenzo Montella continues a coaching season of chaos
Being able to stop the run of Manchester City is the real deal this season in the Premier League, and it proves there is almost nothing Sean Dyche’s Burnley cannot do. What a fantastic season they’re having, with the draw against the leaders as a badge of honour to take with them forever. A great performance against the Citizens in one-all draw and a Premier League spot for next season all but secured in February.
Alexis who? The Mkhitaryan-Aubameyang era has started, and it has done so with a bang. Better than anyone could have expected. Five goals put past Everton, with Aaron Ramsey the man of the match, scoring a hat-trick and performing at his peak performance.
Aubameyang wrote the first chapter of what everyone at Arsenal hopes will be a best selling novel, washing away the grief for the loss of Sanchez. If this is enough to make a Champions League spot, only time will tell. But the atmosphere at the Emirates has had a revamp of fresh air and excitement.
Often criticised for being boring, the Bianconeri responded to the criticism in great fashion, firing seven goals without reply past minnows Sassuolo, and sending a message both to Serie A leaders Napoli and Tottenham Hotspur, the next opponents in the Champions League. Gonzalo Higuain scored his first ever Juventus hat-trick, showing fantastic form, hitting the peak form at the most important time of the season.
Of course, very little changes at the top of the Premier League table. City remain the best team in Europe for points per game average and for goals scored. And of course, Burnley are a very tough opponent. But there you go: a draw, right before the crucial part of the season, with the Champions League restarting and the central phase of the Premier League hitting its peak. It might just be a slight slip, and that’s all, but the Citizens will have to react immediately, to cancel any doubt on their form and continue their relentless march to glory.
Ouch. This one will be tough to get past. Vincenzo Montella’s men conceded five on the weekend against Eibar, with the Italian coach publicly apologising for the performance at the end of the game. Surely, when the directors appointed the former AC Milan coach a month ago, they were expecting something different in terms of results. But Copa del Rey aside – where Sevilla managed to knock out Atletico Madrid – Montella has put together a few horrendous results, including the 5-3 defeat in the derby and the loss to Alaves.
Eight Serie A games without a win, ten overall including the Coppa Italia. The last victory came on the third of December against Chievo. Then the positive draw against Juventus, and the crisis the Nerazzurri are still fully part of.
The two most recent results are draws against SPAL and Crotone. Not exactly two amazing teams. And the latter could have even won at the San Siro. Luciano Spalletti’s men have lost all the confidence they had built up in the opening months of the season, remaining unbeaten until just before Christmas and challenging for the title. Seems like ages ago. In two months everything has changed, and an immediate reaction is needed, or else all of it will have been useless.