Arsenal back to their old ways
Just a week ago, Arsenal were flying high on the back of three straight league wins and a resurgent Alexis Sanchez. The Gunners had all the signs of real title contenders, leading many supporters to wonder if this year was finally the one where their title drought ended. Yet after two straight 2-1 losses in which they squandered 1-0 leads, Arsenal look to be back to their old, self-destructive mentality; the same mentality that has led to 13 years without a Premier League title. The Gunners started brightly against Man City, taking a 1-0 lead within five minutes after brilliant play from Sanchez to set up Theo Walcott. Yet as the game wore on, Arsenal faded. Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling’s pace proved too much for the Arsenal defence, and yet again Arsenal lost after taking the lead. Mesut Ozil, like he has done far too many times in the past, was inexcusably anonymous throughout the match. For such a world-class player, the German worryingly has far too many abject performances in big matches. Arsenal now sit nine points behind league leaders Chelsea; a dramatic revival is needed if the Gunners hope to change their recent luck.
Is there a renaissance at Manchester United?
Slowly but surely, Manchester United seem to be building back their swagger and regaining their winning form. After an abysmal spell of three 1-1 draws in a row (most embarrassingly at home to West Ham United), the Red Devils have now strung together three wins on the trot. Their latest was away against West Brom, who surprisingly sat in seventh before the match. Although not completely dominant, United got the job done in efficient fashion, recording a 2-0 win thanks to a double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Man United are now only four points off the Champions League places, and with matches against Sunderland, West Ham, and Middlesbrough over the festive period, they could easily record three more victories in a row. By the new year, the Red Devils might just be in the top four mix again.
Jay Rodriguez returns with a bang
In spring 2014, everything seemed to be going right for Jay Rodriguez. The English striker was a crucial part of an surging Southampton team, was in the form of his life, and was in serious contention for the World Cup squad. Yet in April 2014 Rodriguez suffered a devastating knee injury that sidelined him for the entire 2014/15 season. Then an ankle injury cut his 2015/16 season short, and Rodriguez was only able to return to first team action this year. He bagged a superb brace against Bournemouth this weekend, exhibiting his expert poaching and brilliant technique. It is heartwarming to see the striker back amongst the goals after enduring so much adversity, and here’s hoping Jay Rodriguez can remain fit and boost the Saints with his goalscoring prowess.