Premier League scores, Matchday 23 grades: Liverpool earns A vs. Manchester United; Leicester City flops
How has each team fared so far?
The Premier League's 23rd matchday is in the books with some of the biggest clubs falling short this weekend. Liverpool kept its unbeaten streak alive, beating Manchester United 2-0, while Chelsea, Tottenham, Leicester City and Manchester City had underwhelming matches.
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Here are the grades for the action:
Liverpool 2, Manchester United 0
It was a little shaky, but it's a two-goal win, three points and a clean sheet against your rival. The Reds weren't super convincing but they just know how to win. Virgil van Dijk continues to show why he's one of the very best in the world defending and attacking set pieces.
Manchester United: C-
They didn't play poorly, but the defending on the opener was questionable. Ideally Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have made changes earlier instead of waiting toward the end when it was too late. Still within reach of the top four but have to find some consistency, which may be hard to do without Marcus Rashford.
Burnley 2, Leicester City 1
These are the goals that had been missing, and what a massive result that is. Burnley are hardly safe, but that stops a four-match losing streak and gives the boys from Turf Moor a bunch of confidence. Still work to be done, but that could be a season-saving victory.
Leicester City: D
Back to life, back to reality. This loss pretty much ends any chance the Foxes had of winning the Premier League, and who knows if they'll even get back into second at this point. The goal has to be to finish in the top four, and they've got an 11-point gap at the moment. Having Jamie Vardy's penalty saved and then concede was painful and gave Leicester its third loss in five games.
Newcastle 1, Chelsea 0
These are the games that cement your place in the Premier League, and more of them could have this team in the thick of a top-half finish. They had to prioritize defending against a team that's fantastic on the road, and in the end it was enough with a dramatic late winner from Isaac Hayden. The Magpies weren't sharp but did enough to earn more than just three points, because it's a huge momentum boost.
Nineteen total shots, 70 percent possession, a passing accuracy of 85 percent against a sloppy Newcastle, and not even a single point to show for it. That's just one of those nightmares games were you've done nearly everything to win but the ball just won't go in. Wasteful from the Blues, who are still in good shape for a top-four finish.
Tottenham 0, Watford 0
Not a good result at all, considering how poor Watford has been overall. Spurs miss Harry Kane and need some more size in attack, but a point might not be all that bad in the end considering Watford missed a penalty kick. Giovani Lo Celso still isn't playing at a high level, and Erik Lamela had a golden chance late that was cleared off the line. Top four hopes are slipping.
If you're Watford, you take that. This team continues to play well and grind out results, and if they keep that up, their relegation concerns will be gone by March. The Troy Deeney penalty kick miss stings, but this is a result that could be huge come season's end.
Brighton 1, Aston Villa 1
This was a match the team expected to win, but dropping points raises relegation concerns. Only three points above the drop zone makes things uncomfortable, but it's something to build on. They just need to be a bit quicker with passing in the final third.
Aston Villa: B
A point is a point, and when you are in the bottom three you'll take anything you can get, especially on the road. It would have been nice to create a bit more, and it was a little sloppy. Jack Grealish needs somebody else to help create.
Manchester City 2, Crystal Palace 2
Manchester City: D
That might just do it for their hopes of getting back into the Premier League title race: 25 shots, 20 more than their opponent, and just a point taken. The Fernandinho own goal will be painful to watch, but on the positive side Sergio Aguero (two goals) continues to provide what is needed in attack. Focus now has to be exclusively on the Champions League.
Crystal Palace: B
They just love going to Man. City, don't they? A valiant, sturdy performance. It was always going to be "bend but don't break," and they executed it to perfection. Cenk Tosun bagged his first goal for the club and will be needed if they want to really push the top six.
West Ham 1, Everton 1
West Ham: C
It's a point that they'll feel like should have been three. There is just a lack of creativity without Felipe Anderson, and they are barely scoring a goal a game. The Hammers may be in 16th place, but sitting a point above relegation means the pressure is on.
West Ham has been so inconsistent at home that Carlo Ancelotti will be furious with only getting a point out of this game. Still, the Toffees are much improved since he arrived and trending in the right direction and Dominic Calvert-Lewin continues to deliver.
Arsenal 1, Sheffield United 1
The Gunners blew another lead, which is becoming a theme this season. Sheffield United is strong, but Arsenal has no business drawing at home with the talent on this team. With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended for three games, it may take his return to get this team going.
Sheffield United: B
That's a great draw, especially with a late goal that didn't appear to be coming. Sheffield United is kind of like Wolves last season -- surprising everyone and contending for a Europa League spot. They've only lost six of 23 games this season in the top flight.
Norwich 1, Bournemouth 0
This doesn't stop the bleeding, but it gives the team hope it can stay up. The Canaries are six points from safety with just under half of the season to go. Now it's all about building on this one with some tough matches to come against Tottenham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Wolves, Leicester City and Sheffield United.
That's 10 losses in their last 13 Premier League games, and losing against the worst team in the league may be the final straw for coach Eddie Howe. Before the season started, the Cherries seemed like a lock to stay up, but with so many injuries and a lack of scoring, they are now a favorite to be relegated.
Wolves 3, Southampton 2
A lovely come-from-behind victory for Nuno's men puts them back into the top six and within range of the top four. Only one team in the league has lost less games than Wolves, and that's undefeated Liverpool. Raul Jimenez's two goals showed once again why he's linked with clubs like Manchester United.
They blew a 2-0 lead against a better team, but the Saints have been in fantastic form and are trending in the right direction. The issue here was the organization and composure in the back, and instead of trying to put the game away, they would have been better suited parking the bus. Lesson learned.
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