Sports - Drama Escalates in the English Premier League
The 2018-19 season of the English Premier League is tightly poised after 11 matches

 

The English Premier League (EPL) never ceases to amaze its viewers, constantly unfolding new drama and heartbreaks. Its unpredictability ensures that it remains the most watched European league among world football fans. The 2018-2019 season has remained true to its modern heritage, churning out breathtaking football matches in the middle of unending controversies and tragic incidences. As the season completes almost a third of its fixtures, here’s a look at how teams are faring up to earn the biggest prize in English Football.

The relentlessness of manager Pep Guardiola to continue improving was evident in Manchester City’s 6-1 dismantling of Southampton. Since kickoff, City played astounding football and didn’t even give a change to their opposition to gain momentum of the game. The star of the match was Raheem Sterling, who managed to score a brace and provide three assists. Sterling has been in top form this season, and his confidence has soared as compared to the last season. His newfound prowess in front of goal, coupled with Sergio Aguero’s talent and Leroy Sane’s instinct, has resulted in Manchester City scoring 33 goals already this season.

As City holds on the top place in the table with 29 points from 11 games, Chelsea is not far behind. Although Maurizio Sarri’s side hasn’t managed to defeat their opponents with the same panache as City, Chelsea is still unbeaten in the league, a mere two points behind league-leaders City. The 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace this week was a difficult game, with Palace dominating the match at certain moments. However, Alvaro Morata managed to net in a brace, a sign that he might be returning to his top form. Nonetheless, it was Eden Hazard whose midfield mastery proved to be the difference between the two sides. Hazard’s form is vital if Chelsea hopes to put pressure over City in the rest of the season.

However, the biggest game of the week was Arsenal vs. Liverpool. Both teams have impressed fans with their wonderful football this season, arriving at the game with an unbeaten streak of over 10 matches. While Unai Emery has stated that he “wants to write a new history at Arsenal”, Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool has been poised as title contenders even before the season started. The game started at a ruthless pace, as both sides received fare chances to open the scoring. As James Milner gave Liverpool the lead in the 61st minute with a low drive, it looked like they were about to run away victorious. However, a brilliant pass from Alex Iwobi send Alexandre Lacazette through on goal – who rounded the keeper, doubled back and scored a brilliant equalizer. The match finished at 1-1, as Liverpool slumped down to third-place in the table on goal difference, faring same points as Chelsea.

A week earlier, English football witnessed a tragic loss, as late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha died in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium. The Thai billionaire’s business acumen was instrumental in purchasing players that formed the iconic 2015-2016 Leicester City squad that went on to win the Premier League that season. This week, before an away game in Cardiff, the players were, indeed, in a pensive mood. An emotional match that goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel described as “like a cup final”, Leicester managed to win 1-0, a befitting victory to honor the late Vichai.

Following the defeat, Cardiff City slumped into the relegation zone, along with Fulham and Huddersfield Town. A 90th-minute goal by Marcus Rashford ensured a Manchester United victory over AFC Bournemouth, catapulting them to 7th place in the table. With a six-point difference between Manchester City at top and Arsenal at fifth, the title could be anybody’s for the taking. However, the remaining top teams have to significantly amplify their game if they wish to uproot the juggernaut of City.