March 21, 2019, 18:26

Six Premier League talking points from Wednesday’s games

Six Premier League talking points from Wednesday’s games

We round up the top talking points from a frantic night of Premier League action on Wednesday.

A thrilling evening which saw 19 goals in six games was capped by Raheem Sterling’s stunning stoppage-time winner for Manchester City against Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

Elsewhere, there were big wins for Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton, who had newly-appointed manager Sam Allardyce watching on from the stands, while Chelsea and Burnley claimed narrow victories over Swansea and Bournemouth respectively. Here are six talking points.

Sterling to the rescue

Sterling came to Manchester City’s rescue on Wednesday night with yet another dramatic late winner, this time against Southampton at the Etihad Stadium. It was the England international’s ninth Premier League goal of the season and his 13th in all competitions.

Not only that, but it was the fourth different time this season that the forward has scored a goal in the 84th minute or later of a game, proving he is now an absolutely vital member of Pep Guardiola’s table-topping side.

Ozil shines again

Mesut Ozil was the shining star at the Emirates, as Arsenal somehow turned a nervy encounter into a 5-0 rout of Huddersfield. The German was at the heart of a breath-taking five-minute spell in the second half, assisting Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez before getting on the scoresheet himself.

And having missed the game against Burnley through injury, Ozil clearly picked up where the left off against Tottenham. With the January transfer window beckoning, questions will linger over whether he is putting himself on display to prospective clubs, or proving to Arsenal why he deserves a bumper new deal. Either way, when he is in this mood, it’s a delight to watch.

Conte given his marching orders

Some have criticised Antonio Conte for not showing as much emotion this season as he did last year, but his trademark Italian passion shone through on Wednesday, which was a contrast against the near-silent Stamford Bridge crowd.

After protesting with the officials about time wasting, the final straw came in the 43rd minute when Swansea were awarded a goal kick despite the ball coming off Alfie Mawson last, with referee Neil Swarbrick sending him to the stands for the first time in his career. Conte continued to remonstrate with them as he sat behind the dugout before heading down the tunnel and watching the second half from his office.

What happens next in terms of punishment remains to be seen, but Conte said he had apologised after the game, telling Sky Sports: “I have to apologised to him [the fourth official] and the referee. In that moment I was angry but I repeat, I know that is it right to apologise to them. It is not simple sometimes during the game, there is a lot of frustration but at the same time, I think that you can make a mistake and I did.”

Rooney’s still got it

He has previous. Last time Wayne Rooney scored from the halfway line, he was helped by some rather questionable goalkeeping from West Ham stopper Adrian. At Goodison Park, while clinching a hat-trick, Rooney went one better.

Everton were actually on the back foot despite leading 2-0. Aaron Cresswell had rattled the crossbar and Manual Lanzini had seen his penalty kick saved by Jordan Pickford. Cometh the hour, cometh the local hero. Joe Hart was stranded after a tackling an onrushing Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and could only watch as the ball sailed over his head and into the net from fully 58 yards.

The trajectory was incredible. What a way to score his first hat-trick since 2012. Contrary to what many people think, it seems Rooney is anything but on the wane.

Super Salah

Fantasy football managers were cursing their luck when Jurgen Klopp left Mohamed Salah on the bench for Liverpool’s trip to Stoke, but they needn’t have worried. The Reds were defending a slender one-goal lead when the Egyptian emerged from the bench, but in the space of just 23 minutes he added two more goals to his tally and changed the complexion of the game completely.

His unstoppable volley from Sadio Mane’s cross showed impeccable technique, and his second goal was a reward for pure persistence, as he chased down a long ball and found himself through on goal. He has now scored 16 goals in just three months at Liverpool. At £34m, he already looks like a bargain.

Resolute Burnley

The Clarets have shown that they are an incredibly competitive team away from home this season. They created a number of chances in the first half against Bournemouth with Chris Wood a constant threat, and it seems they have struck upon the perfect formula for their travels.

Any team would be happy to get a 2-1 win at the Vitality Stadium. They now have 14 away points so far this season, twice as many as they collected in the whole of the last campaign. With such a collection of steady heads and many teams crumbling around them, the organised nature of Burnley could see them take seventh this season.


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