English Premiership

5 talking points: Weekend EPL action

2017-12-11 11:51
Romelu Lukaku (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Sport24's Baden Gillion looks at FIVE talking points from the weekend's English Premiership action as Manchester City moved into an 11 point lead after defeating rivals Manchester United.

1. City have one hand on EPL trophy

Pep Guardiola’s side seem to have one hand on the trophy after stretching their lead at the top of the English Premiership table to 11 points. It's difficult to see them now throwing away such a commanding lead with the only conceivable way for them to be hauled in is if they suffered major injuries. City must receive credit for their performance in a 2-1 win at Old Trafford - which is a hard place to go - and playing their usual attacking style of football. They’ve now faced Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and United and beaten them all.

2. Klopp is right it was never a penalty

The penalty call for Everton's equaliser was a very soft decision with Dominic Calvert-Lewin being clever in drawing the foul from Liverpool's Dejan Lovren. The 20-year-old won the penalty by searching for contact after altering his run against Lovren before going to ground easily. Because he moves into Lovren's path it forces the defender to naively counter this by lifting his hands in a shoving motion. Lovren can be criticised for giving the referee an opportunity to award the penalty by lifting his hands instead of shepherding the striker who was already heading away from goal.

3. Referee right to not award a Herrera penalty

If taking the Everton decision into account then this should also have been given as a penalty but referee Michael Oliver got this decision right. Herrera left a trailing foot searching for contact with Nicolas Otamendi before diving inside the area in an attempt to fool the referee. Oliver was right to book the Spaniard for diving. Mourinho later used this decision to deflect from his side's poor performance in his post-match interviews.

4. Klopp left fuming in post-match interview

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave one of the more memorable interviews in recent English Premiership history when he argued with an interviewer about the awarding of Everton's penalty. A visibly upset Klopp was involved in a back-and-forth with SkySport's Patrick Davison when he sarcastically said "I only want to speak to people with a little bit of understanding about football" after the two disagreed on the penalty decision. Footage of the interview can be seen below.

5. Romelu Lukaku had a day to forget

Lukaku had an absolute nightmare against City in a 2-1 loss with the powerfully built striker standing at 1.90m and weighing 94kg being bullied off the ball for much of the game by the City defence. For a striker who has all the attributes to dominate defenders Lukaku is shockingly bad at holding the ball up and laying it off to a team-mate. The Belgian's tendency to cough up possession cheaply adds more pressure onto United's defence with opponents able to start wave after wave of attack. He was dominated physically by the much smaller Nicolas Otamendi at a corner for City's first goal and made a rash clearance for their second. He was inadvertently one of City’s more effective players as he provided two assists while regularly giving the ball to a City player throughout the 90 minutes.

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Saturday, 24 February 2018
Leicester City v Stoke City, King Power Stadium 14:30
Liverpool v West Ham United, Anfield 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Swansea City, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
West Bromwich Albion v Huddersfield Town, The Hawthorns 17:00
Burnley v Southampton, Turf Moor 17:00
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