5 Things we learnt from Premier League week 23

5 Things we learnt from Premier League week 23

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A look at the things that the Premier League got us talking about this weekend

1. That Deli Alli goal.

Jheeeez, Deli Alli.

It’s an unfortunate habit of English football fans, managers and pundits to big up young players, especially when history has shown us they’re rarely as good we wanted to think. But Deli Alli (maybe, just maybe) could be the real deal. While Ross Barkley continues to almost-but-not-really do it for Everton and Raheem Sterling having sprinted all the way to the Man City bench, Alli (and Kane for that matter) continues to do it weekly for Spurs.

Barclays Premier League 2015/16 Crystal Palace v Tottenham Hotspur Selhurst Park Stadium, Whitehorse Ln, London, United Kingdom - 23 Jan 2016

The clever move is to reign in all the excitement and get ready go out in the group stages of the Euros.

On the other hand, when he’s scoring goals like that where’s the fun in lowering your expectations?

Further discussion points:

  • Still that goal.
  • Yup, still the goal.
  • Oh, Chadli’s wasn’t half bad either.

2. One of the stupidest games in Premier League history

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If ever a team’s approach to defending could be summed up by one tackle then it was done when Alberto Moreno attempted to nick the ball from Steven Naismith with a seat-drop jump (that’s the one children do on a trampoline when they jump into a sitting position and back up again). How he envisioned the tackle ending is anybody’s guess, but its attempt (and the kick that followed it) resulted in a penalty for Norwich and worked as a perfect summary of Liverpool’s defending this season.

But luckily for them, Norwich were feeling pretty stupid themselves. The reckless idiocy of the two sides resulted in a fantastic but ridiculous game of football, with nearly all goals the direct result of the teams’ combined stupidity.

If the tackle was a summing up of Liverpool’s approach to defending, then the game was a summing up of a Premier League season that will go down in history for a record amount of terrible defending, silly mistakes, lucky goals, unlikely winners, and utter, utter stupidity.

Further discussion points:

  • That video where Klopp’s run has been set to Baywatch

3. Payet a headline act worth paying for, but Sergio Aguero’s backing band need to tune up

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Payet was sublime against Manchester City on Saturday. Full of tricks and pace and vision he was a standout performer in an impressive West Ham performance. If West Ham makes it into Europe this season they’ll need to keep the Frenchman if they want more than a fleeting visit.

Sergio Aguero was also, as nearly always, brilliant. It’s his support band, however, that need to tune up. On paper Manchester City should be walking to the title and, if they can keep the Argentine fit, they probably still will. But considering the firepower (and market value) of the team that operate behind him they’re making hard work of it.

Further discussion points:

  • How good Payet’s free-kick would have been.

4. Per Mertesacker lets Leicester City sit in the driving seat

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Everyone knew what Mertesacker was going to do before he did it. Costa knew, we knew, and Mark Clattenberg knew. The German didn’t really touch him but in one of those odd footbally things, he just had to go. And with him, Arsenal’s chance to go level on points with Leicester.

The Midland’s unlikely champions elect could still slip up and the difference is only three points, however, they seem undaunted by the challenge and continue to breathe easy at higher altitudes.

Then again, Liverpool seemed the same way.

Further discussion points:

  • Mahrez and Vardy: The fantasy football bargains of the decade.

5. Charlie Austin returns to top flight, Manchester United return to rubbishness

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For only four million pounds it seems strange that no-one other than Southampton went in for Charlie Austin. While the English striker started where he left off, another returned to where he’s been for most of the last two years. Wayne Rooney remembered that he doesn’t actually love scoring that much and with Anthony Martial (who could end up costing 57.5 million more than Austin) languishing ineffectively on the wing, United became the blunt force they’ve been all season.

Further discussion points:

  • With Football League strikers in vogue, will Emile Heskey be partnering Rooney upfront next year?
  • No, you’re right, probably not.

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