It is only late January and the fight for the premier league title is already intense.
Last weekend’s fixtures saw mixed fortunes for the top six teams on the Premier League table.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool failed to close the gap at the top after they lost at Anfield to a rejuvenated Paul Clement Swansea outfit.
And Manchester United visit to Stoke at the Bet365 Stadium was an opportunity for Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils to reignite their title aspirations.
A 19 minute own goal from Juan Mata however saw the Portuguese manager scrambling for ideas.
It was heading to a well fought victory for the home side until striker Wayne Rooney stepped up in the closing stages to score from a free kick, inevitably breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time Manchester United scoring record with his 250th goal.
It was an outstanding achievement for the England international, who has faced scrutiny from the press and fans for his lacklustre display many times this season.
Still, for Manchester United though, the fight for the title is becoming mission impossible as they trail league leaders Chelsea by 14 points.
Liverpool and United failure to pick maximum points was the obvious incentive for Man City and Tottenham.
However both sides shared the spoils in a frantic encounter at the Ethiad.
So it was left to Arsenal and Chelsea to prey on their rivals stumble in their respective fixtures at home on Sunday, January 22th, and boy, they did just that.
Arsenal though had to wait till the second half in their match against Burnley to open proceedings.
From a corner, new boy Shkodran Mustafi made it 1-0 from a header to put Arsene Wenger’s team in a comfortable position.
However, a redundant tackle from Granit Xhaka saw him sent off and despite resilient defending with a man down, Burnley equalized from a penalty late on.
Arsene Wenger, who was sent off to the dressing room after an incident with the fourth official wasn’t banking on what was coming next.
With few seconds to go, Arsenal were awarded a penalty after Burnely’s Ben Mee fouled Laurent Koscienly in the box. Replays showed the french defender to be offside.
Alexis Sanchez converted from the spot to send the Emirates stadium into raptures.
With Arsenal pocketing all three points, Conte made sure his side were up to the task when they welcomed Hull City to Stamford Bridge.
Goals from Diego Costa and Gary Cahill ensured Chelsea got maximum points and stay clear at the top of the standings with 8 points, above second placed Arsenal.
The two London side have shown incredible thrust in their pursuit for the title.
The advantages they have had over other sides competing for the star prize is their mouth-watering depth in squad and ability to tweak things when they go wrong.
After losing 3-0 to Arsenal earlier in the season, Antonio Conte reverted to his trademark 3-4-3 formation and the results has been fruitful.
For Arsenal, despite Alexis Sanchez industrious display playing as the main striker, the gunners have on many occasions used their depth option of Olivier Giroud from the bench.
And the former Montpelier striker has repaid Wenger’s faith with vital late goals.
We can only wait for February 4th when Chelsea and Arsenal go head to head at Stamford Bridge in a title deciding encounter.
What are your predictions for that clash? Comment below!!