Wow, what a weekend in the EPL! The big question on everyone's mind is, are Arsenal legit title contenders for 22/23 seasons. Well they certainly made a strong case with their commanding performance against Spurs in the North London Derby. The Gunners are making a strong push for the top spot, and it's hard not to get excited as a football fan. Weekend's January 15 2023 EPL round-up has all the action, reactions and analysis you need to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in the league. Let's dive in!
Arsenal showing champion mentality
Arsenal put on a scintillating display in the first half of their match against Tottenham. One couldn't help but wonder how Mykhaylo Mudryk would have fit into the equation. With Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli already tearing up the Premier League on the wings, would it have been worth splashing the cash and breaking the wage structure for a player who may not have even secured a starting spot? Instead, the Ukrainian international has secured a big-money move to Chelsea.
The recent news of Gabriel Jesus' injury setback, which will keep him out for longer than expected, has a forced a shift in strategic thinking. Finding a suitable replacement for the Brazilian will be a difficult task. While Eddie Nketiah continues to impress, lack of strikers options suggests that Arsenal's dominance may be more a result of having the strongest starting XI in the league. Rather than the deepest squad in the EPL. With that said, adding some quality reinforcements to the mix could certainly come in handy for the Gunners.
Manchester Derby showing signs of changes
When it comes to game-changing subs, Manchester City splashed the cash with a £100m acquisition of Jack Grealish. While Manchester United went for a bargain in teenage left-winger Alejandro Garnacho, acquired for a mere £420,000 from Atlético Madrid. The Argentinian made an immediate impact when he came on. Garncho fearlessly going up against the experienced Kyle Walker and repeatedly challenging him despite losing out in their early duels. Thanks to his persistence and perfect understanding of where the ball would go, Garnacho was in the right place at the right time to set up Marcus Rashford winner.
Garnacho's attitude and professionalism have been improving, putting to bed earlier concerns about his performance this season. The young winger next goal will be to prove himself as a starter in the Premier League. For Manchester United's part, the club will be looking to tie him down to a long-term contract. United are often cautious when it comes to offering big sums to young players, but in this case, warding off competitors will be imperative if they want to maintain their upward trajectory. For a more in-depth analysis of the Manchester Derby check out the guide here.
Brighton are the model EPL Club
Brighton's club philosophy is a breath of fresh air in the world of football. When Graham Potter left, many feared the worst for the Seagulls. But thanks to a clear set of values and a targeted approach, Roberto De Zerbi brought in and is revelation at Brighton and the Premier League as a whole. He is a really good Premier League manager that is up for the task to take Brighton up a level. Saturday's 3-0 thrashing of Liverpool was undoubtedly the crowning moment of the Italian's tenure thus far. According to Solly March, scorer of two goals quoted, it was Brighton's best performance since they were promoted to EPL. March gave insight into the unique way De Zerbi connects with his players. Quoting March "He sends some of the lads texts at 1am with clips showing them what they can do better. I’ve not had one yet and don’t want one waking me up – my wife wouldn’t be happy." That's one way to keep the team on their toes and it's paying off for the Seagulls. Talk about dedication to the craft!
EPL Season For Promoted Teams: Newcastle Vs Fulham
Newcastle's 1-0 victory over Fulham will go down in history for many reasons, but none more so than Aleksandar Mitrovic's disallowed penalty due to an accidental double touch after slipping. While Marco Silva's criticism of the referee's decision to award the penalty only after a VAR intervention may also be noteworthy, the real story of the match lies in the return to form and fitness of Alexander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin.
Isak, the £60m Sweden striker, marked his first Premier League appearance since September with a dramatic 89th-minute winner from point-blank range after coming off the bench. Meanwhile, Saint-Maximin's performance as a second-half substitute suggests that he may finally be back to his best. The French winger's slow recovery from hamstring problems had seen him start recent games on the bench with Joelinton moved forward from midfield to the left wing, but on this evidence, Saint-Maximin looks ready to reclaim his spot in Eddie Howe's starting XI.
If Newcastle are to qualify for the Champions League, they will need both Isak and Saint-Maximin to continue this kind of form.
Leicester needs big changes?
Brendan Rodgers is facing a task of sparking a comeback for Leicester City. Similar to the one he orchestrat after the team's disastrous start to the season, when they managed to gather only one point from seven games. While the Foxes mini resurgence prior to the World Cup, with a close defeat to Manchester City and six wins in all competitions. They have now suffer four straight defeats in the Premier League. With several first-team players out due to injuries and no new signings this month. Rodgers believes the key to moving away from the relegation zone lies in improving the depth of the squad. He stated, "The board and the people behind the scenes are trying to get in the players we want to help us improve, and I’ve always felt that support.
Leeds United wake-up call
Leeds United may have come up short in their match against Aston Villa on Friday, but one shining star emerged in the form of Wilfried Gnonto. The 19-year-old Italy winger is a force to be reckon with on the pitch. With Jesse Marsch even going so far as to say he was playing "like he's 7ft tall".
However, post-match attention was unfortunately drawn to a chant from Leeds supporters, referring to Gnonto's private body part. The anti-discrimination group Kick It Out has condemned the chant, stating that it perpetuates harmful and offensive racial stereotypes. Marsch also weighed in on the matter, suggesting that Gnonto himself is ready to move on from the chant. He stated, "Willy is such a good young man and he won’t come out and say he doesn’t like it, but the reality is I think he thinks it’s time to move on from that lyric." Let's hope that this young player's talent and sportsmanship continue to shine on the field, rather than being overshadow by offensive chants.
Premier January 15 2023: Round-Up
EPL January 15 2023 Round-Up
|Continued their unbeaten run and lead the table with 47 points
|Lost their second consecutive match, furthering their title hopes
|Now just one point behind City, in fourth place
|Remain in third position, two points off the top
|Fifth in the table, six points off the top
|Sixth, seven points off the summit<