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Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 16, 2020

| December 31, 2020 7:47 am PDT
The Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 16, 2020

The pandemic disrupted Matchday 16 of the 2020/21 EPL season, with Manchester City’s trip to Everton and Tottenham’s visit of Fulham being postponed.

But don’t worry – there are still plenty of talking points from the previous round of Premier League fixtures.

Leeds United crushed West Brom, Chelsea and Liverpool were both held to draws, while Arsenal secured back-to-back wins.

Let’s check out the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 16.

Winner: Leeds United

Leeds United has been involved in countless high-scoring matches since returning to the Premier League, although Marcelo Bielsa’s men have often ended up on the wrong end of the result.

The Whites kicked off their campaign with a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day, before suffering a 6-2 thrashing at the hands of Manchester United just before Christmas.

But on Matchday 16, everything went Leeds’ way.

After being gifted an own goal by West Brom midfielder Romaine Sawyers, Bielsa’s side completely dominated the Baggies.

Ezgjan Alioski doubled Leeds’ advantage with a thunderous strike from the edge of the penalty area, while goals from Jack Harrison and Rodrigo ensured the visitors went into half-time with a 4-0 lead.

Raphina added a classy second-half goal to complete the rout, while Leeds finished the game with 76% possession, limiting West Brom to just a single shot on target.

Leeds United is fast becoming my favorite EPL team to watch!

Loser: Romaine Sawyers

Tuesday, December 29, 2020.

It’s safe to say that Romaine Sawyers will want to forget about that day pretty quickly.

There appeared to be absolutely no danger when the midfielder gained possession on the edge of West Brom’s penalty area. But Sawyers somehow managed to pass the ball into his own net.

Without looking, Sawyers played a pass to Sam Johnstone. Well, that’s what he intended to do.

But with the Baggies goalkeeper off his line, the ball rolled cruelly passed Johnstone and gave Leeds the lead in bizarre fashion.

Needless to say, Sawyers won’t want to see his own goal again. But let’s be honest – it’s got to be worth another look, hasn’t it?

Winner: Karl Darlow

When goalkeeper Martin Dubravka picked up a long-term injury earlier in the year, many believed that Newcastle’s backline would go downhill.

But as things stand, it’s going to be difficult for the Slovakian shot-stopper to dislodge Karl Darlow.

Darlow has arguably been Newcastle’s best player this season, and on Wednesday night, he put in a Man of the Match performance to help his side secure a hard-earned goalless draw with Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s side produced attack after attack at St. James’ Park, racking up 11 shots, four of which were on target. However, Darlow produced a series of saves to deny the defending champions.

The former Nottingham Forest man has struggled to nail down a regular starting place since arriving on Tyneside in 2015. But following his performance on Matchday 16, he is surely Steve Bruce’s number one now.

Loser: Liverpool

Don’t get me wrong – Bruce’s men deserve every bit of praise that comes their way.

Newcastle battled bravely to earn a point on Wednesday, but there is no denying that Liverpool should have won the game.

Mohamed Salah fluffed two one-on-one chances with Darlow, while Roberto Firmino missed numerous opportunities. There were also a couple of goal-line clearances, which Newcastle can take credit for.

But having finished the match with 74% possession and almost three times as many passes as the Magpies, Klopp’s men will look Wednesday’s result as two points dropped, rather than one point gained.

Manchester United is now just three points behind the Reds with a game in hand. The defending champions can’t afford to miss too many more opportunities.

Winner: Marucs Rashford

2020 has been a remarkable year for Marcus Rashford.

Not only has the 23-year-old been doing some incredible work off the pitch, but he has also taken his game to another level on the pitch.

On Matchday 16, the speedy forward capped off a memorable 12 months by netting a stoppage-time winner.

Sure, it was by no means the prettiest goal you’ll ever see. Rashford’s left-footed strike took a big deflection off Wolves defender Romain Saiss, leaving Rui Patricio stranded.

But the Manchester United man was a constant threat to Wolves’ goal throughout the game, so if anyone deserved to score in the 93rd minute, it was him.

Rashford has now notched up 22 goal involvements in 24 appearances in all competitions this season, including seven goals and seven assists in the EPL. I’m looking forward to watching him develop further in 2021.

Loser: Leicester City

Leicester has to be one of the most unpredictable teams in the Premier League right now.

Having beaten Tottenham just before Christmas and secured a solid draw with Man Utd on Boxing Day, the Foxes were expected to cruise past off-form Crystal Palace with ease.

But as it turned out, Brendan Rodgers’ side was frustrated by the Eagles.

Leicester dominated possession at Selhurst Park, yet Wilfried Zaha put Palace ahead midway through the second half. In fact, Zaha’s goal would prove to be the hosts’ only attempt on target.

Fortunately, Harvey Barnes produced a moment of individual brilliance to snatch a point for his team late on. But if the Foxes continue to play like that, they can forget about challenging for the title.

Winner: Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette started the season in flying form, scoring in each of the opening three games. But he then failed to score in any of his next eight league games and was also an unused substitute on three occasions in that time.

However, after scoring in the win over Chelsea on Boxing Day, the Arsenal forward netted for the second game running on Matchday 16.

With Gabriel Martinelli chosen to lead the line, Lacazette started on the bench against Brighton. But just 21 seconds after being introduced, the Frenchman scored the winning goal for the Gunners.

A lot of praise has been heaped on Arsenal’s youngsters recently, with Bukayo Saka gaining plenty of admirers. Still, Lacazette must be given huge credit for his recent upturn in form.

Following a woeful start to the campaign, Mikel Arteta’s men have now won back-to-back league games for just the second time this season.

The relegation talk seems to have disappeared – and things are finally looking up for the Gunners.

Loser: Brighton

Brighton actually created more goalscoring opportunities than Arsenal on Tuesday. The Seagulls racked up 13 shots, yet they only managed to register two on target.

It is no secret that scoring goals is Brighton’s biggest issue. But on Matchday 16, their problems were more apparent than ever.

Graham Potter’s men have only scored 18 goals this term, leaving them just two points above the relegation zone.

With two victories from 16 EPL matches, only two sides – West Brom and Sheffield United – have won fewer games than Brighton this season.

The defeat to Arsenal means the Seagulls’ winless run now stands at seven games. Is relegation on the cards for Brighton? I think so.

Closing Thoughts

I think Aston Villa deserves a mention for holding Chelsea to a 1-1 draw on Monday. Dean Smith’s men extended their unbeaten streak to five games in the process and now sit fifth in the table.

Burnley picked up just their fourth win of the season on Matchday 16, beating Sheff Utd 1-0. Remarkably, the Blades are still without a win this term.

There is another batch of Premier League fixtures just around the corner, with Matchday 17 kicking off on New Year’s Day.

Join me next week as I discuss the biggest winners and losers from the next round. If you fancy wagering on Matchday 17, I recommend checking out our EPL picks section.

Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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