Biggest EPL Winners and Losers from Matchday 19, 2021
Liverpool vs. Manchester United was undoubtedly the standout fixture on Matchday 19. However, it’s fair to say that England’s most successful clubs failed to live up to the hype.
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola’s men thrust themselves into the title conversation with a high-scoring victory over Crystal Palace.
Matchday 19 also dished up a number of eye-catching goals, with Tanguy Ndombele, Ilkay Gundogan, and Raheem Sterling grabbing the headlines.
Let’s check out the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 19.
Winner: John Stones
There was a time when it looked as though John Stones’ Manchester City was over.
The center-back has been used sparingly by Pep Guardiola over the past two seasons, with a series of big-money defenders arriving at the club during that time.
But Stones has enjoyed a remarkable revival recently.
The 26-year-old has started eight of Man City’s last nine Premier League games, keeping seven clean sheets along the way. On Matchday 19, he underlined his threat at the other end of the pitch by bagging a brace against Crystal Palace.
Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling both scored stunning individual goals in the 4-0 win, yet Stones’ performance was the one that really stood out.
After enduring a tough couple of years, Stones is beginning to show why Man City paid £50 million for him back in 2016.
John Stones game by numbers vs. Crystal Palace:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 17, 2021
120 touches (most)
117 passes attempted
112 passes completed
11 attacking third passes
6 ball recoveries
2 shots on target
1 clean sheet
The Barnsley Beckenbauer. pic.twitter.com/tBC2YpXxfE
Loser: Manchester United
In my eyes, Manchester United missed a massive opportunity on Sunday.
With Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at center-back for Liverpool, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men could hardly have wished for a better scenario at Anfield. But they ultimately failed to make the most of their chance to end the Reds’ lengthy unbeaten home run in the Premier League.
I’m sure that Man Utd forwards Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, and Bruno Fernandes would have been licking their lips at the prospect of facing Liverpool’s makeshift backline.
As it turned out, the Red Devils rarely troubled Alisson, with Jurgen Klopp’s men doing more than enough to earn a goalless draw.
United could have moved four points clear at the top of the table on Matchday 19. Instead, Man City can move to the summit if they win their game in hand on Wednesday.
Winner: Tanguy Ndombele
It’s safe to say that Jose Mourinho’s public criticism of Tanguy Ndombele is starting to pay off. The Tottenham boss has made his opinion of the Frenchmen very clear in the past, but the midfielder has recently become one of the first names on the team sheet.
Ndombele capped off a string of stellar performances by scoring a Goal of the Season contender on Sunday.
After playing a neat exchange of passes with Steven Bergwijn on the edge of the penalty area, Ndombele lobbed the ball over Aaron Ramsdale from a seemingly impossible angle.
Haters will say it was a cross, but I’m sure that he meant it.
The former Spurs outcast is playing with supreme confidence at the moment, and producing a goal of this quality is only going to fill him with more belief.
Loser: Leeds United
Leeds United has to be one of the most baffling teams in EPL history.
On their day, Marcelo Bielsa’s men are a joy to watch. But when they get it wrong, they can be made to look a bit wasteful. Unfortunately, they got it wrong on Matchday 19.
Despite enjoying 67% possession at Elland Road, Leeds was beaten 1-0 by Brighton. Neal Maupay gave the Seagulls the lead on 17 minutes, and the home side wasn’t able to recover.
Both teams registered seven shots, with two hitting the target. But given that Leeds dominated possession, Bielsa will be disappointed that his side came away from the game without anything to show for their efforts.
With nine defeats in 18 games, only two clubs – Sheffield United and West Brom – have lost more EPL games than Leeds this season. Granted, the Yorkshire outfit remains 11 points clear of the drop zone. But relegation isn’t completely off the cards.
Winner: West Brom
The Baggies gave themselves a glimmer of hope on Saturday by claiming the Black Country bragging rights in a five-goal thriller against rivals Wolves.
Playmaker Matheus Pereira scored from the penalty spot early in each half, while center-back Semi Ajayi netted his second goal in four games to earn West Brom a 3-2 victory at Molineux.
Goals late in the first half from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly saw Wolves go into half-time with a 2-1 lead. However, a spirited second-half display enabled the Baggies to turn things around and snatch all three points.
Sam Allardyce may not have made the immediate impact that everyone was expecting following his appointment in December, yet the experienced manager seems to be gradually getting his message across to the players.
West Brom is still second from the bottom and five points from safety. But if Allardyce’s men continue to perform as they did on Matchday 19, they stand a chance of avoiding relegation.
September 1993: Albion 3-2 Wolves— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) January 17, 2021
January 2021: Wolves 2-3 Albion
The barcode strip strikes again ? pic.twitter.com/OIehHXitUU
Loser: Antonee Robinson
When Chelsea visited Craven Cottage on Saturday, Fulham appeared to be heading into half-time with a foothold in the game. Scott Parker’s men battled hard to keep the Blues at bay, limiting Frank Lampard’s side to just a couple of goalscoring opportunities.
But when Antonee Robinson was shown a straight red card on 44 minutes, the whole complexion of the match changed.
The USMNT left-back was sent off for a reckless lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta, leaving Fulham a man light for the entirety of the second half.
Facing Chelsea with a full complement is hard enough. But following Robinson’s red card, the Cottagers couldn’t compete. Mason Mount scored the winning goal on 78 minutes, keeping Fulham in the drop zone as a result.
A five-game drawing streak had given the relegation strugglers hope. However, Robinson’s poor decision-making undoubtedly cost his side on Saturday.
Winner: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Following a below-par start to the season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally showed glimpses of what he is capable of on Monday.
The forward bagged a brace in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Newcastle at the Emirates, and he even had a number of chances to notch up a hat-trick.
After only managing to score three goals in his first 16 Premier League outings this term, Aubameyang took his tally to five goals in 17 EPL games with his double on Matchday 19.
The Gunners finally find themselves in the top half of the table following one of the worst starts to a season in the club’s history. With Aubameyang firing, Arsenal will now have their sights set on the European places.
Loser: Newcastle United
Unfortunately for the Magpies, they were on the receiving end of Aubameyang’s brace.
But it’s not just Newcastle’s performance on Matchday 19 that will be concerning the Toon Army at the moment. Indeed, Steve Bruce’s side has failed to win any of their previous eight games in all competitions, including six defeats.
It is no secret that scoring goals is Newcastle’s biggest problem, and that was glaringly obvious on Monday. Bruce’s men only saw 33% possession against Arsenal, managing just a single shot on target in the process.
With the gap between them and the bottom three now just seven points, it feels like the Magpies are getting dragged into the relegation battle.
Matchday 19 Wrap-Up
The relentless Premier League schedule rolls on this week, with a string of midweek fixtures to get our teeth stuck into.
The Cityzens can go top of the table if they win their game in hand over Aston Villa on Wednesday, while Man Utd and Liverpool face tough tests against relegation-battlers Fulham and Burnley, respectively.
With the FA Cup returning this weekend, I’ll be back to discuss the biggest EPL winners and losers from Matchday 20 next week.
If you fancy betting on the upcoming FA Cup action, you can find free tips and predictions in our soccer picks section.