Premier League Takeaways: 7 Things We Learned During Final Fixtures of 2019

It’s that period between Christmas and New Year again, where no-one really knows what day it is and we’re all just winging it until Hogmanay. 

Normally you can use football as your north star, but with the dawn of 2020 looming ominously and the fixtures coming at a disarming pace, even the compass of the Premier League schedule is knocked off its centre. 

So, who knows or cares where we are in the week? All we know is that all the Premier League teams have somehow played football again, and we have another ten matches from which to extract wisdom. 

Here are seven things we learned from matchweek 20…or 19 if you’re Liverpool or West Ham.  

What a Difference a Month Makes at Everton

Carlo Ancelotti,Fabian Delph,Michael Keane

Hang on…was it really just Marco Silva at the heart of Everton’s problems?

Since parting company with the Portuguese boss, the Goodison Park side have taken three wins and three draws from a gruelling run of Premier League fixtures. Since the esteemed Carlo Ancelotti assumed the post from Duncan Ferguson, they’ve won both of their matches, grinding out wins against teams who, let’s face it, would have beaten them a month ago. 

The job is far from done at the Toffees as their latest knife-edge win over Newcastle shows, but the Italian’s tactical approach is showing clear signs of working early on, and he has them up to 10th place. 

Whisper it quietly, but having faced relegation less than four weeks ago, the European places are now within their sights. 

Will the Real José Mourinho Please Stand Up?

Jose Mourinho

Tinfoil hats all ready? OK, in we dive.

What if José Mourinho, and hear me out here, has been secretly replaced by a hyper-intelligent extra-terrestrial shape-shifter, intent on rebuilding the reputation and changing the perception of the legendary manager in order to infiltrate our top footballing institutions.

No? Well how else do you explain him A) taking the job in the first place, and B) completely overhauling every aspect of his previously cast-iron approach to football? Once a famously rigid, defensive manager, Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Norwich marked 33 goals in a game involving Tottenham since ‘Mourinho’ took over in late November. 

Prove me wrong is all I’m saying. 


Ismaila Sarr,Troy Deeney,Etienne Capoue

Having registered just nine points and scored as many goals all season before Nigel Pearson took over, it seems Watford have remembered how to play football. 

They raised eyebrows with their victory over Manchester United a week ago, then went to Sheffield United and took an admirable Boxing Day point, but arguably the crown jewel of Pearson’s short tenure came in this weekend’s relegation six-pointer. 

Troy Deeney scored twice and Ismaila Sarr capped things off, as the Hornets ran riot with a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa that hauled them to within three points of safety. 

Sure, they needed some shameless sh*thousing to get there, using Jack Grealish – who was down injured – to play Troy Deeney onside as he ran through to win the penalty for their second. But hey, it’s a relegation dogfight – you take what you can get. 

Ings for England

Vicente Guaita,Danny Ings

It wasn’t all that long ago that Liverpool were ridiculed for signing Danny Ings. Now, there are rumblings they should never have let him go. 

The striker needed a move to Southampton to revive his career, in truth, but there is no denying he has taken full advantage of that since arriving on the south coast. The 27-year-old netted his eighth in nine games in his side’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, and if his impressive form keeps up then an England recall may beckon in 2020.

Harry Kane is hardly going to be quaking in his boots, granted, and neither are the in-form Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, but natural poachers are few and far between. Squad option at Euro 2020? Go on then…

Who Needs Haaland? 

Anthony Martial,Marcus Rashford

On the weekend in which Manchester United ​officially missed the boat on Erling Haaland, Anthony Martial and the aforementioned Rashford showed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer exactly why he perhaps doesn’t need a new striker. 

With the help of some truly horrendous Burnley defending, the duo each hit the net in a fairly routine 2-0 win, and have now scored 26 goals in 45 appearances between them in all competitions this season. 

With the duo on fire and Mason Greenwood impressing with every opportunity he’s given, Solskjaer should perhaps be looking to strengthen elsewhere before he adds further competition to an already-firing front-line. 

The New Men in London Have Plenty Work to Do

It’s not even January yet but new managers are already the talk of the town, and this weekend, that town was London. 

Manuel Pellegrini found himself axed by West Ham and ​replaced by David Moyes within 24 hours, while Mikel Arteta took charge of his second Arsenal game, collapsing in the final ten minutes to fall to a ​damning defeat to Chelsea.

With West Ham facing the drop and Arsenal…actually not far off that themselves, both men have plenty to be getting on with in the second half of the season. 

The Title Race is Over…No, Really

Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

You’ve heard it a million times already, but even the most cautious of Liverpool fans, and the most optimistic of everyone else, are now coming to the same conclusion. The Reds are winning the Premier League this season. 

Manchester City recovered from a Friday night slip-up with a win over Sheffield United on Sunday, but the damage was done. City lost to Wolves, only for Liverpool beat the same opponents two days later, and Jurgen Klopp’s men now have a 13-point cushion…with a game in hand against West Ham. 

Having not yet lost, they can afford to lose five of their remaining 19 fixtures, and still not be caught, even in the highly-unlikely event of one of the chasing pack enjoying a 100% record from here on out. Let’s face it.. it’s gone, and to the deserved winners. 

For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!


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