5 things that stood out in GW 7 : Arsenal's handball goal and United's ineffective show

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5 things that stood out in GW 7 : Arsenal's handball goal and United's ineffective show

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Amlan Majumdar

10/02/2016

Gameweek 7 has continued the season's only consistent trend of upsetting trends. While Pep Guardiola's City were handed their first defeat of the season, Arsenal's offensive edge was all blunted by a resilient Burnley before Laurent Koscielny pulled off a last-second winner for the Gunners.

1. Take a bow 'Son' and Spurs

Despite their heroics last season, Tottenham have been mostly ignored by pundits around the world when it came to discussing the title contenders. With Harry Kane failing to hit the ground running, Spurs have mostly gone under the radar, but no more. Son Hueng-Min has shown that he is more than capable of stepping into the English striker's shoes when required while Kane has been nursing his injury at the sidelines. The South Korean has scored 5 goals and provided an assist in his last five matches in all competitions, and he continued his dazzling form against Manchester City.

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In the Champions League match against CSKA Moscow, Mauricio Pochettino used Vincent Janssen as the striker upfront with Son being deployed on the wings. However, against Manchester City, Janssen was dropped to the bench and Son was played upfront. He pulled apart the City defence with his pace and movement, and he played a crucial role in Tottenham's second goal of the match.

Tottenham might not be as dependent on Kane as they were last season, and that bodes well for their title challenge. Pochettino has turned this Spurs side into the best defensive unit in the league, and now with their attackers getting into their strides, they might go one better this season and stop Guardiola's march towards the title.

2. Manchester United - still a work in progress

Three wins in a row, following three disappointing losses in a row, saw everyone too excited and phrases like “they are back” and “what a turnaround” was thrown around. However, today's match showed that they are still a work in progress, and Mourinho needs to sort out a lot of issues before they can challenge for the title.

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Wayne Rooney continued his role on the bench against Stoke City, but it did not work out too well for them this time around. The home side were expected to take apart a Stoke side who were struggling at the bottom of the league table before the start of this match, especially after scoring four goals past the defending champions in the first half in their last game. United did create a lot of chances and had 9 shots on target. But a combination of some poor finishing, some brilliant saves from Lee Grant, and the crossbar which kept out Pogba's header meant that they ended up scoring just one goal in the match. That goal was canceled out by Joe Allen, who capitalized on mistakes from Daley Blind and David de Gea.

Manchester United are currently 7th in the points table and they will face Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Chelsea, and Manchester City in their next four games. It could get rough for the Red Devils.

3. Three center-backs brings three points for Chelsea

Antonio Conte has been waiting in agony to play three center-backs, and the injuries to John Terry and Kurt Zouma had put those plans on hold. However, after the thrashing his team received at the hands of Arsenal last week, the Italian boss had to respond with a change, and he did so by changing his team's formation to 3-4-3. Despite Ivanovic's experience of playing as a center-back, Conte opted to drop the defender and instead, he played Azpilicueta in a three-man defence alongside David Luiz and Gary Cahill.

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The change worked wonders. Chelsea dominated the ball, they created more chances from open play and Diego Costa produced a commanding display upfront. Chelsea managed to keep only their second clean sheet of the season and secured their first Premier League win in four matches. It is a sign of things to come, with Terry and Zouma slated to return later this month, and Conte can finally shape up his team the way he wants to.

4. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it is James Milner!

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The paradigm of utility player James Milner has now evolved into a goal-scoring left back. The 30-year-old continues to keep Liverpool's regular left back Alberto Moreno away from the team, and at the rate he is going, Milner might soon take up Firmino and Sturridge's spot in the team in the forward line. Playing as a left back, Milner scored his fourth goal of the season against Swansea City in his 6th league appearance this season. He is currently Liverpool's top-scorer, and he has scored as many as Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Liverpool cruised to another easy win against Swansea and remained in the mix at the top.

5. Arsenal leave it late...really late

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They say that in order to win titles a team should know how to win ugly. Arsenal were not at their best against Burnley on Sunday. They created a lot of openings and yet failed to apply the finishing touch in the final third. Sanchez was once again the shining star in the team. However, despite having 18 shots, Arsenal managed to keep only 3 of them on target. But the one that counts went in, somehow. Between Ox and Laurent Koscielny, the duo managed to bundle the ball over the line via Ox's leg and Koscielny's hands. The referee did not spot the handball from the French defender before the ball went in, and Burnley were left heartbroken. It was not a typical Arsenal goal, and far off from the delightful strikes against Chelsea they produced in the last weekend. But few years back, Arsenal would drawn these games and left the pitch frustrated. Not now. This Arsenal team seem to have grit and determination about themselves which has been lacking too often in the past.

Correction : In the original article, we had erroneously mentioned that Chamberlain and Elneny started the game while they were in fact substitutions at the 71st minute.

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