A wider lead opened up at the top of the Premier League standings following this weekend’s excitement. The odds predicted that Chelsea and Manchester City would win their weekend fixtures, but only the top seeded football club earned three extra points by Sunday night.
Chelsea hit the road for South Wales on Saturday for an early game against Swansea City. The visitors were the favourites to win the outing, and were motivated to maintain their two point lead over City at the top of the standings.
Sure enough, the game was a blowout that ended in favour of the Blues. Forwards Oscar and Diego Costa exchanged opportunities to score, netting 2 goals apiece in Chelsea’s 4-0 dominant showing in the first half. André Schürrle was substituted on in the second half, and added Chelsea’s fifth goal of the day. Petr Cech was outstanding goal, maintaining a clean sheet for the Blues on their trip out west.
While the odds favoured City maintaining their two point gap with Chelsea, the bets did not pay out at Etihad this weekend. The home side welcomed Arsenal to the stadium, and the Gunners came to Manchester having lost only one of their previous 6 games.
The Arsenal defense was questionable, and experts bet City’s forwards could expose some weaknesses on the opposite side of the pitch. Arsene Wenger criticized his defensive core as “too soft” following the club’s lost to Stoke in December, and focused on tightening up the back end for the new year.
That focus paid out on Sunday as the Gunners earned their 7th clean sheet of the season, this time against the defending Premier League champions. Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud scored the two goals of the fixture, and handed City a devastating loss that threatened the club’s chase with Chelsea for top spot on the standings.
The league takes a break next weekend for the fourth round of the FA Cup before reconvening on January 31st. That weekend is a big outing for the league’s top two clubs as City heads to Stamford Bridge to face their rivals in a direct head to head battle.