The EPL’s marquee matchups do not always live up to the hype. It’s unfortunate but true. That doesn’t mean fans do not want to see the best teams do battle against one another at the top of the table. However, while the big matches typically drive sportsbetting odds, games against smaller teams are just as important.
Look at Arsenal; the reason they haven’t seen a title in more than a decade is because they tend to lose to smaller, seemingly insignificant teams, and usually at the worst periods in the season.
Though, it looks like maybe they are finally on the mend after all these years. After a weekend during which they drew with Middlesbrough, Arsenal’s 4-1 win against Sunderland was a sign of progress.
Funnily enough, though, things could have taken a very nasty turn. Arsenal was tied with Sunderland a mere twenty minutes to the end of the game at 1-1. A penalty by Jermaine Defoe had equalized.
Alex Iwobi was replaced by Olivier Giroud who put Arsenal back on top when he volleyed in a cross. Arsene looked like he was ready to skip when Giroud delivered an effective header that doubled their lead just five minutes later.
Alexis Sanchez finally brought the scoring to a close with some fancy footwork. Arsenal didn’t have much competition in Sunderland, a team that was too conservative to go toe-to-toe with Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger’s team was on fire, dominating throughout the game’s run. They stumbled in so many places but managed to make up for it in eight minutes of powerful offensive fury that brought their fragile opponent down.
On the other side of things, Manchester United was expecting an easier opponent in Burnley on Sunday, especially following the thrashing they took from Chelsea. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, while they completely dominated Burnley, the game ended in a draw.
For his work, Burnley Goalkeeper Tom Heaton should be commended. Considering their position in the table, Manchester United need to win here; this draw definitely hurt them.
A considerable chunk of the season has already gone; Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premier League look pretty good, though even Arsenal fans are refusing to get their hopes up until Arsenal actually wins the title.
Arsenal doesn’t play attractive football; however, they have a killer instinct that allowed them to dispatch Sunderland on Saturday. They now understand the importance of taking smaller teams seriously.
While the teams at the top of the table are great and only struggle with a select few weaknesses, the teams at the bottom of the table are inundated with flaws yet they also possess momentary elements of greatness.
Gaston Ramirez is one example, a poor man’s Mesut Ozil that is elegant on the ball but who is always stuck on bad teams. Ramirez is the sort of player that allows a club like Middlesborough to take on and beat bigger clubs.
Players like Ramirez and even Goalkeeper Victor Valdes are often hidden within the most unsuspecting teams, and when they encounter football giants, they do not see these hidden gems coming.
Arsenal looks like it might have learned from past mistakes; beating teams like Sunderland is exactly what Wenger needs to do to get the title.