Barclays Premier League Review – March 2015

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Because of the international break, Premier League action may seem a long time ago, but cast your mind back and you’ll remember the race for the top four hotting up, the scrap for relegation getting feistier and of course Harry Kane carrying on scoring…

The table on March 1st (before the day's fixtures)
The table on March 1st (before the day’s fixtures)
The table on April 1st
The table on April 1st

What we can see from the table

  • Chelsea’s gap at the top of the table increased from five points to six, whilst the Blues also have a game in hand.
  • Arsenal overtake Manchester United to go into third, whilst Liverpool leapfrog Southampton into fifth.
  • A gap is starting to emerge between the top half and bottom half, with six points separating 10th placed Stoke and Crystal Palace in 11th.
  • Leicester and QPR picked up just one point between them, and both now look in real danger of going straight back down for the Championship.
  • The fight to avoid the other place in the drop zone is hotting up, with Burnley replacing an in-form Aston Villa side in the bottom three.

Player of the Month

Olivier Giroud – Arsenal

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The fantastic form of Olivier Giroud has somewhat gone unnoticed, with the Frenchman one of the most underrated strikers in the Premier League, but his performances in March were hard to ignore. He started as he meant to go on, scoring on the first day of the month to give Arsenal the lead against Everton. He did the same three days later against QPR, and once more against West Ham. Against the Hammers, Giroud also set up Aaron Ramsey’s goal in a 3-0 rout. To finish the month, the striker hit the back of the net twice as Arsene Wenger’s side beat Newcastle 2-1 at St. James’ Park. All in all, this makes a total of five goals and one assist in four games in March, and a red hot nine goals in his last nine games. Impressive.

2nd – Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

3rd – Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

Manager of the Month

Arsene Wenger – Arsenal

Arsenal don't the most hectic pre-season schedule but Arsene's still complaining

It’s a double award for Arsenal in March, as Arsene Wenger scoops my Manager of the Month accolade to keep Giroud company. Manchester United were the only other side to have a 100% win record in March, but the Gunners played four games compared to United’s three, scoring nine times and conceding just twice. A 2-0 win over Everton was quickly followed by a 2-1 win at QPR, whilst a break in the league action didn’t stop the Gunners, as they returned with a bang, beating West Ham 3-0. Wenger then guided his team to a 2-1 at Newcastle, meaning Arsenal finished the month in third, just a point behind second placed Manchester City. If they can keep this form, Wenger might just achieve his highest league finish in ten years.

2nd – Louis van Gaal (Manchester United)

3rd – Brendan Rodgers (Liverpool)

Goal of the Month

Matt Phillips vs Crystal Palace

2nd – Juan Mata vs Liverpool

3rd – Jordan Henderson vs Manchester City

Game of the Month

Tottenham 4-3 Leicester

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Harry Kane’s first Premier League hat-trick got Tottenham’s challenge for a top-four spot back on track with a hard-fought win over Leicester. After Hugo Lloris was carried off, Kane slotted home and scored with a deflected shot as Spurs went 2-0 up. Jamie Vardy steered in an effort before Wes Morgan headed Leicester level. Kane converted a penalty and Foxes defender Jeff Schlupp scored an own goal as Spurs, despite Nugent’s late second strike, held on for victory. Leicester remain bottom of the table but will feel aggrieved at a controversial penalty decision going against them as referee Mike Dean adjudged Nugent had fouled Danny Rose when the pair collided with the game poised at 2-2. Read the full report here.

2nd – Hull City 2-3 Chelsea

Read the full report here.

3rd – Sunderland 0-4 Aston Villa

Read the full report here.

Managerial Sackings

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  • Gus Poyet from Sunderland (16/03) – replaced by Dick Advocaat on 17th March

Games to look out for in April

Manchester-City-v-Manchester-United-Premier-League (1)

  • Arsenal vs Liverpool (04/04)
  • Manchester United vs Manchester City (12/04)
  • Chelsea vs Manchester United (18/04)
  • Southampton vs Tottenham (25/04)
  • Arsenal vs Chelsea (26/04)
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