Barclays Premier League Review – March 2016

CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/SHAUN BOTTERILL
CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES/SHAUN BOTTERILL

With a first international break since November as well as the FA Cup quarter-finals, half of the Premier League teams only played three games in March, a factor that benefitted some more than others as the title race lost a couple of contenders and the battle at the bottom saw many pull away from the drop zone.

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

  • Leicester City increased their lead at the top over Tottenham Hotspur from two points to five points. Can the unthinkable actually happen?
  • The title hopes of Arsenal and Manchester City are now all but over, with the latter now at risk of dropping out of the top four as United’s West Ham and Manchester are just a point behind.
  • Crystal Palace and Watford both had winless months as their top 10 hopes that they had earlier in the season continue to fade away. The Eagles are still without a league victory in 2016.
  • Swansea and Bournemouth pulled away from the drop zone to virtually confirm their safety.
  • It continues to be a battle between Norwich City, Sunderland and Newcastle United to avoid relegation, with two of them destined for the Championship next season.

Player of the Month

Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur

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The Tottenham Hotspur contingent in the England squad are likely to be the heart of the Three Lions team at Euro 2016, with Harry Kane the key man. The 22 year old continued his fantastic form in March, scoring five times. The month did begin well though as Spurs lost 1-0 to West Ham, but then Kane scored a superb goal in the North London derby which finished 2-2. In the final two games of March against Aston Villa (2-0 win) and Bournemouth (3-0 win), he bagged braces in both, whilst his saved shot against the Cherries set up Christian Eriksen’s goal which completed the rout. Spurs are now the only realistic challengers to Leicester for the title, but had it not been for Kane’s March goals, Mauricio Pochettino’s side would be eight points behind the Foxes. Kane himself is now the Premier League’s top scorer with 21 goals, as he took over Jamie Vardy last month.

2nd – Gylfi Sigurdsson (Swansea City)

3rd – Dimitri Payet (West Ham United)

Manager of the Month 

Slaven Bilic (West Ham United)

CREDIT: REUTERS/JOHN SIBLEY
CREDIT: REUTERS/JOHN SIBLEY

Had it not been for Cesc Fabregas’ 88th minute penalty for Chelsea to make it 2-2 against West Ham, Slaven Bilic’s side would have won nine points out of a possible nine in March. It was a month where the Hammers incredibly emerged as contenders for a spot in next season’s Champions League, and it began with an impressive 1-0 win over title challenging London rivals Tottenham thanks to Michail Antonio’s goal (it was only Spurs’ fourth defeat of the season). They then came from two goals down to win 3-2 at Everton, scoring three times in the final 13 minutes on Merseyside before that aforementioned draw at Stamford Bridge. It leaves West Ham just one point off the top of four going into April, so Slaven Bilic and his side must earn huge praise. Could the Olympic Stadium be hosting Europe’s elite in 2016-17?

2nd – Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City)

3rd – Eddie Howe (AFC Bournemouth)

Goal of the Month

Harry Kane vs Arsenal

2nd – Philippe Coutinho vs Southampton

3rd – Manuel Lanzini vs Chelsea

Game of the Month

Everton 2-3 West Ham

_88601071_payet_goal_rex

Dimitri Payet’s 90th-minute winner completed a stunning late West Ham comeback against 10-man Everton to maintain their top-four challenge. Romelu Lukaku fired Everton into the lead before Kevin Mirallas picked up a second yellow before half-time. Aaron Lennon prodded home to double the lead and with 20 minutes left Lukaku saw a poor penalty saved by Adrian. Michail Antonio and Diafra Sakho each scored a header, before Payet pounced for West Ham’s third in 12 minutes. Read the full report here. 

2nd – Southampton 3-2 Liverpool

Read the full report here.

3rd – Chelsea 2-2 West Ham

Read the full report here.

Managerial Departures

CREDIT: NEWCASTLE UNITED VIA GETTY IMAGES/SERENA TAYLOR
CREDIT: NEWCASTLE UNITED VIA GETTY IMAGES/SERENA TAYLOR
  • Steve McClaren sacked by Newcastle United (11/03) – replaced by Rafa Benitez on the same day

Games To Look Forward To In April

CREDIT: LIVEPIC
CREDIT: LIVEPIC
  • Norwich City vs Newcastle United (02/04)
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs Manchester United (10/04)
  • Norwich City vs Sunderland (16/04)
  • Chelsea vs Manchester City (16/04)
  • Leicester City vs West Ham United (17/04)
  • Liverpool vs Everton (20/04)
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