The top four race hots up as Liverpool and Manchester City continue to battle it out for the title in a mini-league of their own.

Manchester United ensured they remain in touching distance with fourth spot in a rather hard-fought victory over Brighton.

Their win could have been devastating for Arsenal, who had a daunting derby fixture with Chelsea to navigate. Unai Emery’s lads dealt the blues a lesson on the levels of determination required to contest a derby six-pointer.

Laurent Koscielny (Image source-GETTY IMAGES)

Laurent Koscielny personified Arsenal’s resolute display. He kept Chelsea out, remained stuck in despite being bruised, put his body across to block a Barkley shot where it hurts and popped up to score a goal off his shoulder. A true captain’s performance -reminiscent of a certain former Chelsea captain- and well deserving of the man of the match award.

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Perhaps it was a case of Arsenal needing it more given United are breathing down their necks with only goal difference separating them. Taking a look at the bigger picture; a Chelsea win would have taken them NINE points clear of Arsenal. Its rarely that close to game over in The Premier League, remember?

Joe Byran(L) and Kieran Trippier(R) (Image Source-GETTY IMAGES)

Tottenham were rocked pre-game by the absences of Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min; their main goal getters this season. Spurs though, would have fancied notching a goal or two at Fulham, who possess the league’s poorest defence.

Spurs require unlikely goalscorers in the team from now on in but the first goal of the game came from a likely source. One-nil to Fulham, own goal by Fernando Llorente, the man replacing Kane in attack expected to score FOR spurs.

Fulham can’t help themselves, the naivety in gifting their opponents goals belies their status as a top flight club. There was little surprise then, when Tim Ream made a big mess of a clearance, kicking at thin air for Christian Eriksen to set up Dele Alli for the equalizer.

A draw would have kept the top four race very exciting but Fulham being Fulham and Spurs just happy it was a Sergio, rather than a David in the opposition’s goal, contrived to serve up a late late winner. Fulham have now conceded 51 goals this season, relegation stats.

Remarkable is Tottenham’s character to keep going up until the final seconds, the calm, uncontested build up from back to front for the winner. Certainly tips on character and determination that Maurizio Sarri’s blues could learn from.
They are essential qualities to possess in this top four race. 

Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin
January 21, 2019
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Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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