The Early Sub: Saturday Recap (Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A), Sunday Preview for United v. Liverpool

Saturday’s league action around Europe is wrapped up and there were plenty of goals. Inter and Chelsea put up 3, Arsenal and Spurs put up 4 and Barcelona made it all the way to 5. No upsets and no draws means there was some climbing done by these six teams and one team opened up their league lead even further.

No Costa, No problem as Chelsea pull 7 points away

Chelsea walked out of the King Power with 3 points after notching an impressive beating of the defending champions 3-0. Marcos Alonso became the 3rd Chelsea defender to notch a brace in a league match after Terry and Ivanovic. Chelsea’s win means Conte has accumulated more points then Mourinho and Hiddink pulled all of last year as well. Chelsea’s form doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat after their London Derby defeat to Tottenham and after Diego Costa’s bust up with Conte after China’s head turning offer was made to Diego. Next order business for Chelsea (besides Costa’s apology to the coaching staff) is going back to the Bridge to host lowly Hull.

Despite Alexis’ Meltdown, Gunners Get Back on Track at Swansea

Paul Clement was welcomed to the Liberty Stadium by Arsenal, and Arsenal was glad to reveal the enormous holes that haunt the Swans week after week. Arsenal jump into the top 3 after their dominant 4-0 drubbing and look forward to Burnley next week. Alexis rippled the net once again which draws him level with Diego Costa on most Premier League goals this season. Alexis also had a puzzling meltdown after Arsene Wenger subbed him off after Arsenal was already up 4-0. Alexis is magnificent, but going mental on the pitch for being subbed off is not a good look and helps no one. Side note, Wenger is going to have to prepare for 10 more excruciating weeks for Santi Cazorla to return. The guy can’t catch a break.

Harry Kane Makes West Brom Call Him “Daddy”

Harsh for the Baggies indeed, but today’s Hat Trick Hero is also a brand new father and he celebrated by making it rain at the Lane. Harry Kane is indeed a monster and undoubtedly England’s top striker. Only 23, Harry Kane has also scored as many Premier League Hat Tricks as Didier Drogba. Impressive. Spurs climb to 2nd and sit a point above North London Rivals, Arsenal, by a point.

Atletico Slide by Betis

Meanwhile in Spain, Atletico presses Sevilla for 3rd after their win over Real Betis 1-0. Atleti is feeling good after these 3 points because the gap to 3rd place is cut to 2 points for 4th place Atleti. Sevilla have a tall order tomorrow as well as they play Real Madrid yet again.

Barcelona Decimate Las Palmas

Barcelona took this opportunity at the Nou Camp to flex it’s offensive might with a 5 piece over the Canary Island Club. There was no chance for Las Palmas from the very beginning as Messi and Suarez ran circles around the helpless back line. Messi has now scored every current La Liga team and Luis Suarez has scored 70 goals in 79 La Liga games for the Blaugrana. A wonderful win to distract Catalonia from the Messi contract crisis.

Draxler Nets Winner on Debut

New signing, Julian Draxler, scored yet again in his mint condition PSG jersey as he net the sole goal in the win against Stade Rennes. PSG continue to press on Monaco and Nice at the top after these 3 points and now tie Monaco and sit 2 behind Nice.

Inter’s Late Show over Chievo

Over in Italy, Inter got their win over Chievo after a dramatic comeback in the final 25 minutes. Icardi becomes the 3rd Inter player to net 15 goals in 3 consecutive seasons (Ibrahimovic and Viera). Inter are now level with hated Milan on points and sit within 2 points behind of 4th place Lazio and 3rd place Napoli.

Preview For Manchester United v. Liverpool

Tomorrow comes one of the most fiercest rivalries that is contested all season in England. For the 2nd time, United and Liverpool do battle on the pitch. This time after their stalemate Monday night in Anfield. This time the match come from Old Trafford and critical points are on the line after Chelsea’s dominant win over Leicester. Liverpool drop to 4th after wins for Spurs and Arsenal and sit a point behind 2nd place Spurs. A win for Liverpool will pull them back within 5 points of Conte’s Chelsea. United sit in 6th as they attempt to catch up to rivals City who play Everton tomorrow as well. United have been on a streak and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was named Premier League player of the month after his stellar December. He will be one of the biggest puzzles to solve for this Reds back four who need to play extra focused due to their goal keeping carousel. Simon Mignolet will most likely get the start tomorrow after Karius got the Southampton match. It’s bound to be a hotly contested affair indeed with enormous Premier League title implications on the line.

My Prediction: Manchester United 2, Liverpool 1


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