Five Things You Missed in the EPL: “Midweek Madness” Edition

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If staying up-to-date on the Premier League over the weekend is hard, midweek games are just about the worst. You end up compulsively checking your phone, trying to get around the company’s firewall to pull up NBC Sports Live Extra, maybe take a late lunch at that pub a few blocks over. We know it’s rough. Since you probably missed something from the round of midweek games, here’s some of the big headlines that went down while you were attending meetings and being an (ugh) adult.

1. Last-minute Manchester United are back!

The 1-0 scoreline at St. James’ Park belies how intense and narrative-rich this game was. Newcastle howled for a penalty against Chris Smalling and didn’t get it. There was a tussle between Jonny Evans and Papiss Cisse that may or may not have involved spitting. Jonas Gutierrez took to the pitch for the first time since being diagnosed with—and subsequently beating—cancer. And Ashley Young bagged a late goal to seal a win in the dying minutes of the game— the kind of thing that United used to pull off all the time. A lot of 1-0 wins can be pretty dull. But sometimes, just sometimes, you get a game like this.

2. Manchester City make a fresh start

If Manchester City want to be Champions of England, they can’t afford to take breaks. As demoralizing as the loss at Liverpool over the weekend might have been, they needed to bounce back quickly. That’s precisely what they did yesterday with a solid 2-0 win at home against Leicester. (The gamewinner was pretty spiffy, considering it came from James Milner.) Chelsea won their game- 1-0 at West Ham so City didn’t make up any ground, but they didn’t lose any either.

3. Spurs-Swansea took our breaths away (literally)

If you just focus on the football, Tottenham vs Swansea was an incredible match. Spurs just about earned the win, but with five goals between the two teams it really could’ve gone either way. Yet as exciting as the game was, the big talking point from the evening was the frightening incident involving Bafetimbi Gomis. The Frenchman doubled over and fainted just after Nacer Chadli’s 7th minute goal (seen above). He received treatment on the pitch as the tens of thousands in attendance anxiously watched before being carted off. The big guy has since recovered and explained it was the result of a chronic medical condition, which precipitated two similar incidents at Lyon. Still, it was a troubling few minutes, especially given that White Hart Lane was the scene of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse from cardiac arrest in 2012.

4. Gus Poyet vs. Steve Bruce

After being sent to the stands for arguing with the fourth official during their away match at Hull, Gus Poyet walked over to have a word with Steve Bruce. Whatever was said, Bruce didn’t react kindly to it, and the incident overshadowed an otherwise dreary 1-1 draw. This comes on the heels of Adam Johnson’s arrest on sexual assault charges (and subsequent suspension from the club), the bizarre red card incident with Wes Brown at Old Trafford over the weekend, and Poyet’s open letter to fans calling for “unity” which ended up having the opposite effect. Did I mention Sunderland are only four points above the relegation zone? The Black Cats are under an incredible amount of strain, and if they want to stay in the top flight they’ll need to get it together quickly.

5. Alexis Sanchez doing Alexis Sanchez things

Arsenal’s season has been pretty up-and-down so far, but one consistently bright spot for them is the former Barcelona forward. What makes him Arsenal’s (and possibly the Premier League’s) best player this season is his versatility. He can play pretty much anywhere in the attacking third— up top, out wide, in the hole, wherever you need him. He can beat defenders on pace. He can beat defenders on the dribble. He can create space for himself and others. And most importantly, he can finish, even from tight angles (see above). That gamewinner against QPR sums up why he was worth every penny. With the number of teams breathing down their necks, finishing in the Top 4 is by no means guaranteed, but if Sanchez can stay healthy and focused, they’re as sure a bet as you’ll find at this end of the table.

BONUS: Jonas Gutierrez showed what refusing to give up looks like

Man, whoever’s chopping onions should really knock it off.

Happy Almost-Friday!

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