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Monday Cannon Fodder: Matchweek 16 recap

Manchester City v Brentford FC - Premier League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Just like that, the Premier League is on a six week break for the World Cup to be back in action with a full slate of matches on Boxing Day. Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the table and will be top at Christmas for the first time since 2007-08. The Gunners are off to their best Premier League start in club history, and they’re doing it while Manchester City, Tottenham, and Newcastle are off to really strong starts, too.

Manchester City 1 - Brentford 2
The Bees beat Manchester City at the Etihad. Brentford nearly doubled City’s xG (3.3 to 1.6). Their winning goal was a flawlessly executed, sweeping counterattack. Not take to anything away from Thomas Frank’s side, but City look off. Something is wrong with them right now, whether it’s fatigue, lingering injuries, or bad vibes isn’t clear. Hopefully the World Cup break isn’t a panacea for their ailments.

Liverpool 3 - Southampton 1
The Reds are good, the Saints are not. Darwin Nunez seems to be settling into the Premier League. Liverpool may be primed for a second half run for the Top Four, especially if they bring in midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window.

Bournemouth 3 - Everton 0
An insipid performance from the Toffees, who look like they may be close to quitting on Frank Lampard. I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be in that job. Bournemouth are not good, and they beat Everton up and down the pitch.

West Ham 0 - Leicester City 2
The Foxes are up to 13th in the table with 4 wins from their last 5. They’re playing somewhere near the level you’d expect from them given their talent. It seems that Brendan Rodgers’ job is safe. West Ham are among the more disappointing sides this season, although according to the stats, they’re playing well enough. Their not-so-good results don’t match their above-average underlying numbers.

Tottenham 4 - Leeds United 3
Rodrigo Bentancur scored a two-minute brace more than 80 minutes into the match to rescue Spurs. Bummer. Tottenham look significantly better with Dejan Kulusevski back from injury. Leeds are wild. It never feels like they’re out of a match because they score so quickly, but it also feels like they could blow a lead at any point.

Nottingham Forest 1 - Crystal Palace 0
Morgan Gibbs-White had the only goal in this match. As I think I’ve said before, Patrick Vieira’s side don’t travel well. It was an important win for Forest. They’re still in the relegation zone, but three points takes them off the absolute bottom of the league.

Newcastle 1 - Chelsea 0
Chelsea are broken right now. They’ve got a bunch of expensive pieces that do not fit together. Graham Potter has his work cut out for him over the World Cup break. Our boy Joe Willock got the goal for Newcastle.

Brighton 1 - Aston Villa 2
Danny Ings scored a brace for Unai Emery’s second Premier League match in charge at Villa. One of the goals came off a dodgy penalty that Brighton have every right to be upset about. Alexis MacAllister scored in the first minute for the Seagulls.

Fulham 1 - Manchester United 2
United needed an added time goal from 18-year old Alejandro Garnacho to snatch the points. It was an impressive run from the youngster — he displayed considerable speed on the move. It was also terrible goalkeeping from Bernd Leno who was well off his angle, reacted late, and couldn’t get a hand to a pretty weak shot. It’s not the first time this year that questionable keeping from Leno has cost Fulham points, either.