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Shearer Says: “Pressure still on Arsenal despite late Leicester win”

| 18.02.2016

Top four all still in the title race after Super Sunday action

It was a big win for Arsenal on Sunday at the Emirates and a result which has really opened up the chase with all four teams in with a genuine chance of winning the title.

When it was 11vs11 for the best part of an hour, I thought Leicester were the better team. It wasn’t until the sending off that Arsenal really looked like winning the game, but their pressure paid off and they did what they had to do.

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The sending off definitely changed the game, I don’t think anyone can argue with that. I felt it was a must-win game for Arsenal so they handled the pressure well. It now makes the league absolutely wide open.

Not only was the three points a big plus for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger but the return of Danny Welbeck is a great boost. He’ll be like a new signing for them and he will take a great deal of confidence from his game. Overall, it was a great day for Arsenal.

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Despite the defeat, Leicester are still two points clear, so they should not be too disheartened. This is going to be a great title and I don’t think the result against Arsenal should detract from how well they have done and how well they can do over the new few games. If anything, they can take the positives because at 11vs11 they were the better team.

Leicester not showing signs of pressure despite Emirates reverse

Leicester did not show any signs of the pressure getting to them at the weekend. If anything, you could argue the pressure is now greater on Arsenal.

Arsenal v Leicester City - Barclays Premier League - Emirates Stadium

I know they are two points behind Leicester at the minute and that position might suit them for now, but they have not won the league in 12 years and they should win it this season. This might be their best chance to win it again under Wenger.

Let’s not forget Leicester’s last three games have been against Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. I am pretty sure they’d have taken six points from a possible nine form those ties before they went on that stretch of games.

They’ll take the positives. Ranieri has given his players a week off. They haven’t got the fixture pile up that other teams have. They are out of the FA Cup so they don’t play for another two weeks now. Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, on the other hand, all have games in Europe and the FA Cup.

Spurs no longer under the radar after Eriksen’s Etihad winner

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium

Tottenham have been going about their business quietly this season but that is about to stop because that was a big signal of intent on Sunday winning at Manchester City. Any hope of them staying under the radar has gone. They are only two points off the top spot themselves now.

Spurs look a very good team to me. They are defensively sound and with Harry Kane up front they have goals in them. The manager did a fantastic job at Southampton and he is doing exactly the same at Spurs. Lloris pulled off a world class save to keep them in front late in the game at the Etihad Stadium.

That’s what you need your goalkeeper to do when you are under pressure. Kasper Schmeichel and Petr Cech have both been important for their clubs as has Joe Hart so all four teams fighting for the title have top class ‘keepers.

I know it has been a couple of bad weeks for Manchester City but, with the likes of Aguero, Silva, Kompany and Toure in their squad, you can’t write them off.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium

Without Kompany, they’ve been poor defensively for large parts of the season. When you look at City and the quality they have, you just wish they’d show a little desire sometimes. It’s not the first time that accusation has been thrown at them either.

Hodgsom will be delighted with in-form England youngsters

Tottenham have a good solid base of English players in there. I did Match of the Day with Roy Hodgson on Saturday night and we discussed before we went on air about how many good youngsters England have and a lot of them are at Spurs.

Video technology not the answer to spot kick controversy

Looking at the two controversial penalty incidents this weekend, I don’t think Vardy should have been awarded a penalty. He looked for the leg but if I was a centre-forward, I would have been delighted when the referee gave it. It was a pressure penalty but he stuck it away very well.

Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur - Barclays Premier League - Etihad Stadium

In the City game, I didn’t think Sterling’s was a penalty either. However, when you look at it in full speed, you can understand why the referee has given it.

Some people have campaigned for video replays to sort these sorts of incidents out. I don’t think we should be bringing technology in for these examples. I believe we need it to the establish the facts, i.e did the ball cross the line. We’re talking about opinions here though. If you have 10 guys in a room, their opinions could all be different.

Chelsea still have lots to play for despite league slump

Although Chelsea are out of contention in the Premier League, they have two big games to look forward to this week. In the Champions League, they travel to Paris to take on PSG, while on Sunday they face Manchester City in the FA Cup.

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Chelsea were easy winners against Newcastle but they did not have not have a lot to beat-it was an embarrassing performance from Newcastle. From Chelsea’s point of view though, it was exactly what they needed going into a tough game in Paris.

When you look at Guus Hiddink’s record at Chelsea, it is incredible. He has only lost one game during his two spells at the club. Despite that, you do get the impression that he is only going to be there until the end of the season.

Cesc Fabregas has stepped his game up under him, Costa has done the same, as has John Terry who I know went off injured at the weekend. The one player who has still not got firing is Eden Hazard.

The one thing which may help Chelsea in this tie with PSG is the French champions may have had a lack of genuine match practice. I know PSG have been winning games in the league but they have been doing so at a canter because that league is over.

Paris Saint Germain v Lyon - Coupe de France - Quarter Final - Parc des Princes

PSG have some very good players though with the likes of Ibrahimovic and Di Maria. It may come down to whose forwards are firing the best.

Barca poised to make Champions League history

When it comes down to winning the Champions League, I still believe it will be one of the big three in Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich. That Barca team are on such a great run at the moment and could be on course to successfully defend their Champions League crown , the first team to do so.


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Alan Shearer

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer is the Premier League's all-time top scorer with 260 goals and a leading TV pundit from the BBC's flagship football programme Match of the Day. Euro '96 Golden Boot winner Alan will be sharing his thoughts on all things football every week throughout the 2018/19 season.