Who can dethrone Leicester City? The plucky Foxes find themselves on the top of the Premier League table before the traditional Boxing Day matches, and look positively unbeatable after another win against Everton at Goodison Park this weekend.
A team that has looked all too beatable this season, Chelsea, won their first game post Jose Mourinho over Sunderland 3-1. Arsenal took down City in dominant fashion with a 2-1 win on Monday night, United continues to struggle with a 2-1 loss to Norwich and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side got smashed 3-0 by newly promoted Watford.
In all those results, stars shone through, and here’s three of the best from BPL Matchday 17.
Mesuit Ozil, Midfielder, Arsenal F.C.
While Ozil could make his way into the three stars every week in the Premier League, his performance against Manchester City on Monday night was simply too good to pass up. Ozil assisted on both Arsenal goals to put the Gunners up 2-0. While a Yaya Toure rocket would narrow the gap to 2-1, Arsenal was able to hang on for a victory against their top-four rivals.
With two assists, Ozil now has 15 on the season, a ridiculously high number that may see the German international challenge for the Premier League record. To put it in perspective, the next highest assister has seven. In Cesc Fabregas best Premier League season ever, the 2007-08 campaign with Arsenal, he had 20 for the entire season. Ozil has 15 and it’s just December. This could end up being a very special season for the Gunners’ playmaker.
Oscar, Attacking Midfielder, Chelsea F.C.
It’s been tough to find a spot for Chelsea players over the past few weeks, but this weekend in their 3-1 victory over Sunderland the defending champions actually looked like a club capable of winning a modest amount of games. The best player on the field by far for Chelsea was Oscar, the young Brazilian midfielder who probably relished the chance to get some playing time after Mourinho was fired.
Oscar scored a beauty of a goal against Sunderland, his second of the season, and appeared far more composed on the ball than he has at other times this season. The attacking trio of Oscar, Willian and Eden Hazard could be huge for Chelsea as the Blues attempt to salvage their season, though they will be very dependent on their young Brazilian playmaker.
Since Oscar has been in the Premier League so long, it’s easy to forget he’s just 24, but Chelsea fans will be happy with these performances, hoping Oscar can make the Stamford Bridge faithful cheer for years to come.
Odion Ighalo, Striker, Watford F.C.
Watford may not be the biggest Premier League side, but you wouldn’t know it from their result on Sunday, when they defeated Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side 3-0. Key to the Hornets’ victory was Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo, who had a brace against Liverpool to give his side the win.
While Ighalo has lived in the shadow of the Jamie Vardys and Riyah Mahrezs of the world, he is quietly having one of the best seasons in the Premier League. Ighalo now has 12 goals on the season, two more than Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud, and three more than Tottenham’s Harry Kane. It’s no surprise, as Ighalo was a 20-goal scorer in the Championship last season, though few Watford fans saw him with double-digit goals by Christmas in his first Premier League season.
With that win, Watford moved up to seventh in the table, and if Ighalo keeps scoring goals at this alarming rate, it’s hard to imagine the Hornets returning to the Championship any time soon.