TEN things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are nearly as bad as Roy Hodgson’s Reds, Tottenham can mix it with top six rivals and new Everton boss Sean Dyche is back with a blueprint to stop Arsenal… TEN things we learned from the Premier League
- There were surprise wins at the bottom of the table and shocks at the top
- Manchester City could not take advantage of Arsenal’s defeat at Everton
- Meanwhile, Wolves and Nottingham Forest secured big wins down at the bottom
A crazy weekend of Premier League drama has brought shocks up and down the table, highlighted by bottom side Everton recording a victory over league leaders Arsenal.
But while teams at the top including Manchester City and Newcastle United also failed to pick up three points, it’s got a lot closer down the bottom of the table, with Wolves also triumphing against an out-of-sorts Liverpool.
There was also joy for Nottingham Forest who saw off Leeds United in a battle that could prove pivotal in the fight against relegation.
Elsewhere Brighton continued their fine form in a push for European football and Chelsea continue to labour for wins under Graham Potter.
With plenty of action across the 10 Premier League games, here is what we learned from the weekend’s encounters.
Liverpool fell to another Premier League defeat with a 3-0 loss at Wolves on Saturday
Klopp’s Liverpool are nearly as bad as Hodgson’s
You realise just how bad it is at Liverpool when you can start comparing Jurgen Klopp’s current side with the ill fated tenure of Roy Hodgson.
But that’s where we are, and it was after 20 games when Hodgson was axed and the team had just 25 points halfway through the 2010-11 season.
Twelve years on and at the 20-game mark sees Klopp’s Reds not much better off as sitting in 10th they are only four points better off.
Of course, it’s not quite a like-for-like situation, Klopp has plenty of credit at Anfield given he has brought the Champions League and Premier League trophies back to Merseyside in a period of enormous success for the club.
Hodgson was a summer arrival and it was quickly realised things were going sour very fast. Still, Klopp has a far better squad at his disposal than the former England manager did, and he must find a solution quickly to their demise following the shocking 3-0 loss at Wolves.
Roy Hodgson struggled to gain many positive results during his tenure as Liverpool manager
You can’t write Manchester United off yet
It really does take just one weekend to turn around expectations at a club. Following defeat at Arsenal it looked like United’s blossoming title bid under Erik ten Hag was over before it had even really started.
After all they were 11 points behind the Gunners having played a game more. They were of course once 12 points behind Newcastle in 1996 before recovering to claim the title, but despite the Everton loss, Arsenal look a little bit stronger than Kevin Keegan’s fabulous ‘Entertainers’.
Yet Arsenal’s defeat has still opened the door for United, who in beating Crystal Palace 2-1 have got back to winning ways instantly by trimming that gap down to eight points with still well over half-a-season to go.
Coupled with rivals Manchester City losing at Tottenham and it was just about the perfect weekend for the Red Devils who may yet have a title push in them.
After losing at Arsenal, Manchester United got back to winning ways against Crystal Palace
Arsenal still have weaknesses to exploit
It’s very easy to overreact when a Premier League leader falls to a defeat, especially to one at the bottom of the table.
So while the Gunners losing at Everton isn’t quite the first sign of cracks appearing in their bid to win the league title, it does offer future opponents the chance to see why it went so wrong for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Everton boss Sean Dyche had all the answers with a simple approach of getting physical with the Gunners and simply stopping them from getting into a flow on the field.
Too many teams have allowed Arsenal to play this season and paid the price, so with the blueprint now in place it’s up to the Emirates outfit to prove that this defeat really was just a one-off that all sides will have during a season – even title winning ones.
Premier League leaders Arsenal suffered a shock defeat at bottom club Everton
Tottenham can mix it with the elite
Too often Tottenham can go missing against their so-called Premier League big six rivals, and they have developed a reputation as a bit of a soft touch with a mentality about as fragile as a glass wrecking ball.
That reputation isn’t harsh either. One trophy in over 20 years and a string of final and semi-final defeats littered in that time have hardly made them out to be mentality monsters.
Neither has their big-game record this term. Double defeats against Arsenal along with losses against Liverpool and Manchester United were glaring results as they headed into the game against City without a big six win.
Yet City were deservedly beaten by Spurs 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, and it does offer proof that Antonio Conte’s men do have the ability to mix it with the best. Why they don’t do it more often is the next question but the club need to start building on these landmark victories as stepping stones to future success.
Harry Kane was on target for Tottenham Hotspur as they overcome Manchester City 1-0
A trip to Spurs has long been Man City’s kryptonite
With the last point in mind, maybe Spurs are just ‘that team’ that City typically struggle with – a bogey team.
Much has been spoken about Pep Guardiola’s record at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and how they have lost every match there without scoring in five visits, but City’s story extends further.
They now haven’t taken so much as a point off the lilywhite side of north London since 2015, having also lost their last two games at White Hart Lane, including a 2015 4-1 defeat a few months on from their last win.
Curiously during this period, Spurs also played homes games at Wembley as their new stadium was built… and lost to City both times so maybe there really is something in the air down at White Hart Lane.
Pep Guardiola’s Man City have failed to win in all five of their visits to Spurs’ new ground
Chelsea’s investments will take time to pay dividends
Chelsea were always in for a hiding when they spent over £300m in the transfer window.
Even if winning every game from now until the end of the season is an incredibly unlikely prospect for any club, the big spending under the Blues is going to be magnified when Graham Potter’s side don’t collect three points – and these days that appears to be every other week.
Benoit Badiashile, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk all started on Friday night against Fulham but still couldn’t help the Blues edge past their west London neighbours.
It can be easy to point the finger at Chelsea and instantly decry a huge waste of money but given their transfer outlay and vast turnover of first-team playing staff, they perhaps do deserve time to bed into Potter’s team, with the short term injection of talent perhaps needing longer term patience to finally start clicking. At the very least, that’s what Potter will be hoping for.
Mykhailo Mudryk had a low key full debut for Chelsea in their goalless draw with Fulham
There is hope for Everton under Dyche
With any new managerial appointment there is always hope that just having a fresh face in charge can provide something of boost to a first-team.
But even with the largely welcomed appointment of Dyche to the Everton dugout from club supporters, expectations remained rather low that the former Burnley boss could turn around a fast sinking ship at Goodison Park.
This wasn’t much down to Dyche but more to do with the hand he had been dealt. He had been handed an Everton team weaker than one that started the January transfer window. One without key asset Anthony Gordon and one without a single new signing this winter.
As an added negative the first game in charge was rampant runaway Premier League leaders Arsenal. So for Dyche to instantly grab victory is more than just three points to the club, it helps lift the mood on a deeply toxic atmosphere and for supporters at least finally gives hope that their side can after all once again avoid relegation.
Sean Dyche’s return to the Premier League brought Everton a stunning victory over Arsenal
Wolves now hunting for goals under Lopetegui
Wolves have always looked like a team that with just a small tweak could rocket up the league table, and that tweak was finding a formula to somehow get the team scoring.
Goals have been a problem all season at Molineux. It was certainly an issues for Bruno Lage before he departed and Julen Lopetegui has been looking for its cure since he took over in November.
But the Spanish boss could have now found his solution after a resounding 3-0 win over Liverpool saw the club score a fifth of their league goals this season on Saturday.
Granted, they remain the lowest scorers with 15 in the top flight and Liverpool are a bit of a mess, but it’s certainly an encouraging sign for Wolves especially as they otherwise look reasonably assured at the back. If the goals problem really has been answered, expect them to pull away from a relegation battle sooner rather than later.
Low-scorers Wolves stunned Liverpool by securing a comfortable 3-0 victory at Molineux
Brighton are Champions League contenders
There’s always one isn’t there? In recent seasons it’s been West Ham United who have been trying to break the big six cabal for the top four.
You might even say now it’s Newcastle sitting in fourth, but the difference is we are close to accepting the Magpies as becoming part of the Premier League big hitters these days.
But Brighton for the Champions League? Nonsense talk, surely. Especially given the club’s journey over the last 25 years where at times it didn’t look like they would have a ground during the really low days.
Yet another win, following a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth, their fourth in six, leaves them as chief challengers to the Toon when you factor in they have two games in hand with fifth place Tottenham.
Let’s not pretend we are going to start rushing to the bookies to stick our savings on a top four place for Brighton, yet if we can consider the title race still alive then you have to take top four shouts for the Seagulls just as seriously too.
Brighton have so far enjoyed an excellent season and are currently sixth in the top flight
Forest in safe hands with Navas
Given the amount of incoming players this season at Nottingham Forest, signing of the season is going to be a well battled contest.
Yet perhaps the best may have been saved to last in veteran goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
Arriving on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the 36-year-old is on cover while Dean Henderson is ruled out injured but he is already showing form that could be the difference between Forest staying up or going down.
The Costa Rica international looked assured and commanding of his penalty area during Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over Leeds United, making a number of key saves too as Steve Cooper’s side sealed a crucial victory to take them six points clear of the relegation zone.
Keylor Navas enjoyed a fine debut in goal for Nottingham Forest on loan from PSG
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