Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Premier League


1) Schedule provides Allardyce and Baggies hope

West Brom don’t play for six days. Then they don’t play for per week after that. In truth, the approach the schedule stands, they received’t have one other two-game week for 3 months. That can come as a welcome reduction by way of fatigue, however as Sam Allardyce noticed after Sunday’s draw towards Manchester United, it’s going to give him correct time on the coaching pitch. That might be crucial not solely to organising a aspect that at present has by far the worst defensive file in the Premier League, but additionally to combine the 5 gamers he has added to the squad. Mbaye Diagne, loaned from Galatasaray, acquired the objective towards United, whereas Okay Yokuslu, loaned from Celta Vigo, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, loaned from Arsenal, have been efficient in defending the again 4. There may be, for the first time in a very long time, a glimmer of hope for West Brom, and the schedule may kindle that. Jonathan Wilson

• Match report: West Brom 1-1 Manchester United

2) Spurs stroll an pleasing look ahead to Guardiola

It’s good to study Pep Guardiola can get pleasure from Manchester Metropolis’s present shows. This win towards the final aspect to beat his – 23 video games in the past, on 21 November – was a sixteenth on the bounce through which Tottenhamwere allowed no likelihood to play. “We create extra possibilities and concede few,” mentioned Guardiola. “You’ll be able to create far more and lose video games – it’s the solely sport the place it occurs – not in basketball, golf, tennis, no that is this just one. This yr we’ve not made errors.” Metropolis’s ascendancy has occurred with out their file goalscorer, Sergio Agüero, because of damage and Covid, or best participant, Kevin De Bruyne,recovering from a hamstring drawback. “I’d wish to have a participant to attain 4 targets a recreation. However I cannot change any participant I’ve this season,” mentioned Guardiola. The dangerous information for rivals is that Agüero is out there once more and De Bruyne will quickly be part of him. Jamie Jackson

• Match report: Manchester Metropolis 3-0 Tottenham

3) Jiménez return provides to feel-good issue

Even earlier than Wolves’ comeback win at Southampton, there was some excellent news for supporters: Raúl Jiménez’s return to coaching. Wolves are hopeful the striker, who returned to the grass on Thursday following a constructive session with medical workers, may play earlier than the finish of the season. Jiménez is coaching away from the first-team group however continues to construct health after fracturing his cranium in November. Wolves missed their talisman at St Mary’s however the type of 20-year-old Pedro Neto, coupled with Adama Traoré starting to get again in the direction of his razor-sharp finest, supplied a reminder that, when Jiménez does return, they are going to boast a terrifying entrance three. Neto nonchalantly pressed pause earlier than accelerating away from Jannik Vestergaard to notch an excellent winner. At the different finish, the captain Conor Coady commanded Wolves by way of an important victory on his one hundredth Premier League look, a much-needed pick-me-up after a poor run was compounded by exiting the FA Cup. Jiménez’s child steps present one other fine addition. Ben Fisher

• Match report: Southampton 1-2 Wolves

Raúl Jiménez is training once more.
Raúl Jiménez is coaching as soon as extra. {Photograph}: Wolverhampton Wanderers FC/Getty Pictures

4) Barnes provides Southgate a pleasant headache

Just about every little thing good that Leicester did of their 3-1 win over Liverpool featured Harvey Barnes. Enjoying huge left in a 4-2-3-1, he twice teed up Jamie Vardy for clear possibilities but it surely was after he was moved larger up the pitch, as the left striker in a 4-4-2 diamond, that he put Liverpool to the sword. Barnes’ most eye-catching energy is his directness, his skill to burst previous defenders with large acceleration and it was on present when he received the free-kick from which James Maddison equalised and when he labored Alisson after a surge previous three opponents. His thrusting late objective topped a show that may have delighted the watching England supervisor, Gareth Southgate, who certainly has a type of “good complications”. For the huge attacking roles in his 3-4-3, Southgate’s choices absorb Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka, Mason Greenwood, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Danny Ings. David Hytner

• Match report: Leicester 3-1 Liverpool

5) McGinn has been key to Villa’s progress

It’s taken Aston Villa 22 video games to file extra points than they managed in the complete of final season and a key part of their renaissance has been the central midfield partnership between John McGinn and Douglas Luiz. Even when they have been outplayed by Brighton on Saturday, Dean Smith’s aspect got here away with a degree because of the heroics of Emiliano Martínez to take care of their hopes of enjoying in Europe subsequent season. However whereas he was filled with reward for the former Arsenal goalkeeper, Smith additionally
acknowledged the affect of Scotland midfielder McGinn in a deeper function than he performed final yr. “He was making lung-busting runs into the opposition field however this yr we’ve modified our system a bit and he has achieved a extremely good job in defending our two centre-halves,” mentioned the Villa supervisor. “He’s getting higher and higher after his damage final season.” Ed Aarons

• Match report: Brighton 0-0 Aston Villa

6) Leeds shuffle the present Gunners wanted

Leeds proved supreme opponents for Arsenal to sharpen their Emirates scoring contact. That they had beforehand scored simply 12 targets all season at house. Marcelo Bielsa’s choice to make up for Kalvin Phillips’ absence by shunting Luke Ayling, Pascal Struijk and Jamie Shackleton into unfamiliar roles badly backfired however the high quality of Arsenal’s attacking was decisive. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang scored a hat-trick however the children round him demanded recognition. Bukayo Saka was irresistible when surging from the proper whereas Emile Smith Rowe’s use of house and languid, socks-rolled-down model are a throwback to a distinct period, such is the time he makes for himself on the ball. That homegrown pair overshadowed Martin Ødegaard, enjoying off lone-striker Aubameyang, and who was neat and tidy however by no means fairly as explosive or incisive in his first Arsenal begin. Promising indicators however few different might be as accommodating as Leeds, for whom Illan Meslier in objective had a nightmare. John Brewin

• Match report: Arsenal 4-2 Leeds United

7) Hodgson must make the case for defence

“I hoped we’d see one or two excellent particular person performances like we’ve seen from Wilfried Zaha so typically over the years,” Roy Hodgson mentioned. “Right here is the likelihood to place the criticism to mattress that we want Wilfried in our assault and as soon as once more we failed.” Not solely did the attackers wrestle as they failed to check Nick Pope to any nice diploma however the information that targets are laborious to come back by with out Zaha is impacting the defence. Contemplating Crystal Palace boast the oldest beginning XI on common in the Premier League this season, a stable base is perhaps anticipated. A again 5 the place nobody is underneath the age of 30 shouldn’t be so calamitous and porous; conceding two avoidable targets in the opening 10 minutes successfully ended the recreation. Hodgson mightworry about the forwards however he is perhaps equally involved about the second-worst defence in the Premier League. Will Unwin

• Match report: Crystal Palace 0-3 Burnley

Cheikhou Kouyate (left) and Scott Dann (right) had no answers for Burnley.
Cheikhou Kouyaté (left) and Scott Dann (proper) had no solutions for Burnley. {Photograph}: Jamie McPhilimey 507643/NMC Pool

8) Bale seeks hearth to show Mourinho improper

Gareth Bale confirmed a glimpse of the nice participant he as soon as was, jinking inside, earlier than hitting a fierce shot which pressured Ederson right into a superb save. The Welshman’s contribution has been pitiful since returning to the Premier League, leading to myriad questions on his character, together with from José Mourinho. The Spurs boss has questioned the loanee’s claims over health whereas barely utilizing him on the pitch. His angle now underneath scrutiny, Bale is perhaps pressured to up his requirements. A few of his finest moments at Actual Madrid got here whereas his relationship with Zinedine Zidane was most strained, so there is perhaps the hearth he must remind everybody of his skills. Two targets in the 2018 Champions League ultimate towards Liverpool got here off the bench, adopted by a jibe in the direction of Zidane about enjoying each week. He wants one thing just like give it again to Mourinho. Will Unwin

Guardiola’s free spirits expose Tottenham’s predictability

9) Fulham reap advantages of Maja’s spell in France

Sunderland expressed shock in 2019 when Josh Maja determined to go away the League One aspect, a division they continue to be in, to affix Bordeaux. In France, he performed 45 league video games, scoring 9 targets, as he stepped up from third-tier soccer to check himself towards a few of the largest sides in Europe. Jadon Sancho is the poster boy for younger English expertise transferring overseas to broaden their horizons and skills on a larger stage at a younger age, butmany others are studying their craft throughout the continent , looking for to higher themselves exterior their consolation zone. Maja has returned 18 months later to indicate what he can do in the Premier League, enjoying for Fulham alongside Ola Aina and Ademola Lookman each additionally impressing after spells in Europe. Maja’s instinctive ending towards Everton urged the attributes to succeed, having honed his craft in Ligue 1. Will Unwin

Match report: Everton 0-2 Fulham


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10) Liverpool are simply following the development of champions

Are Liverpool actually “dangerous champions”, as Roy Keane labelled them final week? It might appear extra correct to say the defence of their first title in 30 years has been disappointing although in no way the worst in latest reminiscence. Chelsea collapsed into rancour after title wins from each José Mourinho and Antonio Conte whereas Leicester sacked Claudio Ranieri when he adopted up a 5000/1 miracle with a relegation battle. The followers’ religion in Jürgen Klopp is unshakeable however there may be concern for somebody whose frayed mood and moodiness with the media is defined by the latest demise of his mom. And but the “mentality monsters” of final season have been changed by sentimentality for a time when every little thing went proper. Alisson will all the time have a mistake in him – his model of goalkeeping is dangerous by nature – however the crew round him was beforehand adequate for Liverpool to make up for his disasters towards Manchester Metropolis and Leicester. John Brewin

Bayern Munich beat Chelsea and Liverpool to signal Dayot Upamecano