The weekend’s action is nearly complete and that means there’s another week of 5 Good/5 Bad.
- Where else do you start but Leicester, their astonishing start to the season continues as Jamie Vardy equals the record for scoring in consecutive matches as his 10th in a row against Newcastle was enough to put The Foxes top of the table. I’m going to have to hold my hands up and say I got Leicester completely wrong this season, with the appointment of Claudio Ranieri in the Summer I thought they were going to struggle but credit where credit is due, Ranieri has done a phenomenal job so far and after Leicester’s great escape last season has managed to make the team even better. The real acid test will be their next 6 matches where 5 of those games are Man Utd, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Man City. Let’s see where they are after those games to see how the rest of their season shapes up, but they won’t worry about that just yet they’ll no doubt be toasting sitting at the top of the league when this time last year they were at the bottom.
- Liverpool . Jurgen Klopp showed why he was so highly coveted for the job on Merseyside as he was the mastermind behind their 4-1 win at The Etihad on Saturday. Obviously the players still have to job in hand but that’s now away wins at Chelsea and Manchester City for Liverpool since Klopp’s arrival and The Reds were quick out of the block while the link up play between Firmino and Coutinho was deadly and it looks like a partnership is starting to flourish between the two Brazilians. Liverpool’s season is now starting to pick up pace, if they can cancel out the home defeats like the one against Palace then they could be one of the contenders for a coveted Top 4 place
- Probably their best performance of the season so far yesterday as their burst West Ham’s bubble and managed to close the gap to 4th to only 2 points. It’s now 12 games unbeaten since the start of the season for Spurs as Mauricio Pochettino looks like he is creating something pretty special down at White Hart Lane. Harry Kane has finally found his goalscoring form from last season as he now has 7 in his last 4 matches while the winning mentality at Spurs seems to grow from week to week. Add to that the partnership of Eric Dier and Dele Alli which has got fans and pundits alike raving about their performances and it’s an interesting time down at the Lane. A win against Chelsea next week would give them a staggering 13 point head start in the race for the Top 4.
- Manchester United. They started (and finished) Saturday’s game with no recognised strikers but still managed to come away with all 3 points. That win now puts United into 2nd in the table as other results went their way, it may now have been the prettiest of wins and it looked like it was going to be a draw once Troy Deeney had equalised with a late penalty but credit to United they didn’t give up and managed to escape from Vicarage Road with all 3 points. If they can grind out wins like that, it certainly won’t do their title hopes any harm.
- I don’t usually put Spanish teams in here but with El Clasico happening on Saturday it seems only fair. Their 4-0 mauling of bitterest rivals of Real Madrid seemed pretty effortless at times as they moved 6 points clear at the top of La Liga. Before that game Luis Suarez and Neymar had scored every goal since Lionel Messi’s injury and they didn’t let up on Saturday as they scored 3 out of the 4 with Andres Iniesta showing why he’s such a big game player as he also got on the scoresheet. That defeat on it’s own could be enough for Rafa Benitez to be shown the door, there is press conference later tonight in Madrid could it be adios already for Rafa?
- Maybe lucky to get a point at home to Spurs a fortnight ago but it was nothing to do with luck on Saturday as they threw away a lead to lose 2-1 to West Brom. Santi Cazorla capped off a miserable day as his penalty slip cost Arsenal the chance of a point at The Hawthorns. Mikel Arteta also had a poor afternoon as after coming on as a sub for the injured Francis Coquelin he then scored an Own Goal and ended up being subbed off himself. There’s more bad news as Coquelin has been now ruled out for 2 months, with the loss of their defensive shield does this mean Arsenal slip away from the summit of the table?
- Manchester City. They had Sergio Aguero returning from injury but not even he could halt the hammering that Liverpool dished out on Saturday evening. They were definitely missing Vincent Kompany with Ellaquim Mangala nowhere near offering the same level of performance as their Belgian Captain. It was Aguero who took the armband on and although it was a pleasing sight for City fans to see him back on the scoresheet there must be a worry that a lot of players went missing on Saturday and Aguero is just one hamstring ping away from another couple of months out. Manuel Pellegrini is going to have to use him sparingly to make sure there isn’t a repeat of the injury that led him to miss all that game time. 2 games without a win now for City
- Aston Villa. After getting a draw against Manchester City before the break which to them would have felt like a win, it was back to normality on Saturday as Everton run out 4-0 winners. That defeat now leaves them 5 points from safety and they still are yet to win a game since the opening day of the season. Also that’s only 1 goal from 3 games in which they’ve conceded 6. If you’re not going to offer a lot up front when struggling against relegation then you have to be solid at the back but it seems as if Remi Garde is going to solve problems in defence and attack.
- Now they may have come back from 2-0 down on Saturday but that’s still no win since the end of August when they beat Manchester United at home and for every game this continues then Garry Monk is in more and more danger of being shown the exit door at The Liberty. It can’t help that Babetimfi Gomis’ form has fallen off a cliff, he hasn’t scored since that last league win and it’s only really Andre Ayew’s performances that have come away with any credit as of late. It doesn’t get any easier for The Swans as next up it’s Liverpool away, could that be Garry Monk’s last game in charge?
- West Ham. There were always going to be fears that with Dimitri Payet being out for 3 months due to an ankle injury that their season was going to come to a halt. Now him being injured wasn’t the sole reason that they lost yesterday, they were pretty rank bad but that must be a concern that without the Frenchman pulling the strings they look a completely different side. Slaven Bilic will have to hope that yesterday’s performance doesn’t now become the norm in the period of Payet’s absence.