Another week of Premier League action has come to a conclusion, let’s see what where the good and bad points of the weekend just gone.
- The North London Derby. What an encounter that was but Tottenham will be asking themselves how they didn’t win that. 1-0 was never going to be enough in a game between these two sides and Spurs will look back at the failure to kill the game off in the second half as a possible turning point, but credit to Arsenal they managed to exploit Tottenham’s only weakness and got back into the game. I suppose it’s a measure of the level of Tottenham’s performance and how far they’ve come that they are disappointed not to have taken all 3 points at The Emirates.
- Aston Villa, it certainly wasn’t pretty to watch and they no doubt rode their luck massively but Remi Garde won’t care too much as his first game in charge ended in a 0-0 draw against Manchester City. The team that lined up yesterday looked much more impressive than the one that started away at Spurs last week and the performance across the whole game was a marked improvement. They still lack ideas up front but if they can sure up the goals at the other end than it’s a step in the right direction, still a hell of a lot to do at Villa Park but there’s nothing like a confidence boosting result to get you started.
- Jamie Vardy, he does it again. That’s now 9 in 9 Premier League matches. He probably had to say thanks to Riyad Mahrez after his Algerian team-mate let him take the penalty that put Leicester 2-0 up against Watford but he is now 1 goal away from equalling Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record of 10. The more he scores the louder the case for starting upfront for England in the upcoming friendlies. With two of them in quick succession it would make perfect sense if he started in one of them even so we have alternatives if (when) Wayne Rooney gets injured. Not forgetting Leicester now sit a remarkable 3rd place just 1 point off the top after 12 league matches, simply incredible.
- Crystal Palace. They do seem to be Liverpool’s bogey team don’t they. That’s another win at Anfield after last year spoiling Steven Gerrard’s leaving party and in the 3 games prior to yesterday against Liverpool they had managed to put three past them. It was only 2 yesterday but that was still enough to end Jurgen Klopp’s unbeaten run as Liverpool Manager. That win for Crystal Palace has them sitting 8th at the break and they now go ahead of both Merseyside teams, another win masterminded by Alan Pardew. Are we seeing the next England Manager in waiting?
- Robert Elliott – my word what a performance, I don’t think he’ll ever have that good for the rest of his career but if he does it will be even more special then his efforts on Saturday. Bournemouth absolutely threw the kitchen sink at him in miserable conditions but he managed to keep everything at bay that The Cherries launched at him and helped Newcastle to all 3 points. That win took Newcastle out of the bottom 3 and allowed The Magpies to overtake Bournemouth and move out of the drop zone, with performances like that they might not miss Tim Krul that much after all.
- Manchester City, they did everything but score yesterday after Wilifred Bony went off injured in the first half you knew it was going to be a bit of a struggle as to where the goals were going to come from yesterday at Villa Park. But with the amount of talent they had on field that’s still no excuse, a rare off day for City’s attacking unit. I mentioned that they will look to get through the Sergio Aguero injury period unscathed which they pretty much have in so far as they haven’t lost but it’s an opportunity missed to go two points clear at the top. They must be keeping their fingers crossed that the diminutive Argentine is fit to face Liverpool in a couple of weeks.
- Chelsea – again. This week the focus wasn’t really on Jose Mourinho as he was nowhere near the ground but this time it actually on matters on the pitch. Another abject performance by The Blues who have now slipped to 16th with that defeat away to Stoke. The attack line was so blunt and bar Pedro hitting the post Stoke had very little to worry about on Saturday Evening. Let’s all spare a thought for Pedro Costa who has decided to retire from scoring goals aged 27. The thing is when you’re actually scoring goals you can afford to have that nasty streak in you and be a real nuisance to Defenders but when you’re just going onto the pitch with the sole desire to wind up the opposition then something seriously isn’t right. They now have given Spurs a 10 point head start in the race for the Champions League places, a defeat to them in November and it could be that a repeat of their 2012 European glory is their only route to staying in the competition.
- Just 1 win in 8 now as the pressure starts to heap onto Garry Monk. After a bright opening month which was topped off with a victory at home to Manchester United the form seems to have dropped off a cliff. The Swans now sit 14th with the lack in form of Gomis, Ayew and Montero being a real concern. The big question is can Monk survive in the Swansea hotseat through the International Break or will Chairman Huw Jenkins push the panic button and look to get in a replacement.
- Another defeat for them and Big Sam’s face said it all when M’Vila went to ground on Saturday to gift Southampton a Penalty and with that all 3 points. Allardyce was saying he needs 10-12 clean sheets this season in order to beat relegation. There is still plenty of games left to go but the underbelly of the club seems to be so toxic and the personnel on the pitch is a lot to be desired. It’s far from over in the battle to beat the drop but Big Sam has certainly got his work cut out
- Huerelho Gomes. Well he’s back to his “best” then isn’t he. A few weeks ago I said he has shaken off that tag of being a calamity, well it seems like he hasn’t. An absolute howler to let in Leicester first and then giving away a Penalty for their second. Certainly a day to forget for the Watford Goalkeeper.