United may have handed Solskjaer the wheel too soon – 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League

0
68
Booking.com


The Premier League title race continued at full throttle this weekend, as Manchester City and rivals Liverpool both picked up three points once more.

Manchester United appear to have come down from their initial high under their new manager, while Brighton look to be playing with fire at the foot of the table.

Here, AMITAI WINEHOUSE assesses 10 things we learned from the latest weekend of the top-flight season… 

Maybe, just maybe, Manchester United handed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the permanent job too soon. These defeats are piling up. But it is not just the losses in their recent record – it is the manner of them too.

This 4-0 loss at Everton was their worst margin of defeat since October 2016, when they lost to Chelsea. And it was the Toffees’ best win against them since October 1984.

United have now also gone 11 games without a clean sheet, their worst run since 1996. Everything is going against the Norwegian, at exactly the time he should be proving he deserved United’s faith.

Their 4-0 loss at Everton was Manchester United’s worst margin of defeat since October 2016

Wilfried Zaha has made it clear that he wants a big move and boy does he deserve it.

He has scored eight away goals for Crystal Palace in the league following their 3-2 win at Arsenal and that record on the road is only bettered by two men in the entire division – Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy.

Often a big team’s success boils down to how they fare away. Arsenal are one of the teams with an interest in the Ivorian, although his £80m price tag may be beyond their budget.

They should match it as they look to improve their own issues away from the Emirates.

Wilfried Zaha has made it clear that he wants a big move away from Crystal Palace

Bernardo Silva made the symbolic gesture of handing over his man of the match award to Phil Foden post-Spurs match but the reality is both will be integral to everything Pep Guardiola does at Manchester City going forward.

David Silva, at 33, will not be there forever and the slack will be picked up by that duo, as they did against Spurs. Foden became the third youngest player to score for City in the league on Saturday. Bernardo was involved in seven of City’s 15 shots, whether hitting them or passing them.

The Spaniard has been one of the most creative players in City’s history. Foden and Bernardo will be among those who are expected to fill the hole when retirement beckons.

Bernardo Silva (left) was involved in seven of Man City’s 15 shots as they beat Tottenham

Bernardo Silva (left) was involved in seven of Man City’s 15 shots as they beat Tottenham

It is hard to judge a Liverpool title push without comparing it to what has come before, and this still has the hallmarks of the momentum-driven approach of Brendan Rodgers.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have won nine consecutive matches in all competitions, their longest winning streak since April 2014. That was under Rodgers, and they fell at the next hurdle.

The difference is that this time, you cannot see Liverpool stumbling. And that is where things differ from the class of 2013-14.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side have won nine consecutive matches in all competitions

The aim at Everton from the minute Farhad Moshiri took over was to break into the top six.

That has always looked like a tough task, but maybe the signs are there. Everton have won more Premier League points at home to the ‘big-six’ clubs this season (10 – with three wins and a draw in six games) than any other team from outside the top six in the table.

Only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have bettered that haul too. That’s the sort of results they will need to continue next season if they want to join that exclusive club.

Everton have an impressive run of results this season against the Premier League's top six

Everton have an impressive run of results this season against the Premier League’s top six

The last few weeks have been the Ayoze Perez show at Newcastle but Salomon Rondon has also shown why his signing is demand No 1 when it comes to Rafa Benitez staying at St. James’ Park.

The striker set up one of Perez’s hat-trick goals against Southampton to add to a tally that has seen him contribute to more Newcastle goals than anyone else in the side – 15 – nine goals and six assists.

It is easy to forget how poor Newcastle were when Rondon was injured. He knits everything together going forward. And he will be Benitez’s key man if they manage to snap him up next season.

Powerful striker Salomon Rondon has contributed nine goals and six assists this season

Powerful striker Salomon Rondon has contributed nine goals and six assists this season

There was, at one stage this season and for the second half of last, a question mark over Newcastle’s decision to sell Aleksandar Mitrovic to Fulham. That has disappeared.

Instead, his penalty for Fulham at Bournemouth simply flagged up how poor his goalscoring record has been in recent months and how he is not reliable enough at the top level for a team battling relegation. That spot-kick ended a run of nine Premier League games without scoring and he hadn’t netted with any of his previous 36 shots in the competition prior to his penalty.

Sure, it will be good for him to get back to goalscoring form ahead of, presumably, hoping to move in the summer. But he has simply shown he is not yet ready for the big time.

Aleksandar Mitrovic's goal at Bournemouth flagged up how poor his scoring record has been

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s goal at Bournemouth flagged up how poor his scoring record has been

Keep an eye on Harvey Barnes. His form at West Brom in the first half of the season suggested this is a player of some note.

Now he has his first Leicester goal – which was also the 5000th in English league football this season – and in the most dramatic of circumstances at West Ham. Brendan Rodgers loves bringing young talent into his sides, not least wide players, and you could see him involving him next campaign.

That would be a huge plus for Leicester and could even, with time, give Gareth Southgate something to think about.

Harvey Barnes is highly rated at Leicester and is set for chances under Brendan Rodgers

Harvey Barnes is highly rated at Leicester and is set for chances under Brendan Rodgers

Is Jan Siewert the man to lead Huddersfield into the Championship? There have been moments of hope under him but despite his protestations and frequent criticism of his players, he has not been able to inspire anything from the Terriers since arriving.

Siewert has lost 11 of his 12 games as Huddersfield manager and heads into probably the most important summer in the club’s history. Their recent successes hide the fact that if they get recruitment wrong, if the team does not click immediately, they may find this two-year stint to be a generational affair.

Owner Dean Hoyle should really consider a change. Siewert might not be the man for the job.

Jan Siewert has lost 11 of his 12 games since taking over as Huddersfield manager

Jan Siewert has lost 11 of his 12 games since taking over as Huddersfield manager

Brighton’s draw at Wolves will be massive for their confidence but the point hides the fact they still have the same problems.

They have now failed to score in each of their last five league games, their worst run since January 2016. And they cannot rely on 0-0 draws to see them through the rest of the season.

It is now so tight between them and Cardiff that a couple of wins either way will swing it. Brighton need to find their goalscoring touch again – and fast.

Relegation-battling Brighton have now failed to score in each of their last five league games

Relegation-battling Brighton have now failed to score in each of their last five league games



Source link

Have something to say? Leave a comment:

Booking.com