Hits and failures: Liverpool are lastly exhibiting a ruthless lead
Arsenal … where do you start?
There are so many problems with Mikel Arteta's site that it's hard to know where to start.
Her current plight is a crescendo of problems both within and beyond Arteta's control. Partly unlucky? Maybe. Architects of their own downfall? Certainly. Tactically insecure, deprived of leadership and postponed the fight? Yes, yes and yes.
But at the simplest level, Arsenal employees not only fall behind the traditional top teams in the Premier League, but well behind the pack below. Your squad is just not good enough.
"You don't have enough good players no matter who the manager is," said Graeme Souness, even before Arsenal even started in their latest disappointment.
Even if Arsenal recover, string some performances and end up in midfield, it is nowhere near acceptable. On Saturday, they looked like eleven moving parts, desperately trying not to be the fall guy.
Arteta assures us that his team is still fighting, or in other words, he didn't throw any tools at him and left the crumbling construction site. But in their current form, things are likely to get worse before they get better. Next up is Manchester City in the Carabao Cup, then Chelsea in the Emirates. Nobody expects anything positive from Arsenal.
It's the following two games – in Brighton and West Brom – that look frighteningly important.
Calvert-Lewin sums up Ancelotti's reign
A year after his tenure, much has been said about the progress Everton has made under Carlo Ancelotti.
However, one of his greatest achievements was Dominic Calvert-Lewin's transformation. His improvement sums up Ancelotti's new Everton.
Calvert-Lewin's hold-up game allows Everton to sit back, soak, and counter-attack, especially without those like James Rodriguez. There are shades of Harry Kane in the way Calvert-Lewin holds the ball up with intelligence – and yes, holding the ball up is more of a cognitive skill than you think. It's not just about throwing your weight around.
The timing of his jumps, barges and even if he wants to win a foul are at the highest level. His touch and especially the weighted direction of his touch take the defenders out of play, even if they are hanging on his back. And that even before its quality of the target and the threat from the air in front of the gate.
It's cute and effective, and that's exactly what Everton is now. Saturday had a low ranking in football performance this season, but that was necessary for three points. Before that game management and intelligence was missing.
You did the dirty work, and this season of all seasons that means more than a flashy feat.
Liverpool are finally showing their ruthless lead
"I thought it would come because we weren't as ruthless as we would have liked in front of goal in the last few weeks."
Jordan Henderson knows Liverpool haven't been quite as clinical as we've expected in recent games. Although Liverpool are unbeaten in nine games, they drew 1-1 in Brighton and Fulham as well as a lack of lead in the dominant first half against Tottenham midweek.
But like a volcano, the pressure of lava in Selhurst Park eventually erupted as Liverpool ran away to a spectacular 7-0 win. As Jürgen Klopp said, his side was "apparently wearing all of their finishing boots" which was his explanation for the emphatic goal line.
Liverpool scored 50 percent of the shots they had (7/14) compared to just two of the 17 they shot against Tottenham. They were far from perfect, however, and were guilty of a sloppy pass in the first half when Crystal Palace was having their best spell of the game. But Sadio Mane's goal of doubling her leadership seemed to refocus her thoughts as she ruthlessly searched for goals.
From then on they ebbed and flowed like the Liverpool we admire and used the counterattack to destroy an already wounded crystal palace, especially for Roberto Firmino's first. He and Mohamed Salah both scored two goals and assisted – Salah from the bench – while Takumi Minamino opened things up with his first goal in the Premier League. Mention also for a wonderful curling stroke from Henderson.
In addition to Liverpool's performance, that was another good thing. Each of the seven goals was superbly completed and all supported by different players – Mane, Firmino, Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Salah, Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – this is the first time in the history of the Premier League that seven different players have assisted a goal for a team in a game.
Not that Liverpool needed much of this, but it will give them a pre-Christmas boost that will result in an unprecedented eight-day break before their next game against West Brom. The Baggies have the worst defensive record in the Premier League and could prove to be another lucky hunting ground for Liverpool.
Strikingly, it was just a big win for Man City
It was a big moment in Manchester City's season.
When the first ball was kicked in St Mary's Manchester City, championship leaders Liverpool were 10 points ahead of the league, who had just sent a roaring title call at Crystal Palace.
Anything but three points was not an option for Pep Guardiola – and his team played like that. Once they got ahead of the game, it was risky football, played in a very controlled way, getting a lot of men behind the ball at every opportunity. It was a far cry from City's daring performance that we expected under Guardiola, more of a craftsmanship based on defensive unity. That is now six goals conceded in the last seven games, with the axis of John Stones and Ruben Dias continuing to impress as City hit 23-point, eight behind leaders Liverpool.
In the future, it was once again the influence of Kevin De Bruyne that made City tick.
De Bruyne played a touch further forward than usual without Guardiola choosing a direct striker. He was the instigator of every promising attack by the visitors.
When asked to produce the perfect final ball, he found it and provided Raheem Sterling with a typically violent pass that Guardiola was relieved to find clinically terminated after the stubbornness in front of goal at the West Brom draw.
No player made more key passes than De Bruyne (4), whose drive, energy and smart pass played a huge role in keeping Southampton in check in the closing stages.
If City wins their game in hand, it puts them in second place. The Premier League table would suddenly feel familiar.
Jan is the man for Southampton
Ralph Hasenhuttl has many qualities. But what makes him a manager is his ability to take players to the next level. The players seem to grow under his watch.
Jannik Vestergaard is a perfect case study.
The Danish defender signed with the Saints for £ 18m in 2018 and has been stable, albeit unspectacular, for much of Hasenhuttl's early tenure. The manager admitted he was tempted to bring in reinforcements to ensure a leaky backline. However, Vestergaard looks like a newcomer who will catapult his performances to a level that will make him one of the premier league's top center-backs.
Vestergaard excelled again in the Manchester City defeat and showed tremendous quality on the ball. No player made more successful passes than he did on the field, and he liked giving Kyle Walker-Peters a 60-yard move. He is also a major threat in attack, threatening two headed players from James Ward-Prowse's corners – a combination that has resulted in a return of three goals for the defender this season.
With him at the center of their defense, there is no doubt that the Saints will march this season.
Crystal Palace can move away from the & # 39; humiliation & # 39; recover.
It was an unforgettable afternoon for Crystal Palace. Roy Hodgson said he and his players were "humbled" and unable to get positive results from the performance. Indeed, it is the first time Crystal Palace have conceded seven goals in a home game in their entire history.
While Hodgson was understandably disappointed with a 7-0 hammering after the game, he still had something to encourage. Although Crystal Palace conceded within three minutes, they were the better side for the next half hour and made some good openings.
What let them down there was the timing – Jordan Ayew just missed a Wilfried Zaha cross at the back post, assisted by an intervention from Joel Matip, before roles were reversed when Zaha was just too far for an Ayew cut-back ran ahead. But both did well when Palace was on the up and Jeffrey Schlupp looked lively on his return to the XI too.
It can't even be said that Crystal Palace defended particularly poorly – Vicente Guaita barely had a save to make – but they faced a Liverpool side who finally found their ruthless lead. They were just overwhelmed.
While it feels like pain at the moment, Crystal Palace is already in a good position on the table so you don't have to worry about a relegation battle. Let's face it – if Southampton can bounce back after a 9-0 loss at Leicester last year, Crystal Palace will surely have the heart and determination to do the same.
Fulham will not go down without a fight
The fact that Fulham left St. James & # 39; Park disappointed with one point only shows how much progress Scott Parker's side has made since their shaky start in the Premier League.
The play-off winners' hopes of avoiding an immediate return to the championship have been dashed after five losses in their first six games, but two wins and three draws over the next eight games have given the Cottagers real hope.
For 45 minutes in Newcastle, Fulham were superior in every division and should have shown more for their dominance than the one-goal lead that gave them Matt Ritchie's bizarre and unfortunate own goal.
Fulham were looking for another away win that would have been as impressive and important as the Leicester win in late November, but the double threat of Joachim Andersen's red card and Callum Wilson's penalty stopped them.
Many pages would have collapsed under the pressure of a numerical disadvantage. Dare I say Fulham had the start of the season. But Fulham's determination was a testament to the momentum Parker's project is building, and it served as a timely reminder to the doubters that this side will not go down without a fight.