FIVE Things Learned In English Premier League
REIGNING champions Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 derby win over Manchester United as Chelsea dropped points in their title quest with a frustrating goalless draw at home to Everton.
Tottenham Hotspur showed resilience in a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace as Leicester played at home for the first time since owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s tragic death in a helicopter crash.
Here, AFP Sport looks at five things we learned in the Premier League this weekend:
City a world apart in Manchester
Jose Mourinho again sought excuses, but even the Portuguese cannot cover up the fact that the gap between Manchester’s two giants is only getting bigger.
City now lead United by 12 points just 12 games into the new campaign after the visitors mustered only one shot on target — Anthony Martial’s penalty — in a 3-1 defeat.
A fourth loss of the league season means United remain eighth, behind Bournemouth and Watford, thanks to their negative goal difference.
City, by contrast, are 32 goals better off, still unbeaten and back on top of the table.
After scoring twice in last weekend’s win over Crystal Palace, Alvaro Morata kept his place in the Chelsea side against Everton yesterday, but the Spanish striker failed to repay the faith of Blues boss Maurizio Sarri during a goalless draw.
Morata has struggled to make his mark on the Premier League since arriving from Real Madrid last year.
He was described as “fragile” by Sarri despite his goals against Palace and against Everton he again failed to impose himself.
His lack of presence leaves Chelsea longing for a dominant striker in the style of former Blues stars Didier Drogba and Diego Costa.
Not so Spursy anymore
Tottenham’s propensity to fold under pressure in years gone by led to the term “Spursy”.
“Tottenham, for 30 years of our lives, were spineless and soft, flaky, rubbish,” said former England coach Gary Neville recently to underline the difference made by current Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Despite a mounting injury list, no summer signings and confusion over when Spurs will move into their new stadium, Pochettino again has Tottenham in the top four.
That is thanks to five straight away wins, all of which have been ground out rather than sealed with spectacular football.
The latest of those came in a downpour at Crystal Palace with centreback Juan Foyth’s first senior goal enough for a 1-0 win. Spurs are not so “Spursy” anymore.
Arsenal go slow
Arsenal came from a goal down to draw 1-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers but the fact they were behind again was not lost on Gunners boss Unai Emery.
The North London side conceded the first goal for the fourth succesive league game and Emery, who saw substitute Henrikh Mkhitaryan rescue a point four minutes from time knows Arsenal cannot keep being slow out of the blocks if they are to mount a credible title challenge.
“Little by little over 90 minutes you need to impose your game, your job and your individual quality or physical strength,” said Emery. “Maybe it’s one thing we can improve, but that comes naturally in our work.”
Puel’s Leicester challenge
Leicester City manager Claude Puel must help his team find a new normality after players and fans paid tribute to late owner Vichai in their first home match since he was killed in a helicopter crash.
On a emotional day, Leicester dominated against Burnley but failed to break the deadlock and the match ended goalless, two weeks after the tragedy outside the Foxes’ King Power Stadium.
Puel praised his players for their professional attitude but said raw emotion would not be enough to propel the club forward.
“We need to have his (Vichai’s) dream in our heads but also professional attitudes, every day hard work in the training sessions all the time and to give our best,” he said.