We analyse Monday’s Premier League fixtures and extract five things we all learnt from all the action.
Arsenal go top, Manchester United fail to win again, Tottenham continue to impress, Newcastle and Villa in trouble and a seven-goal thriller at Goodison.
Arsenal 2-0 Bournemouth – Mesut Ozil shines:
Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League after a comprehensive 2-0 victory against Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium. The stand out player for The Gunners was playmaker Mesut Ozil who assisted Gabriel’s opener and netted the second goal for Arsene Wenger’s side. After a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Southampton on the weekend, Arsenal needed a recovery and their performance against The Cherries was just that. It was an all-around solid display from the North London side, which affirmed their title credentials to the watching world. They will now await the result of Manchester City’s trip to surprise package Leicester City in the East Midlands to see whether they’ll be top of the Premier League when the clocks tick over to the New Year.
Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea – No win for Van Gaal’s Red Devils again:
Chelsea held Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, stretching United’s winless run to eight games. It was in some form a revival by Manchester United but again they failed to score and claim all three points. It was believed by a few that the 2-0 loss away to Stoke on the weekend would prove to be the final straw for vice-chairman Ed Woodward but the board, clearly behind the under-pressure Dutchman, handed the 64-year-old another chance. And in his post-match press conference, Van Gaal insisted that he would not resign after bringing up the possibility of leaving the club only a couple of days earlier. But despite the positives shown against Guus Hiddink’s Blues, it was another game without a win which is causing many Manchester United fans to lose patience with the current setup, some supporters even wishing for the appointment of former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Manchester United now sit in 6th place, nine points behind leaders Arsenal.
Watford 1-2 Tottenham – Spurs continue to impress:
Tottenham grabbed a later winner to take all three points from the Vicarage Road after a hard-fought match against promoted Watford. Eric Lamela gave Tottenham an early lead but Mauricio Pochettino’s side found themselves going into half-time at 1-1 courtesy of a quite brilliant solo goal from Odion Ighalo. But it was substitute Son Heung-min who provided the winner for Spurs in the 89th minute. The victory demonstrated great resilience from the North London outfit and amid the fine form they find themselves in, fans are starting to believe in a potential shout in this season’s Premier League title. Pochettino’s men face Everton away in their next league fixture and now sit just 5 points behind rivals Arsenal.
West Brom 1-0 Newcastle, Norwich City 2-0 Aston Villa – Magpies and Villains in trouble:
West Brom beat Steve McClaren’s Newcastle 1-0 at The Hawthorns to put The Magpies two points from safety in the bottom three. Captain Darren Fletcher scored the only goal of the game for The Baggies, with striker Saido Berahino ‘lucky’ to be on the bench according to manager Tony Pulis. The England Under-21 forward’s relationship with the club has taken another blow after more off-field issues, believed to be related to timekeeping. Elsewhere, Aston Villa yet again lost in the league away to Norwich City, leaving them now 11 points from security in England’s top flight. It’s tough times for Aston Villa, who have won just one game all season – a 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on the opening day. Manager Remi Garde earlier admitted his side must win another nine games this season to stay up, a task looking increasingly more difficult every week.
Everton 3-4 Stoke City – Potters come out on top in seven-goal thriller:
Stoke City backed up their win against Manchester United on the weekend fighting back away from home against Everton to come out on top at Goodison Park. Mark Hughes’ men took the lead early through Shaqiri’s first goal for the club and led at half-time 2-1 after the Swiss subsequently put Stoke back in the lead in brilliant fashion after Romelu Lukaku’s equaliser. Everton started the second half spectacularly, coming back to take a 3-2 lead but Stoke weren’t bogged down and fought back through a Joselu screamer and Marko Arnautovic stoppage time penalty to leave victorious.