5 talking points from the weekend’s Premier League action
Last weekend’s Premier League action produced a plethora of talking points. But after much debate, the Coral News Team have settled on the weekend’s big five issues.
Their look at the weekend’s action begins with a goalscoring crisis on one side of North London.
Lacklustre Spurs failing in final third
While Tottenham Hotspur have been strong on the European front, their Premier League season is in crisis. The Lilywhites have taken just five points from their last six league games – and again failed to impress in a 1-1 draw at Watford.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men managed just two shots on target during 90 minutes at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
That represents a different problem to the one faced in the prior two games. Spurs created 18 chances in the 2-1 defeat at Leicester on Tuesday night. And on the weekend prior, they scored just one of their 25 shots in a home draw with West Bromwich Albion.
That suggests there are now multiple issues. The usually lethal Harry Kane and his fellow forwards are suddenly proving wasteful, while the Watford game also saw an increasingly frustrated Spurs fail to create – and finish with 10 men.
Whatever the solution, it needs to be found fast. As it stands, Spurs have slipped out of the top-four and now sit 18 points behind table-topping Manchester City.
Big-game Lingard steps it up again
The most common complaint about wingers is their inconsistency. And that adjective is definitely true when it comes to Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard.
But despite his hit-and-miss displays, the man from Warrington once again proved himself the man for the big occasion on Saturday. The 24-year-old ran top-four rivals Arsenal ragged at the Emirates, scoring twice in a 3-1 victory.
A nuisance throughout the game, Lingard dispossessed Shkodran Mustafi for his opener – before eventually finishing the move off with a neat finish. And his smart positioning to net his second and United’s third capped off an outstanding display.
That performance joins his feats of netting crucial goals as United won the 2016 FA Cup Final and 2017 EFL Cup Final. There’s now little doubt the England international has proved himself a hugely valuable big-game presence for his boyhood club.
Toffees’ turnaround looks to be underway
How quickly things change in football. Less than a week ago, Everton were sitting 16th in the Premier League and had been dumped out of Europe in humiliating fashion.
But two comfortable victories in succession have pushed the Merseyside club up to 10th spot. Sam Allardyce took the reins for the first time in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Huddersfield Town, with the Toffees taking their chances in an efficient second-half display.
Admittedly, home fixtures against the Terriers and West Ham United won’t be the toughest games Everton face this term.
However, after some shambolic defensive displays earlier in the season, those two convincing wins to nil suggest that any talk of a relegation battle has already been silenced.
Rampant Reds much more than just Salah
Following a run of 11 goals and two assists in nine games, it stood to reason that the media focus on Liverpool’s success was all about Mohamed Salah.
However, Saturday’s 5-1 demolition of Brighton & Hove Albion highlighted the fact that Jurgen Klopp’s Reds offer far more attacking talent than just the Egyptian.
The visitors inflicted the Seagulls’ heaviest defeat since April 2012, with Roberto Firmino arguably the star of a stunning team performance. He grabbed a brace with two stunning finishes.
Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho also caught the eye with a neat assist, before making it safe at 4-1 with an ingenious free-kick struck under the leaping wall. With the Reds managing seven wins and two draws from 10 games in all competitions, they now look a force to be reckoned with.
Palace are improving…but need more striking options
Many had written Crystal Palace off after the Eagles lost their first seven Prem games of the season without scoring a goal. But under the steady hand of boss Roy Hodgson, they currently look to have a fighting chance of survival.
Defensively, things have improved greatly. Palace have now managed back-to-back clean sheets, with a rejuvenated Mamadou Sakho playing a crucial role at centre-back.
However, if the South London outfit are to beat the drop this season, they need to sign a proven goalscorer in January. Despite creating 20 chances in the last two games, they failed to find the net. In fact, the Eagles still haven’t managed an away league goal this season.
Snapping up a reliable finisher in January is likely to be the difference between survival and sinking this term.
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