Premier League hits and misses: Is Mohamed Salah the most effective on the planet? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extra urgent points as Newcastle face the identical issues



Skipp’s recall has helped stabilise Spurs

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Tottenham’s win over Newcastle

Oliver Skipp may not be essentially the most celebrated title within the Tottenham line-up however his recall to the group after being unnoticed of the defeats to Chelsea and Arsenal may show a turning level of their season. His partnership with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele exhibits actual promise.

The 21-year-old midfielder’s cautious use of the ball was essential in wrestling again management of the sport in an initially frenzied environment at St James’ Park. He accomplished 72 passes with the most effective passing accuracy of any participant on the pitch, circulating possession sensibly all through.

It echoed the management that he had proven in Tottenham’s earlier victory, the much-improved exhibiting towards Aston Villa earlier than the worldwide break. Talking completely to Sky Sports activities forward of the Newcastle sport, Nuno Espirito Santo recognized it as a tactical breakthrough.

“It labored very well,” Nuno defined. “We had been in a position to be extra stable in the midst of the park with Skipp and Hojbjerg being aspect by aspect, though we nonetheless allowed one in all them to have freedom to help in assault. It was the identical concept however somewhat bit completely different and it labored higher.”

Oliver Skipp's passes for Tottenham against Newcastle

After a sluggish begin, the identical proved true right here. Not solely does the presence of Skipp on the base of midfield liberate Ndombele to have extra of an affect within the closing third – scoring the equaliser – it additionally encourages the full-backs to advance and supply better help in assault.

Sergio Reguilon was nonetheless racing ahead late on, drawing the foul that led to Jonjo Shelvey’s pink card. “When you’ve got a sq., two centre-halves and the 2 midfielders, that may launch the gamers within the broad areas whereas, on the similar time, retaining the stability of the group,” Nuno had famous.

Heung-Min Son has been Tottenham’s excellent performer, whereas the return to type and health of Harry Kane may properly be the extra apparent figuring out issue within the group’s success this season. However it’s Skipp who has introduced some a lot wanted tactical stability.
Adam Bate

New owners, but same outcome for Newcastle

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Steve Bruce suffered defeat to Tottenham in his 1,000th match as a supervisor and the Newcastle boss says it’s for others to resolve whether or not he’ll keep answerable for the membership

The sense of hope and optimism has been palpable round Newcastle because the affirmation of latest possession 10 days in the past. There was a carnival environment within the stadium earlier than the sport too. The black and white flags had been waving, songs from the pre-match soundtrack had been belted out, and banners had been unfurled. Newcastle chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan and Amanda Staveley beamed from the administrators’ field because the followers roared the group into the brand new period.

The fairytale begin on too as Callum Wilson nodded house inside two minutes. However earlier than lengthy, the problems at Newcastle grew to become very clear as 20 minutes later, Tottenham had been forward.

Issues continued to go downhill for the Magpies, as Spurs prolonged their lead and Jonjo Shelvey was despatched off 23 minutes after approaching as an alternative. An Eric Dier personal purpose gave the hosts a glimmer of hope, however even that was not an opportunity of Newcastle’s personal making.

The truth is, the hosts registered only one shot on track – the purpose from Wilson – and solely had seven photographs general all through the sport. They made simply 333 passes and noticed 35.9 per cent possession, with points on the again persevering with to hamstring Newcastle. They’re but to win in any competitors this season.

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Jamie Redknapp says the hostile emotions that Newcastle followers have in direction of Steve Bruce will imply that the Magpies boss will sit up for being relieved of his duties

“After a beautiful begin, sadly the issues that we have had for some time now defensively was there for everybody to see,” Steve Bruce instructed Sky Sports activities after the defeat. “The targets we gave away, you may say it was quite a lot of good play from Tottenham, however our defending left so much to be desired.

“I believe we have began just a few video games like that – we have off to an excellent begin, we have scored and bought our noses in entrance, however sadly in the intervening time, we’re not in a position to defend properly sufficient as a group… from entrance to again, we’re not defending properly sufficient.

“Rome wasn’t inbuilt a day, as they are saying. We have our frailties as a group and it is as much as me, within the close to future anyway, to hopefully get higher.”

Having notched up his 1,000th sport as a supervisor, it’s unlikely that Bruce will attain 1,001 when Newcastle journey to Crystal Palace on Saturday. Rumours of his dismissal are solely prone to intensify after one other defeat and below-par efficiency, because the Saudi-led consortium begins its activity of transferring the Magpies again into the massive time.
Charlotte Marsh

West Ham continue to thrive on the road

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham’s win towards Everton

This was definitely an off-day for Everton, in a lot the identical means it was within the corresponding fixture in 2020/21 when Tomas Soucek’s late purpose pinched all three factors for West Ham.

That determined a dirty contest on New Yr’s Day but it surely acted as a catalyst for the rest of final season beneath David Moyes.

It sparked a six-match successful run in all competitions as West Ham refused to relinquish their place among the many European contenders, however this was a much more managed victory regardless of the an identical scoreline.

Contained in the opening 20 minutes, Everton hadn’t mustered a single contact contained in the opposition field and whereas the hosts did develop into the competition to see possibilities created and squandered, a 3rd away league victory of the season all the time felt inside their grasp.

Rafael Benitez may have been dissatisfied on the method his group light, however West Ham stay unbeaten on their travels, stretching their greatest away begin of their final six campaigns. Certainly, it’s the first time they’ve gone seven top-flight away video games with out defeat since January 2009.

Moyes would usually inform his gamers at Everton in regards to the significance of avoiding straight defeats within the Premier League, and having misplaced in such painful circumstances final day trip at house to Brentford, he retains a proud report of getting not suffered this feat since September 2020.

“I do not know what my report was like at Everton however I do not suppose we misplaced too many back-to-back video games, or at the very least we labored actually laborious to not,” Moyes stated.

“I need the group to problem, be laborious to beat and I need them to play and attempt to get us a victory wherever we go. We have an excellent group and we have been enjoying properly. Earlier than at this time in the previous couple of video games, we have not executed sufficient within the closing third however we managed to get the win at this time.”

It’s the form of consistency Benitez is striving to instil again on Merseyside, on a day the absence of key personnel caught up with Everton.
Ben Grounds

The Egyptian king crowned best in world

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win over Watford

Overlook Robbie Fowler, there is a new god on Merseyside.

When opposition followers stand to applaud a purpose scored towards their group, you recognize you have witnessed one thing particular. However in fact, even when soccer is not your sport, it might have been simple to understand Mohamed Salah scored a fairly particular purpose to cap a pulsating efficiency at Vicarage Highway in Liverpool’s win over Watford. These fortunate sufficient to be there witnessed a particular participant on the high of his sport, to the extent he could be the most effective footballer on the planet. Jurgen Klopp definitely thinks so and it is laborious to argue.

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Two weeks after scoring a sensational solo purpose versus Manchester Metropolis, Mohamed Salah repeated the feat, this time towards Watford. Which was greatest?

The second that drew these within the house finish to face in appreciation got here on 54 minutes. Together with his sensational solo effort within the draw with Manchester Metropolis nonetheless recent within the thoughts, he repeated the trick with one other piece of majestic talent. Three Watford defenders had been round him inside the realm however he managed to show all of them inside out earlier than firing house a exact end into the far nook. It was the work of a genius. It was Salah’s tenth purpose of the season – he has scored in Liverpool’s final eight video games.

But it surely wasn’t simply that one excellent second, Salah was on the coronary heart of the whole lot this implausible Liverpool group did. His marker Danny Rose will need to have wished he’d stayed in mattress. To go together with his purpose, Salah grabbed two assists, the primary being an imposing defence-splitting cross for Sadio Mane to attain his a centesimal Premier League purpose.

In his present type, that is Salah’s world and we’re simply dwelling in it.
Lewis Jones

United had the stars; Leicester had the plan

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s win over Manchester United

The consequence was within the stability on the King Energy Stadium proper till Patson Daka tapped in on the again publish in stoppage time however the verdict on the efficiency ranges of the 2 groups was in properly earlier than that. Manchester United have high-class particular person expertise however they don’t seem to be a high-class group.

Leicester could be nearer to the alternative. Often, there’s a slack contact or a mind fade that undermines their efforts – United’s second purpose being an apparent instance. However there’s a cohesion to their work, a subtlety to their build-up play that’s nonetheless absent in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s aspect.

Youri Tielemans is a participant who would grace any aspect within the Premier League, there isn’t any questioning his particular person potential. He impressed with a dramatic purpose that discovered the highest nook – after all he meant it – however he showcased rather more than that.

“He’s an impressive younger participant,” stated Rodgers afterwards. “He has been away and performed a few video games within the worldwide break so to return in and play with that poise and high quality within the sport… He has scored one and [David] de Gea has made a terrific save from one other the place he ideas it onto the publish.”

Youri Tielemans' pass map for Leicester against Manchester United

Tielemans receives passes on the half-turn, lends the ball to team-mates and is endlessly seeking to discover house. At 24, he has the nous of a veteran. Maybe United will persuade themselves that in the event that they throw sufficient cash his means then their midfield issues will likely be over. However their points are larger than that.

Rodgers talked of how his midfield had been “all prepared to take the ball and play by, permitting us to construct” however may Solskjaer say the identical of his gamers? “Their central midfield gamers weren’t urgent so we might be affected person and transfer the ball by the pitch,” the Leicester boss continued.

When these feedback had been put to Solskjaer, he refused to single out the midfield duo of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba. “I would not say that’s solely Nemanja and Paul, it’s the group as a complete,” he stated. “Perhaps by dropping off a bit we gave them an excessive amount of house.” It was passive and it was an issue.

United will win video games as a result of they’ve gamers like Mason Greenwood who’re able to the spectacular. However will they ever win video games as a result of they’re a group better than the sum of their elements? All of the intelligent interaction to recollect on the King Energy Stadium on Saturday got here from Leicester. It was damning.
Adam Bate

No Ballon d’Or nomination but Mendy is world class

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Chelsea’s win at Brentford

5 Chelsea gamers made it onto the 2021 Ballon d’Or shortlist when it was introduced final week. However maybe their most necessary participant did not make the lower.

Edouard Mendy demonstrated on Saturday evening simply how essential he’s to Thomas Tuchel’s aspect. In complete, there have been six saves towards Brentford however the three gorgeous stops, within the closing levels of the match, when Chelsea had been on the ropes, actually underlined how important he’s to this group.

He has remodeled the Blues’ backline since he joined the membership as one thing of an emergency alternative for the out-of-form Kepa Arrizabalaga in the summertime of 2020. This was his twentieth Premier League clear sheet in simply his thirty eighth begin. Solely 4 keepers have hit that milestone faster.

It is now 5 clear sheets in eight Premier League video games this season, too. Underneath Tuchel, Chelsea have been watertight – and Mendy brings confidence and perception to this defence.

It was somewhat completely different on the Brentford Group Stadium, with children Trevoh Chalobah and Malang Sarr taking two of the three centre-backs spots and in on the deep finish somewhat towards a Brentford aspect so threatening on the entrance foot. In consequence, Mendy was busier than normal, with the hosts twice hitting the woodwork, however when Mendy was referred to as upon, he did not let his group down.

“This clear sheet is all the way down to Edou at this time,” Tuchel chuckled to Sky Sports activities after point out of his goalkeeper’s heroics. “Perhaps this was not the cleanest sheet we ever had but it surely was essential to get the three factors.”

On a day when Liverpool confirmed their attacking brilliance and Man Metropolis racked up one other win, the stress was on Chelsea to return by what was an impressively gruelling check from Brentford. Because of Mendy they did that.

If he is not world class, then who’s?
Peter Smith

Feel-good factor remains at Bees, even in defeat

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Thomas Frank was happy with Brentford’s efficiency towards Chelsea, saying the European champions had been very fortunate to flee with the win

A few minutes after full-time, you would be forgiven for pondering Brentford had earned some extent, not simply been crushed in a west London derby, such was the optimistic vibe among the many house help.

Three years to the day after Thomas Frank grew to become Brentford supervisor, his aspect troubled the European champions to such an extent that Ben Chilwell described the final 20 minutes as “hell on earth”.

Brentford deserved some extent, on the very least, denied by some outrageous goalkeeping from Edouard Mendy, and if the sport was performed one other day, Frank is satisfied his aspect would win.

“It is loopy whenever you have a look at the stats after the sport,” stated Frank after the sport. “9 out of 10 video games we’d have gained it.”

He is proper. As a rule, the bodily bombardment chucked at Chelsea in that second half would topple nearly all of the Premier League. He stated Chelsea had been very fortunate: it is an understatement.

Brentford may have troublesome durations this season the place they doubt themselves and their strategies – it is inevitable for any newly-promoted membership – but it surely does not really feel like that point is coming any time quickly.

For now, the feel-good issue stays, even in defeat
Gerard Model

Silva the shining light for City

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester Metropolis’s win over Burnley

In per week dominated by hypothesis linking one in all their stars with the Manchester Metropolis exit door, one other answered Pep Guardiola’s name and did his speaking on the pitch.

Bernardo Silva was linked with a transfer away from the Etihad Stadium in the summertime, the British-record signing of Jack Grealish seemed, partly, to handle the void Metropolis had been anticipating to fill.

For no matter motive, Silva remained in Manchester and it is proving to be a masterstroke, along with his unplanned keep coinciding with arguably his greatest type in a Metropolis shirt.

The Portuguese has been one of many champions’ standout performers this season and, on a day the place his team-mates had been uncharacteristically off color, his contribution was the driving power behind Metropolis retaining tempo on the high of the desk.

It wasn’t the prettiest or his greatest purpose, however Silva’s opener after 12 minutes put the writing on the wall for Burnley, laying the muse for a victory that was as laboured because it was essential.

Metropolis made laborious work of an outing they often rise emphatically to, but it surely wasn’t for the need of attempting from Silva, who Guardiola believes is on the peak of his powers.

“The efficiency of Bernardo has been extraordinary once more,” the Metropolis boss stated. “We’re extremely fortunate to have him. He’s a pleasure to have with us and is enjoying in an unimaginable high degree proper now.”

Silva has demonstrated the significance of letting his soccer do the speaking amid swirling hypothesis. A few of his team-mates would do properly following his lead.
Jack Wilkinson

Wolves claim bragging rights as Villa collapse

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Wolves’ win over Aston Villa

Aston Villa 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3. Jeff Stelling instructed Soccer Saturday that you just’d have gotten 1,000/1 on that scoreline with 10 minutes to go. Villa had executed all of the laborious work, and seemed set for a return to successful methods however occasions unravelled for them within the closing levels.

Having misplaced every of his opening three league video games 1-0, there’s a rising sense that Bruno Lage has began to adapt to his new environment at Wolves, who got here from two targets all the way down to win in an away Premier League sport for less than the second time ever, additionally doing so towards Southampton in January 2020.

This was a sport the place tactical alterations made a distinction with Daniel Podence injecting much-needed urgency right into a Wolves group that was meandering in direction of a routine defeat. You even sensed Lage had left it too late when he launched the diminutive ahead on 74 minutes.

“It is simple for me to say now I made the appropriate alternative,” he stated afterwards. “It is simple to say ‘I used to be proper’ whenever you win. However it’s a must to take selections. The opposite gamers who begin or come on, assist the group to win three factors.

“It’s the type of setting I need to reside in. We do not should lose. I do not suppose Villa should lose.”

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Bruno Lage provides his ideas on his aspect’s dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win over rivals Aston Villa, claiming that Wolves deserved the win

Sure, it is also simple to handle in hindsight however you may visibly see the distinction as soon as Villa boss Dean Smith opted to withdraw Douglas Luiz, clearly defending him having performed for Brazil lower than 48 hours earlier. Marvellous Nakamba, his alternative, was concerned in Wolves’ equaliser as his clearance smacked into Conor Coady.

At that stage, Smith would’ve instructed his gamers to take their drugs however one other foolish foul from substitute Jacob Ramsey contributed to Ruben Neves’ fortuitous winner. It was nearly the final kick of a seesaw sport that was a terrific advert for the Premier League.

On this proof, these are two groups that will likely be nestled in midtable obscurity for a lot of the season, as they’re kind of now. As a neighborhood derby, Wolves followers could properly have been seeking to depart early with 10 minutes remaining. However with bragging rights of their again pockets, they’re going to be happy they stayed.
Ben Grounds

Southampton need to build on first victory

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Southampton’s win over Leeds

There’s all the time stress on Premier League managers, however if you find yourself but to win within the league this season, it’s intensified to a brand new degree – simply ask Ralph Hasenhuttl.

It is not the primary time he is discovered himself on an prolonged winless run, however dealing with an out-of-form Leeds, this was their likelihood to lastly register three factors. And in entrance of their house followers, they placed on an outstanding efficiency to do exactly that.

Regardless of having solely two days to totally put together for the sport after the worldwide break, Southampton performed some actually fantastic soccer and regardless of not having Che Adams, Adam Armstrong or James Ward-Prowse on the sector, seemed thrilling in assault.

There could have been a way of dreaded déjà vu at half-time. The Saints had a string of possibilities – twice forcing saves from Illan Meslier whereas Mohamed Elyounoussi simply missed a header – and registered 12 possibilities with out scoring.

Certainly one of Southampton’s struggles this season has been failing to transform their possibilities, however Armando Broja was definitely not going to hitch that membership on his first Premier League begin.

It was a beautiful Saints break, began off by an outstanding Moussa Djenepo cross, discovering Nathan Redmond’s run in behind Diego Llorente. The 20-year-old Chelsea loanee then slotted house confidently to win the sport for his group.

“Each win is very large,” Ralph Hasenhuttl instructed Sky Sports activities after the sport. “We have now been shut at instances this season to getting three factors, however one thing was lacking. As we speak, the whole lot match completely and I believe that is why we gained.”

As with every win, Southampton now must construct on what they confirmed on Saturday. Consistency will be troublesome, but it surely’s time the Saints began marching up the Premier League desk.
Charlotte Marsh

Leeds show effects of missing stars

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Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa says his aspect deserved to lose at Southampton after their first loss in three Premier League away video games

With the soccer calendar persevering with to be as intense as ever, Leeds had been lacking a string of their key gamers on their journey to St Mary’s.

Raphinha – who had nonetheless been with Brazil till the early hours of Friday morning – Kalvin Phillips, Patrick Bamford and Junior Firpo had been all noticeable absentees, and it confirmed in a below-par Leeds efficiency.

Marcelo Bielsa’s aspect did not register a shot on track in the complete sport, and solely had three general. We have now been used to seeing Leeds rack up huge numbers with their possibilities, however with out the creativity of Raphinha and the goal man in Bamford, it was laborious to take action on Saturday.

Tyler Roberts noticed a curling effort fireplace broad in the one likelihood of notice within the first half. Dan James may have taken benefit of a sloppy Southampton error after the break, however his ball previous an on-coming Alex McCarthy fired broad.

Marcelo Bielsa instructed Sky Sports activities: “It was very troublesome for us to recuperate the ball, troublesome for us to impress the opponent into errors, and it was troublesome for us to cease them from getting the ball from their defence to assault.

“It is not frequent that we’re lacking six gamers, however the group that began the sport was fashioned of gamers that often play and who we had been in situation to play a extra even sport.

“We thought we may dominate and impose ourselves, it wasn’t what occurred clearly.”

After all, having these gamers again within the coming weeks will hopefully see Leeds enhance, particularly with solely a small hole to the relegation spots.
Charlotte Marsh

Burnley show heart for the challenges ahead

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Burnley supervisor Sean Dyche stated he is happy with how his aspect carried out within the 2-0 defeat to Manchester Metropolis within the Premier League however admits his aspect must discover a option to win when enjoying properly

Let’s face it, even essentially the most ardent Burnley fan wasn’t anticipating the Clarets to finish their watch for a primary Premier League victory of the season on the house of the champions.

Burnley’s earlier 4 visits to the Etihad Stadium had all led to 5-0 thrashings, and when Bernardo Silva gave Manchester Metropolis a Twelfth-minute lead, one other arduous afternoon seemed on the playing cards for Sean Dyche’s aspect.

However to their credit score, Burnley produced an encouraging defensive efficiency which, whereas not securing something from the sport, pissed off Metropolis for giant elements and laid the blueprint for his or her newest Premier League survival bid.

Ultimately, their hopes had been dashed when Kevin de Bruyne lastly doubled Metropolis’s lead 20 minutes from however, on one other day – had the likes of Maxwel Cornet, Josh Brownhill and Ashley Barnes had their capturing boots on – Burnley could properly have staged an actual upset and left Manchester with some extent.

“We did not get something however there are indicators the group is on course. There’s perception round what we are attempting to realize,” was Dyche evaluation after the defeat, which noticed Burnley drop to second backside within the Premier League desk.

Burnley’s future this season won’t hinge on their outcomes towards golf equipment of Manchester Metropolis’s stature but when they will repeat this efficiency towards sides nearer to them in desk, victories – and finally security – will likely be theirs to grab.
Jack Wilkinson

Norwich badly need to find their finishing touch

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich’s draw with Brighton

Daniel Farke likes to give attention to the positives.

His group are nonetheless winless after eight Premier League video games, with their two factors the bottom tally they’ve ever recorded at this stage of a season, however he was fast to record what he favored about their 0-0 draw with Brighton in his post-match press convention.

The back-to-back clear sheets, two video games unbeaten, creating extra possibilities than they did towards Burnley final day trip, the work charge of his gamers… However he could not keep away from the evident drawback for Norwich proper now, which is their ending.

Credit score to Farke, he praised Josh Sargent for what he contributed on Saturday, with the 21-year-old working himself into the bottom to supply choices and maintain the ball up for his aspect. However the striker’s open-goal miss within the first half and his poor contact which blew a one-on-one opening within the second, could not be prevented. “He is aware of higher than anybody else he ought to have scored,” stated the supervisor.

Sargent’s possibilities had been evident misses however he wasn’t alone in losing good conditions. Teemu Pukki had half the stadium celebrating when he was performed in throughout the second half earlier than chipping his end into the side-netting as a substitute of over the on-rushing Robert Sanchez and into the purpose.

It has been a recurring theme of Norwich’s marketing campaign, with simply two targets to their title. They’ve recorded the fewest photographs on track within the high flight too, which, in addition to likelihood creation, factors to a scarcity of high quality within the closing third.

“We took one other step in the appropriate route however we’re not over the moon – we created so many good conditions and greater than sufficient possibilities to attain a purpose,” stated Farke.

The supervisor could also be seeing regular progress from his aspect however except they begin hitting the web they will not make the leaps and bounds they should after their so-far winless begin to the season. It appears easy to say, however it could properly show troublesome to resolve.
Peter Smith




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