Gameweek 10 provided plenty of drama, from last-gasp winners and breath-taking hat-tricks, to blockbuster interviews and horrendous injuries.
If there’s one thing the Premier League wasn’t short of last weekend, it’s talking points. With so much to dissect and discuss, let’s dive right into the biggest debates.
Joelinton finally shows his worth
It’s been a tough couple of seasons for Newcastle’s Joelinton. Signed in the summer of 2019 for a club record £40m, the striker’s pitiful return of two goals in 38 Premier League games last season led many fans to label him a flop. This season hasn’t got off to a much better start, either, with the Brazilian failing to find the net in his first eight league appearances this campaign.
However, that all changed on Friday night. Joelinton started up front alongside Callum Wilson as the pair wreaked havoc away at Crystal Palace. Joelinton made some clever runs and used his physicality to create space before teeing Wilson up for the opener. Wilson then returned the favour, as Joelinton’s deflected effort doubled Newcastle’s lead and in turn opened his account for the season.
How much VAR is too much VAR?
It was impossible to watch Brighton’s game against Liverpool on Saturday without discussing the pros and cons of VAR. The Reds had two goals retrospectively ruled out for offside before referee Stuart Attwell went to the pitchside monitor and awarded Brighton a last-minute penalty, which the duly dispatched to draw the match 1-1.
Despite the VAR-aided decisions technically being correct on all three occasions, it left many supporters once again questioning whether the technology is a positive thing for football. Mohamed Salah was offside by his toenail for the first disallowed goal, and the referee didn’t deem Andy Robertson’s challenge a penalty when he saw it in real time. So, is VAR killing the spirit of the game? Well, as with most weekends, it probably depends on which set of fans you ask!
Klopp provides a post-match interview for the ages
It was eight-and-a-half minutes of cringeworthy yet fascinating television. Following Liverpool’s dramatic draw with Brighton, Reds boss Jürgen Klopp descended into yet another polemic. His main criticism wasn’t levelled at VAR, however, but at the broadcasters. Klopp ranted about fixture congestion and player welfare, pointing the finger at BT Sport for once again scheduling his team to play in the early Saturday slot after their Wednesday night Champions League game.
A lot of what Klopp said was fair, but his anger is perhaps better directed at the Premier League and club executives, who agree the broadcasting deals with the television companies in the first place. When interviewer Des Kelly put that very point to Klopp, sparks flew. A scintillating back and forth commenced with Klopp dragging Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder’s name into the argument, branding him ‘selfish’.
Mahrez gets his mojo back
Riyad Mahrez is undoubtedly a phenomenally gifted footballer, but it’s fair to say Manchester City fans have been left frustrated with the winger’s performances so far this season. Going into the Burnley game, Mahrez had just one goal and two assists to his name in six league appearances. Not exactly a great return for a player of his quality.
But on Saturday Mahrez reminded us all just how devastating he can be at his brilliant best. The Algerian tore Burnley apart all afternoon, netting a scintillating hat-trick in City’s 5-0 rout at the Etihad. Both Pep Guardiola and City fans will now be hoping Mahrez can master consistency and continually start to deliver the performance a player of his talent is clearly capable of.
Everton’s form goes from bad to worse
What’s gone wrong at Goodison? Everton got off to a flyer this season, winning their first seven matches consecutively in all competitions. Since then, though, their form has plummeted. Saturday’s defeat to Leeds marked the club’s fourth loss in five outings, and raised future concerns about their jam-packed Christmas schedule, with Chelsea, Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United coming as four of the Toffees’ next five opponents.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti certainly hasn’t been helped by injuries and suspensions, with Lucas Digne, Allan, James Rodríguez and Richarlison all missing games during Everton’s poor run. But apart from Digne, they were all fit and started in the loss to Leeds, meaning Ancelotti has some serious work to do to turn things around.
West Brom triumph in early relegation six-pointer
Saturday’s action concluded with a nail-biting clash at the foot of the table between West Brom and Sheffield United. Conor Gallagher’s goal proved enough for the Baggies to take home all three points, as the Blades’ blunt attack continued to give Chris Wilder a headache.
That defeat leaves Wilder’s men rock bottom of the table with a single point from their opening 10 matches. Refusing to be dragged into a tit-for-tat with Klopp in his post-match interview, Wilder remained resolute about his side’s chances of survival this season. West Brom on the other hand climbed out of the relegation zone, and will have a renewed sense of optimism about their own chances of beating the drop.
Cavani is everything United thought Falcao would be
The writing looked on the wall at half time in Southampton, as Manchester United trudged back to the away dressing room with the scoreline reading 2-0 Saints. Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford had struggled to make an impact upfront, and the latter was substituted for summer signing Edinson Cavani at the interval.
Cavani repaid boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s faith by assisting Bruno Fernandes for the first before netting a brace to stage a dramatic comeback, not that he impressed Roy Keane much. United were left disappointed in 2015 when loan signing Radamel Falcao failed to make a mark, so naturally there were reservations about bringing in another striker who’s best days seem to be behind him, but Cavani’s performances to date have got fans jumping for joy.
Mourinho puts on a vintage defensive masterclass
He said his players were frustrated at full time, but there’s no doubt José Mourinho would have been delighted at how his Tottenham side shutout Chelsea on Sunday. Following a disallowed Timo Werner goal, Spurs managed to control the game and limit Chelsea’s threat, only giving up three shots on target across the 90 minutes.
That stalemate ends Chelsea’s run of six straight wins in all competitions, and in turn takes Spurs back top of the Premier League. Mourinho’s men have some tough upcoming matches — with Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester representing three of their next four league fixtures — so the head coach will be keen for Spurs to keep up their stellar defensive work.
Awful Jiménez injury overshadows huge Wolves win
On a more serious note, a horrific collision involving David Luiz and Raúl Jiménez was the major topic of conversation in the aftermath of Wolves’ away victory at Arsenal. Luiz played on following rigorous checks from the club’s medical staff, but Jiménez was taken straight to hospital on conscious with the Wolves players visibly distressed.
Thankfully, Jiménez has since come round and is reportedly responding well to treatment in hospital. Attention has therefore shifted to Luiz’s situation, with serious questions being raised as to whether the defender should have been allowed to play on given the severity of the clash.
Is it time to question Arteta’s managerial ability?
Everyone, from Pep Guardiola to Arsène Wenger, praised Arsenal for giving Mikel Arteta the top job back in December 2019, but as the club continue their current rut, major questions will surely start to be asked about whether the gig has come too soon for the Spaniard in his budding coaching career.
The Gunners now sit in 14th, without a league win in three, and the main debate seems to hinge around how much of that is down to the players and the club’s hierarchy. But Arteta surely has to shoulder some of the responsibility for his side’s lacklustre displays, and it’ll be interesting to see how long this poor form can persist before Arsenal fans start pointing the finger at the man in the dugout.News Now - Sport News