The Premier League’s twelfth weekend of hostilities has come to an end after a bumper pack of games on Sunday afternoon. As yet another international break robs us off our beloved Premier League once again; here is a look at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.
Newcastle turning a corner
After their worst start to a campaign in over one hundred years, Newcastle are finally up and running this season. They were excellent value for three points in their win over Bournemouth and played with conviction up front for the first time all season.
Salomon Rondon put in one of the best shifts of the weekend and his side are now unbeaten in three games, sitting fourteenth in the table. They are not out of the woods yet thought, but The Magpies and Rafa Benitez have reasons to be cheerful at last in 18/19.
Southampton nervously looking over their shoulders
In all fairness to The Saints, they played as well as they have all season in the 1-1 draw with Watford on Saturday. The decision to chalk off Charlie Austin’s second half strike was bizarre and infuriating for everyone at the club, and the fact that Watford were able to come back and equalise will still be very bitter for their supporters.
However, the South Coast outfit are in a real mess at the moment as a club, with backroom changes and talk of an ominous review at boardroom level. They really need to come back after the international break with more performances like the one they put in against Watford or they risk being in yet another scrap for survival this season.
Everton building momentum with Silva
After a bit of a false start to the season, Everton are really beginning to gather speed under Marco Silva. The Portuguese will be pleased with his side’s efforts in their 0-0 draw with Chelsea, which means they’ve lost just one of their past five games.
Yerry Mina looked a real presence at the back for them at The Bridge and they have some real quality upfront to hurt teams on the counter. They may have to settle for another season of transition and consolidation, but there are plenty of encouraging signs for The Toffees at this interval. Not many teams will come away from Chelsea this season, having kept Eden Hazard so quiet.
United out of contention
It’s very hard to see Manchester United as a title contender after their 3-1 derby defeat to City on Sunday. There were question marks over their credentials at the start of the season, and they have only grown as the campaign has progressed.
The Manchester Derby was a chance for them to look a few critics in the eye and they would have had their tales up following their heroics in Turin. However, they were distinctly second best against Man City and were punished for yet another timid start to a game.
Defeat leaves them twelve points adrift of their rivals and with with more questions than answers about their beleaguered defence, which has now kept only one clean sheet in the Premier League this season. Their manager spoke about getting back in the top four after this game, and that must now be the number one priority for Mourinho this season if he wants to avoid the axe falling.
Liverpool recover from mid-week wobble
There was lots of talk before their game with Fulham, about just how many Liverpool would score against the worst defence in the Premier League. In the end, Fulham tried to park two walls of white in front of goal for most of the match at Anfield and they were breached on just a couple of occasions, in yet another defeat for Slavisa Jokanovic’s men.
Liverpool for their part rode their luck with the first goal, scoring just thirteen seconds after Mitrovic’s header was ruled out in a very tight offside call. The Reds though were ruthless enough in a game they controlled from start to finish. They need wins like this and haven’t always gotten them against promoted sides, so Klopp will be glad of the three points today even if the swashbuckling stuff was dulled once again. Liverpool and the rest of the chasing pack are going to need every win they can must to keep City from running away with it once more.