Premier League: five lessons we have learnt from the weekend

Champions in crisis, a relegation battle shaping nicely and new stars shining brighter each week, here’s five things we have learnt from the weekend.

1) Ross Barkley and Everton set their sights higher

When Roberto Martinez took charge of Everton in the summer, many laughed when the former Wigan manager promised Bill Kenwright a place in the Champions League football.

Almost four months into the season, however, that promises seem increasingly foolish each passing week, as the Toffees continue to play the sort of attractive football they never adopted under David Moyes.

Few men have caught the eye so far this season as Ross Barkley and the England midfielder was outstanding again as Everton secured a deserved draw at the Emirates yesterday, to the point where he was compared to Paul Gascoigne.

Barkley has still some way to go before emulating Gazza’s talent and footballing contribution to his team, but the feeling is that he couldn’t be at a better club right and for him and his club the future looks bright.

2) What’s wrong Hugo?

Having started the season as one of Spurs’ defensive pillars, Hugo Lloris has looked increasingly uncertain since he was knocked unconscious by Romelu Lukaku’s knee at Goodison Park.

A calamitous clearance by the Frenchman allowed City to score after just 13 seconds, before Lloris gave away a cheap penalty against United and was again culpable at the weekend, as his punched the ball into Adam Johnson’s path for Sunderland’s opener.

Lloris remains an integral cog in Spurs’ machine but, perhaps understandably, he seems to be bearing a massive mental scar. One that needs to be addressed quickly.

3) United are down and out

There seems to be no limit to the depths Manchester United can plummet to this season, as they crumbled at home for the second time in four days, allowing Newcastle to win at Old Trafford for the first time in four decades.

United’s problems are widespread, from an ageing back four, to a non-existent midfield, but the most worrying aspect to come out of Saturday’s game was the team’s over reliance on Wayne Rooney.

With the England striker missing, United struggled to create chances and when they did so, they could not convert them and they’ve now found the net just eight times in eight Premier League games at Old Trafford.

Moyes needs time and signing. Whether he’ll get either remains to be seen.

4) Berbatov can keep Fulham up

Dimitar Berbatov yesterday showed that, when on song, he still is Fulham’s best bet if the Cottagers are to avoid relegation.

The Bulgarian might want to leave Craven Cottage, but he was instrumental in his side’s 2-0 win over Villa – their first after six straight defeats – as he created chances for his teammates and converted a penalty.

Whether Fulham continue with Rene Meulensteen or recruit another manager, retaining Berbatov’s services could go a long way in them securing Premier League status for another season.

5) West Ham are in real trouble

There’s nothing shameful in losing to Liverpool at Anfield, particularly considering the form Brendan Rodgers’ men have displayed this season.

There is, however, a lot to be disappointed about when the team concedes two own goals and their captain leaves the team needlessly playing with 10-man after kicking out in frustration at an opponent, thus earning himself a straight red.

Sam Allardyce must recruit at least a striker in January, but his team’s confidence also needs working on, particularly considering that Crystal Palace and Fulham were both impressive this weekend.

 

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