Martin Jol was the second managerial casualty in the Premier League this season, while Spurs and United can’t get going and Newcastle could surprise a few more people between now and the end of the season.
1) Goodbye Martin
The only thing surprising about Martin Jol’s sacking is that it took Fulham so long to hand the former Spurs manager his P45, given the shambolic performances the Cottagers have produced this season.
A run of four consecutive defeats in the Premier League put Jol in an unsustainable position and Saturday’s 3-0 thumping at West Ham exemplified everything that’s been wrong with Fulham this season.
In what was a must win game for them, Jol’s men displayed all the enterprise and desire of a school kid forced to spend his Christmas holidays revising for his exams.
2) Happy days have returned at Newcastle
Widely tipped as a disaster waiting to happen after their abysmal summer, Newcastle have enjoyed a remarkable couple of weeks and could be one of the season’s surprise packages.
The Magpies have been in scintillating form throughout November, picking up 12 points in the last four games, a form reminiscing of their 2011-12 campaign, when Newcastle finished fifth at the end of the season and had amassed 26 points at this stage of the season, compared to the 23 they’ve accrued in this campaign so far.
Alan Pardew blamed last season’s struggles on a wafer-thin squad, that was stretched even further by a series of injuries and a Europa League run, but without the hassle of European football, Newcastle’s domestic form has improved dramatically.
Ironically, their form could land them a European spot again.
3) Nasri enjoying a revival
Even during the 2011-12 title winning campaign, Samir Nasri was never quite regarded as a success at Manchester City, with the Frenchman’s behaviour and inconsistency clouding his obvious talent.
This season, however, the former Arsenal player has flourished under Manuel Pellegrini, thanks also to the injury that has sidelined David Silva, thus allowing Nasri to become City’s main creator.
His two goals against Swansea followed his strike against Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, further proof that Nasri seems to have rediscovered the form he enjoyed during his Arsenal days.
If City are to enter the Christmas season top of the league, as hoped by their manager, Nasri will have to continue producing the goods.
4) White Hart Lane draw bad for both
If there was anything to be gathered from yesterday’s draw between Spurs and Manchester United is that, bar a sizeable shock, neither side will be in the running for the title this season.
Spurs’ spending spree heaped pressure on them as Andre’ Villas-Boas struggles to find his best XI, while United’s terminally ill midfield is likely to disrupt their title defence to the point of no return.
Given the way Tom Cleverley was bullied off the ball yesterday, United could do with one of Spurs’ midfielder, while AVB’s men must have looked at the champions’ resilience with envy.
5) Gerard Deulofeu could be a crucial figure for Everton
It’d be easy to dismiss a loan arrival from Barcelona as a promotional stunt and, likewise, it’d be naive to consider any product of the Catalans’ academy to be the best thing since sliced bread.
Gerard Deulofeu, however, promises to be more of the latter and less than the former. Having impressed against Liverpool last week, the 19-year-old scored one and set up two as Everton demolished Stoke 4-0 and continued to climb up the table.
Roberto Martinez is an excellent manager when it comes to develop youngsters and Deulofeu could learn a lot at Everton, while becoming a crucial figure for the Toffees.