Premier League: five things we have learnt from the weekend

Shocking decisions, a spectacular derby and teams that just can’t seem to get going. Here’s five things we have learnt from the Premier League this weekend…

1) United must change attitude

Forget about not signing players in the summer and having a wafer-thin midfield. Forget even about playing rather dire football and, most of all, forget about their new manager, United must change their attitude if they’re to defend their title this season.

Three consecutive league wins, including one against league leaders Arsenal, looked to have given United a platform from which they could kick on. Instead, they surrendered two points to a late equaliser for the second time this season, drawing the sort of game Sir Alex Ferguson’s sides would have won.

David Moyes is a fine manager, but his “safety first” attitude is distant from the “United way” of playing football and the former Everton manager could do worse than being a little bit more adventurous.

2) Fulham aren’t too good to go down.

Fulham have become to the Premier League what their stadium is to West London – a pleasant, yet not glamorous, constant in the landscape. However, the Cottagers seem to have taken their top-flight status for granted a bit too soon and are in serious danger of having to forfeit it this season.

Saturday’s 2-1 loss at home against Swansea on the back of yet another poor performance means Fulham have now lost their last four league games and a turnaround in fortunes seem far from foregone.

A trip to fellow strugglers West Ham next Saturday could prove to be Martin Jol’s final match in charge.

3) Palace are still in the mix.

Losing to Hull on Saturday would have almost sealed Crystal Palace’s fate, but the Eagles picked the perfect weekend to pick up their first point of the season away from home.

Palace are still a few players dangerously short of having a squad capable to survive in the Premier League, but Saturday’s win and the appointment of Tony Pulis are likely to galvanise the South Londoners.

The Premier League has seen great escapes before. This season promises to be an entertaining one on that front.

4) Can Spurs solve their problems?

Finding positives after a 6-0 shellacking at the hands of a title rival is an almost impossible task, but one Spurs must embark on if they’re to get their season back on track.

For the first 45 minutes, the difference between the two sides was borne out of City’s clinical strikers, while Spurs’ enjoyed almost 60% of possession and, as it’s often been the case this season, failed to hit the back of the net.

Spurs’ solidity stems from their 4-2-3-1 line-up and the second half proved that while goals might be hard to come when Roberto Soldado is left alone up-front, the formation surely represents a better option than the suicidal 4-4-2 AVB experimented in the second half.

Spurs have too many quality players to be written off, but they need to solve their problems quickly if they’re to fight at the business end of the table.

5) Too many refs having a shocker

Howard Webb might be one of the best referees in the world, but some of his colleagues have excelled for all the wrong reasons so far this season.

Neil Swarbrick opted to book Wayne Rooney rather than sending off after he had petulantly kicked out to Jordon Mutch just a couple of minutes before, predictably, the England man found the back of the net.

Swarbrick also decided to ignore Gary Medel’s slap on Marouane Fellaini, while Phil Dowd didn’t deem Kevin Mirallas’ horrendous challenge on Luis Suarez worthy of a red card and allowed Steven Gerrard’s flying elbow to go unpunished too.

None of the above decisions were, however, quite as bad as Kevin Friend’s decision to send Wes Brown off after the Sunderland man had not only won the ball after a perfectly legitimate tackle, he’d also done so by not touching Charlie Adam.

One has to wonder if any of these refs will follow Mike Riley’s example and apologise.

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