Solskjaer gives Manchester United fans reminder of Fergie after Mourinho’s dross – 10 THINGS WE LEARNED from the Premier League.
it was another entertaining weekend of Premier League action as Liverpool strengthened their lead at the top of the table thanks to Manchester City’s shock defeat by Crystal Palace.
Jurgen Klopp’s side triumphed at Wolves on Friday night to put them four points clear on Christmas Day. Elsewhere, Manchester United impressed at Cardiff, Tottenham thrashed Everton and Leicester shocked Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Here, AMITAI WINEHOUSE assesses 10 things we learned from the latest weekend of the Premier League season…
If United’s fans need a sign that the shackles are now off, Cardiff was it. They demand attacking football and, at the least, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will aim to provide it.
The Norwegian first game was the first time Manchester United have scored five goals in a Premier League game since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last.
Cardiff is not the most testing ground to visit, and it has to be remembered that David Moyes managed a 4-1 away win in his first game.
Yet after the dross of the Jose Mourinho era, United fans have a right to believe their players have been hiding something. Solskjaer seems to have found it.
Liverpool made a brilliant decision when they snapped up Virgil van Dijk. His presence has turned them into a team comparable with those that represented last era of Anfield dominance in English football.
Since his debut last January, Jurgen Klopp’s side have won 25 league games in 2018. The last time they managed that was 1990. Of course, they ended the 1989-90 campaign as champions.
Van Dijk is the difference maker to a team that looked shaky at this time last season. He has improved absolutely everyone around him.
Manchester United were linked with Josh King on Sunday morning and it is easy to see why. After Bournemouth’s win against Brighton, he has now been involved in 44 Premier League goals, more than anyone else for the Cherries.
One small question is why he was allowed to leave so easily. He has previously said Ferguson did not speak to him or any of the other young players at Old Trafford. Then he went out the back door to Blackburn.
Now they may have to pay £25million to bring him back. On the plus side, like Solskjaer, he knows the club.
The Premier League has become so stratified this season that these two defeats in three for Manchester City could be all that matters come the end of the season.
It is as many as they have lost in 61 matches. After the Crystal Palace loss, this is, as ridiculous as it feels, a bad patch for Pep Guardiola’s team and he needs to sort it out sooner rather than later.
What the issue is is unclear. It may be as simple as dipping off amid fighting hard on three fronts. It cannot be allowed to continue.
5. Evidence of how big the gap is between the top sides and the rest is the fact that Spurs made it three teams to pick up 40-plus points by Christmas. That’s the first time that’s happened in the Premier League era.
Spurs are truly in the mix. They are more viable contenders than Chelsea and are brilliant both home and away. They have now won nine of their 11 away games.
That’s an incredible record and in any other year would see them right up there. For now, they just have to be happy the gap to the top is just six points.
Arsenal may not finish in the top-four this season, but they finally have a team worth building on. That’s no more obvious than in the case of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who hit his 12th of the season against Burnley.
His double took him to 22 goals in his 31 Premier League games. And that means he has five more than any player for Arsenal, with Thierry Henry trailing in his wake.
Bring in slightly more quality around him, particularly in defence, and Unai Emery could turn them into contenders before too long.