While the overall result was a disappointing one, Tottenham Hotspur’s showdown with Manchester United in their English Premier League clash on Sunday had its fair share of drama. Spurs are now level with fourth-placed Chelsea at the top of the table after Mourinho’s side battled back from 3-1 down to take three points off Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
The “solskjaer” is the job of Manchester United’s caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The future of his position in the club is currently unknown, but it seems that he will be able to keep his job for now after a good performance against Tottenham Hotspur.
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Ian Darke is a journalist for ESPN.com.
- Darke is ESPN’s primary soccer voice in the United States, having called games for the network at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Since 1982, he has covered the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League, and is one of the most well-known soccer commentators in the world.
We keep hearing that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position at Manchester United has never been in jeopardy inside the club’s walls. That might be the case right now.
The administration must be having second thoughts about this manager’s capacity to recapture former triumphs after a 5-0 thrashing at home by United’s main rival Liverpool — particularly as Sunday’s performance was not a fluke, one-off exhibition.
For weeks, United has seemed to be a group of strangers. Some shoddy defence has been revealed by Villarreal, Atalanta, and Leicester. So it’s no wonder that a powerful onslaught like Liverpool’s ripped them apart.
The absolute least that has to happen is for Solskjaer to get a new defensive coach who can work on a more coordinated press and better marking since the current coaching staff isn’t doing anything about it. The team’s mix seems to be completely off.
“A team requires three classical pianists and eight others to hoist the piano on to the stage,” Liverpool legend Bill Shankly famously observed. It’s virtually the opposite way around for United: There are far too many artists and not nearly enough craftsmen. That is why they should have spent all of their money on defensive midfielders Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips instead of winger Jadon Sancho, who was once again surplus to needs on Sunday.
“I do feel I am getting close to what I want with the club,” Solskjaer declared boldly after Liverpool’s setback. No one could share such optimism after the Leicester and Liverpool disasters. Even among Solskjaer’s most ardent admirers, patience must be running thin.
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Now is the time to give Salah a new deal.
Whatever Liverpool is paying Mohamed Salah, it isn’t enough. Now is the time to give that individual his new contract.
With his hat trick at Old Trafford, the Egypt international has now scored in each of his previous ten games, putting him probably the best player in the world right now. He’s also the first opponent to score three goals at United’s stadium.
He understands where he needs to be, when he needs to be there, and how to hit a shot that leaves the keeper helpless. All of this was combined with a burst of speed over the grass and a pair of dancing feet. Goal-scoring is an art form for him, and he seldom misses.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will be delighted that midfielder Naby Keita seems to be settling in at Anfield, but after sustaining an injury as a result of Paul Pogba’s rash challenge (for which the Frenchman was sent off), the Reds will be eager to have him back on the pitch as soon as possible.
After Spurs’ 1-0 loss to West Ham, Steve Nicol is perplexed by Nuno Espirito Santo’s identity.
Tottenham must drive their supporters insane.
How can Tottenham travel to West Ham and have just nine touches in the opposing area in 90 minutes while dominating the ball?
They failed to register a single shot and were defeated 1-0 by Michail Antonio’s clumsy goal from a corner, which he swept home past his sleeping marker, Harry Kane.
Tottenham’s build-up play was sluggish and narrow. So far, they’ve looked like a “win some, lose some” team under Nuno Espirito Santo, and keeping Kane at the club against his will this summer might backfire.
The Hammers, meanwhile, are in the top four and leading their Europa League group.
Joe Gelhardt of Leeds is a ray of hope.
We may all get jaded while discussing the same old players and teams. From time to time, the game need a new star or plot.
Joe Gelhardt is now on the scene. In a 1-1 draw against Wolves, the Leeds teenager came off the bench to make a stunning cameo that changed the game and saved a point.
From the minute he entered the game, his rushing with the ball terrified Wolves. He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
James Maddison has the wrong priorities.
Little things may make a big difference. Mason Mount ran over to embrace midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who had set the opportunity on a plate for him, after completing his hat trick for Chelsea in a 7-0 thumping of a helpless Norwich City.
In contrast, a really selfless Patson Daka ball set up James Maddison for a tap-in to win the game for Leicester against Brentford.
Maddison was solely interested in running behind the Brentford goal to provoke the Brentford supporters who were yelling, “You’ll never play for England.”
The glee was justified, but it would have been much sweeter if the Leicester maestro had congratulated the guy who had set up his game-winning goal.
You get the impression that England boss Gareth Southgate isn’t like of Maddison’s flamboyant — some may say flashy — demeanor. He may be back in form, but he shouldn’t expect an England return anytime soon. Maybe those tyrannical Brentford supporters were correct?
Mason Mount’s performance in Chelsea’s 7-0 hammering of Norwich is discussed by Janusz Michallik and Kay Murray.
What is Norwich’s next step?
Norwich spent almost £50 million in the summer in the hopes of making a bigger impression in the Premier League this time around than they did when they were relegated two seasons ago. The money seems to have been squandered.
They have yet to win a game and have only scored two goals thus far. That humiliating 7-0 loss to Chelsea was the mark of a club that had given up the fight by the end of October.
Part of the issue is that the Norwich mindset seems to accept Premier League relegation as a strand of the club’s DNA, which is regretful but not fatal since it is part of the financial model.
Manager Daniel Farke, who has guided the Canaries to two promotions, is unable to coax a song from them at the higher level.
It takes time for miracles to happen.
Newcastle United’s new Saudi owners have given them a large sum of money to spend in the transfer window, but they have nowhere to spend it yet.
The fans were successful in removing manager Steve Bruce, but until January, the same misfiring players, with the exception of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, are attempting to escape the relegation zone.
Even so, who can Newcastle bring in to improve the atmosphere? At that time of year, only other teams’ rejects or reserves are normally on the market, and they won’t be able to attract the great names required.
The Toon held Crystal Palace to a 1-1 draw courtesy to some sloppy finishing and a contentious decision to rule out a late winner for Patrick Vieira’s draw experts. However, Newcastle still seems to be a fairly average team, and most of the players will realize that once the improvements occur, they will have no future at the club.
Aston Villa is going through a difficult period.
Villa’s defense, which had been healed so well during the first COVID-19 lockdown, is beginning to sag once again. They’ve dropped their previous three games, losing 2-1 to Spurs, 3-2 to Wolves, and 3-1 to Arsenal, when they didn’t even show up until late in the game.
Could this have anything to do with John Terry’s departure from the Villa coaching staff in the summer?
And the striking pairing of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins has failed to gel. Are they both attempting to work in one other’s native environment? That’s how it seems at times.
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