The Premier League entered Matchweek 10 with five teams separated by just one point at the top, and while there’s still a relegation six-pointer to discuss tonight between cities Stoke and
Team USA Swansea, the weekend will finish with just four teams separated by one point.
Remarkable, at the quarter-season mark. pic.twitter.com/rNtlwba318— Dávid Pásztor (@D_Peezy) October 30, 2016
The weekend’s fixtures kicked off just past Saturday noon with a match between second-placed Arsenal and bottom of the log Sunderland. Anything other than a massive win for Arsenal would’ve been surprising; the Gunners duly delivered to the tune of 4-1, with a brace each from Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud.
The contrast could not be greater between these two teams. Arsenal has a world-class squad with top quality depth and the experience of a long-serving manager. The atmosphere around the club is positive with Wenger’s possible departure at the end of the season bringing added motivation.
On the other hand, compiling a group of average players and aging has-beens expected to somehow still make a difference, we have Sunderland FC. At this stage of the season no team has been tinkered with more than Sunderland; (somehow still) in charge is David Moyes, who’s going through the worst spell of results in his entire career. Just two points won from ten games says it all.
Arsenal’s four-goal frolicking away from home was matched by both Manchester City (4-0 away to a rather terrible West Tony Pulis Albion — a brace each from Aguero and Gundogan) and Liverpool (4-2 away to a rather unlucky Crystal Palace). Palace came twice from behind in the first-half alone, but after getting denied a clear-cut penalty half-way through the second-half to mount a third comeback, Liverpool went up the other end to put the game out of reach via Roberto Firmino.
In actual North London, two teams with half an eye on the Champions League met this past weekend. Tottenham Hotspur hosted Leicester City at the Lane and failed to win once again, dropping two points in a 1-1 draw. Squad depth is essential when adding European competition to your team’s calendar, and so it was rather fitting that both goals were scored by new signings — Vincent Janssen and Ahmed Musa scoring their first and second Premier League goals, respectively.
Spurs won just one game from six in all of October.
Tottenham's last 6 games in all comps:— Simply Spurs Stats (@SimplySpursStat) October 30, 2016
Win - 1
Draw - 4
Loss - 1
Goals scored - 5
Goals from open play - 3
Goals against - 4
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United had cause for further disappointment once again as the Red Devils only managed a point at home against lowly Burnley. In fairness, United did launch 37 shots in the general direction of Tom Heaton’s goal. Wonder if Mourinho’s having any flashbacks to twelve months ago?
Meanwhile, what’s the deal with Mkhitaryan?
In the other Sunday match before Chelsea’s glorious win at St. Mary’s, Chelsea’s previous and next opponent squared off as Everton hosted West Ham. The Hammers seemed to have a fair bit less success with their 3-4-3 in this one than in midweek, and ended up on the wrong end of a 2-0 scoreline — Romelu Lukaku and the shot-happy Ross Barkley with the goals. After the midweek morale boost, it’s back to the drawing board for Slaven Bilic as he looks to stay out of early relegation danger.
Both goalscorers looked dangerous, in general, for Everton, and Chelsea will have to extra mindful of them when they come to the Bridge this weekend, on Matchday 11.