Matchday 10 is in the books. As always, it was an interesting weekend in the highly unpredictable Premier League, with no team able to take anything for granted. Another good weekend for Chelsea, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this weekend.
Winners: Reece James and Chelsea
Chelsea left it a bit late but still cruised to an easy 3-0 victory over Newcastle at newly re-christened St. Reece James’ Park. James was dominant on the right side of the pitch (both offensively and defensively) and scored two stunning half-volleys to secure all three points.
More importantly, we extended our lead at the top of the table as both Liverpool and Manchester City dropped points to teams lower in the table. With the title race looking to be tight all year, these are the kind of critical points that could make a huge difference in May.
Although it’s something of a permanent state for them (Spurs being Spurs and all), Spurs were the big losers this weekend as the wheels fell completely off the bus.
First, they got dominated by Manchester United’s rusted collection of spare parts and (temporarily) saved Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s job. Then, they sacked Nuno Espírito Santo after just 17 matches in charge. Through it all their “£150 million striker” has been completely toothless and disinterested (at best).
Finally, they’ve gone hat-in-hand back to Antonio Conte, who is a great “win-now” manager but one of the worst imaginable fits for the Spurs job. All-in-all, this was about as bad of a weekend for Spurs as a club can have, and a clear demonstration of organizational incompetence and dysfunction. Naturally I’m enjoying every second of it.
Winner: Conor Gallagher
Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher once again showed he is already one of the best midfielders in the Premier League as the key man for Patrick Viera’s revitalized Crystal Palace squad.
Palace picked up three points this weekend as they defeated Manchester City 2-0, with Gallagher delivering both goals, assisting one and scoring the other, in an all-action performance. He’s continuing to stake his case for coming back to Chelsea and challenging for a starting position next season.
Loser: Hakim Ziyech
Thanks to injuries, Ziyech got a rare start for Chelsea, playing on the right wing in the victory at Newcastle. While he wasn’t necessarily bad, he alternated between being anonymous and being wasteful, and certainly didn’t do enough to improve on his current status as the fifth- or sixth-choice attacking option for Thomas Tuchel. It’s hard to see him earning more meaningful minutes at this rate, which could spell the end of his time at Chelsea.
Winner: Aaron Ramsdale
Arsenal’s goalkeeper put up as good of a performance as you will see from a goalkeeper this weekend. His standout saves helped the Gunners creep back into the top-six by stealing three points from Leicester.
Ramsdale earned praise from all corners for this performance, even from Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel, the father of his opposite number.
Losers: Liverpool’s Midfield
Liverpool dropped two points to Brighton as they couldn’t hold on to a two goal lead. Their high-octane attack had them out in front early before they got eventually got overrun in midfield — Naby Keïta getting injured again and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain compounding that development with a poor performance as his replacement despite also collecting an assist.
At full-strength Liverpool are as good as anyone, but a lack of depth may cost them trophies this season.
Winner: Antonio Conte
Rough starts by both Spurs and United have Conte firmly back in the managerial conversation. He is the only proven winner available as a mid-season replacement so teams with European aspirations are desperately seeking him out — even Spurs, who are reportedly just hours from announcing him.
Expect Conte to collect a nice payday for a short-term gig before inevitably falling out with Daniel Levy. On the other hand; he is a terrible fit there, so maybe he should really be in the Loser category this week.
BONUS Loser: Barcelona
Obviously not Premier League related, but the slow-motion train wreck at Barcelona continues, as they continue to try to out-awful Spurs. I for one am really enjoying the implosion. And this is a good excuse to add my favorite Chelsea goal of all-time. Enjoy!