Mourinho’s send off, Coutinho’s injury and other talking points from EPL action – originally posted on Nixusblog.com
Coutinho injury means Liverpool’s chance to prove their title credentials is here
Liverpool managed to edge past Sunderland’s parked bus, which was very encouraging for the side. However, they were given a huge blow in the first-half itself as Philippe Coutinho suffered an injury and was taken off on a stretcher. The influential Brazil international was seen hobbling out of Anfield on crutches and will undergo scans to determine how long he will be out for.
Coutinho had been massively influential this season and had scored five goals and grabbed five assists in 12 games before the Sunderland tie. His loss to injury could prove to be detrimental in where Liverpool finish this season. Klopp’s men have been playing extremely well and are currently second in the table. They have been touted as one of the outside title challengers. But Coutinho, who had formed a lethal partnership with Firmino and Mane up top, is a crucial part of the team which aspires for a top 4 finish, and perhaps even the title.
This came as an even bigger blow since Adam Lallana has also been out with injury. Lallana had scored three goals and got five assists in 10 games before his injury, and proved to be an important cog in the Reds’ engine.
Coutinho’s injury could force Klopp to invest in the squad in January since Sadio Mané would also leave for the Africa Cup of Nations. Till then, however, the manner in which the Reds cope with this loss could showcase their title credentials and general ability. Klopp does have Divock Origi, who replaced Coutinho against Sunderland and even scored a beautiful goal, as well as Daniel Sturridge, aching to be part of the starting line-up again, within the ranks.
Manchester United fail to win four league games at Old Trafford for the first time since 1990
Manchester United are now winless at Old Trafford for four straight games for almost 26 years. With three draws, a loss and a single win in the last five games, United are now in the sixth spot in the table, four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
The Red Devils drew 1-1 with struggling West Ham United in a match that will be remembered for Mourinho kicking a water bottle in anger at the booking by Jonathan Moss of Paul Pogba for diving, which later proved to be the correct decision by the referee. The Portuguese manager was immediately sent to the stands for the incident. Interestingly, Mourinho has as many sendings off at Old Trafford in the league as he does home wins.
Pardew in line for the sack after 5-4 thriller at Liberty Stadium
It was an extraordinary game. With six minutes remaining, Alan Pardew looked happy and relieved at the touchline. Swansea City, who were leading the game initially, looking for the evasive home win, were overcome by his side who had pulled a turnaround and looked set for a very crucial three points. At the final whistle, the Crystal Palace manager looked dismayed and cut a dejected figure who knew his job hangs on the line.
Palace had seemingly made a stunning comeback after scoring three times in nine minutes to take the lead after trailing the match 3-1. Christian Benteke’s 84th-minute goal seemed to settle the tie 4-3, but Bradley hadn’t given up yet. He unleashed Fernando Llorente in the game. Llorente has struggled significantly since his summer move from Sevilla, but the former Juventus striker was up to the task on Saturday night. He scored twice in injury time to inject new life into Swansea’s season. Palace have now suffered a sixth straight loss and are hovering just above the relegation zone.
Pardew currently has the worst record across all four divisions in the calendar year, and it’s hard to see the board stick with him for long.
Chelsea go on top of the table with vital Tottenham win
Since suffering an early season dip, Chelsea seem to be cruising in the league. Antonio Conte fielded the same eleven for the sixth successive time. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Chelsea continued their revival as they saw off Tottenham, showing the mettle to muster a comeback after going a goal behind in the first half. What was great about this win was that Chelsea showed the courage and character to make a comeback after they went a goal behind very early in the game. It was fittingly Pedro and Victor Moses who supplied the goals in the match. Both the players have undergone a revival under Conte and have become an important part of the first eleven.
Tottenham’s undefeated record in the Premier League was broken on the night, and it was high time that it happened. Spurs have been underwhelming on too many occasions this season and psychologically this record was holding them back. There were a few dogged, scrappy draws and wins in this “undefeated” season. Perhaps a loss will help them move on and revamp their campaign. They’re already out of the Champions League. It’s time to improve their performances because judging by how they’re playing at the moment; top 4 looks far-fetched.
Koeman’s return to St. Mary’s ruined by Southampton’s resolute display
Ronald Koeman saw his new side get beaten deservedly by his old team at St. Mary’s. The goal that decided the result came as early as 41 seconds. Usually, when this happens, the opponent is unable to recover. That is what happened as Everton were never able to recover from this early jolt. They were once again sluggish and lacklustre for vast areas of the game and could not muster an equaliser. Romelu Lukaku was on fire a few weeks back, but he has failed in front of the net in the last few weeks, and it didn’t come as a surprise when -match stats showed that the visitors only had one shot on target.
Everton have three losses, a draw and a win in the last five games. Their next five fixtures include matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Koeman has to pull off a masterstroke now to ensure Everton’s season doesn’t go crashing this early in the season.