By Neil Leverett
- Leicester equal Premier League victory margin record, demolishing ten-man Southampton 9-0
- Leaders Liverpool come from behind to beat Spurs, as Manchester City notch comfortable 3-0 win against plucky Villa
- Arsenal throw away two-goal lead against Palace, whilst Watford draw third game on bounce against unripened Cherries
PREMIER LEAGUE, ENGLAND – As Liverpool show their mettle against Spurs and Arsenal again throw away a lead again, what did we learn from Premier League Gameweek 10?
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A record equalled
As the curtain rose on Premier League Gameweek 10 at a sodden St. Mary’s Stadium on Friday night, few expected the early metaphorical fireworks Leicester City provided in putting nine past a hapless Southampton side, as the Foxes filled their boots to equal a Premier League record on the South coast.
With both Jamie Vardy and Ayoze Perez grabbing hat-tricks, the ten-man Saints capitulated in rare fashion following Ryan Bertrand‘s VAR-reviewed sending off, as Ralph Hasenhuttl had nowhere to hide having seen his men become only the second team in Premier League history to concede nine goals in a game.
Tying Ipswich Town’s mauling at the hands of Manchester United by the same scoreline in 1995, Brendan Rodgers would have been cooing in delight at his team’s efforts to decimate the hosts in such ruthless manner.
Whilst it was hard to clearly decipher whether Leicester were that good or rather the Saints being so utterly spineless and devoid of fight – perhaps a combination of the two – as the Foxes leapt temporarily into the second spot, their position after the weekend remains third. As those around them continue to stutter, Leicester City are clear favourites to break into not only the top six, but now, come next year could be back in the Champions League.
Liverpool steel remains
Sunday saw another test of Liverpool’s Premier League title credentials, but once more the Reds passed with relative flying colours. Coming from a goal down via Harry Kane‘s razor-sharp heading instincts from Son Heung-min‘s deflected shot off the post, Jurgen Klopp‘s men saw their six-point lead re-established after a second half fightback.
With Jordan Henderson breaking the growing anxiety around Anfield, it was left to Mohamed Salah to convert from the penalty spot for the eventual win, following Serge Aurier‘s clumsy challenge on Sadio Mane.
As we speculated in last week, Liverpool’s away days may yet prove the more difficult to come through unscathed – not least considering the festive schedule that lingers on the approaching horizon – with a trip to Villa Park next Sunday, before Gameweek 12’s already seismic clash with the Citizens the week after.
In the short-term however, finally getting the better of a struggling Spurs back line was nonetheless a testament of character, and as the weeks roll by this term, every litmus test passed is another chance to place a large red tick next to its’ box, as Liverpool eye their first Premier League crown come May.
Lampard’s ‘Lions’ real deal?
Gameweek 10 perhaps saw confirmation that Chelsea and Frank Lampard appear to fit like hand to glove, as the Blues impressively won 4-2 against Burnley at Turf Moor – despite a late two-goal haul for the Clarets to rather take the gloss off a hugely creditable display from the West Londoners.
Almost in direct contrast to the mythical honeymoon period in managerial vernacular, Lampard’s opening toils of the early weeks of the new season have moved aside for something rather more comparable to Lampard’s career as a player for Chelsea.
Saturday evening also saw the emergence of Christian Pulisic from the shadows of the substitutes bench, with the American now surely set for a spell in the starting XI after his eyebrow-raising triple in Lancashire.
As Willian popped the cherry on the Blue-iced cake this past weekend, it is now four wins on the bounce for Lampard’s Lions, with both Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori again central to the spine of the team, and whilst Tammy Abraham failed to grab a goal – taking note of a superb win in Amsterdam over Ajax only days prior – the Blues’ foreseeable future under Lampard now looks a far rosier one than only two short months ago.
Knives sharpening for Emery
As one man begins to rise to the top once more, the wolves are gathering at the door for Arsenal manager Unai Emery, after the Gunners again were involved in more Sunday afternoon drama at the Emirates Stadium.
Going two goals up against Crystal Palace in the opening nine minutes courtesy of Sokratis and David Luiz, the nagging feeling of doubt still remained however and when the Eagles pulled a goal back via Luka Milivojevic‘s 32nd-minute spot kick, fears were realised when Jordan Ayew netted a leveller seven minutes after the break.
VAR controversies aside – with Arsenal seemingly robbed of a late winner after Calum Chambers was adjudged to have committed a foul in the area – there appears to be little sign of significant progress under the Spaniard, with many fans having already voiced their dissent at Emery.
In a week that saw the North Londoners crash to a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United, and edge a nervous 3-2 win over Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League – the Portuguese club scoring twice in a European game for the very first time – Sunday afternoon’s latest Emirates’ roller-coaster was perhaps the final straw for many.
Now having to deal with the fall-out of skipper Granit Xhaka and his apparent sign of anger and disenchantment toward the Arsenal faithful, and without any real evidence of a case of two steps forward, two steps back changing, the sands of time on the Emery hourglass could be dwindling.
Canaries in free-fall?
The big losers of Gameweek 10 were Norwich City who suffered a fourth defeat in five games, having now taken a single point from 15 on offer. This after the Canaries’ stunning 3-2 in over the champions, but it now seems that Daniel Farke‘s men could be something of a busted flush – for now.
With just two goals coming in this period of concern for the Norfolk side, Teemu Pukki‘s goals have dried up like a Saharan desert and from Norwich’s point of view, the Finnish striker needs to find his touch and fast.
Whereas less than seven weeks ago Norwich were flirting with the top six, their lot now is a far different one sat in 19th spot just two points above a Watford side who are showing signs of life, after a wretched start to the campaign.
The Canaries may only be two points from jumping out of the bottom three, but after falling at the hands of one of the worst-performing sides in the league in the Red Devils, tougher games lay in store for Farke’s men, who will already be gearing themselves up for a far more realistic battle to remain in the top flight this term.
Premier League Gameweek 11 begins on Saturday lunchtime as AFC Bournemouth host Manchester United, kick-off 12:30 pm UK time.
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