Seven things we learnt from this weekend's Premier League: Fergie time is no more; Adebayor should win the most improved player award; The power of Pulis; Beating United is bad for your health; Monk's hatchet burying; Relegation trouble; Bruce's bonus
Fergie time is a thing of the past for Manchester United
How many times did you see United players celebrating after a late goal would salvage a victory under Sir Alex Ferguson? Well, the sight looks to be a thing of the past (it certainly is for Ferguson) as Darren Bent’s late goal left Old Trafford stunned like never before. David Moyes looked shell-shocked as he left the pitch, affording a short burst of applause to those few left in the stands after the final whistle, but until United rediscover the resolve that they became famous for under their former manager, they could find themselves the victim of another late bombshell in the not so distant future.
If there was an award for the most improved player of the year, Emmanuel Adebayor would be in with a shout
Aaron Ramsey took the early season plaudits, but his lengthy spell on the sidelines coincided with Andre Villas-Boas’s sacking over at north London rivals Tottenham and the appointment of Tim Sherwood. His desire to give the Togo striker a second chance has proven a masterstroke, having been on target once again to secure a narrow win over Everton on Sunday. Considering he was available for Villas-Boas throughout his tenure at White Hart Lane, it makes the £58m spent on Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela appear all the more absurd.
West Bromwich need a manager like Pulis
There have been seven managerial changes in the Premier League this season. None has worked better than Tony Pulis’s arrival at Crystal Palace and none has backfired as badly as West Bromwich Albion’s decision to sack Steve Clarke. Pulis has worked all his life in English football, he had kept a club in the Premier League for five straight seasons.
The players he brought to the club in the shape of Tom Ince and Joe Ledley, who scored the goals that beat West Brom, are immersed in British football. Pepe Mel has none of these attributes. He has never managed in England, nor has his assistant, David Gomez. His first signing, Thievy Bifouma, has never played here. Thrown into the deep end, he is floundering and is there any wonder why?
Wins over Manchester United are bad for your health
There are not many things that are the same at Manchester United under David Moyes but Sir Alex Ferguson used to console himself with the thought that teams who gained shock victories against him suffered in the long run. This season West Brom and Newcastle won their first games at Old Trafford since 1978 and 1972 respectively. Their combined record since has seen them win five of their next 30 matches.
So after beating United for the first time since 1984, Stoke would have approached Southampton with some trepidation.
A hard-fought 2-2 draw suggests Mark Hughes’s side might be the exception to the Ferguson rule.
Burying the hatchet helped bury Cardiff
As Paolo di Canio discovered last year, sliding down the touchline, arms aloft, nothing wins a new manager more approval than an early derby win. Swansea’s emphatic 3-0 victory over Cardiff will strengthen the claims of Garry Monk to take over permanently from Michael Laudrup. Monk also had the sense to make up with Chico Flores, who may have threatened him with a brick in training but is a key member of the Swansea defence. Had Di Canio taken over in those circumstances the revenge would have been swift and brutal – which is why the Italian did not last on Wearside.
West Ham will be a witness for the defence
One day, a club will sue the FA for a decision that results in their relegation. If they do, the FA should call as exhibit one West Ham’s 2-0 win over Aston Villa that came days after they confirmed the ban on Andy Carroll that Sam Allardyce said could threaten the club’s future.
Bruce is a better manager than Sunderland remember
Steve Bruce will go to his grave arguing that he lost his job as Sunderland manager because of his Tyneside roots. He was fired because he had won three games at the Stadium of Light in a calendar year. Or put another way after Saturday’s 1-0 win, two more than he has won as manager of Hull, where he is showing his true worth.
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