Manchester United gives Jose Mourinho an anger problem, Arsenal have lost their balance, Spurs out of title race

Seven things we learnt this weekend: Defence goes out the window for Palace and Swasnea, Klopp not afraid to challenge the fans, Burnley need some distance and Saints spoil Koeman's return

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The Independent Online

Does Mourinho have an anger problem?

Jose Mourinho has always had a ruthless reputation since he emerged on the scene at Porto, but could it be that it’s actually hidden a deep-rooted anger problem that he needs help controlling? It’s an interesting and rather serious issue, but his reaction to Paul Pogba’s yellow card in Manchester United's weekend draw with West Ham was a tad extreme to say the least.

Pogba was correctly booked for diving, given Mark Noble’s attempted tackle – no matter how rash it was – made no contact whatsoever.

An incensed Mourinho reacted by kicking a water bottle out of his dugout, and he struck with enough force that it wasn’t inconceivable that it could have hit another member of staff, a player on the pitch or even a fan in the stands.

This isn’t the first time Mourinho has reacted like this. The infamous eye-poke on the late Tito Vilanova during an El Clasico derby was a low point in his career, and the way he can snap at journalists for asking a simple question also hints that he struggles to keep his emotions in check. Perhaps he should seek help. He’ll have plenty of time to do so when a two-game touchline ban arrives.

Desperation sends defence out the window

If you wanted to see two teams fighting for their lives, you need not look any further than the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Swansea prevailed in a 5-4 thriller that had just about everything except one rather key factor – defending.

If both teams continue to leak goals as they did at the weekend, they have no hope in staying in the Premier League. Both Alan Pardew and Bob Bradley are under pressure to turn their form around quickly, and the American’s first victory with the Swans sees his side move to within two points of Palace who remain out of the drop zone on goal difference alone.

A look at Palace’s squad suggests they should be doing better than their current form displays, but they are also guilty and spending too much attention on their attack and not reinforcing their defence. James Tomkins hasn’t been the addition many will have hoped for alongside Scott Dann, and it’s for this reason they’ve conceded the second-most goals in the league this season ion 26 – the same as Swansea.

Klopp not afraid to challenge Liverpool fans

Jürgen Klopp’s fiery outbursts are not reserved for his players alone, as the manager displayed his frustration with the Anfield crowd on Saturday in order to lift them from their slumber and spur Liverpool on to a 2-0 win over Sunderland.

Klopp admitted afterwards that he had never seen a team play so defensively as the Blacks Cats did at Anfield, but he has also stressed this season that it is Liverpool’s responsibility to break them down. That’s a much harder task when the crowd falls silent, and Klopp is going a long way to challenging the perception that the Merseyside stadium is one of the loudest, most passionate grounds in England. That used to be the case, but it no longer is.

But with Klopp the conductor at the helm, the German’s passion for the game is able to lift the supporters at the right time. He did it again on Saturday and what followed was two goals from Divock Origi and James Milner. Klopp may have just found his gamechanger.

 

Arsenal need their balance back as Ramsey causes a problem

Arsenal finally got back to winning ways with a 3-1 victory over Bournemouth to end a run of three straight draws, but they are still yet to find a balance in midfield that they lack whenever Santi Cazorla is out of the side. On Sunday, manager Arsene Wenger deployed Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, with Aaron Ramsey left on the substitutes’ bench until the 75th minute.

Ramsey is a fine player, but he only really performs at his best when he fills the No 10 role. Unfortunately for the Welshman, Mesut Özil has that shirt locked down at Arsenal, meaning Ramsey has to fill in on the right of play in a central role where his talents are hindered due to the defensive work he has to do.

Xhaka is able to provide the defensive side of the game and also has an eye for a pass, but he cannot unlock defences like Cazorla is able to, and both Elneny and Francis Coquelin are of the holding role than the advanced one Wenger needs in Cazorla absence. The problem is that the man most able to replace Cazorla was sat in the stands at the Emirates, with Jack Wilshere ineligible for Bournemouth due to the terms of his loan deal from Arsenal.

Burnley aren’t as safe as they look

This time last week, Burnley were eyeing the chance to move level on points with Manchester United, only to suffer a comprehensive 4-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion. This weekend, they suffered a narrow 2-1 loss to Manchester City, but while the opposition was much tougher this time around, the performance was arguably worse than that at the Hawthorns.

Burnley look like they have prepared much better this time around for the Premier League, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe by any stretch. As the campaign turns towards the festive period and the halfway mark, they sit just one win above the relegation zone.

The saving grace is that there are still four teams between them and 18th place, and they have winnable fixtures coming up against Stoke, Bournemouth and West Ham that can help put some distance between themselves and the bottom three.

Tottenham out of Champions League, out of Cup and out of title race

With their unbeaten start no longer applicable, Tottenham’s season looks rather unimpressive after the 2-1 defeat by Chelsea. Spurs’s Stamford Bridge hoodoo is well documented, with their last victory there coming in February 1990, but while the weekend result was almost to be expected, there have still been too many failures this year for a side aspiring to challenge for the title.

Defeat in Monaco on Tuesday eliminated Mauricio Pochettino’s side from the Champions League, while Liverpool have already dumped them out of the EFL Cup – a trophy that while it may be below their ambitions could yet inject their campaign with momentum.

With one win from their last 10 matches and as many draws in the league as victories (six), Spurs need a dramatic upturn in form if they are to make the top four battle, let alone the title running.

Southampton ruin Koeman’s return to South Coast

There were handshakes all round from the Southampton players for their former head coach Ronald Koeman, but by the end of the match there we no smile to be found on the respected Dutchman’s face. A Charlie Austin goal 41 seconds into the match was enough to add misery to Everton’s quickly deteriorating season, which after an impressive start has unravelled with just one win in eight matches.

Koeman’s arrival at Goodison Park was well received by those in Merseyside, but rather less so by the fans that spent two years cheering him on at St Mary’s. The victory though now lifts Southampton to within two points of Everton, and you get the feeling that it will be the Saints who are smiling come the end of the campaign.

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