Seven things we learnt this weekend: Juan Mata won't disappear, Chelsea are better than everyone, Europa League not helping Tottenham

The lessons learnt from the latest round of fixtures in the Premier League, including options at Southampton and the return of Andy Carroll

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Tottenham struggle after Europa League

It was a sorry afternoon at White Hart Lane for Spurs who fell two goals down to Stoke, somehow managed to get back into it through Nacir Chadli but then had Kyle Naughton sent off. The home side didn't deserve anything and with an incredibly lucky victory at Aston Villa in their previous league outing, these are worrying times for Mauricio Pochettino. One of the possible causes could be their European escapades. This was Spurs’ fourth home league defeat of the season, all of them after Europa League games.

Arsenal can't defend (or win the title)

Arsenal conspired to throw away a lead yet again, just days after letting a three goal advantage slip against Anderlecht in the Champions League. On this occasion, Swansea were the benefactors of some woeful and uncertain defending. The defeat at the Liberty Stadium leaves the Gunners in sixth, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. Arsene Wenger all but conceded after the game that the league leaders can't be caught.

 

Chelsea are just so much better than their title rivals

The Blues got the weekend started by coming from behind themselves, at Anfield. The performance against Liverpool meant Jose Mourinho's side remain unbeaten, but more ominously, sent out a message about just how superior they are to the sides who profess to be their title rivals. Chelsea looked stronger, more organised and more determined. The fact their players had a days less rest than their Liverpool counterparts and a number of Brendan Rodgers' side had been left out altogether in midweek to be fresh for this match, never factored.

Video: Premier League review

Mike Dean knows the rules

When Joe Hart botched a free-kick inside his own penalty box it appeared as though the Manchester City goalkeeper had gifted QPR a goal. However, as Charlie Austin celebrated after scoring from the goalkeeper's error, Mike Dean ordered it be re-taken. Normally, if a player takes two touches of the ball from a free-kick, a free-kick would be awarded to the opposition. But if it happens in the penalty area, the taker is allowed another go. Well done Mr Dean for getting it right.

Hart.jpg 

Andy Carroll is a menace - and gives West Ham an extra dimension

Andy Carroll made his first appearance of the season at the weekend. Whilst he might not have been able to break the deadlock in West Ham's goalless draw with Aston Villa, the England international managed to remind everyone about the threat he brings. The Hammers have been going great so far this term with the club currently occupying a Champions League place. The return of Carroll could provide the boost that keeps them going.

Andy-Carroll-of-West-Ham-United-applauds-the-crowd.jpg
Andy Carroll of West Ham United applauds the crowd

 

Southampton have options

Southampton have now won 11 of their last 12 games in an incredible run of form that absolutely no-one predicted. Among the wins have been an away game against Arsenal, difficult trips to Stoke and Swansea and a 4-0 thumping of Newcastle and of course the 8-0 victory against Sunderland. For 74 minutes though it looked like the team to stop them in their tracks could be lowly Leicester. But Ronald Koeman's introduction of Shane Long from the bench turned the game with the Irishman scoring twice inside the final 15 minutes. Signed over the summer from Hull City, Long looks like another brilliant addition to a team of so many others who have shined since their recent arrivals at the club.

Long_1.jpg
Shane Long celebrates

 

Juan Mata won't disappear into the background

How Louis van Gaal squeezes in all his expensively assembled attacking threats is still uncertain. With formations being chopped and changed and players on and off the treatment table, the Manchester United manager's favourites have been difficult to tell. But it'll be impossible to fit them all in, and just as what happened to him Chelsea, Juan Mata appears to be one of those most under threat.

Juan-Mata.jpg
Juan Mata rescued Manchester United in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace

However, the Spaniard came off the bench against Crystal Palace to score the only goal of the game at Old Trafford and with it offer a pertinent reminder of what he can bring to the table.

Comments