Six things we learnt: Louis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United; Henderson becoming the genuine heir to Gerrard

A look at the lessons to be learnt from the mid-week Premier League fixtures, including Jose Mourinho retains a sense of humour and Bafetimbi Gomis passes out sometimes

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The Independent Online

Louis van Gaal is watching a different game to everyone else

By most accounts, Manchester United were pretty poor against Newcastle. They failed to register a shot on target in the first half, improved marginally in the second and needed a fortuitous goal one minute from time to win the match. Despite all that, Louis van Gaal seemed quite pleased with what he had seen. "I think we have dominated for 90 minutes, maybe our best match of the season, especially in an away match we deserved the victory," said the Dutchman. The stock that can be held in what the Dutchman says is diminishing.

Arsene Wenger can still spring a surprise

Gabriel Paulista started in place of Per Mertesacker at the weekend and it was widely assumed that the German had probably been displaced from the heart of the Arsenal defence for good. However, Arsene Wenger changed things round again by dropping Laurent Koscielny and partnering Mertesacker with Gabriel. With clues as to Wenger's plans for the heart of the Arsenal defence becoming clouded, an injury to Gabriel in the 2-0 win over QPR means it will likely be back to the status quo in the short-term.

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Jose Mourinho retains a sense of humour

In the aftermath of Chelsea's Capital One Cup final victory over Tottenham, Jose Mourinho said that his players would be allowed to celebrate for just 20 minutes as they had a "big game" against West Ham on the horizon. The Special One will have been delighted to see his strict approach pay off with a hard fought 1-0 victory over the Hammers. However Mourinho showed he still has a sense of humour by seeing the funny side of Nemanja Matic picking up an injury in the celebrations. The midfielder hadn't played in the match, but did a John Terry and changed into his kit to revel in the win at Wembley. “He got an injury celebrating the cup. I'm not kidding," said Mourinho.

 

Bafetimbi Gomis passes out sometimes

There were worrying scenes at Tottenham when Swansea striker Bafetimbi Gomis collapsed in scenes that evoked memories of Fabrice Muamba. However, after he was taken from the pitch, fears were quickly allayed. "I Wanted to reassure you concerning my Health, it actually looks much more scary than physically dangerous and I am feeling well now," Gomus posted via his Twitter account. Swansea also confirmed they were aware of the issue of Gomis fainting - something that has happened to him numerous times in his career.

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Bafetibis Gomis of Swansea City is stretchered off at White Hart Lane

 

Manuel Pellegrini is not afraid to make big calls

Manuel Pellegrini has been under pressure following defeats to Barcelona and Liverpool that have derailed ambitions in the Champions League and Premier League respectively. Leicester at home was the type of fixture the Chilean would have wanted to get things back on track, which Manchester City duly did with a 2-0 win. But the City manager also used the match against the league's bottom club to prove he can still take big decisions by dropping captain Vincent Kompany. The defender has been out of form and the decision didn't come as a complete surprise. What might raise more eyebrows is Pellegrini suggesting after the game that his captain is not guaranteed to return to the side.

Jordan Henderson is beginning to fulfil his destiny of being Steven Gerrard's heir

Jordan Henderson is the player that's meant to take up Steven Gerrard's mantel when the skipper disappears to La La land at the end of the season. But replacing one of the greatest captains in the club's history has often looked like too tall an order for the former Sunderland player.

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Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson celebrates his goal against Burnley

 

Yet as the season progresses he looks more of a leader at Anfield and his performances (and consequently the team's in general) during Gerrard's recent injury absence have been superb. As well as leadership, Henderson has also been showing that other Gerrard trait, the ability to score a great goal. He scored a beauty against Manchester City at the weekend and scored another effort from range against Burnley, driving the ball low into the corner from just outside the box in the 2-0 win.

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