Jen Offord picks out five key moments from an extraordinary weekend of Premier League action
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There’s no smoke without fire
Liverpool Football Club and Dick Advocaat proved there’s no smoke without fire this weekend, with the managerial changes at the clubs lending kudos to reports that had been hinting at the departures for weeks.
Brendan Rodgers at 4pm on Sunday had “never felt anything other than secure”. By 6pm he was no longer secure.
It had been coming.
It hasn’t felt like Rodgers was in control at Liverpool ever since the departure of Luis Suarez. Even now it’s not clear whether the Northern Irishman is a talented manager or a bit of a myth, but what is clear is that his concerted and sometimes desperate efforts to ingratiate himself with the Liverpool fan-base wasn’t ever enough to get the supporters onside. Can anyone?
For Sunderland, perhaps their sixth manager in four years will have better luck. I’m not holding my breath.
Mourinho needs “a break”
Jose Mourinho was furious that Falcao wasn’t awarded a penalty halfway through the second half. I’m not sure what he was expecting the penalty to be awarded for, as Falcao very obviously hit the deck prior to any contact from an oncoming clash with Southampton’s goalkeeper.
Mourinho –who did not want to comment on the decisions that went against his opponents – said he could understand people wanting to hate on him when he was performing well, but that after such an astoundingly poor start to the season, officials should give Chelsea “a break”. I wonder if Arsene Wenger would agree.
The Toon have fallen on hard times
“We’ve got to take encouragement from whatever we can” said Newcastle boss, Steve McClaren after his team’s away game against Manchester City. However, encouragement may not be forthcoming in the wake of turning a goal’s lead into an absolute thumping at the hands of Sergio Aguero.
Newcastle looked stronger in the first half, holding their goal lead right up until the end of the half, when Aguero levelled the playing field. It looks like there were stern words from a frustrated Pellegrini in City’s locker room at half time, while McClaren apparently struggled to gee his team up, as two almost completely different teams strode back onto the pitch on the second half. De Bruyne spearheaded City’s campaign with a goal in the 53rd minute, but it was Aguero who more than consolidated the victory with an astonishing four further goals – almost a sixth of the goals scored over the whole weekend. He now joins a list of only five other players in the history of the Premier League to have scored five goals in one game.
Pardew and Pulis are on opposite paths
Who will be Sunderland’s next random selection in the “average manager lucky dip”, I wonder. At least Alan Pardew won’t be in the running on this occasion.
Pardew’s Crystal Palace were “very, very good”, noted the understandably chuffed boss as he ended the Baggies run of away-game clean sheets. Tony Pulis – Palace’s former manager and another I normally associate with the aforementioned lucky dip – was less pleased, commenting on a barely recognisable side to the one that just about beat Aston Villa several weeks ago. You know you’re in trouble when beating Villa is cited as the benchmark for success.
In Arsene the Gunners can still trust (sometimes)
With the exception of their European woe, I reckon overall it’s been a good week for Arsene Wenger. I imagine it’s quite fun seeing the man who once branded him a “specialist in failure” doing so badly, for a start. I imagine it’s also quite nice seeing your team win a few games – convincingly so, too. It’s probably even better when it’s against Manchester United you thump (and no pizzas were harmed in the making of the victory).
And what a thumping it was, with Sanchez scoring two goals and Ozil another – all in the opening 20 minutes. United were able to make something of a comeback, ultimately dominating possession during the game… but they just could not get past Petr Cech, who was back on the pitch after his controversial omission from the squad earlier in the week. The win lifts the Gunners to second in the league and gives Wenger a reason to feel like he’s got one over on his critics.
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