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Premier League: Manchester United’s resurgence, other talking points from Gameweek 10

The English top-flight never ceases to entertain but what made the headlines on the weekend?

Prithviraj Dev | New Delhi |

Manchester United managed to edge Tottenham Hotspur in a keenly-fought contest but what were the other headlines from Gameweek 10 of the Premier League?

Well, quite a few as it turns out.

The Statesman, however, has the picked five most pressing talking points from an fascinating weekend of football for you:

Under-pressure United script smash-and-grab against Spurs

After two disappointing results at Liverpool and Huddersfield, United were under severe pressure to make a statement against Spurs at Old Trafford.

Was the aforesaid ‘statement’ made?

Not exactly, but super-sub Anthony Martial got the job done with a fine goal to nick a 1-0 win for the Red Devils. United defended doggedly, no doubt helped by the absence of Harry Kane, and clinically took their chance to secure their seventh win of the Premier League campaign.

Jose Mourinho, Premier League, Manchester United F.C., Premier League, Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Jose Mourinho (R) managed to outwit Mauricio Pochettino this time! (Photo: APF)


After hundreds of millions spent, Jose Mourinho has built a functional and effective unit. United aren’t going to dominate teams, especially not in the ‘big clashes’.

Their fans can complain all they want, but Jose Mourinho’s men aren’t here to entertain, just win. Period.

The only problem for United is, there is another team in the league that are playing irresistible football all the while managing to eke out win after win.

For while a points tally of 23 from 10 games isn’t a bad haul, there is the unmissable fact that their noisy neighbours have moved in upstairs and refuse to go away.

But City continue to rack up wins like nobody’s business

Pep Guardiola’s side continue to wow fans and critics alike with their stupendous performances.

Yes, their 3-2 win at West Bromwich Albion wasn’t perfect, but take in this amazing stat: Manchester City have won their last 13 games (all competitions) in a row.

The Catalan manager had been criticised for his ‘overconfident’ approach last season but all the naysayers have been forced to eat humble pie with his players scoring goals for fun as the Citizens continue to blitz their way past several records.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City F.C., Premier League
Pep Guardiola’s Man City get two thumbs-ups for their superlative displays this season! (Photo:A FP)


Considering they are expected to challenge on four fronts, Guardiola’s rotational policy will bear fruits over the course of a long season.

He continues to tinker with formations, making slight adjustments but the ‘tiki-taka’ orchestra continues to resonate and at this stage, everyone best hunker down and get used to seeing the Citizens roar regularly.

They have a crucial week ahead, with a trip to Napoli (Champions League) in mid-week before they host Arsenal in their final fixture before the last international break of the year.

Pick up maximum points from those games and suddenly Europe, not just England, will be forced to take them seriously.

So close, yet so far season again for Spurs?

Yes, Harry Kane was missing for the trip to United but surely a team that is a title contender should be able to cope without one player?

Harry Kane, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Harry Kane Injury
Spurs are desperate to welcome Harry Kane back into the fold (Photo: AFP)


Apparently not and while they are more than just the ‘Harry Kane team’, questions will be asked of Spurs in the weeks to come.

Are they really Premier League title-worthy?

For not only are the Lilywhites eight points behind leaders Manchester City, they have lost twice to a direct rival (Chelsea and United) already this season.

Even their win against Liverpool (4-1) last week had as much to do with the Reds’ calamitous defending as with their own verve.

The North Londoners play an exciting brand of football but nobody remembers teams that played well but finished second or third.

Dele Alli, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Manchester United vs Tottenham Hotspur
Dele Alli missed a big chance at 0-0 against United! (Photo: AFP)


For the past two seasons, they have come close but fallen well short of the title and if the trend continues for another year, they might as well brace themselves for a summer clear-out.

Arsenal on a winning run, but will it last?

City continue to lap up the acclaim and rightly so, but other teams in the Premier League are in fine fettle as well.

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal are one such side, having won four of their last five games.

The sole blot in that period was a contentious loss at Watford, when the Hornets took advantage of some dubious officiating to clinch a win.

Mesut Ozil, Premier League, Arsenal F.C.
In what might be his final season in North London, Mesut Ozil has started to rekindle his best form! (Photo: AFP)


Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey have rediscovered their form, while the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Alexis Sanchez are gelling well at the top.

For all the criticism that comes the way of Wenger and his men, the Gunners are level on points with defending champions Chelsea and just a point behind third-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Aaron Ramsey, Premier League, Arsenal F.C.
Aaron Ramsey’s been banging in the goals from midfield for the Gunners! (Photo: AFP)


However, just as the gloom seemed to be lifting from the Emirates, storm clouds have darkened the horizon.

For their next five Premier League fixtures are: Manchester City (away), Tottenham Hotspur (home), Burnley (away), Huddersfield (home) and Manchester United (home).

Playing City at fortress Etihad is not the ideal fixture by any stretch of the imagination and as soon as the international break concludes, Arsenal host Spurs in the latest edition of the North-London Derby.

Those two games, right now, look beyond Arsenal for obvious reasons and unless they can manage to upset the odds, ‘Wenger Out’ placards will become even more commonplace than they are now.

Ties against Burnley and Huddersfield Town seem straightforward enough but then a familiar foe in Manchester United come visiting.

What’s it going to be?

Watford captain Troy Deeney sensationally claimed that “Arsenal players lack cojones” and its time for Ozil and co. to stand up and be counted in the coming weeks.

Claude Puel’s Leicester reign up and running

Leicester city have been in a state of flux after their momentous Premier League triumph in 2016.

The Foxes sacked title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri as it looked certain they would be fighting a relegation battle rather than vying for the league title again mid-way through the 2016-17 season.



Premier League, Leicester City F.C., Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez has been terrifying defences of late once again! (Photo: AFP)

And his replacement, Craig Shakespeare, didn’t last long either and was sacked after a middling start to the current league campaign.

Claude Puel, who was somewhat unjustly shown the door at Southampton in the summer, took over the reigns and oversaw an impressive 2-0 win over Everton in his first match.

Granted, the Toffees aren’t setting the field alight with their performances, but the game still had to be won and the Foxes played some quality football, especially in the first-half.

Of course, the Frenchman’s influence will truly begin to show after the international break but it’s a little ironic that the reason why Saints fans were unhappy with his reign may just please his current employers.

The Saints, under Puel, had become a well-drilled unit that were unspectacular in attack. Their defence won rave reviews but the lack of goals and uninspiring style of play was said to have been a major factor in Puel’s dismissal.

Claude Puel, Leicester City F.C., Premier League
Can Claue Puel salvage his reputation at Leicester City? (Photo: AFP)


And if one looks at Leicester’s defensive record this season, it doesn’t make for a pretty sight. The Foxes have conceded 14 goals in 10 games and have kept just three clean-sheets. So Puel must be a sight for sore eyes for their fans as they can easily remain in the top-half if they shore up their backline.

They possess fine offensive talents in the likes of Demarai Gray, Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, to name a few, but their leaky defence has held them back.

Can the crafty Frenchman inspire a defensive renaissance at the King Power Stadium? Watch this space.