Premier League Winners and Losers: Played, Won, Goal Difference, Points
Jose Mourinho’s arrival as Tottenham Hotspur manager yielded immediate benefits for Eric Dier on Saturday, with the England international restored to the base of midfield on the debut of his new boss.
It was a winning start for Mourinho and Spurs, with Dier making an impact in a 3-2 victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium. Spurs revived their top-four hopes in the Premier League on a day when north London rivals Arsenal dropped two points at home to struggling Southampton.
Being held to a 2-2 stalemate by the Saints will only ratchet up the pressure on beleaguered head coach Unai Emery. West Ham chief Manuel Pellegrini joined Emery as another under-fire top-flight gaffer.
The Hammers are at the wrong end of the table, but Manchester City kept their flickering title hopes alive by beating Chelsea 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium. An inspired Riyad Mahrez proved the difference for the Citizens, who answered leaders Liverpool’s scraping to a nervy 2-1 win over Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
- West Ham United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur
- Arsenal 2-2 Southampton
- Bournemouth 1-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Brighton & Hove Albion 0-2 Leicester City
- Crystal Palace 1-2 Liverpool
- Everton 0-2 Norwich City
- Watford 0-3 Burnley
- Manchester City 2-1 Chelsea
Standings (Played, Won, Goal Difference, Points)
1. Liverpool: 13, 12, +19, 37
2. Leicester City: 13, 9, +23, 29
3. Manchester City: 13, 9, +23, 28
4. Chelsea: 13, 8, +9, 26
5. Wolverhampton Wanderers: 13, 4, +2, 19
6. Burnley: 13, 5, +2, 18
7. Arsenal: 13, 4, -1, 18
8. Sheffield United: 12, 4, +4, 17
9. Tottenham Hotspur: 13, 4, +2, 17
10. Manchester United: 12, 4, +4, 16
11. Bournemouth: 13, 4, -1, 16
12. Brighton & Hove Albion: 13, 4, -4, 15
13. Crystal Palace: 13, 4, -7, 15
14. Newcastle United: 12, 4, -7, 15
15. Everton: 13, 4, -7, 14
16. West Ham United: 13, 3, -7, 13
17. Aston Villa: 12, 3, -3, 11
18. Norwich City: 13, 3, -15, 10
19. Southampton: 13, 2, -18, 9
20. Watford: 13, 1, -18, 8
Winner: Eric Dier
Dier had started just two of Tottenham’s matches in the league.
While Dier can play in defence, he has always been more effective as the foundation of midfield. It’s where Mourinho restored Dier for the trip to east London.
He responded with a typically destructive display:
Eric Dier against West Ham: 💪
Highest share of possession on the pitch
61 passes (team high)
1 key pass
9 headers won (team high)
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) November 23, 2019
Mourinho has traditionally built his teams with a solid base at the back. The approach requires a well-drilled defence ably protected by a rugged shield anchoring midfield.
Dier is the ideal player for the key role along the spine of a team already looking tougher and more efficient just days into Mourinho’s reign.
Loser: Manuel Pellegrini
It should have been a perfect match for West Ham to have a manager as progressive as Pellegrini oversee a squad loaded with creative talent. Yet not only did Pellegrini’s love for expansive football fail to coax the best from Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko and Pablo Fornals, but there also was no silver lining for Hammers fans to pin hopes of a revival on.
The West Ham defence has been a disaster since goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski tore a hip muscle in September. Replacement Roberto is increasingly accident-prone, while centre-back Issa Diop looks a shadow of the commanding presence he was last season.
Pellegrini has been unable to construct a sturdy defence, but he has also failed to get some big names in attack to click. The balance in midfield has been an issue with Anderson, Yarmolenko and Fornals struggling in similar roles.
It hasn’t helped that Pellegrini abandoned the two-striker formula that served him so well during stints with Villarreal, Real Madrid and Manchester City. Instead, Sebastien Haller looks overburdened in a lone role.
The latest setback came at a bad time for Pellegrini, amid rumours the club is keen on Rafa Benitez, per John Richardson of the Sunday Mirror. West Ham have gone seven league matches without a win, and time looks close to being up for the man in the dugout.
Winner: Riyad Mahrez
Riyad Mahrez produces the goods for City. The Algerian wing wizard was called into action with Bernardo Silva serving a suspension for breaching the FA’s guidelines for social media behaviour.
There was no drop-off in quality because of the way Mahrez led Chelsea markers on a merry dance. His twisting and turning runs led to what proved to be the winning goal when the former Leicester City ace drifted in from the right and guided a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Chelsea knew what he wanted to do but they still couldn’t stop him. Superb finish 👌
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 23, 2019
MAHREZ’S LEFT FOOT 😳😤 pic.twitter.com/pKcXlgEiAW
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) November 23, 2019
The finish was vintage Mahrez, who is close to unplayable when in this form. Being able to call on quality of this calibre from a squad role is a reflection of the awesome strength in depth the Citizens possess in the final third.
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 23, 2019
Despite an eight-point gap to Liverpool, City are far from out of the title race with so much attacking talent.
Loser: Unai Emery
Alexandre Lacazette’s 96th-minute equaliser surely won’t be enough to keep Emery hanging on by a thread. Lacazette earned his club a point, but the Gunners would have rightly expected much more against a side rooted in the relegation zone.
Yet Arsenal’s problems are deep enough to make a squad not short on quality vulnerable in any game. Those issues start with Emery’s inability to settle on a stable starting XI and a particular formation:
In @Arsenal‘s last seven games, Unai Emery has deployed SEVEN different formations. 🤨
1 win. 5 draws. 1 loss. 🙄
14 goals scored. 15 goals conceded. 😐
— Sky Bet (@SkyBet) November 23, 2019
No matter if Emery plays a back three or four—his side is leaking goals at an alarming rate. The Gunners have conceded 19 times in 13 matches despite Emery having been hired to fix similar problems left over from the end of the Arsene Wenger era.
Arsenal used to dominate possession on Wenger’s watch, but Emery’s version of the team is anything but assertive on the ball. A cautious brand of football has led to the Gunners regularly being outperformed by opposition of any level:
Incredible that Southampton haven’t won that. Arsenal utterly abject again.
21 shots for Southampton, 12 for Arsenal.
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 23, 2019
Emery was recently publicly backed by Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham. It would be a minor miracle if the support lasts with Arsenal eight points adrift of the top four and looking increasingly unlikely to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.