XeniaSports – London
There were more wobbles at the top of the Premier League as Liverpool and Tottenham were held and Chelsea lost, while the Manchester derby was a goalless bore draw.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from this weekend’s top-flight action.
Champions League hangover
All four teams involved in midweek Champions League action – Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United – failed to win as fatigue appeared to take its toll. Chelsea suffered their first league defeat since September 20 when losing 1-0 at Everton, Liverpool were held 1-1 by lowly Fulham and the Manchester derby ended in a drab 0-0 draw. Leaders Tottenham also faltered after their Europa League exertions, drawing 1-1 at Crystal Palace, and just seven points separate the top 10 in this most open of seasons.
No end to Liverpool injury misery
Another day, another injury blow for Liverpool. Diogo Jota has been on fire since his £41million move from Wolves in September, scoring nine goals in 17 games. But Jota suffered a knee injury on Champions League duty in midweek and Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who has had to manage an injury crisis during the Reds’ title defence, confirmed that the 24-year-old will be spending six to eight weeks on the sidelines. Oh, and central defender Joel Matip suffered a back spasm at Craven Cottage.
Manchester is grey
Forget blue or red, Manchester is grey after the dullest derby in living memory. There were only four on-target attempts at an empty Old Trafford, with both camps showing too much respect to below-par rivals. United were bounced out of the Champions League by RB Leipzig in midweek and have now failed to score in three home league games this season, one more than in the whole of the 2019-20 campaign. City are just as toothless with their 1.5 goals return per game this term way down on the 2.8 goals achieved in 2017-18.
Little practice makes perfect
Newcastle had not played for 15 days and their training ground had only reopened on Tuesday following a coronavirus outbreak at the club. But Steve Bruce’s side needed only 19.98 seconds to score against West Brom, the fastest goal in the Premier League this season. Only Alan Shearer, who scored after 10.52 seconds against Manchester City in January 2003, has netted a quicker Premier League goal for Newcastle than Miguel Almiron. Newcastle went on to win 2-1 and put a difficult few weeks behind them.
Soucek’s a Happy Hammer
Having been described as ‘David Moyes’ new Fellaini’, Tomas Soucek underlined the point in West Ham’s 2-1 win at Leeds. The Czech Republic midfielder channelled his inner Marouane Fellaini to power home his third header since making his Premier League debut in February, and only Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harry Kane have scored more headers in the competition in that time. No team has also scored more from set-pieces (excluding penalties) this season than the happy Hammers.