Premier League winners and losers: Arsenal, Mourinho and more
Arsenal keep the pressure on Man City, Jose Mourinho watches Chelsea lose in West Ham stands
Jamie Vardy. The Leicester City striker joined an illustrious list after the newly-fledged England striker scored in his seventh successive Premier League game at the weekend. The 28-year-old will face West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Newcastle United in the Foxes’s next three games as he looks to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s Premier League record of scoring in 10 back-to-back games. Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri felt the need to react to transfer speculation linking the forward with a January move to Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur or Real Madrid. His early-season form has shown no signs of burning out like Swansea City striker Bafetimbi Gomis. With Harry Kane scoring a hat-trick against Bournemouth and Vardy in a prolific mood, Roy Hodgson could face a selection headache if England’s all-time record goal-scorer Wayne Rooney doesn’t find form ahead of the trip to Spain on 13 November.
Arsenal. It wasn’t vintage Arsenal on Saturday evening as the Gunners took their foot off the peddle following impressive wins against Manchester United and Bayern Munich, but in a way, their 2-1 victory over Everton was even more impressive for their ability to grind out three points. The Gunners edged into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny. However, Ross Barkley’s deflected goal just before half-time cast doubt over the result. In the past, Arsene Wenger’s side would have conceivably collapsed under Everton pressure but Arsenal do appear to have turned a corner. Some defended Mesut Ozil after turncoats heaped praise on the Germany international despite two seasons of negativity. The World Cup winner’s previous work may have been unheralded but Ozil is having an obvious influence on the outcome of Arsenal’s games at the moment. The Premier League’s second-placed side have the chance to cement their title bid with a winnable run of fixtures on the horizon. Can they grind out more results like this on off days? If so, Arsenal will be Manchester City’s biggest challengers.
Jose Mourinho. There is a real sense that the Premier League is growing tired of Jose Mourinho’s antics. The Chelsea manager was sent to the stands at half-time of his side’s 2-1 defeat by West Ham United after allegedly confronting referee Jon Moss in the tunnel. The Blues have a paltry 11 points from 10 games and a top-four finish is looking less likely with every episode of this Chelsea soap opera. Although there were echoes of trouble at Stamford Bridge last season, such a poor start and Mourinho’s position being in such jeopardy after their title success last term seemed inconceivable before the 2015/16 Premier League season got under way. But there are murmurings of dressing room discontent and the Chelsea board already felt the need to issue a statement backing Mourinho after a 3-1 loss to Southampton earlier in October. The Special One’s CV could be blotched if Liverpool can secure their first win under Jurgen Klopp at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Tim Sherwood. The FA Cup final must seem like a long time ago for Tim Sherwood even if it an experience that he will “treasure” for the rest of his career. The former Blackburn Rovers skipper was sacked after a 2-1 loss to Swansea City at Villa Park on Saturday. Sherwood leaves the Birmingham side after just eight months in charge and in spite of guiding the club to Premier League safety last season. The 46-year-old has tried to bring through a policy of picking promising youth players but a run of six successive defeats was enough to convince the Villa hierarchy to wield the axe. Rio Ferdinand has already touted former team-mate Dwight Yorke to have the “Slaven Bilic effect” at Villa. But a club legend with limited experience may not be the answer as Villa fight was is increasingly looking like the inevitable: relegation.
Honourable mentions: Slaven Bilic (winners), Southampton (winners), Wayne Rooney (losers) and Harry Kane (winners).