Premier League winners and losers: Tottenham, Mourinho and more
Tottenham's English core impresses as Jesse Lingard scores first Man United goal, whilst Jose Mourinho's Chelsea lose again
Jesse Lingard. There has been a lot of negativity surrounding Manchester United in recent weeks. While United’s style under Louis van Gaal has been criticised by former legends such as Paul Scholes and Red Devils supporters, it is worth remembering that the 20-time English champions are in fourth place and two points behind leaders Manchester City. Fittingly, Jesse Lingard grabbed the spotlight on Saturday as the United headlines were largely positive after the 22-year-old scored his first goal for the club. While Van Gaal’s football may not have fans on the edge of their seats, the Dutchman is following Sir Alex Ferguson’s philosophy in terms of giving youngsters a chance in the first-team. Lingard has impressed since coming off the bench in a 3-0 win against Everton last month. The former Birmingham City man has started four of their six games in all competitions since their Goodison Park win. If his assist for Wayne Rooney’s winner against CSKA Moscow mid-week wasn’t enough to convince Van Gaal, Lingard scored a brilliant opener in Saturday’s 2-0 win against West Brom. It helped United leave things on a positive note ahead of the international break.
Tottenham’s English core. Dele Alli received plenty of plaudits following his man of the match performance in Sunday’s north London derby. It is easy to forget that Alli is only 19. The Spurs midfielder bullied his Arsenal opponents with his runs which oozed pace and power. The England international attempted 11 dribbles during the derby which emphasised Alli’s desire to push forward and support Harry Kane. While unfazed Alli was the star, Tottenham’s English core impressed as a unit. Harry Kane scored his sixth goal in four games in the 32nd minute to dispel talk of being a one-season wonder. He looks the real deal. Eric Dier celebrated his first England call-up with a measured performance alongside Alli, whilst Danny Rose teed up Kane for the opener. Admittedly, Kyle Walker could have been stronger for Kieran Gibb’s equaliser, but the right-back posed a threat on the front foot. Even Josh Onomah got his first taste of a north London derby as he came off the bench alongside Ryan Mason. As highlighted in this Independent article, Arsene Wenger boasted of Arsenal’s promising British core a number of years ago. However, as Miguel Delaney suggests, Tottenham’s English talents are surpassing the likes of Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs as Mauricio Pochettino places his faith in youth.
Liverpool fans. Jurgen Klopp said he felt alone after he spotted Liverpool supporters leaving Anfield following Scott Dann’s equaliser. As BBC Sport pointed out, there is a song about that emotion sung at every game on the red side of Merseyside. It was an interesting challenge aimed at what are generally perceived as one of the best and more knowledgeable set of supporters in the Premier League. Having said that, any clips of Borussia Dortmund’s Yellow Wall will highlight how high the bar is set in Klopp’s mind when defining passionate support. The Liverpool supporters demanded Klopp’s appointment before Brendan Rodgers’s contract was even terminated as the hashtags #KloppLFC and #KloppfortheKop spread like a virus on Twitter. So the 48-year-old is in a unique position that he can so openly criticise his fans after just seven games and only three wins. He knows that he is their chosen one. So, if Klopp has his way, Liverpool players and fans will raise their performances after the international break. After all, it is embarrassing when your manager reveals that he felt alone even though your anthem is, ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
Jose Mourinho. How much longer will Jose Mourinho get? Roman Abramovich appears to have lost his axe after the Blues manager survived (for now) another Premier League defeat at the weekend. Perhaps fortunately giving a number of contentious decisions on the pitch, Mourinho was serving a one-game stadium ban so presumably the television in his hotel room received the brunt of his discontent. Chelsea are in 16th place and just three points above the relegation zone. Such a dire position would have been unthinkable last May. Mourinho has an international break to save his Chelsea career (and to a certain extent, legacy) before a home clash against Norwich City on 21 November. If the Blues should lose to the newly-promoted side, it is hard to envisage Abramovich remaining patient.
Honourable mentions: Jamie Vardy (winner), Crystal Palace (winners), Bournemouth (losers) and Santi Cazorla (loser)