Manchester United’s problems are showing no signs of easing, with their 1-0 defeat against Newcastle leaving them 12th and just two points above the relegation zone.
Unsurprisingly the underlying statistics don’t make for happy reading. No away wins since March, five victories in the last 23 matches altogether and just seven goals scored in the last 10 games.
And yet as troubling as United’s form is, the story lay elsewhere today.
Matty Longstaff was born in Newcastle, supports Newcastle and now has scored a winning goal for his struggling boyhood club while playing alongside his brother Sean on his Premier League debut.
“You go to bed dreaming of it but you never think it will happen,” he said after rifling in from the edge of the box. “I’m over the moon, speechless.”
In a game defined by results, Longstaff’s story shows the human side.
Frank back to being super
What a week it’s been for Frank Lampard. Chelsea made it four successive wins in all competitions with a comfortable 4-1 victory at Southampton today and in the process boosted Lampard’s stock greatly.
Having received a fair amount of criticism for his line-ups, tactical decisions and side’s tendency to invite pressure, the Blues boss has hit the nail on the head in the last two games.
Chelsea were much more solid in winning 2-1 away at Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday and although they failed to keep a clean sheet again at St Mary’s all their positive hallmarks were evident.
Youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount linked up well and both scored, Callum Hudson-Odoi registered an assist for the third successive game after coming back from injury and the back line looked untroubled.
Gunners get job done
“Winning ugly” isn’t a phrase you would usually associate with Arsenal, but that is exactly what they did against Bournemouth today, coming out 1-0 victors at the Emirates Stadium.
For once it wasn’t left to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to make the difference, as instead David Luiz’s early header from a corner was enough to move the Gunners up to third in the Premier League.
Despite making 10 changes from the team which thrashed Standard Liege 4-0 on Thursday, Unai Emery’s side were far from at their best and the Cherries fashioned plenty of chances in the second half.
But having seen calamitous mistakes derail his side before, Emery will have been pleased to see out a fourth league win of the season.
Pochettino under the pump
Mauricio Pochettino is under the pump at Tottenham. His side’s 3-0 defeat by Brighton on Saturday followed a humiliating 7-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich and heightened the sense of despair at Spurs.
The problems are not new either, with their run to the Champions League final in May arguably papering over the cracks which have been visible for some time.
Spurs have not won an away league game since 20 January and have taken just 22 points from 20 Premier League matches since mid-February.
Players are flagging mentally and physically and standards have slipped. You get the impression that something has got to give.
Roy Hodgson may still be concerned with whether Crystal Palace can “keep our heads above water” until the January transfer window, but he deserves a pat on the back.
Many expected the Eagles to struggle this season, but Saturday’s impressive 2-1 win over West Ham has Hodgson’s side in sixth place.
Hodgson remains a realist – “I don’t know if they [the players] can give us any more”, is a particularly sobering quote after an away win over a local rival – but he remains a canny top flight manager at the ripe old age of 72.
Main image credit: Getty Images