Premier League Matchday 11 review: Invincibles no more
What a way to lose your unbeaten streak…
So Matchday 11 was… interesting, to say the least. Some controversial referee and VAR calls as usual and slightly surprising results combined to produce a weekend that has left the table looking quite open.
With another Matchday in the books, we bring you our review of the latest weekend of Premier League football, providing the good, the bad and the ugly, along with the biggest winners and the star players for the week.
The main good is how wide-open the league feels now. With both Arsenal and Tottenham losing, taking away both sides’ unbeaten streaks, there is a new team at the top but still only three points separate the top four.
As for the good from individual teams, Sheffield United finally picked up their first win of the season! Their 2-1 win over Wolves puts them level on points with Burnley in 19th and only two points off of 18th (Bournemouth) and 17th (Luton).
Speaking of Luton, they got what was essentially a win from their fixture this weekend by drawing 1-1 with Liverpool. In fact, they were so close to a surprise win if it weren’t for a Luis Diaz dying seconds equaliser.
Newcastle were also big winners with their victory over Arsenal. While there was some controversy around whether their goal should have stood (more on that later), they no doubt showed that they are still very much one of the top teams in the league now with this win.
West Ham made it three losses in a row now with a 3-2 loss to [kind of] rivals Brentford after being up 2-1 at the half. They have yet to find a win since being Sheffield 2-0 back on the 30th of September.
Manchester United continue to scrape results against teams they should be beating. Captain Bruno Fernandes got the Red Devils the win in the 91st minute, although it was another sub-par performance. A win is a win and it helps Erik Ten Hag out a little, but they are still woefully underperforming so far this season.
Brighton endured another tough weekend, playing out to a second consecutive 1-1 draw. Like West Ham, they are without a win since September - Matchday 6, to be precise - and they are falling away from contention for a good European spot.
Aston Villa also failed to capitalise on the results of those in the top four, losing to Nottingham Forest 2-0. If they had won, they would have jumped all the way up to third and would have made a clear gap between themselves and Newcastle. Instead, they stay in fifth, two points behind Arsenal in fourth and two points ahead of Newcastle in sixth.
There really can only be one fixture that belongs in this section, for it was a poor game from all sides. Tottenham vs Chelsea on Monday was highlighted by the two reds cards and some controversial VAR calls once again.
The first red came with a long VAR check as it was for the red and penalty. The right decision was called in the end, but 15 minutes earlier it didn’t produce what seemed like a dead-on red.
Destiny Udogie, who was eventually sent off in the second half, should have been giving his marching orders in the 18th minute after a bad challenge. The only reason why he wasn’t gone was because Raheem Sterling pulled his leg away to stop the full force of the challenge, but it doesn’t change the fact that Udogie flew in two-footed, studs up and was off the ground - basically, a clear red card offence.
Ange Postecoglou tried his best to prevent the enable, employing a high defensive line that Chelsea kind of embarrassingly couldn’t figure out how to bypass at first. But once they did, it was over.
Really, the ugliest thing from this match as well as from other instances over the weekend was once again the officiating and VAR.
How Udogie didn’t receive a red for the first challenge baffles us, while over in the Newcastle vs Arsenal game, it seemed like they were trying everything possible to overturn the goal, only to allow it but leave everyone in uproar over how they didn’t overturn it for a clear push from Joelinton in the build-up.
It seems that every weekend, something happens where the referees need to make a decision to set a new precedent, then the next week something else happens and they forget the old precedent and it ends up happening again another week. Zero consistency.
Manchester City takes the prize this weekend for the biggest winners, claiming a dominant 6-1 win over Bournemouth and retaking the top spot in the table after the two North London sides failed to win.
City are looking deadly again, and this win was managed even without a goal from Erling Haaland, who even came off at half-time as a precaution.
Jeremy Doku was the star, providing a goal and four assists, while Bernardo Silva also shone with two goals.
The win takes them to the top of the table by one point over Tottenham, and while that is close, as we all know all too well, that basically means it’s over.
As mentioned, one goal and four assists, Doku has looked like a menace in the league since joining City and is sure to continue.
While it wasn’t like Eddie Nketiah’s from last weekend, Jackson’s hat-trick sealed the deal for Chelsea and propelled up the top scorer's list, now on five for the season.
Two goals from the Portuguese, one away now from his season total of last year.