Key insights and analysis from Saturday’s Premier League matches

Key insights and analysis from Saturday's Premier League matches
February 11, 2023

theScore examines the highest developments and largest speaking factors from Saturday’s Premier League squad.

Arsenal has turn out to be very predictable

Arsenal’s season has come to a crossroads. With 5 factors down from their final two matches, together with Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Brentford, Arsenal’s six-point lead over the Premier League seems to be tenuous at finest. If Manchester Metropolis win every of their subsequent two matches, not least Wednesday’s conflict on the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal will vault into first place.

Instantly, Mikel Arteta’s well-oiled machine is at risk of malfunctioning.

Merely put, Arsenal have misplaced the consistency that has seen them shock their title rivals this season. Though Arteta continues to discipline the identical line-up on a weekly foundation, he’s not getting the sort of assured performances that outlined their early presence within the standings. Arsenal have been significantly uninspired in possession. They’ve transformed simply certainly one of their final 43 photographs, the overwhelming majority of them taken from guesswork vary, and struggled to search out attacking house within the field.

The one likelihood they created on Saturday got here from the surface. As Martin Odegaard performed an excellent move to Bukayo Saka alongside the touchline, England winger Leandro Trossard picked himself up within the space with an ideal cross. Similar to that, Arsenal have been forward. However not for lengthy. They struggled to duplicate these performs. They did not use sufficient house on the flanks or create sufficient overloads to bend defenders out of practice. They principally tried to run it down the intestine, and all the time hit a lifeless finish.

John Walton – PA Photos/PA Photos/Getty

Brentford knew Arsenal would discover it troublesome to interrupt a low block. It made sense to defend their space with six males. Regardless of what number of occasions the North Londoners tried to get their ball quick, Brentford had human mass in the way in which.

Arsenal do not play an much more conservative, risk-free recreation. They’re conceding extra possibilities now than at every other time of the season. Though Brentford solely fired 9 photographs in all competitions, they threatened Arsenal’s aim on most events.

Now, Arteta should discover a method to get his crew answerable for matches once more. They’ll count on the opponent to take a seat deep and soak up the strain. The Premier League is a copycat league, and if one thing works for one crew, it normally works for an additional. Arteta ought to count on that. These subsequent few video games might decide whether or not they end the marketing campaign as champions or bridesmaids.

Combined fortunes for Chelsea’s new faces

Chelsea’s expensive recruits have had combined returns thus far.

For the primary time, Graham Potter managed the signing of 5 January gamers from the opening whistle on Saturday, beginning Enzo Fernandez, Mykhailo Modric, Joao Felix, Benoit Badiachel and Noni Madueki collectively within the eventual 1-1 draw with the West. Ham United.

Felix, who was broadly derided for being proven a crimson card on his Chelsea debut a month in the past, was the standout participant on the London Stadium. Working within the No. 10 place behind centre-forward Kai Havertz, the Portuguese ahead was a relentless risk, discovering pockets of house that allowed him to both begin attacking or end himself off. He scored Chelsea’s solely aim by penetrating the penalty space and calmly volleying Fernandez’s pinpoint shot into the web from shut vary, incomes one other tally off the board for offside.

Lastly, Felix was liable for 5 of Chelsea’s 12 photographs within the competitors, taking three himself and creating two extra possibilities. Lengthy shackled at Atletico Madrid underneath the depleting tactic of Diego Simeone, Felix has offered precisely the sort of spark Chelsea have been missing this season. It wasn’t sufficient to assist get three factors, nevertheless it was very encouraging nonetheless.

Fernandez was additionally very spectacular once more. He immediately turned the centerpiece of the crew upon his arrival from Benfica, doing every part in midfield. He is the point of interest in possession – he accomplished extra passes within the remaining third than any participant on Saturday – and gives a ball-winning presence when Chelsea are out of possession.

Modric and Madueki, working on reverse wings – and the other way up – in opposition to West Ham, have been extra subdued. It is not unusual for huge forwards to turn out to be remoted throughout matches, after all, but when Chelsea needs to something From their season, they want extra wings. The Ukrainian, particularly, has struggled thus far to make an enduring influence. He confirmed flashes—his uncooked tempo remains to be intimidating—however he was very a lot a rider in opposition to the Hammers earlier than pulling off within the second half.

Each new signing is in a troublesome place proper now. All of them want time to acclimate, however their hefty switch charges – together with that of Felix, in the middle of a six-month mortgage – have negated that luxurious. Honest or not, he’s anticipated to make an instantaneous influence and assist Chelsea – who’ve now managed simply two wins of their final 13 league video games – salvage a patchy season. Some discover this job simpler than others.

Defeat Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones is on edge. And he is aware of it.

When requested if Saturday’s debilitating 2-1 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers was his final recreation for Southampton, Jones, who’s normally very lucky in his dealings with the media, couldn’t assist however beat reply: “I don’t know.”

Appointed in November to assist save Southampton from relegation, Jones’ appointment solely plunged the membership into deeper bother. The Saints have managed only one win in eight league matches underneath the tutelage of Welsh, dropping the opposite seven competitions. Saturday’s setback was essentially the most disappointing but.

Matt Watson/Southampton Soccer Membership/Getty

Taking a 1-0 lead over their relegation rivals, Southampton got an enormous enhance when Mario Lemina was despatched off within the twenty seventh minute. It was a dream situation for a membership determined for victory to catapult themselves from the underside of the Premier League desk. A aim forward, man, Southampton – enjoying at residence, no much less – as a substitute conspired to throw all of it away, succumbing late within the second half on the way in which to a defeat that could possibly be the dying knell for Jones’ time on the south coast.

With offended boos pouring in from the house followers on the remaining whistle, Jones went straight by way of the tunnel.

“I take pleasure in being challenged, I need to be the most effective model of myself. I might have stayed within the mining group, labored as a PE instructor, had a pleasant life, married a pleasant, stunning Welsh woman,” ex-Luton City supervisor He said Earlier this week, amid mounting strain. “However I have never. I need to check myself on each stage.”

He is failing that check now.

Altering managers in the course of the season is an imperfect science. Whereas the likes of Wolves, Aston Villa and Everton appeared to have made clever selections about appointments mid-season, Southampton’s option to job Jones with an tried escape backfired. What now?

Fast free kicks

Spurs are fickle at the most effective of occasions

How can a crew remove Manchester Metropolis in a single week and concede 4 targets to Leicester Metropolis after six days? Though Antonio Conte used eight of the 11 gamers he began in opposition to the reigning champions final week, Tottenham Hotspur seemed like an inexpensive imitation on the King Energy Stadium on Saturday. The hole between midfield and protection could not be better, and Leicester have been solely too blissful to stroll throughout it. Eric Dier could not lock his man in, and debutant Pedro Burrow could not deal with the pace of Harvey Barnes on the best flank. Again-up goalkeeper Fraser Forster wasn’t essentially the rationale Spurs misplaced by a large margin, however his presence, reasonably than that of injured captain Hugo Lloris, might have had a psychological impact. Tottenham should now regroup forward of Tuesday’s Champions League recreation in opposition to AC Milan. Who is aware of which facet we’ll see.

Willian is having fun with his second semester in England

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Fulham’s last-minute cope with Willian got here as a shock. Becoming a member of the membership on September 1, the 34-year-old arrived together with his finest season behind him. He simply completed his contract for the second time in a 12 months. Quick spells at Arsenal and Corinthians didn’t stay as much as expectations. Can Willian actually carry out on the highest stage once more? He answered this query emphatically. The Brazilian has helped Fulham cement their place among the many Premier League’s finest groups, displaying the vitality and sophistication that made him such a beloved determine at Chelsea. His aim in opposition to Nottingham Forest on Saturday was one thing of a marvel, a shocking volley into the highest left nook that despatched Fulham on their method to a 2-0 victory. He now has as many Premier League targets as Anthony, Manchester United’s £86m signing. Fulham, bear in mind, signed Willian on a free switch.

Newcastle should be daring to succeed in the Champions League

Newcastle United are fourth within the Premier League and are unbeaten in 17 video games. Twelve months in the past, they have been combating for survival within the high division. Perspective issues, and it will be silly to criticize Eddie Howe and his gamers for the turnaround they’ve made. However it’s additionally truthful to count on extra from a crew making an attempt to rejoin England’s elite. Saturday’s 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Bournemouth was Newcastle’s fifth in six video games, and did little to keep up their place within the high 4. The hole to fifth is now decreased to simply two factors, and with matches in opposition to Liverpool, Manchester Metropolis and a rejuvenated Wolves squad on the horizon, Newcastle might simply drop extra factors over the subsequent fortnight. Whereas they’ll defend in opposition to the most effective the league has to supply, they do not rating sufficient to scare away these groups. That should change in the event that they need to return to Europe’s high competitors subsequent season.

Immediately’s stats

Can Leicester and Tottenham play one another each week, please?

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