THINGS WE LEARNED: Pogba shows how much Jose held him back

As another hectic weekend of Premier League
action draws to a close, Sportsmail's AMITAI WINEHOUSE takes a look back over the areas we are now slightly more wiser on...
 
1. Beware the wounded beast. Manchester City had a rough patch that seemed to allow Liverpool to create space in the title race.
Since those consecutive defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester, City have won more games (7), scored more goals (23) and won more points (21) than any other Premier League side. The Chelsea win was the most impressive of the lot.
Sergio Aguero
has been utterly key to that. He has eight league goals in 2019, double any other player in the Premier League. This has been him at his very best. The striker and City are not ready to let their title go to Anfield.
 
2. In the first three Premier League games of 2019, Chelsea conceded three goals. In the other three they have let in 10.
What happened in between? Well, Maurizio Sarri went on a rant about his players after losing at Arsenal. He dug in and started a war. And clearly, that has not worked. They have now conceded more league goals this year than any other team barring Fulham.
The six goals at City owed a lot to the opposition but, as evidenced by Bournemouth and now Sunday, when the ball starts hitting the back of the net, no one is fighting any more. It looks as though he has truly lost the dressing room.
 
3. Jose Mourinho must have had a stable of horses strapped to Paul Pogba to hold him back like he was. The Portuguese manager was at fault. Pogba, to little realistic surprise, is clearly world class.
The evidence now spans the World Cup, where he inspired France to the crown, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign. He has hit 35 per cent of his league goals for Manchester United – eight of 22 – in the nine games the Norwegian has managed.
Which just begs the question – what, exactly, was Mourinho doing? And is it too early to start talking about central midfielder Pogba, with eight goals in nine games, as a contender for individual honours this year?
 
4. The biggest flaw to Arsene Wenger was the limited nature of his coaching. Many young players came into the Arsenal side and seemed worse after he had managed them for a few months.
Alex Iwobi was one of those. He had a bright initial impact but dipped off over subsequent seasons. Unai Emery is clearly having a positive impression though. Iwobi has now had a hand in 10 goals in all competitions, his best return.
Iwobi has stepped up another level this campaign. That can only be a plus to Arsenal when resources are so scarce.
 
5. There's always a risk that Sadio Mane can go under the radar when the attacking colossus that is Mohamed Salah plays alongside him.
He has been absolutely dynamite this campaign though, and if Liverpool do go on to win the league, Mane will deserve every plaudit that comes his way.
He's also found form at a brilliant time. Mane has scored in four consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time ever after his strike against Bournemouth. That broke the deadlock on what could have been a tense day.
Mane is the man as much as anyone else for Liverpool right now.
 
6. Tottenham struggled performance-wise against Leicester – but quality brought them through. Christian Eriksen epitomised that.
Where Leicester spurned close range chances, Eriksen seemingly ended the Foxes' hopes with an effort from outside the box that was more difficult than the chances that the likes of Harvey Barnes did not convert.
It was his 20th strike from outside the box since his debut, more than any other player in that time. The Dane is dangerous – wherever he might be.
 
7. Christian Benteke has not become ruthless in front of goal in his injury absence. What he does give Crystal Palace, which has been missing for most of the season, is a platform on which Wilfried Zaha can play.
Zaha has had to do the hard work of playing as a striker for most of the season with Benteke out, which diminishes his opportunities in front of goal.
So it was no real shock to have seen him score his first home goal in 11 games against West Ham. He had six shots too. With Benteke back, Zaha now has the freedom he needs.
 
8. Burnley have woken up, shaken off the cobwebs and, a greasy sandwich later, are totally over their European hangover.
At one point this season it seemed as though Sean Dyche's side would slip out of the top flight as form abandoned them. They have now gone seven games without defeat, their longest run in the top flight since February 1975.
Keep it up and they could be clear of danger sooner rather than later. Dyche-ball is ticking over nicely again.
 
9. Cardiff are among the fittest teams in the Premier League and that could be enough to see them over the line this season.
They conceded late against Southampton but had enough, both physically and mentally, to come back again and win the game. It was the third time they have won a match in added time this season, a league high.
It was also their first consecutive top flight win since 1962. It seems to be coming together at the right time for safety.
 
10. Marco Silva's phases of Premier League success have generally come courtesy of a superb away record. A downturn in that is why he is now in a dangerous position at Everton.
Everton have lost seven of their last 11 Premier League away games, following a run of just one defeat in six on the road prior. That is not good enough from Silva's side.
The damage has now been done at his old home, Vicarage Road, but the Portuguese manager needs a change in fortunes away from home. Otherwise he may find himself leaving another club sooner rather than later. 
Comment

No comments found