Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action

Spurs midfield is eventually firing, Jurgen Klopps problems are all on the pitch, Jordan Amavi needs work and Manuel Lanzini isnt back off to the desert

1) The Spurs midfield is purring

Welcome, Mousa DembA( c) lA( c ), we were starting to fear you would not show up. But here you are now, bossing Premier League midfields with skill, power and the assertiveness that, frustratingly, you demonstrated merely in flashes until recently. Three aims in three games going into the north London derby and then a towering man-of-the-match performance at Arsenal, in a midfield in which Eric Dier and Dele Alli were also splendid, and all at the end of a merciless operate of three matches in six days. Keep this up and yes, that means ruinous injuries as well as the late-season dips from which Mauricio Pochettino teams tend to suffer and a top-four finish seems well within Spurs reach. Paul Doyle

Match report: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham
Spurs heavy press forces Wenger to go against the grain
Recovery demonstrates Wenger times passage need not be an foe
Tom Jenkins best images from the Emirates

2) Cool hand Lingard finds scope after recovery

After 52 minutes of Manchester Uniteds 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford Jesse Lingard eventually entered dreamland, scoring a debut first-team goal that has been 15 years in the making. It was pure happiness. My mum was here, my brother, dad and girlfriend, so they are really proud of me. Since I was seven, I have been here, he said. It was a happy moment for me in my career. A great impression. My household are all United fans too. Lingard has shown real guts to return from the serious knee injury he suffered in last seasons opener against Swansea City. That came as 24 minutes and ruled him out until 14 February, by which period he was on loan at Derby County. It was hard, the 22 -year-old said. But that is in the past. Now I want to move on from that. Hopefully I will try and get a regular place in the team and be consistent in my performances. To do so Lingard will have to keep the APS2 5m signing Memphis Depay out of the side. He has done so in the last two games, and the coolness displayed when finishing beyond Boaz Myhill from 20 yards suggested he feels he belongs in the United XI. As Lingard said: Of late I have been rash with my complete but to be composed in that situation is good and I am glad it ran in. I have been doing it since I was in the reserves so I am glad it came off. Jamie Jackson

Match report: Manchester United 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Jesse Lingard curl Manchester United ahead in their win over West Brom. Photo: AFP/ Getty Images

3) Shaqiri is determining his rhythm

Following Stokes 1-0 victory over Chelsea on Saturday, Mark Hughes was quick to accept that his squads triumph would not be the story in athletics pages and news reports. That is inevitable when the champions have lost for the seventh time in 12 league matches and Hughes, having played for Chelsea himself, knew the score. However, it was unable to for Hughes not to reflect on the performance of Xherdan Shaqiri after “hes having” twisted and turned Chelseas left-back Baba Rahman and played a key role in the hosts winning objective. Hughes was in no doubt it had been the Swiss midfielders best display for Stoke since he arrived from Internazionale in August. It was important that we got him on the ball and we encouraged the guys to give him more supplying because on occasions we havent dedicated him the opportunity to show what he can do, said Hughes. He demanded the ball and showed what he is capable of. As he gets stronger and gets to understand the Premier League better, the more impact he will have. Shaqiri was a delight to watch at the weekend and, dedicated he has only recently arrived from a different country via protracted negotiations, it is something of a amaze that he has determined so quickly. Stoke are the Premier Leagues joint-lowest scorers with 10 goals in 12 fixtures but with the 24 -year-old playing in a deep attacking line alongside two other creative talents in Bojan and Marko Arnautovic, they should at the least become more exciting to watch this season. Sachin Nakrani

Absent Mourinho would have assured fighting from players
Chelsea dismiss Stoke stewards claims of clash with Costa

4) Liverpool confidence a work in progress

JA1/ 4rgen Klopp was at aches to stress his disappointment was not directed at those Liverpool advocates who left Anfield in the wake of Scott Danns 82 nd minute win for Crystal Palace, but that the exodus he said “d left” him feeling fairly alone underlined the fact that his attempts to restore belief in this team are a matter of work in progress. Liverpool, he insisted, have a duty to ensure fans remain glued to the game until the final whistling but there was a lack of conviction about their play at the start and finish of Sundays defeat. Christian Benteke and Emre Can both struggled Thursdays 5,000 -mile round trip to Kazan offers mitigation, in fairness and the sides recent defensive improvement vanished when Yohan Cabaye swept over the corner for Danns late winner. Klopps biggest problem against Palace was on the pitch , not off it. Andy Hunter

Match report: Liverpool 1-2 Crystal Palace
Klopp: I felt pretty alone when Liverpool fans were leaving

5) Hornets short of sting at Leicester

Watfords defeat against Leicester City demonstrated that dominating possession means nothing without an end product. Quique SA! nchez Floress side generated an excellent chance in the 20 th minute, when Odion Ighalos shot made the post, but Leicester largely contained their menace and Watfords manager was not happy with the style his players use the ball in the final third. We had 60% of the possession, Flores said. This is good but with these statistics we didnt win, so we need to think about it. Leicester had 40% of possession. It is because they are running. They want to run. They love it. They are used to running when we have the ball. While Flores was happy with his teams overall performance, he admitted that they needed more sentence in attack. Jacob Steinberg

Ranieri praises Mahrez for gifting Vardy record chance
Match report: Leicester City 2-1 Watford

Odion Ighalo is kept in check by the Leicester City defender Robert Huth. Photo: Shaun Botterill/ Getty Images

6) Amavi a marvel but merely in attack

If RA( c) mi Gardes first lineup is a sign of things to come, the Ligue 1 quartet that Tim Sherwood was quick to dispose are going to have a big component to play in Aston Villas survival mission. In fact, we could even ensure another Frenchman, the lesser-spotted Charles NZogbia, strutting his stuff for Villa again judging given the fact that Garde decided it was time for the winger to thaw out after five months in the deep freeze under Sherwood. Jordan Veretout, inducing his first appearance in more than a month, impressed in midfield against City and Idrissa Gana was industrious alongside him. For Jordan Ayew, who had his work cut off trying to make much impression against Vincent Kompany and NicolA! s Otamendi, it was not such a fruitful afternoon but there have been some promising signs of late. Then we come to Jordan Amavi, and where do you start with a left-back who looks so impressive going forward and such a liability defensively? Amavi is a joy to watch with the ball at his feet and more than capable of skipping past opponents something he did on more than one occasion in the first half against City but for all Sherwoods defects and odd selection decisions at times this season, it is easy to see why Gardes predecessor felt the APS7. 7m signing from Nice was too big a risk without the ball( that is not to say that Kieran Richardson was the solution ). City soon get wise to the fact that there was a weakness to exploit on the Villa left and JA( c) sus Navas, an early substitute for the injured Wilfried Bony, had a field day. This is not to suggest that Amavi is a poor player and should be left out but Garde and his staff need to spend some time working on the defensive side of the 21 -year-olds game, otherwise all that promise moving forward will count for little. Stuart James

Match report: Aston Villa 0-0 Manchester City

7) Argentinas lost pearl looks like hes here to stay

One thing is certain. Manuel Lanzini is not going back to the desert. He is too young. He is too good. West Ham want him. Partly because they know everybody else is going to want him now. The word is that talks are already under way with the UAEs Arabian Gulf League club Al Jazira, and presumably those talks have opened with the question: how on earth did you persuade a( then) 21 -year-old Argentinian with this much talent to sign for the UAEs Arabian Gulf League club Al Jazira. Lanzini scored his third Premier League objective against Everton on Saturday, producing a finish that was both spectacular and brilliantly crafted. Either side of which he was impressively busy, West Hams most incisive presence in an often cagey game. Slaven Bilic will hope Dmitri Payet and Enner Valencia recover from trauma by the time the international breaking aims. If not, Lanzinis worth to West Ham appears set to take another incremental leaping upwards. Perhaps he might even succeed in linking effectively with Andy Carroll, eight inches taller and pretty much the opposite extreme when it comes to the method and trajectory of assaulting football. Carroll ran a lot, had no shots on target and built just 10 successful pass over 86 minutes on the pitch against Everton. He remains a wonderful header of the ball. His challenge as he returns to full fitness is to learn to link effectively with West Hams more delicate assaulting patterns. Either style it is a mark of how sparse young English attacking talent is right now that Ross Barkley, largely anonymous at Upton Park, should be so coveted, when Argentinian football can afford to basically lose down the back of the sofa a player as good as Lanzini. Barney Ronay

Stones and Deulofeu shine in Evertons draw at West Ham

West Hams Manuel Lanzini celebrates scoring his squads aim against Everton. Photograph: Ian Walton/ Getty Images

8) Monk requires greater strength in depth

Where has it all gone wrong for Garry Monk? Just one win since August would usually spell danger for most Premier League administrators but while Swanseas slide down the table will not be viewed favourably by the Liberty Stadium hierarchy, Monk is certainly be given time to turn things around. However, with key players like Jefferson Montero, Jonjo Shelvey and BafA( c) timbi Gomis failing to live up to the standards they set earlier in the season, the manager is likely to be scratching his head over how to find a solution. A absence of alternatives appears to be one major factor, with eight of the team who started Saturdays defeat to Norwich having featured in every single league game this season. In particular, observing a dependable understudy for Gomis must be a priority given the Portugal striker A% 0ders conflicts to establish himself since his summertime be removed from Braga, while Wayne Routledges lack of form is also a matter of concern. The decision to allow Nathan Dyer to join Leicester on a season-long loan also seems hasty devoted Swanseas difficulties making opportunities and Monk will be hoping he is allowed to dip into the transfer market in January to address that deficit. The captain Ashley Williams has called for unity in the wake of their fifth defeat in eight and with Bournemouth up next at home after the international break, they have a perfect opportunity to put some daylight between them and the relegation places. Ed Aarons

Neils counterattacking plan key to Norwich win

9) Van Dijk proves north-east what its missing

Virgil Van Dijk epitomises both Southamptons smart recruitment policy and Sunderlands shortcomings in the transfer market. Not for the first time this season, the 24 -year-old Dutch centre-half impressed for Ronald Koemans side. Transplanting Van Dijk assured and defensively elegant in the 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light from Celtic could cost a reported APS1 3m but it appears money very well expended. The painful fact for Sunderland and Newcastle fans is that previous summertimes have seen their clubs heavily linked with Van Dijk before directors were deterred by the asking price which, last year, was around APS1 0m. When you consider the money wasted on a litany of inferior players at Sunderland, particularly, that seems a glaring example of failing to grasp the bigger image. Louise Taylor

Match report: Sunderland 0-1 Southampton

Sunderlands captain YounA” s Kaboul, left, is beaten to the ball by Virgil Van Dijk. Photograph: Scott Heppell/ AP

10) King shows glimmer of hope for slumping Bournemouth

The Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, is likely still puzzled by how his side did not score against Newcastle, but it is a problem that needs addressing, and fast. For all of their 20 shots at goal, the Cherries were wasteful and have not managed to rating in any of their last three games. Worryingly, Bournemouth have scored just three goals in the six games they have played since their injured talisman Callum Wilson was ruled out for the season. Howe left the former Crystal Palace striker Glenn Murray out of his match-day squad, instead playing Joshua King, one of nine summer signings, as a lone striker. King is still looking for his first Premier League goal after being thwarted repeatedly by the Newcastle goalkeeper, Rob Elliot, but the former Manchester United trainee otherwise excelled and enjoyed his best performance in a Bournemouth shirt. As long as he continues to get in goalscoring stances, I will always back people to be effective, said Howe. King could yet prove a long-term answer for Howe the Leicester striker Jamie Vardy went 23 games without finding the net last season after all. Ben Fisher

Match report: Bournemouth 0-1 Newcastle United

Read more: www.theguardian.com