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    What we learned in the EPL this week

    By Dave Cook

    Another extraordinary weekend in the Premier League is behind us so it’s once again time to assess what we’ve learned.

    The weekend started with a bang as two of the big-guns went head to head and the game certainly didn’t disappoint. Chelsea made a huge statement beating Manchester City at the Etihad. They could consider themselves fortunate to have only been 1-0 down at half time through a Gary Cahill own goal as City controlled the first half. Chelsea’s good fortune continued after the break when Kevin De Bruyne somehow managed to hit the woodwork from 6 yards out. However, after Diego Costa equalised with a well taken finish, Chelsea put on an expert display of counter attacking football with goals from Willian and Eden Hazard. City’s frustrations boiled over at the end of the game as Sergio Aguero was sent off for a wild knee high challenge on David Luiz and Fernadinho then saw red as he repeatedly pushed Cesc Fabregas in the throat and eventually into the crowd during the mass team brawl that followed. It was an ugly finish to what had been a thrilling game and will have wider consequences for City as they stand to lose Aguero and Fernadinho to suspension for four and three games respectively.

    Speaking of ugly finishes, Liverpool suffered what can only be described as an implosion on Sunday against Bournemouth. Having been dominant in the first half Liverpool led 2-0 at half time and, despite a Callum Wilson penalty to make it 2-1, Emre Can soon restored Liverpool’s two goal advantage. What followed was a collapse that left Jurgen Klopp lost for words as Bournemouth came back to win 4-3. This game bore a striking resemblance to the collapse they suffered at Crystal Palace during the 2013-14 season, throwing away a 3-0 lead in the last eleven minutes to draw 3-3 which all but ended their title challenge that season. Klopp will have to work hard to lift his players following such a painful loss but if any manager can lift a team you would fancy him to be the one to do it.

    Once again Jose Mourinho cut an angry figure and received some harsh criticism for his decision to bring Marouane Fellaini on in the 85th minute against his former club Everton with United leading 1-0. Fellaini’s first real involvement in the game was a clumsy foul on Idrissa Gueye which gave away a penalty and Leighton Baines made no mistake from the spot. It marked yet another game that united could and probably should have won and means that it’s now just one win in eight for Mourinho’s side, with that win coming against bottom club Swansea.

    At the wrong end of the table there was relief for crystal Palace and manager Alan Pardew following a 3-0 win against Southampton which ended a run of six consecutive defeats. Following the match Pardew thanked his Chairman Steve Parish who had to defend his manager in front of club investors during the week.

    A manager who most certainly is under pressure in Slaven Bilic as he questioned his player’s commitment, both on the pitch and in training following a humiliating 5-1 defeat at home to London rivals Arsenal. It was painful to watch at times, particularly in the second half as Arsenal scored four goals in a twelve minute period. Alexis Sanchez was West ham’s chief tormentor as he bagged a hat-trick of well taken goals in the space of fourteen minutes. West ham are now just a point above the relegation zone and look a shadow of the side that performed so well last season. No player typifies this loss of form like the mercurial Dimitri Payet who has struggled to find any consistency this season after excelling for the hammers in the last campaign and for France at the European championship in the summer. Many people felt that teething problems with the new stadium were the reason for their slow start to the season but it now seems that there is more to their struggles than just the stadium issue. The Christmas period will be vital for the hammers as, after a trip to Anfield, they then play Burnley and Hull at home and Swansea away in their next three games. Win those games and things will seem a lot rosier in East London but if those results do not go their way then they will certainly be in a relegation battle.

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    Item Reviewed: What we learned in the EPL this week Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Dave Cook
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