Unbeaten leaders Manchester City moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League heading into the forthcoming international break following another convincing victory.
Champions Chelsea also enjoyed a big win at the expense of Manchester United, while struggling Everton pulled off a remarkable comeback to pile more pressure on the likes of Swansea and West Ham.
Here, we pick out five things we learned from the weekend’s matches.
Conte can still teach Mourinho a thing or two
There is certainly no love lost between Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho following their recent war of words over injury problems and it was the Italian left smiling following Sunday’s clash at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea’s 1-0 success over Manchester United was not quite as emphatic as the 4-0 thrashing in last season’s corresponding fixture but it was of equal, if not more, importance to the champions and their boss given early-season slip-ups against Burnley and Crystal Palace and the constant speculation surrounding the manager’s future. United, meanwhile, have quickly slipped into the shadow of rivals Manchester City in recent weeks and Mourinho has a big job on to maintain their tag as title challengers following what will inevitably be a painful defeat at the hands of his former employers.
Toffees’ sticky situation looking a little better
Pre-season optimism has been replaced by doom and gloom on the blue half of Merseyside following Everton’s dismal start to the season which led to the sacking of Ronald Koeman. The Goodison Park faithful finally had something to smile about this weekend as they pulled off a stunning comeback from two goals down against Watford for a first league win since September 23 and a maiden victory under caretaker David Unsworth. The success propelled the Toffees out of the drop zone and up to 15th and gives the new boss, whoever that may be, something to build on as he undertakes the tricky task of bringing a feel-good factor back to a club who have failed to replace their star striker and already crashed out of Europe.
Bilic can’t buy breathing space
Just as under-pressure West Ham manager Slaven Bilic appears to have given himself a little bit of respite with a positive result, another negative one duly arrives. The Hammers were booed off after being soundly beaten at home by Brighton a fortnight ago but the Croatian then masterminded a thrilling Carabao Cup victory over rivals Tottenham before securing a point at Crystal Palace in a game which they should have won. Despite Liverpool’s recent thrashing at Spurs, a match against Jurgen Klopp’s men was never going to be easy for West Ham but it was the manner in which they capitulated after pulling the game back to 2-1 which will worry the club’s supporters and board.
City will take some stopping
Eleven games into the season and only struggling Everton have managed to take points from Pep Guardiola’s superb Manchester City side. They moved eight points clear of city rivals United and Tottenham on Sunday by comfortably seeing off Arsenal 3-1. Their free-scoring forward line, spearheaded by record scorer Sergio Aguero and supplied by the craft of Kevin De Bruyne, has plundered 38 goals already – 15 more than any other team. They show no sign of relenting any time soon and, on current evidence, it will take a mammoth effort from another club to prevent them picking up a third Premier League title in May.
Can Clement save Swans a second time?
Paul Clement pulled off a great escape last season by hauling Swansea away from relegation trouble and he is danger of having to produce something similar this time around. The Swans have endured a torrid start to the campaign with just two wins from 11 games and their fans have been quick to vent frustration at a series of disappointing home defeats to some of the Premier League’s lesser sides. That continued at the weekend as Brighton became the second newly-promoted club – after Newcastle – to leave the Liberty Stadium with all three points. Games against Burnley and Bournemouth after the international break could go a long way to determining the futures of both Swansea and their manager.
Source: By PA Sport Staff