The sands may be shifting in Manchester, a nine-year first for Arsenal might be the biggest proof we needed in regards to their title credentials and Liverpool sank to a “really low point.”
At the other end of the table, the race for survival took several crazy turns with mid-table teams continually sucked into the battle.
Foxsports.com.au looks at the weekend that was in the latest edition of Premier League Talking Points!
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HOW UNITED BOSS EXPOSED SIX-YEAR ‘MYTH’ IN EPIC DERBY CLASH
Despite a victory shrouded in controversy, Manchester United’s 2-1 triumph over their cross-town rivals Manchester City has Red Devils fans dreaming of the impossible.
United are now just one point behind second-placed City and nine behind Arsenal thanks to an incredible run of nine consecutive wins in all competitions, the equal-longest since Sir Alex Ferguson oversaw a ten-game winning run in 2013.
Granted, it may be a little too early for United to be considered title contenders this season, even if Erik ten Hag is allowing fans to think of what could be.
But considering former interim boss Ralf Rangnick claimed it would take the Red Devils “six years” to return to the title conversation, it cannot be overstated how remarkable ten Hag’s transformation of the club is.
“Such long-term projections shielded ten Hag’s predecessors from criticism by painting the picture of the impossible job,” The Times’ Martin Samuel wrote.
“No wonder guru Ralf could do nothing with this sorry group. Didn’t you hear — six years?
“Ten Hag has exploded that myth, thumbed his nose at the received wisdom.
“Rangnick was a coach and developer who barely advanced United’s players a yard down the road.
“Ten Hag has reacquainted many in the same group with the long-forgotten best version of themselves.”
United will face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park next and, considering the poor form of the Eagles lately, there’s no reason to think ten Hag can’t equal the incredible streak of Ferguson.
KLOPP’S CAREER WORST AS REDS SLAMMED FOR ‘MISERABLE’ PERFORMANCE
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was raging after watching his side slip to a 3-0 loss to Brighton.
“I can’t remember a worse game, not only at Liverpool,” Klopp said post-match, per The Telegraph.
“I really can’t. This is a really low point.”
The defeat was the Reds’ sixth of the season and left the club languishing in ninth place on 28 points, 10 off the Champions League spots.
Sure, some defeats can be marginal and decided on moments of magic.
But against the Seagulls, it was a complete contrast to the Liverpool team we’d come to expect.
If anything, Klopp’s side came up against a team representing what Liverpool used to be.
As The Telegraph’s Jim White noted, the Reds were “outwitted, out run and out manouvered by an excellent Brighton team.”
The Times’ Tom Allnutt was even more scathing in his analysis.
“Liverpool’s unexpected decline plumbed new depths at a jubilant Amex Stadium, where the scale and manner of the defeat raised fresh questions about how they turn around this most difficult of seasons and catch up with the top four,” Allnutt wrote.
“They were outplayed here, rarely threatened in attack and the abject defending for the third goal, scored by Danny Welbeck, embodied a miserable performance, devoid of fight, confidence, cohesion or personality.”
Klopp has often pointed to last season’s gruelling schedule of competing on four fronts finally taking its toll as a reason for his side’s alarming slump this season.
But if Liverpool continue to plod along the way they are, he certainly won’t have that excuse next season.
ARSENAL BEAT SPURS
For the first time in nine years, Arsenal have done the double over bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The Gunners’ 2-0 victory on Spurs’ turf also moved the club eight points clear at the top of the ladder, a feat very, very few people could have predicted at the start of the season.
Safe to say, Mikel Arteta’s side passed the ultimate test of character having gone into the lion’s den and extracted three crucial points.
Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson were full of praise for the Gunners’ performance, especially the first half when they scored their goals.
“It’s Arsenal’s to throw away now,” Merson said.
“I know there’s a lot of football to go, but that first half was like watching Man City.
“If you lived in New Zealand and you hadn’t seen football for four years and they were playing in light blue, you’d have thought you were watching Man City. That’s how good they were.
“Everything Arsenal were doing, you could see there was a plan.”
Redknapp added: “You don’t usually associate a calmness like the way Arsenal played in the first half, especially coming here in such an assured manager.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it in a long time. An Arsenal team that came here last season and didn’t have the capacity to hang on.
“But they are a completely different proposition and they’re eight points clear.”
However, there’s still a long way to go this season, with two Premier League clashes against Manchester City ahead.
But before then, a salivating clash against the red-hot Manchester United on January 23 awaits.
Win that and Arsenal’s title bid might very well be undeniable at that stage.
RELEGATION CHAOS CONTINUES WITH WILD RESULTS
Although there’s plenty of action happening at the higher end of the Premier League table, the weekend’s results provided even more chaos in the fight for survival.
With six of the bottom seven teams all facing each other, there was bound to be several results with major implications and we got just that.
Wolves’ resurgence under new boss Julen Lopetegui continued with a narrow 1-0 win over West Ham United at Molineux, dropping the Hammers into the relegation zone.
The loss heaps further pressure on West Ham boss David Moyes, who led his side to the Europa League semi finals last season but has struggled dearly this campaign as the threat of being sacked becomes greater by the day.
Nottingham Forest consigned Leicester City to their fourth straight defeat in a 2-0 victory, pushing Steve Cooper’s side up to 13th place on 20 points and five clear of the relegation zone.
Considering how easily Forest leaked goals at the start of the season and the fact Cooper seemed set to receive his marching orders, the faith shown by the club to hand the boss a contract extension has been repaid in spades.
But for the Foxes, it continues to go from bad to worse for Brendan Rodgers who have now been sucked into the relegation dogfight.
Perhaps the biggest result of the weekend in the race for survival came at Goodison Park, where last-placed Southampton crushed Everton hearts with a 2-1 win that brought them up to 15 points.
A James Ward-Prowse double was all it took for the Saints to go marching home with the win as the atmosphere among Everton fans turned increasingly toxic.
Bournemouth’s 2-0 loss to Brentford and a narrow 2-1 defeat for Leeds against Aston Villa ensured those teams also wouldn’t be able to look up the table either.
We may only be halfway through the season, but this relegation fight is looking like it could be the tightest in years.