5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
Published 27/11/2016 | 19:06
The Premier League's November fixtures concluded this weekend with a glut of goals, some less-than-convincing wins for those in the title mix and another Jose Mourinho dismissal.
Here Press Association Sport details what was learned from the 13th round of games in England's top flight.
CONTENDERS WIN 'LIKE CHAMPIONS'
The old adage that champions can emerge victorious even when not at their best was evident for each of the division's top four. Manchester City fell behind at Burnley before two scruffy Sergio Aguero goals that will be left off any best-of compilation gave Pep Guardiola's men three points. It was a similar case for leaders Chelsea, who conceded their first goal in 601 minutes against Tottenham, only to fight back to win 2-1. Arsenal shook off their November malaise and a poor first half to beat Bournemouth 3-1 and Liverpool, one week after failing to break down Southampton, found a way past a stubborn Sunderland in a 2-0 success.
MOURINHO IN HOT WATER AGAIN
Another week, another Mourinho flashpoint. The manager of "the unlucky team in the Premier League" - according to him - was sent to the stands for the second time in three home league matches for kicking a water bottle down the touchline after taking umbrage with a booking Paul Pogba earned from referee Jonathan Moss for an apparent dive. It was a tell-tale sign of a man under increasing strain to turn things around at Old Trafford, where Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw by West Ham, their fourth successive Premier League home draw, to leave them eight points adrift of Arsenal.
SWANSEA HAVE STOMACH FOR THE FIGHT
Two days after Thanksgiving, American Bob Bradley probably felt he needed another holiday having witnessed his Swansea team win a rollercoaster affair against Crystal Palace 5-4. The maiden three points of Bradley's reign seemed assured when they were 3-1 up with 15 minutes to go, though it appeared the wait for the elusive win would continue when Palace were then 4-3 in front heading into stoppage time. As it was, two Fernando Llorente goals delivered a win that Bradley hopes can kickstart the strugglers' season. Having also taken a point at Everton last week, Swansea have shown they are far from dead and buried.
HONEST PLAYERS HIGHLIGHT REFEREES' ERRORS
Late drama was not limited to South Wales as champions Leicester were awarded a stoppage-time penalty that saw them salvage a draw against Middlesbrough in the Midlands. But it was the decision to give the Foxes a spot-kick in the first half which angered Boro chief Aitor Karanka, who claimed Wes Morgan informed his players he had pushed Calum Chambers, leading to the Arsenal loanee handling. On Sunday it was Stoke's turn to benefit from some good fortune as Charlie Adam acknowledged he had pushed Valon Behrami in the build-up to Heurelho Gomes' own goal in Watford's 1-0 loss. Officials may not be permitted to speak about decisions, but the players themselves confessed to their crimes on these occasions.
SOUTHAMPTON'S PRODUCTION LINE KEEPS ON PRODUCING
On the day Everton boss Ronald Koeman returned to Southampton for the first time, the past met the future as Saints' teenage debutant Josh Sims became the latest prodigy to catch the eye in red and white stripes. The 19-year-old provided the assist for Charlie Austin's first-minute goal as Koeman's last signing on the south coast grabbed the winner to inflict more misery on the Dutchman's current outfit, who have just one win in their past eight league games. Players, and managers, may leave Southampton, but while they continue to unearth gems from their academy system, they will be just fine.