Seven things we learnt from this weekend's Premier League
Spurs need Soldado to deliver again; Everton now the kings of ‘Fergie time’; Arsene Wenger hates seeing Mark Hughes in the home dug-out; Felix Magath’s ‘instant impact’ falls rather flat.
Liverpool’s Euro advantage is overstated
It was former Liverpool manager Roy Evans who remarked that “a season without European football is like a banquet without wine”. However, although there may be no wine, it is a season that could end in an extraordinary shower of champagne. Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Southampton is the clearest indication yet that they are contenders for a first title since 1990.
The greatest advantage they have is that, unlike the three other clubs jostling for the championship, Liverpool have no European football to distract them. However, the advantage may not be that significant. Both Manchester City and Arsenal have performed worse after Champions League fixtures than they have generally. But Chelsea, the one team who might endure in the Champions League, average 2.71 points a game after each Champions League fixture compared with 2.09 when they are not required to play in Europe.
Pardew's madness has likely cost him any chance of future England role
Newcastle's trip to Hull was billed before the match as a shootout between two candidates to become the next Three Lions manager, once Roy Hodgson's time in charge comes to an end. But that all changed 72 minutes into the tie, when Alan Pardew's head-butt aimed at Hull's David Meyler earned the Magpies manager a reputation and mark on his career that will haunt him until he retires. Despite his immediate apology, Pardew has sealed his own fate - lucky he still has an eternity to run on his contract at St James' Park.
Villas-Boas eventually right over Schürrle’s potential
You imagine that wherever he spent Saturday – on his motorbike probably – Andre Villas-Boas would have heard of André Schürrle’s hat-trick at Fulham and smiled. It was Schürrle’s display in Bayer Leverkusen’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in September 2011 that led Villas-Boas to recommend to Chelsea’s board that they buy the midfielder.
Soldado must do more to repay faith shown by Tim Sherwood
The Spanish striker finally delivered on Sunday as he scored the winner in Spurs' clash with Cardiff, but the north London club will be hopeful - and expectant - of more from their £24m signing in the run-in to the end of the season. With Emmanuel Adebayor's resurgence under Sherwood, an in-form Soldado could really help push on Spurs' attempts to finish in the top four, and with a derby day meeting against Arsenal later this month, Tottenham and Sherwood will be hoping this isn't the last time Soldado delivers the goods this season.
Everton now the kings of ‘Fergie time’
There are many things that Manchester United have lost under David Moyes but chief among them is the ability to score late goals. It is Everton, the club Moyes left behind, who have inherited that trait. Romelu Lukaku’s winner against West Ham was the 12th time Everton have scored in the final 10 minutes this season – earning them 11 points.
Wenger hates seeing Hughes in the home dug-out
Mark Hughes has entertained Arsène Wenger at four different clubs and from each of their last meetings – at Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham and now Stoke City – Wenger has come away with a single point.
Magath’s ‘instant impact’ falls rather flat
When Felix Magath was drafted in to salvage Fulham’s season, the talk was of the “instant impact” he would have . Magath’s instant impact has brought one point from two games – which is two points fewer than Martin Jol or Rene Meulensteen achieved in their first two matches this season.