5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend
Everton moved into the top six.
Chelsea lose for the first time, Manchester United disappoint at home again and a rebuilding job at Craven Cottage takes shape.
Press Association Sport looks at five talking points from the weekend.
Chelsea can be beaten
It has taken until the final weekend of November but cracks have started to appear in Chelsea’s armour. It was not Tottenham’s inflicting of a first defeat of the season per se but the manner of it which prompted manager Maurizio Sarri to label it a “disaster”. The Italian spoke of knowing he had “a lot of problems to solve” but his players’ performances had papered over those cracks until now with David Luiz and Jorginho, in particular, the main culprits at Wembley. Sarri will hope slipping to fourth, with Arsenal just a point behind, will focus the minds.
Ranieri rediscovers his magic touch
RANIERI BOUNCE Fulham’s 3-2 win over Southampton was their first win in 10 #PL matches - having lost 7 of the past 9— Premier League (@premierleague) November 25, 2018
Read all about a thriller at Craven Cottage 👉 https://t.co/vl1MFS3wBr pic.twitter.com/mpPJSjFqQM
Claudio Ranieri, the man who masterminded Leicester’s miraculous title win, returned to the Premier League 21 months after being sacked by the Foxes to revitalise a flagging Fulham. After seven successive defeats the Italian came in for his first match and immediately oversaw a 3-2 win over fellow strugglers Southampton. They remain bottom of the table but are only four points behind 13th-placed West Ham. Crucially he also got Alexsandar Mitrovic back on the goal trail after a seven-match drought and if he can maintain that it will be pivotal to their survival. Next up, Ranieri’s former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Salah warming up for winter
Three goals in his opening eight Premier League matches had Mohamed Salah’s critics doubting his ability to reproduce the form which saw him produce a record-breaking 32 in 38 games last season. But he has scored four in his last five and has now found the net in successive Premier League matches twice. At the same stage 12 months ago he had achieved that feat but most of his goalscoring was ahead of him as he scored five in seven games in December, two in three in January before really ramping it up in February and March. A goalscoring record inversely proportional to the falling temperatures is a handy thing to have with a packed schedule coming up.
Everton enter top-six equation
Marco Silva’s Toffees have finally joined the top-six party. It has been some time since they have been able to say that after fluctuating spells under Roberto Martinez (11th twice), Ronald Koeman (seventh) and Sam Allardyce (eight). Four wins and a draw in their last six matches have seen them overtake Manchester United as the closest challengers to Arsenal. With a fully-fit squad to choose from they are arguably at their strongest for some time and with Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring regularly and four clean sheets in seven league matches, Silva has built a strong base. The test will be to push on from there with Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham waiting in December.
Mourinho’s moans have negative effect
Friday: Quotes emerge from Jose Mourinho suggesting the likes of Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford are “without character”. Saturday: A team which included three of that quartet at some point are held to a dull goalless draw by a Crystal Palace side without a league win in 10 weeks. As they say in America, ‘Go figure’. Mourinho has spent most of the season complaining about his players. Is it really any wonder his team are seventh in the table, with as many home wins as on the road (three) and, almost unheard of, a zero goal difference for matches at Old Trafford?