EPL

Premier League Review: Mourinho starts with a win, Emery woes continue

By Sports Desk November 23, 2019

Jose Mourinho won his first game in charge of Tottenham but had his satisfaction tempered by a late West Ham fightback in a 3-2 victory at London Stadium, while rivals Arsenal laboured in a 2-2 home draw against Southampton.

Spurs scored freely for 49 minutes in the lunchtime game at London Stadium but were pegged back as errors crept in. Arsenal needed a late Alexandre Lacazette goal to avoid joining six other Premier League teams who lost at home on Saturday.

Crystal Palace were sunk by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool. Brighton lost to Leicester City and Everton were beaten by Norwich City, both at home by 2-0 scorelines.

Wolves extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth and Burnley won 3-0 at Watford to clinch back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

SPURS FIRE FOR JOSE BUT DEFENSIVE QUESTIONS LINGER

Three goals in 13 minutes put Spurs on course for a resounding result against West Ham but Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna took the sheen off the Mourinho era curtain-raiser.

The visitors were marginally the better side of a tepid first half until the 36th minute when Dele Alli played in Son Heung-min whose angled drive from the corner of the six-yard box beat the flailing Roberto Jimenez for power.

Alli released Son down the left and he sent over a low cross that Lucas Moura bundled into the net at the far post to double Tottenham's advantage two minutes from half-time.

West Ham's defensive frailties came to the fore once again four minutes into the second half when Serge Aurier's cross picked out Harry Kane, who was given an easy ride by Issa Diop as he sent a header past Roberto's outstretched hand.

But when Spurs needed to close out the win, they allowed Antonio to pull one back from close range and Declan Rice had another ruled out for offside before Ogbonna converted from Robert Snodgrass' cross deep into stoppage time.

FIRMINO FIRES WINNER FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool's three-game winning streak was under threat when Wilfried Zaha scored for Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute to make it 1-1 at Selhurst Park, but the Eagles failed to keep Roberto Firmino at bay late on.

The Brazilian striker poked home in during an 85th-minute penalty box scramble amid heavy Reds pressure, typical of the never-say-die attitude that makes the Premier League front-runners so difficult to stop.

Sadio Mane's eighth league goal of the season had put Liverpool 1-0 in front, the Senegal international advancing into the box four minutes after half-time before unleashing a shot that hit both posts before finding the net.

Zaha's low, angled drive from 12 yards put Palace on course for a point their battling performance would have merited but Roy Hodgson's men failed to park the bus when a Liverpool onslaught was inevitable.

LACAZETTE BRACE KEEPS EMERY ERA HANGING BY A THREAD

Arsenal looked like a side taking victory for granted before Danny Ings opened the scoring for Southampton after eight minutes at Emirates Stadium.

It was only by virtue of Alexandre Lacazette's work rate and quality that the Gunners gave the home support anything to cheer, and the France international equalised after 18 minutes following scrappy Southampton defending.

The goal should have put the wind in Arsenal's sails, but Unai Emery's men lacked cohesion and consistency, allowing Southampton to break repeatedly. The visitors restored their lead 19 minutes from time through James Ward-Prowse who scored at the second attempt after Bernd Leno saved his penalty.

Again it fell to Lacazette to spare Arsenal's embarrassment and he duly obliged, succeeding where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil failed by converting a late chance at close range, rifling home from Gabriel Martinelli's cross to clinch his side a point they barely deserved.


Burnley, meanwhile, won 3-0 for the second game in a row with second-half strikes from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski earning a victory at bottom side Watford that lifted the Clarets to sixth in the table.

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  • Maybe I misunderstood the enigma that is Paul Pogba Maybe I misunderstood the enigma that is Paul Pogba

    Last summer Paul Pogba gave an interview which shocked me as a Manchester United fan.

    The fact that he wanted to leave didn’t come as a massive surprise, however, the fact he expressed it, was for me the ultimate show of disrespect to a club which I’ve been supporting since the Trinidadian striker Dwight Yorke joined in 1998.

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    As I said, he wanting a departure wasn’t shocking. His demeanour under the dour Jose Mourinho who dropped him like an unwanted case of the “virus” wasn’t healthy and it made the situation at Manchester United untenable. In fact, if Mourinho had been kept on as manager, the Frenchman would have likely returned to Juventus or gone to Real Madrid.

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    Pogba was essentially a one-man show and he was tired.

    As a fan, we expect players to show the same level of loyalty as we do. I was similarly disturbed when Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave for Real Madrid, when Roy Keane threatened to quit the club and when Wayne Rooney wanted to go… twice… thrice? I lost count.

    However, all of them, superstars, were afforded the tools to be successful and they were! All three players hoisted both the Premier League and Champions League trophies. All three of them were part of great teams. All three of them were part of a structure envied by many teams.

    So this is why criticism of Pogba who wanted to leave an ordinary team is unfounded. Football is the ultimate team sport. No matter how good an individual is, the team is only as good as the sum of its parts and the system in which they play. And Pogba, a player filled with ambition, missed what he had with Juventus, where he was one of the main men, and not the only man.

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    “You can tell that the team is improving a lot,” he continued, “We play more as a team than we did before, we enjoy it, even more, we defend together, we attack together, and this team is stronger as well. The players who are on the bench or who don’t play every time, when they come on they help the team so the mentality is good and is right. All this together has put us where we are today.”

    It’s clear that Pogba is driven by ambition which has to be reciprocated by the club. So bring on a champions league placing, a new contract for the Frenchman, Jadon Sancho and let the good times roll again at Manchester United.

    Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • More Spurs VAR misery: Mourinho fumes at 'you know who' More Spurs VAR misery: Mourinho fumes at 'you know who'

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