Premier League Gameweek 11: Talking Points

It was a weekend of high drama in the Premier League, as two more bosses were relieved of their duties before the international break on November 8th 2021. Despite Norwich City boss Daniel Farke’s successful effort to win his team their first victory of the season, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith and Daniel Farke were both dismissed.
Southampton began the weekend with a 1-0 victory over Villa, condemning Smith to his fifth consecutive loss. Manchester City made a major title statement after thrashing Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in their latest win.
City’s triumph took them to within a point of Chelsea, who could only draw against Burnley at Stamford Bridge. The London Stadium saw an exciting match between West Ham and Liverpool on Gameweek 11, with the hosts prevailing 3-2 in what was their biggest win of the season. Safe to say that, for all you accumulator fans out there, it was a terrible weekend with the Premier League producing some shocking results.

Was Dean Smith’s sacking slightly unfair?
The club’s top executive, Christian Purslow, said last summer that paying £100 million for three new players – Danny Ings, Emiliano Buendía, and Leon Bailey – would allow them to parachute into the European places. With eleven matches and five losses in a row, it appears foolish to have aimed this high. Injuries to key players such as Ings have hampered them, but there is also a lack of depth. It’s simple to lay the blame on Dean Smith, who was relieved of his duties on Sunday, but the fact is that for his final game in charge, the bench was comprised of academy teenagers.

When is enough, enough for Van de Beek?
A classic No 6 or 8 of the Ajax school was signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the summer of 2020, after which it was essentially abandoned. But not on Saturday at Old Trafford, where fans were maybe stunned by Manchester City’s domination. When the 24-year-old walked on, there was a loud ovation – not only because he was replacing the detested Fred, but also because it was just Van de Beek’s second league appearance and something had to alter in the United lineup. The 2-0 defeat to Man City in their own backyard was the second consecutive loss at home for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side, who had previously lost 5-0 to Liverpool. After that, Solskjär criticized his players’ inability to locate “angles” against the City press. Why, when Van de Beek (and for the Netherlands) has to be able to do this, give him just ten minutes?

Is relying on Havertz for goals too ambitious?
There were early signs of things to come during last weekend’s Chelsea Malmö match. They had the ability to seal the game with more ease, but they were not ruthless enough. Havertz twice blazed his efforts over the crossbar and was again unplayable during Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Burnley, who grabbed a point thanks to Matej Vydra’s late equaliser. With his exceptional technique and fantastic finishing, Havertz has all the tools to be a world-class player. But due to his high degree of quality, he has trouble keeping up the mark. Burnley had an opportunity when a bad miss in the second half gave them hope, and Chelsea could not keep hold of their lead as they watched two missing players spurn chances: Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi. Edouard Mendy, who played a blinder against Brentford last month, will not single-handedly save them every week. In the absence of Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Tuchel required his attackers to be more efficient.

Is McArthurn key to Palace’s success?
Conor Gallagher has brought fresh energy to Crystal Palace, which is quite evident. One of the most significant elements has been the addition of Conor Gallagher, who has revitalised the team with his dynamic play in and out of possession in central midfield. The efforts of James McArthur have, on the other hand, potentially overshadowed those of his central partner Conor Gallagher. The steady midfielder turned 34 last month, and one might be forgiven for thinking he would not fit in under Vieira. The defensive midfielder, instead, has been given the armband and started all 11 Premier League games this season. His veteran presence allows Gallagher the space he needs to attack as Palace advance. He showed some spark on Saturday with a wonderful pass to assist Wilfried Zaha score. McArthur has over 300 Premier League appearances under his belt, but Vieira is clearly putting his stamp on him.

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