WITH some teams looking to bounce back from midweek disappointments in Europe, there was pressure to perform heading into the next international break. FocusM looks at the handful of games played on Saturday (Nov 11).
Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 v Tottenham Hotspurs 1
Spurs were looking to bounce back from the heavy 4-1 defeat at home to Chelsea and looked to be on course to return to the top of the table after taking an early lead. The Lilywhites held onto that slender lead till the end of regulation time and were in control for most of the game. But the home side stunned them with two late injury-time goals to continue the Wolves revival.
The Midlands side lost to bottom-tier Sheffield United last weekend but have now beaten the top two in the premier league. It was most definitely a yo-yo team but the Wolves again showed tenacity to win an encounter, and many tipped them to lose.
Arsenal 3 v Burnley 1
The Gunners returned to winning ways without having to get out of second gear as Burnley meekly surrendered without much of a fight. Vincent Kompany will be lamenting that his Burnley side seemed unable to win the aerial duels whenever the Gunners pumped crosses into the box. They were also woeful in defending set pieces.
Burnley’s failure to mount any sort of challenge after bagging an equaliser and Arsenal belatedly being reduced to ten men highlights why they are destined for a swift return to the Championship. A turnaround does not seem to be on the cards, with Kompany unable to coax decent performances out of Burnley at the elite level.
Manchester United 1 v Luton Town 0
Manchester United will head into the international break with two narrow 1-0 wins in the bag, allowing under-pressure manager Erik Ten Haag some much-needed breathing space. Despite dominating possession, the Red Devils found it hard to apply the finishing touch. Their misfiring forward line was squandering numerous chances, and they needed the intervention of Viktor Lindelof to seal the three points.
It was only the defender’s fourth goal in his Manchester United career and underlines the slew of issues Ten Haag has to resolve. The Dutch coach insisted that his side has turned the corner and is on course for a top-four finish.
Crystal Palace 2 v Everton 3
After a slow start to the season, Everton have strung together six wins from their last nine outings. Slowly but surely, Sean Dyche is getting his team to perform the way he wants them to: disciplined, narrow and compact. Few would have predicted a five-goal thriller with two sides who eschew possession in favour of quick counterattacks.
The Eagles welcomed back the dazzling Ebereche Eze from injury and underlined his importance to the team with a virtuoso performance. However, he was unable to inspire Palace to a victory as the Toffees stole all three points with a late winner from Idrissa Gueye.
Bournemouth 2 v Newcastle United 0
Eddie Howe returned to his old stomping ground but it was no happy reunion as his Newcastle side slumped to yet another away defeat. It was their fifth of the season on the road and they have also shown a penchant for suffering European hangovers.
With an ever-growing injury list, the Magpies will probably need to strengthen in the next transfer window to ensure European football next season. A Dominic Solanke double gave the Cherries a much-needed boost in their bid to avoid relegation, and coach Adoni Iraola described it as their most accomplished performance of the season thus far. – Nov 12, 2023
Main photo credit: The Guardian