By Milo Clay
Liverpool back in full-force as Spurs continue to struggle, another big-game opportunity missed by Manchester United and Mason Mount shows Thomas Tuchel what he is missing.
1) Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are back, for now
After a disappointing run of form, the Reds have now won two games in a row after beating West Ham 3-1 at the London Stadium. Their first home defeat in 68 games, coupled with failing to score for over seven and a half hours of football, meant alarm bells were ringing for Jurgen Klopp. But they’ve now scored six goals in the last two games and looked back to their best during spells against the Hammers. A scintillating counter-attack finished beautifully by Mohammed Salah with a deft-touch was shades of Liverpool at their best over the last two years. But question marks still remain over the issues at centre-back as Henderson continues to play in the role with a range of different partners. The questions will surely be answered this week as they play in-form Manchester City this weekend.
🗣 "It was a great ball from Shaq. I want to just give him credit."
Mo Salah reflects on his goals during an important win for Liverpool at West Ham. pic.twitter.com/7UHItM07Mo
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 31, 2021
2) Another bore draw in a big game for Manchester United
In a huge game for Manchester United’s title hopes, they once again failed to score against a ‘Big 6’ side. United have been involved in four scoreless draws against such opposition this year as they have drew to Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and now Arsenal after the weekend. It’s a clear trend for United and something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to think about in future big games. This draw was even more disappointing as the Red Devils were looking for a response after a shock 2-1 loss to Sheffield United in the previous fixture. The partnership of Fred and Scott McTominay is clearly one Solskjaer likes in these fixtures as it gives their defence some well-needed protection. But it might be time for the Norwegian to have a re-think as they aim to keep pace with Manchester City and Liverpool.
🗣 "I'm scratching my head with United."
🗣 "Imagine being Man United and lacking belief you can win a game of football."
🗣 "It's like they can't believe where they are."
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) January 31, 2021
3) Steve Bruce shows Newcastle have a trick up their sleeve
Toon fans were growing disgruntled with Steve Bruce’s playing style prior to an amazing display against Everton on Saturday. Many of the complaints were focused around Newcastle’s willingness to sit behind the ball, with very little attacking threat going forward. But Steve Bruce answered his critics on the weekend as Newcastle showed a completely different side to their game as they took the game to Everton and pressed the opposition efficiently. Callum Wilson was in great-form as he bagged two goals with the Magpies winning 2-0, and deservedly so. The performance will certainly offer Newcastle fans some encouragement as Bruce showed the team have another string to their bow and they’ll hope they can continue to play in this vain.
4) Mount shows why he is not just Frank Lampard’s golden boy
Chelsea got the first win of the Thomas Tuchel era against Burnley this weekend, beating the Clarets 2-0 on the day. It was a much-improved performance from the 0-0 draw against Wolves during mid-week as the Blues moved the ball more urgently and created more chances. One player that was crucial to this was Mason Mount. The 22 year-old started amongst the substitutes in the previous game but he certainly showed Tuchel what they were missing in mid-week. The Englishman didn’t stop running and pressing throughout the game, as well as linking play excellently in the number ten role. Mount was ever-present under Lampard for Chelsea after playing under him at Derby County, but he showed exactly why he was picked so frequently during his reign.
Four players have created 50+ chances in the Premier League this season:
✓ Jack Grealish
✓ Bruno Fernandes
✓ Kevin De Bruyne
✓ Mason Mount 🆕
MM hits a half-century. pic.twitter.com/q7vcXKituU
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 31, 2021
5) Jose must find a solution to play without Kane
Jose Mourinho’s Spurs side fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium against Brighton on Sunday. It was their second loss on the bounce after losing 3-1 to Liverpool during the week, in a game where their star player Harry Kane suffered yet another ankle injury. After Kane was taken off at half-time against the Reds in midweek, Spurs looked completely out of ideas without their talisman as they missed not only his goals but also his creativity. The same can be said about the lackluster display yesterday as Mourinho opted for a front-three of Steven Bergwijn, Heung-Min Son, and Gareth Bale. It was not until Carlos Vinicius came on that Spurs looked to have some kind of focal point in attack, but even then they failed to create anything of note. It’s clear that Jose must find a solution for the team to cope without Kane just like Mauricio Pochettino did during his reign in North London. Although the worrying sign for the Portuguese manager is that Spurs were struggling recently even with their talisman, and now they must try and cope without him with Chelsea and West Brom to play in the coming week.
Brighton (1.97) 1-0 (0.46) Spurs
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) January 31, 2021
6) Big Sam is far from done
West Brom may sit nine points away from safety, but Sam Allardyce’s side displayed they will not go down without a fight against Fulham on Saturday. The Baggies earned a 2-2 draw after going behind early. They fought back to take a 2-1 lead but were eventually pegged back as Ivan Cavaleiro levelled the score. ‘Big Sam’ has never been relegated from the Premier League and he will certainly not be looking to change that record now. With seventeen games left to play, Allardyce’s side is going to have to put an incredible run of form together to stay in the division.
7) Leicester struggle without Jamie Vardy
Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester side fell to a surprise 3-1 home defeat to Leeds without their talisman Jamie Vardy. Rodgers opted to play Ayoze Perez up-front in place of Vardy, but the Spanish forward predominantly plays as a second striker and failed to have an impact on the game. The Foxes attack looked blunt without Vardy’s penetrating runs and Rodgers might be keen to address the issue as Kelechi Iheanacho doesn’t seem to be an adequate back-up.
— LCFC Live (@LiveLCFC) January 27, 2021
8) Manchester City find a way to win
Although it wasn’t the massive scoreline City fans have become accustomed to, Pep Guardiola’s side found a way to win as they beat bottom of the table Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday. The win marked their twelfth win in a row in all competitions and you have to go back to November to find the Citizens’ last league loss. In their last league two games, they have coped with the loss of Kevin De Bruyne and climbed to the top of the Premier League. City will hope to continue this form as they look to create a gap at the top of the table.
Manchester City were unstoppable in January 🔥 pic.twitter.com/SUCpc5lXLn
— Goal (@goal) February 1, 2021
9) Villa are for real
Despite riding their luck at times, Aston Villa run out 1-0 winners in a tricky away game at Southampton. Matty Cash got away with a controversial hand-ball decision early on in the game and the Saints also had a goal ruled out as Danny Ings was judged to be offside by VAR. They may have had the luck of the green in this game, but nevertheless, it’s another excellent away victory for the Villains in what was a tough fixture on paper. Ross Barkley bagged the deciding goal due to another combination with Jack Grealish. Villa currently sit ninth in the Premier League, one point away from a Europa League spot and seven away from the top four. If Villa can continue to rack up results, Villa fans will start to believe they can achieve European qualification this year.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 30, 2021
10) Eze shows why he is a future star
Ebere Eze showed exactly why he has a bright future ahead of him as he scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Wolves. Despite having a relatively quiet game, Eze produced a moment of magic. Jordan Ayew played the ball back to Eze on the edge of the area and the young Englishman let the ball run across his body before driving the ball past Rui Patricio with his weak foot. The result meant Crystal Palace leap-frogged Wolves in the table to go thirteenth.
Only Wilfried Zaha  has been directly involved in more Crystal Palace goals in the Premier League this season than Ebere Eze .
Settled into the top flight very well. 🦅 pic.twitter.com/nODuOyqoeI
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 30, 2021