PREMIER LEAGUE: 5 key points from the weekend's action
Antonio Conte is heading towards a slippery slope at Spurs and Arsenal's genius continues to deliver the sublime
After the shopping spree Tottenham went on in the summer, it would be outlandish to even suggest that Antonio Conte could be out of a job before March. Things seemed glorious when a 2-0 win over Everton made it 23 points from the opening 10 league games, their best start to a season since the 60s.
However, the seven games since have yielded four defeats and the performances every bit as bad as the results. Sunday saw another insipid performance and subsequent loss to Aston Villa and their next five league games include the visit of Arsenal and two meetings with Manchester City. The next few weeks could be decisive.
Moyes on borrowed time
It is probably fair to say the blip has become a full-time slump for West Ham. Their league form was pretty bad during the second half of last season and David Moyes got a chance to refresh his squad by spending £160m in the summer.
Not much has changed since then though. Gianluca Scamacca, Thilo Kehrer and Lucas Paqueta have been underwhelming and West Ham are suddenly deep in relegation trouble. The defeat to Brentford was hugely concerning for several reasons.
Moyes tried to switch up tactically, moving Paqueta into a deeper midfield role, but it did not work as the entire team looked totally flat. The longer the board persists with Moyes the worse things could get. The truth is West Ham need to start looking at possible replacements.
Jack Grealish has been a disappointment
There is no easy way to say this but Jack Grealish is not the answer for Manchester City, whatever the question is. Since signing for a British record £100 million, he has been largely underwhelming. One goal and two assists in 18 appearances this season is mightily disappointing.
A lot of City fans must recall fondly the years when Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling tore through opposition defences and watching Grealish labour to even get past one defender must be a shocking experience.
Pep Guardiola will know what best to do but there comes a point where the club has to collectively tell themselves the truth. This has been a bad investment. There are no indications that things will improve as this is now his second season. Phil Foden should be first choice on the left wing, he offers so much more and is suited to the style Pep demands.
Leicester need new signings
Leicester have now lost their last two games and that will provide cause to worry for Brendan Rodgers, who saw his Leicester team struggle badly after a summer of transfer inactivity. Leicester have had bad luck with injuries over the past year and now Patson Daka has joined a significant injury list also featuring James Maddison and Jonny Evans.
However, the Foxes were vastly improved from their Boxing Day defeat to Newcastle and only lost by two shocking own-goals from Wout Faes. Faes was one player Leicester paid to bring in this season but Rodgers predicted there will be more to come in January. “I think there will be a little bit of money to spend in the areas we want to improve, so we feel we can do that,” he said. “It is not all about money but if you stand still others will overtake you.”
Odegaard is a player of the season contender
Martin Odegaard has been outstanding this season and by may, he could be competing with another Norwegian for individual honours. Erling Haaland may be in the ascendancy as far as that race is concerned but Odegaard has been magnificent.
Placing the captaincy with a young playmaker is not common practice but Mikel Arteta has instead decided to give the armband to the best and most important player. Against Brighton, Odegaard made the difference against an opponent refusing to be beaten.
His goal may have been a miskick but his pass for Gabriel Martinelli to score was a thing of beauty. As long as he keeps performing, he will be up there with Erling Haaland when the awards come around.
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