Premier League hits and misses: Old failings there for Arsenal, Newcastle get under Man City's skin

02/12/19 6:00am

Positives, yes. But old failings still there for Arsenal

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2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich`s draw against Arsenal in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Norwich`s draw against Arsenal in the Premier League

We started the game really well, that`s how I want to play football, Freddie Ljungberg said after his side`s 2-2 draw at Norwich.

We dominated totally and that`s when we needed a goal. We couldn`t get that but we need to work on the transitions, we dominated and they break us too easily, and that`s where their two goals came from. That`s hard to take but the player showed great mentality. They went a goal down twice away from home and came back, that shows that we have desire.

We have things to work on. I want this club to do well, so it is only winning that counts. That`s the only thing that was in my mind. I really wanted to win the games so I am disappointed but I have also seen some positive things and certain things we need to nail down.

Ljungberg, who was taking charge of his first game as interim head coach at Arsenal, is right to take the positives from his side`s draw at Carrow Road. What else can he do?

In only a couple of days, the Swede got the Gunners attacking with more intent than they had done in several weeks under Unai Emery. They also showed plenty of character as they clung on for a point thanks mainly to a number of fine saves from Bernd Leno.

However, clinging on to a point at second from bottom Norwich is not good enough for a club of Arsenal`s sature, and Ljungberg knows it.

Despite the positives, the old failings were still there for all to see as the game highlighted the problems facing the club`s former midfielder in their battle for a top-four finish.

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Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg says he was encouraged by his side`s mental strength after coming from behind twice in their 2-2 draw against Norwich in the Premier League
Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg says he was encouraged by his side`s mental strength after coming from behind twice in their 2-2 draw against Norwich in the Premier League

Defensively, Arsenal were all over the shop and had it not been for Leno, they would have certainly lost the game.

Ljungberg sprung a surprise before kick-off by pairing Shkodran Mustafi with David Luiz at the heart of Arsenal`s defence, but time after time he, alongside right-back Calum Chambers, were exposed. Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil once again failed to impact the game significantly while the balance of Arsenal`s midfield will be called into question with Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka and Joe Willock starting ahead of Lucas Torreira.

Time really wasn`t on Ljungberg`s side ahead of this encounter, though.

It was a short turnaround from the defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt and Emery`s sacking to Ljungberg`s appointment, but with three full days now until the Gunners` next clash against Brighton on Thursday, Ljungberg, with the help of Per Mertesacker, needs to get to work on the training field.
Oliver Yew

Magpies get under City`s skin again

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2:53
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Manchester City in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Manchester City in the Premier League

Just what is it about Newcastle, who appear to be a bit of a bogey team - if that is possible, of course - as far as Premier League champions Manchester City are concerned?

The Magpies were at it again on Saturday after twice coming from behind to hold Pep Guardiola`s star-studded side at St James` Park, albeit with the help of a late Jonjo Shelvey thunderbolt, and leave them now trailing leaders Liverpool by 11 points.

It was Newcastle who also put a big dent in City`s title hopes last season when Rafa Benitez`s team recovered from conceding after just 24 seconds to Sergio Aguero to secure a memorable 2-1 victory.

While the home team - now managed by Steve Bruce - did not record a victory this time around, their spirited draw meant Newcastle are now unbeaten in each of their last four home league games against reigning top-flight champions.

City, meanwhile, recovered from that surprise loss to go on to win the league last season, but can they repeat that remarkable recovery this time around?
Richard Morgan

Man Utd let another lead slip

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2:51
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United`s draw against Aston Villa in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United`s draw against Aston Villa in the Premier League

Another Premier League weekend, and Manchester United come up with more of the same problems rather than answers in another under-par performance.

One of the biggest questions is why they have not been able to protect a lead, especially over the last week. They led in all three games against Sheffield United, Astana and Aston Villa but ended up with two draws and a defeat. This is hardly the type of form that a club like Manchester United should be showing, and they should be able to see out the game when they are in front.

It was easy to see where these errors were coming from. There were too many misplaced passes and silly fouls that put Man Utd under unnecessary pressure. For example, in the first half, Andreas Pereira fouled Conor Hourihane on the left of the box when there was not much reason to. It gave Aston Villa a free kick in a dangerous position and while they did not score, it added undue pressure onto Man Utd when they should be running the show at Old Trafford.

Despite it all seeming gloomy, Man Utd have come from behind in their last two Premier League games. Solskjaer said it shows attitude and character from his young side and when they click into gear, they can damage anyone on their day. But there was a lack of creativity from the supposedly creative players on Sunday, which will be another issue for Man Utd to address.
Charlotte Marsh

Lampard honeymoon over?

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2:59
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham`s win over Chelsea in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from West Ham`s win over Chelsea in the Premier League

It was only a week ago that Chelsea were touted as potential Premier League title challengers. Now, after back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and West Ham, the Blues are 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

That title talk was always premature, and no Chelsea fan would have really believed it. Frank Lampard`s side may have performed superbly in the opening four months of the campaign, but they remain very much a work in progress.

The gulf in quality and, perhaps more importantly, experience compared to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City was evident at the Etihad last Saturday. But against West Ham at Stamford Bridge, there was something else lacking. Something Chelsea`s young players have had in abundance all season: Exuberance.

The Blues dominated the ball but never moved it at pace. They created chances but did not truly threaten the Hammers goal. They pressed but never with intent. Throughout the entire 90 minutes Chelsea were passive - they didn`t concede a single foul - and that proved their downfall.

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admitted his side`s performance wasn`t good enough as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to West Ham
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard admitted his side`s performance wasn`t good enough as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to West Ham

Lampard recognised this after the game. It`s a reality check for everybody, he said. We`ve all been happy with a lot of things so far but a game like today shows the harsh realities of the Premier League and the realities of where we`re at. So we need to work and improve.

It could be argued the performance against West Ham was a result of the match being Chelsea`s third game in six days. But with Lampard rotating his squad, making five changes to the team which drew in Valencia in midweek in the Champions League, that excuse doesn`t wash.

His biggest call was to start with Olivier Giroud in place of the injured Tammy Abraham. It did not pay off. Giroud is a lot of things, including a World Cup winner, but given what Lampard demands of his striker, the French star isn`t a great fit.

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2:44
Watch our selection of the best goals from Premier League match day 14 including strikes from Aston Villa`s Jack Grealish and Man City`s Kevin de Bruyne
Watch our selection of the best goals from Premier League match day 14 including strikes from Aston Villa`s Jack Grealish and Man City`s Kevin de Bruyne

Chelsea`s attacks rarely involved the striker, instead, they seemed to bypass him. Giroud would last 71 minutes before being replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi and for the final stages Chelsea played without a recognised striker.

The fact the Blues boss opted against introducing Michy Batshuayi from the bench spoke volumes. It`s a reminder this Chelsea squad is far from complete - it has its problems and its weaknesses. Lampard has done a fine job covering these, but the honeymoon phase may finally be over.
Adam Newson

Klopp will be aware of performances











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