Sunderland mug Arsenal while Man City draw again
The key talking points from the Premier League this weekend
Jermain Defoe's five-goal salvo may have generated the most column inches, but away from White Hart Lane the goals continued to fly in, Arsenal endured another Northern mugging, and Manchester City failed to hold on to a lead yet again...
WENGER'S WINTER WOES
Like his compatriot Napoleon, Arsene Wenger's campaigns have always struggled when the nights grow long and the weather worsens, never more so on trips to gritty Northern teams such as Sunderland. The Frenchman was reminded of the importance to his side of the injured Robin van Persie, as Arsenal struggled to make much happen up front and then were hustled out of the game in midfield. Tomorrow night's visit of Standard Liege could provide an opportunity to get back on the right track before the weekend clash with Chelsea in the Premier League.
THE GOAL RUSH CONTINUES, PART 236
Even before yesterday's ten-goal extravaganza at White Hart Lane, the strikes kept coming, aided by a high-scoring draw in the relegation zone between Hull and West Ham (3-3), Chelsea's 4-0 thumping of Wolves, and a comfortable win for Manchester United (3-0). The tally for the season to date is 377 goals from 127 games - a whisker under three goals a game. Whether it's down to the new ball, or to a general paucity of good defenders in the league, few are complaining about the most exciting Premier League season for years.
Sam Allardyce was banned by his doctor from attending this meeting of his current and previous clubs at the Reebok as he is awaiting heart surgery, but his opposite number Gary Megson will have left the Lancashire derby feeling in need of treatment. Bolton have lost all of the bloody-mindedness that made them such obdurate opponents under both megson and Allardyce, and don't seem to have what it takes to get out of the relegation zone. Rovers continued their rise up the table with a 2-0 victory courtesy of David Dunn's delightful chip and a farcical own goal by Sam Ricketts.
DRAWN-OUTManchester City recorded their sixth successive draw on Saturday at Anfield - a Premier League record. Mark Hughes is finding that while it's easy to throw together a forward line by merely picking up the most exciting players who can be attracted by a wheelbarrow full of oil money, a defence is something that needs to nurtured and built. Talents such as Joleon Lescott looked so glittering when at previous club Everton because he was managed perceptively and was part of a tight defensive unit - at City he looks like he's playing alongside three strangers. ·
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