OPINION: Football Premier League 5 Talking Points
It was another exciting weekend in the Premier League, as Manchester City regained the top spot from Leicester, but the biggest story of the round was definitely Jamie Vardy setting a new scoring record. Here are some of the many talking points after this weekend's action, which saw 30 goals scored.
1. Vardy's set the record
Jamie Vardy struck a goal in his 11th consecutive match for Leicester City, breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record in the process. Vardy opened the scoring in the 24th minute in the top of the table clash against Manchester United. In what was a typical Vardy goal, scored on the counter attack. Left-back Christan Fuchs found himself on the right wing following a Man United corner. Fuchs played a delicious through ball for Vardy who ran in behind the United defence to coolly slot home past David De Gea. Unfortunately Leicester could not capitalise on the emotion of Vardy breaking the record and only managed to draw the game after Bastian Schweinsteiger scored his first goal for the Red Devils. The Foxes now share top spot with City and face struggling Swansea next. Vardy will certainly see this as an opportunity to extend his unbelievable scoring run.
2. All not well with Costa and Mourinho
Jose Mourinho's Chelsea played out a goalless draw against in-form Tottenham Spurs at White Hart Lane. The biggest talking point in this somewhat toothless match was Diego Costa flinging his bib while on the substitutes' bench. Costa has failed to replicate last season's form when he was instrumental in Chelsea's title charge, and was left on the bench in this important London derby. This season he has cut a dejected and frustrated figure. His affinity for the darker arts of the game has proved more of an annoyance to fans when it was previously seen a strength, especially since the striker has been struggling to score goals. Mourinho has reiterated there are "no problems" between himself and Spanish striker. After being named on the bench for the match, Costa did not fully take part take in the warm up and also opted to leave before the other substitutes completed their obligatory warm downs after the match. In what has been a tumultuous season already for Chelsea and especially Mourinho, one should keep an eye on the relationship between the manager and Costa. A manager as demanding as Mourinho will no doubt view Costa's behaviour in a serious light.
3. Klopp Effect in full, uhm, effect as Sturridge and Henderson return
Liverpool claimed their sixth win in seven matches against Swansea on Sunday. It was by no means a classic Anfield display but what it does show is that Jurgen Klopp's influence is being seen not only aesthetically on the pitch but also in terms of results. The ability to grind out results when you are not playing well is a hallmark of any good side. The German manager seems to have had a positive mental effect on the Anfield players who in similar fixtures in the past might have settled for a draw. 'Pool were gifted the lead after James Milner scored from the penalty spot. Another positive for the Anfield faithful was the return of captain Jordan Henderson and injury-prone striker Daniel Sturridge. Liverpool travel to the hapless Newcastle next where they should be looking for nothing less than three points as they continue to improve under Klopp.
4. McClaren under the pump, Pardew smiles against former club
Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace ran rampant against his former employers Newcastle as they won 5-1 at Selhurst Park. This is the latest in yet another embarrassing display from Newcastle. Only Bournemouth has conceded as many goals as Newcastle this season. Manager Steve McClaren must be wondering what he needs to do in order to get a decent display from his troops. The Magpies took the lead courtesy of Papiss Cisse but Newcastle capitulated as they have done a number of times this season. Palace scored five unanswered goals as Newcastle looked at sea against the pace and menace of their hosts. Pardew, who left Newcastle to take over as Palace manager, must feel vindicated by his decision. One would even allow him to be a bit smug after many Newcastle fans went through a lot of energy to show their dissatisfaction when he was in charge at St James's Park. Something drastic needs to change at Newcastle; they have spent a relatively large amount of money of players but have not really improved. All the blame cannot be shouldered by McClaren alone as the owner Mike Ashley's methods have been called into question many times during his reign.
5. Arsenal's injury crisis worsens
Arsenal's winless run in the Premier League now stands at three matches. Arsenal are in fourth place only two points off the top after the 1-1 draw against Norwich. Arsenal have spurned opportunities to go to the summit of the Premier League in previous weeks with the old "mental" problems seeming to arise again. There is no doubt that The Gunners will create chances to score, however the failure to win matches they should (on paper at least), is costing them. Arsenal have not won the league since 2004 and many thought this could be the season that could all change. To add to manager Arsene Wenger's misery is that on Sunday he saw star player Alexis Sanchez and his best defender Laurent Koscielny limp off with what looked like serious muscular injuries. Santi Cazorla also took a knock during the match but Wenger had already made his three substitutions and he was forced to "play on one leg". Wenger's man management has also been called into question about his handling of Sanchez, especially after the Chilean had already felt a tightness in his hamstring earlier in the week. One must remember that Wenger did not sign an outfield player in the transfer window, only Petr Cech. The next few fixtures will not only test the Arsenal squad but also their resolve.