Skip to content

Arsenal's January window just got more important as Angeball stretches Spurs to their limits - Premier League hits and misses

Plus: Ange Postecoglou defended his “tired” Tottenham team after they were blown away in a six-goal thriller at Brighton; the New Year promises more excitement for Roberto De Zerbi's Seagulls and praise for West Ham, who did a crafty job on Arsenal

Arsenal's January window just got more important

Mikel Arteta may just be grateful that Arsenal's 2-0 loss to West Ham came just days before the January transfer window opens.

Thursday's night to forget showed why there are doubts that the Gunners can finish on top come May 19.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Arsenal and West Ham.

Thirty shots without a goal - including two big misses for Gabriel Jesus and little to no impact from attacking substitutes Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson - raises more questions about whether more firepower is needed, especially a cewntre forward.

But do Arsenal need a full-back too? Takehiro Tomiyasu likely heading to the Asia Cup and Jurrien Timber still on the injury list means there's too much focus on Oleksandr Zinchenko - and it's showing.


Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Football journalist Sam Blitz believes Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta may need to add reinforcements in January following their shock home defeat to West Ham United.

A poor outing against Mohamed Salah at Liverpool and then unconvincing for West Ham's first goal. Perhaps it may be time to move on from the Ukrainian, especially in the big games.

But what order these two positions sit on the priority list - and whether there are decent enough options out there - is still unclear.
Sam Blitz

Also See:

Crafty Hammers do a job on Arsenal

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

West Ham United manager David Moyes hailed his side's defensive display as they won 2-0 at Arsenal.

Smash and grab. It's a cliched saying, but one that neatly sums up the way West Ham outfoxed Arsenal on their own patch.

77 touches in the opposition box is the most on record for a team who failed to score during a Premier League match. A stat the Hammers should wear as a badge of honour.

Arsenal were guilty of some wayward finishing, yes, but West Ham held impressively firm. They defended in solid banks. They threw bodies in the way. Alphonse Areola made eight saves. Then they sprung to life on the break with pace and purpose.

This is a result that will turn heads - it certainly wasn't in Arsenal's title-chasing script.

David Moyes' side have now won three consecutive league games without conceding for the first time since February 2014 - and none will be considered more cunning than their latest scalp.

A masterclass in the lost art of defending.
Laura Hunter

Ange-ball stretching depleted Spurs to their limits

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Sky Sports Football journalist Joe Shread was impressed with Brighton after they dispatched Tottenham 4-2 in the Premier League.

Tottenham's wave of optimism created by three straight Premier League wins crashed on the south coast as Brighton halted their momentum under Ange Postecoglou.

It felt a game too far for Spurs, who missed out on the chance to move back into the top four. Jamie Carragher has labelled it the 'season of dropped points'. Their chance will come again.

But it was a combination of ill-discipline and fatigue which contributed to this setback, as Dejan Kulusevski grabbed Danny Welbeck's shirt to gift the hosts the chance to double their lead.

From then on, Spurs were always chasing, hell-bent on playing a high line. Nothing appeared to be going their way, and while Brighton invited an unlikely comeback in the final 10 minutes, the final scoreline flattered the visitors.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou was unhappy with the VAR's decision to award Brighton a first-half penalty in his side's loss at the Amex Stadium.

"It's fair to say we looked a little bit tired," said Postecoglou. "I guess that's understandable. We're asking the players to perform at levels that are very demanding."

It was an off-night for Spurs, who now run into a Bournemouth side on a four-game winning run and who are unbeaten in seven. A seventh game of the month for Tottenham, you can expect the limits of Postecoglou's approach to be stretched a little further.
Ben Grounds

2024 promises more excitement for Seagulls

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Brighton head coach Roberto De Zerbi was delighted following his side's 4-2 home win over Tottenham.

When Joao Pedro rolled in his second penalty of the game to move Brighton 4-0 up on Tottenham, there were still 15 minutes on the clock. It felt as though Ange Postecoglou's side, who had been so limp throughout, could be on the end of a drubbing.

But Brighton, who are without a clean sheet in the Premier League this season, couldn't help but make things more interesting, handing Spurs two late goals.

De Zerbi shrugged off those lapses, admitting that both the devastating attacking play and the sloppy defending are what make his Brighton who they are.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Brighton and Tottenham.

What they are is perhaps the most enjoyable side to watch in the Premier League, while De Zerbi is one of the most creative managers.

Shorn of most of his wide players, who else would have deployed the 37-year-old James Milner as a marauding left winger?

It worked, as well - as things so often do for De Zerbi. 2023 has been an incredible year for the Seagulls - and there will surely be more to come in 2024.
Joe Shread

Tough love allows 'freed' Madueke to rescue Christmas for Chelsea

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from the Premier League as Chelsea faced Crystal Palace

Mauricio Pochettino said this was a game his side simply could not lose. They had to do it the hard way. Chelsea have missed too many big chances this season - more than any other Premier League side - and they missed more here. Nicolas Jackson, again the fall guy.

It had looked like being another frustrating home outing for Pochettino's side for most of the second half. But the charismatic Argentine looked to his bench, as he so often has, rummaged in his bag, and picked out Noni Madueke. Ask many fans and they will tell you he should have started on Wednesday night. But he made his point.

Pochettino said on Madueke's impact: "He played free. The difference is he did what we needed in this moment. He went to play and I liked that he showed that he was upset with me. He was disappointed with me as he hadn't played too much but he showed me that I can trust him.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Mauricio Pochettino hails the importance of mentality after his young Chelsea side beat Crystal Palace late on in the Premier League

"They need to show me that I can trust, and the mentality is really important in the Premier League. You need quality, but you need the right mentality and approach in training in order to perform. We are not a charity.

"We are a football club and we need to perform. Sometimes we need to be tough and we need to show the reality when a player isn't ready to perform. If you want to compete for Chelsea, with all respect, it's not like at other clubs. It's about winning trophies and respecting the history of the club."

This turned into a restorative evening for the beleaguered Chelsea boss, who was full of energy on the touchline throughout - collecting a yellow card in stoppage time.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gary Cotterill and Ben Grounds give their verdict on Chelsea's 2-1 win over Crystal Palace

Here came a welcome slice of VAR intervention and a dose of Christmas cheer just when it seemed things were turning further against them with Madueke providing the crowning glory. With three home wins on the bounce, Chelsea are turning a corner. Aren't they?
Ben Grounds

Could City comeback win be the start of another long unbeaten run for Pep and Co?

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from Everton's match against Manchester City in the Premier League

Man City could have wished for an easier reintroduction to the Premier League following their sojourn winning the Club World Cup than a frosty Goodison Park on a Wednesday night.

However, maybe it was exactly the sort of tough examination Pep Guardiola's side needed after recent slip-ups in the league saw the champions slip outside the top four and eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool, albeit with two games in hand.

But the newly crowned world champions knew they had to win those matches, meaning there was no room for error on Merseyside against an Everton team in impressive form of late.

So the pressure was well and truly on going in at half-time 1-0 behind and having lost key man John Stones to a first-half injury, on top of already being without Erling Haaland.

Champions being champions, though, demanded a second-half response and boy did they produce one as a rampant City scored three times without reply, with Everton not even managing a shot on target after the break.

Phil Foden ran the show, but all the visiting players stood up to leave the visitors now just five points behind Liverpool, and with a game in hand, as we move into the second half of the campaign.

This is the time when Guardiola's sides like to start their long winning runs to either pull away from opponents, or as was the case last season, catch, then overtake them in the final stretch.

And given how impressive their response was to falling behind to Everton, the signs are ominous for Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur as the title race hots up.
Richard Morgan

Wolves enjoying themselves under O'Neil

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Highlights from Brentford's match against Wolves in the Premier League

Gary O'Neil has ticked plenty of boxes since coming in at Wolves but he managed a few more with a 4-1 win at Brentford. The away form had been a concern, particularly in London where Wolves were without a win in 14. Finally, the fans had a fun night in the capital.

There was also the fact that every Wolves win so far had come by just one goal. Here, a three-goal victory was enough to move his team above former club Bournemouth in the Premier League table. Back-to-back wins for the first time. Relegation is not a concern.

Avoiding the drop was the remit when appointed but ambitions change and Wolves are becoming more adaptable under O'Neil. They played positive passing football in the first half, forced mistakes through pressing, then sat back and soaked up pressure.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Gary O'Neil reassures Wolves supporters on Hee-Chan Hwang's injury at Brentford

Hee-Chan Hwang is high on confidence and Rayan Ait-Nouri's return from injury adds a different dimension to their play with his ability to beat men in tight space. Both will be missing soon because of international commitments but Pedro Neto is fit again.

In midfield, the partnership of Mario Lemina and the young Brazilian Joao Gomes is blossoming. In defence, Max Kilman is growing as a leader. O'Neil will be encouraged that this win was achieved without Craig Dawson as Santi Bueno deputised again.

As a result, a mood of optimism prevails. A season that seemed fraught in the summer, daunting on the eve of the campaign, and characterised by talk of consolidation throughout the autumn, has taken on a different shape. Wolves are enjoying themselves again.
Adam Bate

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Jamie Weir and Sam Blitz give their verdict on Brentford's 4-1 defeat at home to Wolves

Brentford face crucial month ahead

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Nathan Collins made two errors contributing to Brentford's 4-1 loss to Wolves, but Thomas Frank praises his player for being such a positive influence on the team this season

Brentford currently have all the hallmarks of a team on the slide. Poor in both boxes, Championship-level defending and home form disappearing.

The west Londoners have now lost four Premier League home games this season - that's twice as many as they lost in the whole of last term. Wednesday's loss to Wolves was the first time they have conceded four goals at home since their promotion two and a half years ago.

Defeat to Wolves proved the Gtech has not been the 'under the lights fortress' that we had become accustomed to knowing. It appears Brentford's 'new kids on the block' shine has disappeared.

A lot of the responsibility of Wednesday's 4-1 home loss to Wolves will fall at Nathan Collins' feet after his high-profile errors. But there were the countless opportunities missed by the front three, ones that returning striker Ivan Toney would have gobbled up.

Brentford now face a big next month both on and off the pitch. Will they keep Toney? Can they add as the likes of Yoane Wissa - the only bright spark against Wolves - go to the Africa Cup of Nations?

But more immediately, there's Saturday's game away at Crystal Palace. Whoever out of Thomas Frank or Roy Hodgson loses that one could be under big pressure.
Sam Blitz

Win £250,000 with Super 6!
Win £250,000 with Super 6!

Correctly predict six scorelines to win £250,000 for free with Super 6. Entries by 3pm Saturday.

Around Sky