Premier League grades: Good news for Arsenal, Manchester United struggle again
Last Updated: 03/12/18 9:11am
Who "produced one of their best displays of the season"? Who showed a new-found "energy and dynamism"? Read on to find out...
On a packed weekend of action, with all 20 teams playing before the end of Sunday, Derby Day lived up to all expectations with a trio of dramatic games, including a coming-of-age performance from Arsenal over north London rivals Tottenham, and a last-minute winner for Liverpool against Everton.
But from that bunch, and the rest of the Premier League, who impressed, who needs to do more, and who "should be worried"?
West Ham - A
West Ham produced one of their best displays of the season to beat Newcastle. Having made four changes from their defeat to Manchester City, the Hammers were electric on the break and could have been out of sight before Javier Hernandez scored his second in the 63rd minute.
Felipe Anderson was excellent, and deserving of his late goal, while Declan Rice and Mark Noble combined well in midfield. Plenty to build on for the Hammers ahead of a decent-looking run of fixtures before the new year. (James Walker-Roberts)
Arsenal - A
From minute one, Unai Emery's new Arsenal showed an energy and dynamism that some inside the Emirates are still getting used to. So used to seeing attritional football with a weak central midfield in these big games, Arsenal were the polar opposite on Sunday, and the home fans reacted in wonderment.
That's down to Emery, but also summer signing Lucas Torreira. The man of the match epitomises the Emery revolution; like a terrier, he harried Spurs all over the pitch and Mauricio Pochettino's side struggled to cope.
Arsenal have improved, and the battle for top four looks as though it will run until May. (Gerard Brand)
Everton - A-
Since their last league victory at Anfield in 1999, the short trip across Stanley Park has become increasingly arduous for Everton with each passing year. But in six short months, Marco Silva has assembled a side that should have left Anfield with three points, and would have been disappointed leaving with one.
The manner in which Everton came so close to shutting out one of the league's most potent attacking forces, while creating so many chances of their own, was a testament to the project Silva is carrying out at Goodison Park. (Jack Wilkinson)
Liverpool - B+
Liverpool showed off their Premier League title credentials with a smash-and-grab win against Everton in the Merseyside derby, but you could not have predicted that a 96th-minute winner from Divock Origi would have been the way to seal the points.
While the Reds continue their storming start to the season, whether they deserved to win is up for debate. Everton matched them at every step and were perhaps even better in the middle of the park thanks to Idrissa Gueye and Andre Gomes and, although they had 16 shots, only three were on target.
Graeme Souness said after the game Liverpool are not firing on all cylinders yet, which may be true, but a third Premier League clean sheet in a row plus the Merseyside bragging rights will probably top that for the Reds this weekend. (Charlotte Marsh)
Crystal Palace - B+
Roy Hodgson's side dominated Burnley from the off with Wilfried Zaha a constant threat and Max Meyer pulling the strings in midfield.
But for the woodwork and some wasteful finishing, the margin of victory could have been much greater. (Sam Drury)
Cardiff - B+
Grit and determination won the day for Neil Warnock and his side at the Cardiff City Stadium, and that's exactly what he would have wanted.
The Bluebirds boss criticised his side for losing out on second balls in the first half, but even then they had the better of the play against Wolves, and after half-time they improved to the point that their win felt entirely deserved.
These are the kind of games Cardiff will have to win if they are going to stay up - and three wins from four at home makes you think they might manage it. (Ron Walker)
Brighton - B
Brighton had a nightmare start, conceding inside the opening minute, and they did need a helping hand from Steve Mounie's harsh red card to spur them on. But they fought their way to victory against a stubborn Huddersfield side who spent most of the second half defending with 10 behind the ball.
This was Brighton's first Premier League win when conceding first, and in the end they deserved victory. But without that red card it could easily have been very different. (Ron Walker)
Leicester - B
It was a good three points for Leicester on Saturday and they looked like the Foxes of old, especially when they hit Watford on the counter-attack for James Maddison's goal. But aside from one Demarai Gray effort in the second, they did not look like creating much else as Watford dominated the ball.
However, they did defend well as Kasper Schmeichel claimed his 100th Leicester clean sheet and credit must go to Maddison and Jamie Vardy for their performances. Both have been kept out of the side for differing reasons in the last few weeks, but linked up well to hand Leicester the win. (Charlotte Marsh)
Southampton - B
It's a case of what might have been for Southampton. They raced into a two-goal lead thanks to strikes from Stuart Armstrong and Cedric Soares but they could not hold on as Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera struck back for the Manchester United.
However, there were plenty of positives for under pressure boss Mark Hughes, who has won just three of his last 25 Premier League games as a manager (W3 D9 L13). "For the most part we were the team in the ascendancy, we were the team asking questions in the opposition half and that's good," he said. "That's how it has to be and overall it can't be a disappointing view on the night."
They do need a win sooner rather than later though. Southampton have won just one of their last 15 Premier League matches (D6 L8), winning only against Crystal Palace in September and they remain the only team in the Premier League yet to win a home game this season (D5 L2). (Oliver Yew)
Manchester City - B-
This wasn't vintage City, and Bournemouth did get in-behind them several times at the Etihad, but for Pep Guardiola to make five changes and still look dominant shows the strength in depth he has.
Raheem Sterling was brilliant again, and Leroy Sane truly looks back to his devastating best, but it wasn't always simple. At 1-1, it did get a tad nervy, but City can score from anywhere, and from any source. (Gerard Brand)
Chelsea - B-
After Pedro's fourth-minute opener, there was a feeling that Chelsea would go on to steamroller Fulham, but the visitors quickly got up with the pace of the game thereafter to frustrate Maurizio Sarri's side with an organised display that has become Claudio Ranieri's trademark.
Having lost so meekly at Tottenham last time out, Sarri will be pleased to have come through this encounter with a clean sheet and a routine victory that was capped in style by Ruben Loftus-Cheek's strike.
It was a reminder of the quality that this Chelsea team possess deep into their ranks, for all the talk of an over-reliance on Eden Hazard. (Ben Grounds)
Bournemouth - C+
You can always guarantee Bournemouth will have a go at big teams, and from the off Eddie Howe's side refused to sit deep. It left a fair bit of space in the wide areas for Sterling and Sane to exploit, but they came closer to getting a point against City than most sides have this season, and provided some entertainment in doing so.
Ryan Fraser is a real live-wire, Callum Wilson is more than just a goalscorer, but the familiar defence that has served them so well over the past three years did look distinctly second best against City's quality.
Still, Howe felt a chance was missed, and that says a lot about Bournemouth's ambitions. (Gerard Brand)
Fulham - C+
Fulham's wait for a first clean sheet of the season continued at Stamford Bridge, but there was a new-found confidence on display following the Southampton victory.
Aleksandar Mitrovic cut an isolated figure in the absence of Andre Schurrle, and was hardly helped by the withdrawal of Ryan Sessegnon at half-time, but Calum Chambers showed plenty of signs of encouragement in midfield alongside Jean Michael Seri.
Chambers was denied twice by Kepa Arrizabalaga with the score at 1-0 so Ranieri will take plenty of positives from his first defeat since taking charge. (Ben Grounds)
Manchester United - C
After a really poor start at St Mary's, Jose Mourinho's side showed plenty of character to come back from two goals down to level things up going into the half-time break.
There only looked like one winner as the teams came back out for the second half as the momentum had swung in United's favour but what followed was an incredibly lacklustre effort from Mourinho's men. It's hard to remember a single clear-cut opportunity created by United in the second half.
The draw means United are now without a win in three Premier League games for the first time since December 2017 (D2 L1) and that's not good enough with the talent Mourinho has at his disposal. (Oliver Yew)
Huddersfield - C
Huddersfield were looking set for a fourth game without defeat for all of the opening 32 minutes against Brighton. But Steve Mounie's red card, and a disappointing reluctance from David Wagner to keep his creative players on the field, threw it away.
Yes, Huddersfield were a man down, but having continued in the ascendancy until Shane Duffy's goal on the stroke of half-time, they shut up shop and played for a draw - which played into Brighton's hands and ultimately left them with nothing. (Ron Walker)
Watford - C
It was a strange performance from Watford. Their commitment and general play were good, but they were completely wasteful in the box with some poor finishing and bad luck playing their part. Indeed, Watford manager Javi Gracia commented on how unfortunate his side has been in recent weeks, now going four Premier League games without a win.
Watford have also scored just once in that run and with Troy Deeney left on the bench on Saturday, he could well come back into the side for Tuesday's visit of Premier League champions Manchester City. (Charlotte Marsh)
Tottenham - C-
Pochettino said his players were lacking in energy following a huge 1-0 win over Inter Milan on Wednesday, and though they more than played their part in one of the games of the season, the manager's belief that the game was equal until 3-2 must be tinged with bias.
In the first 25 minutes, Arsenal could have been three to the good; Spurs couldn't cope with the high press and were forced into needless mistakes.
Arsenal did look fresher from the off, but individual errors cost Spurs. Is that due to tiredness or lack of quality on the day? It's hard to say, but what the defeat confirms is that the top four battle will be entertaining, and Spurs can't afford to miss out on the Champions League party.
Newcastle - D
After three wins in a row, Newcastle produced a display more reminiscent of their early-season form against West Ham. They had 16 shots but were toothless in attack and rarely tested goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. Ayoze Perez was wasteful with the chances that fell his way in the first half and Newcastle never looked like getting back into the match once they fell 2-0 behind.
The two sides started the day level on points in the Premier League, but this was a match that highlighted the sizeable gap in quality between their attacking assets. (James Walker-Roberts)
Wolves - D
Wolves' winless run was extended by a Cardiff side who just wanted it more than them. Wolves definitely had better technical ability, but they were outfought by a team willing to scrap for every ball.
It didn't help matters that Raul Jimenez and Adama Traore wasted possession in attacking areas so freely, but Wolves will need more battle, as well as more promise, if they are going to start winning again. (Ron Walker)
Burnley - E
In his post-match interview, Sean Dyche said his side were playing with fear and based on their performance at Selhurst Park, they've got plenty to be worried about. Gone is the energy and fight of last season and Saturday's insipid display saw them fail to even register a shot until the final 10 minutes. (Sam Drury)