Premier League: 4 Takeaways from the Football Action This Weekend

Apr 30, 2024

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LONDON, England – No. 1: Under Erik ten Hag, Manchester United has 54 points after 34 games. On Monday, April 22, a decade ago, David Moyes was fired after 34 games with 57 points. The analogy is meant to highlight how England, the record 20-time winners, have stagnated since Sir Alex Ferguson left the team in May 2013. There is no intention to remove Ten Hag from the equation.

If the general consensus was that it would be difficult to replace an all-time great, 11 years of misery is a harsh critique of the Glazers’ ownership and highlights the disarray in the club’s back office. Sir Jim Ratcliffe must understand how this, together with the over sixty different injuries and illnesses sustained this season, impacts Ten Hag’s or any manager’s capacity to field a reliable, successful football squad.

No. 2: Manager of the year for Sean Dyche? After leading Everton to safety with three games remaining, despite all that has been thrown at him this season, he makes a compelling case. It is the pinnacle of his coaching career, as he stated following the win over Brentford. His argument is undermined by his style of play, matching an undesirable club record of 13 games without a victory, and losing 6-0 against Chelsea. However, due to the club’s prior financial mismanagement, no other Premier League manager was required to turn a profit during the summer transfer window, shield his players from the absurd 10-point deduction (which was later reduced to six points on appeal), and then a further two-point deduction—all while keeping Everton’s uncertain future in the background.

This season, only Arsenal has preserved less clean sheets than Everton, who, but for the deductions, would currently be tied with highly regarded Brighton on points. Dyche remarked, “You wouldn’t imagine half of what I’ve been managing.” And why ought one to? Certain things are private, while others are just better left undisturbed. However, my sixth book since coming here would be regarded as fiction.

No. 3: In the first ten games of the season, Ange Postecoglou discovered enough blue sky in the Spurs team he inherited to build a pair of sailor’s pants. Since then, the remainder of the season has felt like a regression to the mean. If Spurs’ performance from the rest of the season continued as it did before their explosive start, they would now sit ninth in the Premier League.

And although Spurs’ loss in the north London derby and the strong possibility that they will now finish outside the Champions League positions hurt, it’s also critical to keep in mind that the squad’s quick start was genuine—a taste of how Postecoglou can turn this team around with the proper components. The Spurs are in a strong financial position. The takeaway from this is that Daniel Levy must support his guy come summertime. Does this ring familiar to you? – and continue to build upon the successes of Ange Year Zero before judging this Spurs iteration’s ultimate ceiling.

No. 4. Manchester City has seldom been at home at the City Ground. Five months prior to Erling Haaland’s birth, in February 2000, they had not triumphed at Nottingham Forest till now. Haaland started the game as a substitute after a patchy, injury-plagued run of play during which City’s most impressive games, such as Thursday’s 4-0 thumping of Brighton, occurred without him. That was not the case against Forest, who once more proved to be tough opponents, depriving Pep Guardiola of his usual command, and continually causing issues for his worn-out defense.

Júlian Álvarez had been forced out of the game by the Forest defense, but the forward’s sheer presence diverted their attention. As a result, City’s midfield had more room to maneuver, and Haaland expertly completed a 30-pass sequence that resembled a counterattack to deal a fatal blow to opponents who were behind. For their continuous incapacity to defend corners and their recklessness, Forest paid a price. With Josko Gvardiol’s header in the first half, the team surrendered 23 goals from set pieces so far this season, easily the worst record in the league.

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