Sheffield United

Sheffield United slideshow

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Monday Morning Football: A definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend

It was the weekend that started and ended with familiar problems. West Ham United were shambolic at home, again, as they were thrashed by Brighton on Friday, before first Everton and then Liverpool were undermined by their longstanding defensive issues in a pair of drubbings against north London's finest. Elsewhere, the inquest has begun after Manchester United fell to a shock defeat at Huddersfield Town, while Pep Guardiola’s purring Manchester City machine continued its smooth journey at the top of the Premier League table. We also had great goals – the greatest of the season so far, at least, horror tackles, and a nightmarish pair of missed sitters that will leave the otherwise excellent Richarlison waking up in cold sweats all week. All that, and much more, in our definitive analysis of the Premier League weekend. Whose stock is rising?  Antonio Conte It took guts (or indeed “cojones”) for Conte to replace Alvaro Morata with Michy Batshuayi against Watford, not least because of the pressure he has found himself under in recent weeks following back-to-back defeats by Manchester City and Crystal Palace. That pressure was exacerbated by reports this week that the Chelsea players were unhappy with the intensity of Conte’s training regime. But a fightback like the one they performed against Watford, after struggling for long periods of the game, does not seem to be the kind of determined showing produced by players who have lost faith in their manager. Conte celebrates with Batshuayi Credit: Reuters Comparisons have inevitably been drawn with Jose Mourinho’s final season as Chelsea manager, when they tailed off spectacularly after winning the title. Yet those performances were defined by Chelsea’s listless, almost shoulder-shrugging performances, and there was nothing of the sort at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Questions remain over the depth of Chelsea’s squad, and how they will cope with the added European workload this season, but on this evidence, and to Conte’s credit, you cannot question their fighting spirit. Riyad Mahrez If Leicester are going to rediscover some consistency this season, it is clear that Mahrez will be at the heart of it. The Algerian seems to have been on a slow but gradual downward trajectory since his wonderful title-winning performances in 2015/16, particularly in terms of delivering the goods in the final third. So it was a pleasing throwback to see him slice through the Swansea defence time and time again on Saturday, fresh from scoring the equaliser against West Brom on Monday. The first, a Federico Fernandez own goal, was created by a whipped Mahrez cross, and the lay-off for the second, finished by Okazaki, was a testament to his awareness and technique. Swansea 0 - 2 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki, 49 min) Most encouraging, though, was the way he linked up with Jamie Vardy in those rapier-like counter-attacks. It really was vintage Leicester and, hopefully for them, a sign that Mahrez has got over the effects of the chaotic summer transfer window in which he held out for a move that never came. Chris Hughton The fallout from West Ham’s humbling at home to Brighton has understandably focused on Slaven Bilic. Rightly so, considering the consistently dour performances West Ham keep producing at the London Stadium. Yet a word of praise is certainly due to Brighton, and Chris Hughton in particular. To go away from home and win 3-0 is a phenomenal result for a club of Brighton’s standing, wherever it is and whoever it is against. Hughton should be a happy man after the victory against West Ham Credit: Getty Images Brighton have so far looked solid at the back this season, but limited going forward. So here was a pleasing releasing of the brakes, with Glenn Murray at the heart of it. Hughton said afterwards he was as happy with the clean sheet as he was with the goals, but Brighton fans will surely be taking more encouragement from the attacking play. It won’t hurt, either, that record £13.5m signing Jose Izquierdo notched his first goal for the club. Leroy Sane Among the constellation of stars in Manchester City’s attack, Sane has stayed further below the radar than any of the others. That is starting to look unfair on the German who, lest we forget, is still just 21 years old. Sane was excellent in the 3-0 win over Burnley and continued a terrific run of individual form. Just look at the stats: Sane has both scored and assisted in three of his last four Premier League games, and has been involved in a total of nine goals in his last six league outings. Sane was clinical against Burnley Credit: Getty Images Sane struggled at times last season following his £37m move from Schalke, taking 13 games to score his first goal for the club and not quite remaining a first-choice in Pep Guardiola’s maiden season in England. He is so much more clinical this time around, though, and seems to be growing in importance with each passing week. Guardiola is reversing the modern-day trend of playing inverted wingers (right-footed wingers playing on the left and vice versa) with Sane and Raheem Sterling this season. By doing so, he is allowing City to maintain their width, but the danger with that is that they might lose some attacking threat without the wide-men darting infield towards goal. Sane’s cutting-edge on the left has ensured that has not been the case. His goal on Saturday, running in behind onto a De Bruyne pass, was the sort of composed finish we have come to expect from Sane this season. Man City 3 - 0 Burnley (Leroy Sané, 75 min) Aaron Ramsey Ramsey was absent for last weekend’s humiliation at Watford, and the Arsenal midfield was overrun without him. Back in the fold for the trip to Goodison Park, he played a crucial role in what was an impressive Arsenal performance against an admittedly struggling Everton side. Ramsey could have scored in the first few minutes as he raced in behind the Everton defence. He eventually did so right at the death, adding further gloss to proceedings with a smartly-taken run and finish. The image of Granit Xhaka standing motionless in midfield as Tom Cleverley scored Watford’s winner last weekend was an indication of Arsenal’s lack of drive and energy without Ramsey. Ramsey celebrates his goal Credit: Getty Images The Welshman can be sloppy at times, and there will be plenty of Arsenal fans perhaps hoping Jack Wilshere will take his first-team place in the long-term, but here was a timely reminder of what he can bring to Arsene Wenger’s side. Whose stock is falling? Jesse Lingard It is perhaps harsh to point the figure at one Manchester United player after their derisory defeat at Huddersfield Town. There were certainly plenty at fault, as manager Jose Mourinho made clear in a remarkable press conference afterwards. Victor Lindelof and Juan Mata were the biggest culprits when it came to the Huddersfield goals, but there was also a real lack of attacking rhythm further forward. At the heart of that was Jesse Lingard, who was a peripheral figure throughout the game. Lingard was one of many United players who struggled at Huddersfield Credit: Getty Images Lingard started in a central position behind Romelu Lukaku, with Mata on the right. That looked a little odd from minute one, and it's safe to say that was not a decision that worked out. It seemed to place too much onus on Lingard, who seems to have fallen further and further down the United pecking order this season. Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have been in productive form this campaign, especially compared to Lingard. The 24-year-old has scored just one goal in 14 appearances, and that was against Burton in the League Cup. If Lingard has any ambitions of making the England World Cup squad, he needs to do more. Richarlison How different things could have been had Richarlison brought his shooting boots to Stamford Bridge. The Watford winger missed two sitters at a crucial moment in the game, when his side were in the ascendancy. He was still a constant threat, of course, and has been a complete revelation this season. This author would go so far to say he has been one of the players of the campaign so far, and he has scored or assisted more league goals than any other Watford player this season (five). Richarlison after missing from close range Credit: Getty Images Yet just as we heap praise on him for his decisive impact in games against Swansea, West Brom and Arsenal, it should be noted that he fluffed his lines on Saturday and it cost his side three points. As he revealed exclusively to the Telegraph this week, Richarlison is not the kind of player to be cowed or perturbed by his misses, though. Watford face Stoke at home on Saturday and it would take a brave man to bet against him being the primary dangerman once more. Mark Hughes “There is no point feeling sorry for ourselves,” Hughes said after Stoke’s disappointing defeat at home to Bournemouth. The more appropriate response would be anger. That was certainly the reaction from some in the Stoke fanbase, increasingly concerned that their long-standing solidity is slipping away. The defeat left Stoke in the relegation zone and more worrying would have been the manner of the goals they conceded. Andrew Surman’s calm finish for the first was perfectly placed, but he would never have had the opportunity if one of four dozing Stoke players had tracked the run of Adam Smith in the build-up. And the penalty, conceded by Ryan Shawcross, was a classic case of rustiness in his first game since August. Stoke 0 - 1 Bournemouth (Andrew Surman, 16 min) There are two factors that need mentioning at this point: Stoke have had a tough run of fixtures so far this season, and they have a history of starting slowly before building momentum. Yet this was  still a genuinely worrying result. Stoke face Watford, Leicester, Brighton and Crystal Palace in their next four games. If things don’t improve by the end of November, the calls for a managerial change will escalate dramatically. Jose Mourinho Yes, that makes two Manchester United inclusions in one week. That is hopefully an indication of just how bad they were at Huddersfield, and a big chunk of the blame for that must be attributed to Mourinho. The United manager was very calm in his post-match press conference, but he was brutal in the assessment of his players and their terrible approach to the game. Mourinho blamed his squad's attitude for their defeat Credit: Getty Images “I heard that Ander Herrera is in interviews and he is saying that the attitude and the desire was poor,” Mourinho said. “My God. When a player says that and feels that, I think they should all go to the press conference and explain why, because I can’t explain that.” Hang on. Are we missing something here? Is it not Mourinho’s job as manager to ensure the attitude of his player is up to scratch? Mourinho is never afraid of diversionary tactics after a defeat, but this felt like an odd removal of blame from himself. They are your players, Jose. Motivate them. Yohan Cabaye The ‘villain of the weekend’ title this time falls to Crystal Palace’s Yohan Cabaye, for producing a grim, wince-inducing scissor-challenge on Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin. It was nasty, and it was made worse by the fact it was against his old club, at the stadium he was once so revered. Cabaye should have been sent off, but for Newcastle there was to be great joy in the Frenchman staying on the pitch, as it allowed the ever-subtle Jonjo Shelvey to celebrate Mikel Merino’s winner accordingly: Anybody else spot Shelvey celebrating Merino’s goal with Cabaye? �� pic.twitter.com/veeKRa7F0f— Newcastle Stats (@NewcastleStats) October 21, 2017 Five mind-boggling stats   11 - Since the start of the 2015/16 season, Swansea have scored 11 Premier League own goals. That is more than twice as many as any other side. 14 - Liverpool have now conceded more away goals than they did in the entirety of the 2008-9 league campaign, when they finished runners-up.  18 - Since Slaven Bilic started as West Ham manager, his side have conceded 18 penalties. That’s four more than anyone else. 19 -Chelsea defenders have scored a combined 19 goals since the start of last season, more than any other side. 133 - There were just 133 seconds between Bournemouth’s first and second goals against Stoke City on Saturday. Jason Burt's team of the weekend Goal of the weekend Forget goal of the weekend, this could be the goal of the season. Until now, Sofiane Boufal has resoundingly failed to impress in a Southampton shirt since his £16m move from Lille last year. What he has shown, though, is that he is capable of scoring special goals. His slaloming run electrified a lifeless game against West Brom at St Mary’s, and was made all the better by the way he caused two West Brom players to wipe each other out. And after all that, he had the composure to roll home a measured finish.  A special mention, too, for Surman’s strike for Bournemouth at Stoke, which was as aesthetically pleasing as they come. Southampton 1 - 0 West Brom (Sofiane Boufal, 85 min) Jason Burt's team of the weekend *Formation builder particle to go here* One key question for this week How long can Jurgen Klopp persist with Dejan Lovren? Has this not gone too far, for too long, now? Lovren has been wobbly all season, and it reached a nadir in those first 30 minutes against Tottenham. His work for the first two Tottenham goals, scored by Harry Kane and then Son Heung-min, was a complete abandonment of the most basic rules of defending. Lovren had an afternoon to forget Credit: Getty Images Lovren, clearly, has a been a problem for a while. That is why Liverpool were so keen to sign Virgil Van Dijk in the summer. But does Klopp not have enough options at the club already, not least moving the impressive Joe Gomez into the centre of defence? Ragnar Klavan is around, too, although he hardly inspires confidence either. When he is good, which he has been at times, Lovren is an agressive, front-foot defender who likes to come forward. His major problems appear to start when he is turned. So you can understand why he would want to step up for both the Tottenham goals, but it was the wrong time, the wrong place and the worst execution. Increasingly, Lovren looks to be the wrong man for the job, and we wait to see just how damaged he is by being hauled out of the game after just half an hour. Who's showing the most cards? How is the table looking? Off the Ball, by Dan Zeqiri Alternative analysis Arsene Wenger's 68th Birthday wishes:  - Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil to sign new deals   - A European trophy  - Some atmosphere at the Emirates  - Jose Mourinho to contract a tropical disease - How to cope with retirement self-help book  On this day in 1940  Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele, was born. The great man went on to score more than 1,000 goals in a garlanded career.  Picture of the weekend  One Arsenal fan went home with a souvenir  One Arsenal fan let a 5-2 win at Everton go to his head, but he did go home with Jack Wilshere's shirt for his trouble. Commentary of the weekend  'I don't want to jump into Dejan Lovren's nightmare' - Psychic Jamie Redknapp decides against entering the hapless Liverpool defender's mind. After a disastrous 30 minutes at Wembley, he's certainly in for some sleepless nights.   Made-up stat 9 - Weeks before Jose Mourinho lets Victor Lindelof train with the first-team again.  Tweet of the weekend #SharkTeam at it again ������— Benjamin Mendy (@benmendy23) October 21, 2017 Mendy was at again too, in his new role as Manchester City's chief cheerleader. Some City fans have even taken to inflatable sharks in a nod to their cult hero.  Race for the Golden Boot  What's coming up next? What's on TV this week? Tuesday:Swansea City v Manchester United, League Cup, 19.45, Sky Sports Wednesday: Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United, League Cup, 20.00, Sky Sports Friday: Leeds United v Sheffield United, Championship, 19.45, Sky Sports Saturday: Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, 12.30, Sky Sports; Bournemouth v Chelsea, Premier League, 17.30, BT Sport Sunday: Brighton v Southampton, Premier League 13.30, Premier League, Sky Sports; Leicester City v Everton, Premier League, 16.00, Premier League, Sky Sports

Championship Review: Wolves stay top as Terry scores for Villa

Wolves remain top as Cardiff and Sheffield United kept up the chase in the Championship, while Brentford and Sunderland shared a thriller.

Why Craig Shakespeare proves the folly of promoting an assistant to become manager

Another one bites the dust. To the list of assistant managers who have failed to make the cut in the main managerial hotseat we can now add Craig Shakespeare. Just eight games into the new season, Shakespeare has been shown the door at Leicester City with the club languishing in the Premier League relegation zone. The Leicester job was Shakespeare's first taste of management (aside from a one-game caretaker role more than a decade ago) and he had grown accustomed to life as a number two behind Claudio Ranieri. But when the Italian was controversially sacked in February he first took the role on a caretaker basis before he was appointed permanently this summer. Despite the initial upturn in fortunes that his appointment brought (and the subsequent awarding of a three-year contract), it was difficult to deny the the temporary feel to his stewardship. So it proved. Is it possible for an assistant to be promoted with success? A glance at the history of assistants taking the step up shows something of a common theme. Promoting from within after a manager has been sacked rarely yields positive results unless the the former assistant was sufficiently removed from the previous regime. Conversely - and unsurprisingly - those that have the benefit of following in the footsteps of greatness tend to succeed. Is it the case that their faces are just too familiar to ditch the association with past unsuccessful regimes or are they tactically incapable of breaking clear from a previous era? Here are some examples of when promoting from within worked - and times when it didn't. John Carver - Newcastle United The most caring of caretaker managers, Carver has taken temporary charge of clubs on numerous occasions in his coaching career. Brief stints at Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield United and then Newcastle again paved the way for him to finally be given a (slightly) longer crack at the big time - without great success. John Carver did not last long at Newcastle Credit: afp Alan Pardew's departure in early 2015 saw Carver first promoted to a caretaker role before he was given the managerial job on a temporary basis until the end of the season. There were no guarantees over whether he would stand a chance of gaining the job permanently, but he was given the task of finishing in the top half of the table. Instead he oversaw a run of eight successive league defeats, only narrowly kept the club in the Premier League and was promptly sacked when Steve McClaren was appointed in June. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea The case of Shakespeare bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Di Matteo at Chelsea in 2012. The Italian had worked under Andre Villas-Boas as assistant manager from June 2011, prior to stepping up to the main role on a caretaker basis when Villas-Boas was sacked in March the following year. Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph, an FA Cup final victory and was rewarded with a two-year deal to remain as manager on a permanent basis. Yet, just like Shakespeare, his spell in charge was short-lived and he was ditched by November following a poor start to the 2012/13 season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom (despite his success when caretaker) Ray Harford - Fulham, Luton Town, Wimbledon and Blackburn Rovers Surely no one can challenge Harford for number of promotions from assistant to permanent manager. He made his first step up at Fulham in 1984, where he began his reign by keeping the club in the First Division, but resigned after they were beset by financial problems and relegated the year after. He then climbed the same ladder at Luton Town, where he had great success, guiding them to victory in the League Cup final before a relegation battle saw him sacked in 1990. Ray Harford made the step up to manager on four separate occasions Credit:  Getty Images The third move from assistant to manager came later that year when Bobby Gould was sacked as Wimbledon manager, but he resigned in October 1991 to take up a role as Kenny Dalglish's assistant at Blackburn Rovers. Despite vowing that he would never again step up from No 2 to the manager's chair, he did just that when Dalglish quit in the wake of the club's Premier League title triumph. They finished seventh in Harford's first season in charge and he then quit in October 1996 after the club failed to win any of their first 10 games. Manager material or better in the backroom? On the balance of his four tenures: Manager Sammy Lee - Bolton Wanderers 'Little Sam' has made a decent career out of being an assistant manager, but his time as the man in charge did not go so swimmingly. The former Liverpool midfielder gained his nickname during his time as No 2 to Sam Allardyce at Bolton in 2005. When 'Big Sam' departed the club in April 2007, Lee was asked to step into the manager's role but managed to win just one league game from 11 matches and was sacked in October. He has since returned to the coaching ranks, thriving in his various behind-the-scenes roles. One who perhaps did not flourish in the limelight. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Martin Jol - Spurs The Dutchman had never plied his managerial trade outside of his native country when he was recruited to be Jacques Santini's assistant manager at Spurs in the summer of 2004. Alas, Santini lasted just 13 games before his tenure ended and Jol was confirmed as his replacement. Martin Jol secured European football for Spurs Credit: action images He was a quick hit as manager, turning around the club's fortunes and narrowly missing out on a Uefa Cup spot in his first season in charge. The club came within a whisker (or a dodgy meal) of making the Champions League the following campaign and Jol guided them to another fifth-place finish the next year. He lost his job early in the following season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Tito Vilanova - Barcelona Vilanova climbed the Barcelona ranks with Pep Guardiola, serving as assistant for Barcelona B and then the main Barcelona team until 2012. When Guardiola announced his departure that April - a year after guiding the club to a Champions League and La Liga double - Vilanova was immediately confirmed as his successor at the helm. It was the first time he had taken a main managerial position since an unsuccessful spell in charge of Spanish lower-league side Palafrugell almost a decade earlier, but he nonetheless led Barcelona to another La Liga title. He underwent surgery for cancer in December of that year, but remained as manager until he was forced to resign for health reasons in July 2013. He died in April 2014. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Bob Paisley - Liverpool A Liverpool stalwart throughout his playing career, Paisley returned to the club first as physio and then assistant manager to Bill Shankly. When Shankly retired in 1974, Paisley was promoted to the top job despite some reluctance as a successor - Paisley had once said: "Bill loves it. He likes the razzmatazz. I'm a backroom boy. Always will be." His managerial career at Anfield proved a huge success and he won six league titles and three European Cups during his nine years in charge. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager

Why Craig Shakespeare proves the folly of promoting an assistant to become manager

Another one bites the dust. To the list of assistant managers who have failed to make the cut in the main managerial hotseat we can now add Craig Shakespeare. Just eight games into the new season, Shakespeare has been shown the door at Leicester City with the club languishing in the Premier League relegation zone. The Leicester job was Shakespeare's first taste of management (aside from a one-game caretaker role more than a decade ago) and he had grown accustomed to life as a number two behind Claudio Ranieri. But when the Italian was controversially sacked in February he first took the role on a caretaker basis before he was appointed permanently this summer. Despite the initial upturn in fortunes that his appointment brought (and the subsequent awarding of a three-year contract), it was difficult to deny the the temporary feel to his stewardship. So it proved. Is it possible for an assistant to be promoted with success? A glance at the history of assistants taking the step up shows something of a common theme. Promoting from within after a manager has been sacked rarely yields positive results unless the the former assistant was sufficiently removed from the previous regime. Conversely - and unsurprisingly - those that have the benefit of following in the footsteps of greatness tend to succeed. Is it the case that their faces are just too familiar to ditch the association with past unsuccessful regimes or are they tactically incapable of breaking clear from a previous era? Here are some examples of when promoting from within worked - and times when it didn't. John Carver - Newcastle United The most caring of caretaker managers, Carver has taken temporary charge of clubs on numerous occasions in his coaching career. Brief stints at Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield United and then Newcastle again paved the way for him to finally be given a (slightly) longer crack at the big time - without great success. John Carver did not last long at Newcastle Credit: afp Alan Pardew's departure in early 2015 saw Carver first promoted to a caretaker role before he was given the managerial job on a temporary basis until the end of the season. There were no guarantees over whether he would stand a chance of gaining the job permanently, but he was given the task of finishing in the top half of the table. Instead he oversaw a run of eight successive league defeats, only narrowly kept the club in the Premier League and was promptly sacked when Steve McClaren was appointed in June. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea The case of Shakespeare bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Di Matteo at Chelsea in 2012. The Italian had worked under Andre Villas-Boas as assistant manager from June 2011, prior to stepping up to the main role on a caretaker basis when Villas-Boas was sacked in March the following year. Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph, an FA Cup final victory and was rewarded with a two-year deal to remain as manager on a permanent basis. Yet, just like Shakespeare, his spell in charge was short-lived and he was ditched by November following a poor start to the 2012/13 season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom (despite his success when caretaker) Ray Harford - Fulham, Luton Town, Wimbledon and Blackburn Rovers Surely no one can challenge Harford for number of promotions from assistant to permanent manager. He made his first step up at Fulham in 1984, where he began his reign by keeping the club in the First Division, but resigned after they were beset by financial problems and relegated the year after. He then climbed the same ladder at Luton Town, where he had great success, guiding them to victory in the League Cup final before a relegation battle saw him sacked in 1990. Ray Harford made the step up to manager on four separate occasions Credit:  Getty Images The third move from assistant to manager came later that year when Bobby Gould was sacked as Wimbledon manager, but he resigned in October 1991 to take up a role as Kenny Dalglish's assistant at Blackburn Rovers. Despite vowing that he would never again step up from No 2 to the manager's chair, he did just that when Dalglish quit in the wake of the club's Premier League title triumph. They finished seventh in Harford's first season in charge and he then quit in October 1996 after the club failed to win any of their first 10 games. Manager material or better in the backroom? On the balance of his four tenures: Manager Sammy Lee - Bolton Wanderers 'Little Sam' has made a decent career out of being an assistant manager, but his time as the man in charge did not go so swimmingly. The former Liverpool midfielder gained his nickname during his time as No 2 to Sam Allardyce at Bolton in 2005. When 'Big Sam' departed the club in April 2007, Lee was asked to step into the manager's role but managed to win just one league game from 11 matches and was sacked in October. He has since returned to the coaching ranks, thriving in his various behind-the-scenes roles. One who perhaps did not flourish in the limelight. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Martin Jol - Spurs The Dutchman had never plied his managerial trade outside of his native country when he was recruited to be Jacques Santini's assistant manager at Spurs in the summer of 2004. Alas, Santini lasted just 13 games before his tenure ended and Jol was confirmed as his replacement. Martin Jol secured European football for Spurs Credit: action images He was a quick hit as manager, turning around the club's fortunes and narrowly missing out on a Uefa Cup spot in his first season in charge. The club came within a whisker (or a dodgy meal) of making the Champions League the following campaign and Jol guided them to another fifth-place finish the next year. He lost his job early in the following season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Tito Vilanova - Barcelona Vilanova climbed the Barcelona ranks with Pep Guardiola, serving as assistant for Barcelona B and then the main Barcelona team until 2012. When Guardiola announced his departure that April - a year after guiding the club to a Champions League and La Liga double - Vilanova was immediately confirmed as his successor at the helm. It was the first time he had taken a main managerial position since an unsuccessful spell in charge of Spanish lower-league side Palafrugell almost a decade earlier, but he nonetheless led Barcelona to another La Liga title. He underwent surgery for cancer in December of that year, but remained as manager until he was forced to resign for health reasons in July 2013. He died in April 2014. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Bob Paisley - Liverpool A Liverpool stalwart throughout his playing career, Paisley returned to the club first as physio and then assistant manager to Bill Shankly. When Shankly retired in 1974, Paisley was promoted to the top job despite some reluctance as a successor - Paisley had once said: "Bill loves it. He likes the razzmatazz. I'm a backroom boy. Always will be." His managerial career at Anfield proved a huge success and he won six league titles and three European Cups during his nine years in charge. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager

Why Craig Shakespeare proves the folly of promoting an assistant to become manager

Another one bites the dust. To the list of assistant managers who have failed to make the cut in the main managerial hotseat we can now add Craig Shakespeare. Just eight games into the new season, Shakespeare has been shown the door at Leicester City with the club languishing in the Premier League relegation zone. The Leicester job was Shakespeare's first taste of management (aside from a one-game caretaker role more than a decade ago) and he had grown accustomed to life as a number two behind Claudio Ranieri. But when the Italian was controversially sacked in February he first took the role on a caretaker basis before he was appointed permanently this summer. Despite the initial upturn in fortunes that his appointment brought (and the subsequent awarding of a three-year contract), it was difficult to deny the the temporary feel to his stewardship. So it proved. Is it possible for an assistant to be promoted with success? A glance at the history of assistants taking the step up shows something of a common theme. Promoting from within after a manager has been sacked rarely yields positive results unless the the former assistant was sufficiently removed from the previous regime. Conversely - and unsurprisingly - those that have the benefit of following in the footsteps of greatness tend to succeed. Is it the case that their faces are just too familiar to ditch the association with past unsuccessful regimes or are they tactically incapable of breaking clear from a previous era? Here are some examples of when promoting from within worked - and times when it didn't. John Carver - Newcastle United The most caring of caretaker managers, Carver has taken temporary charge of clubs on numerous occasions in his coaching career. Brief stints at Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield United and then Newcastle again paved the way for him to finally be given a (slightly) longer crack at the big time - without great success. John Carver did not last long at Newcastle Credit: afp Alan Pardew's departure in early 2015 saw Carver first promoted to a caretaker role before he was given the managerial job on a temporary basis until the end of the season. There were no guarantees over whether he would stand a chance of gaining the job permanently, but he was given the task of finishing in the top half of the table. Instead he oversaw a run of eight successive league defeats, only narrowly kept the club in the Premier League and was promptly sacked when Steve McClaren was appointed in June. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea The case of Shakespeare bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Di Matteo at Chelsea in 2012. The Italian had worked under Andre Villas-Boas as assistant manager from June 2011, prior to stepping up to the main role on a caretaker basis when Villas-Boas was sacked in March the following year. Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph, an FA Cup final victory and was rewarded with a two-year deal to remain as manager on a permanent basis. Yet, just like Shakespeare, his spell in charge was short-lived and he was ditched by November following a poor start to the 2012/13 season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom (despite his success when caretaker) Ray Harford - Fulham, Luton Town, Wimbledon and Blackburn Rovers Surely no one can challenge Harford for number of promotions from assistant to permanent manager. He made his first step up at Fulham in 1984, where he began his reign by keeping the club in the First Division, but resigned after they were beset by financial problems and relegated the year after. He then climbed the same ladder at Luton Town, where he had great success, guiding them to victory in the League Cup final before a relegation battle saw him sacked in 1990. Ray Harford made the step up to manager on four separate occasions Credit:  Getty Images The third move from assistant to manager came later that year when Bobby Gould was sacked as Wimbledon manager, but he resigned in October 1991 to take up a role as Kenny Dalglish's assistant at Blackburn Rovers. Despite vowing that he would never again step up from No 2 to the manager's chair, he did just that when Dalglish quit in the wake of the club's Premier League title triumph. They finished seventh in Harford's first season in charge and he then quit in October 1996 after the club failed to win any of their first 10 games. Manager material or better in the backroom? On the balance of his four tenures: Manager Sammy Lee - Bolton Wanderers 'Little Sam' has made a decent career out of being an assistant manager, but his time as the man in charge did not go so swimmingly. The former Liverpool midfielder gained his nickname during his time as No 2 to Sam Allardyce at Bolton in 2005. When 'Big Sam' departed the club in April 2007, Lee was asked to step into the manager's role but managed to win just one league game from 11 matches and was sacked in October. He has since returned to the coaching ranks, thriving in his various behind-the-scenes roles. One who perhaps did not flourish in the limelight. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Martin Jol - Spurs The Dutchman had never plied his managerial trade outside of his native country when he was recruited to be Jacques Santini's assistant manager at Spurs in the summer of 2004. Alas, Santini lasted just 13 games before his tenure ended and Jol was confirmed as his replacement. Martin Jol secured European football for Spurs Credit: action images He was a quick hit as manager, turning around the club's fortunes and narrowly missing out on a Uefa Cup spot in his first season in charge. The club came within a whisker (or a dodgy meal) of making the Champions League the following campaign and Jol guided them to another fifth-place finish the next year. He lost his job early in the following season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Tito Vilanova - Barcelona Vilanova climbed the Barcelona ranks with Pep Guardiola, serving as assistant for Barcelona B and then the main Barcelona team until 2012. When Guardiola announced his departure that April - a year after guiding the club to a Champions League and La Liga double - Vilanova was immediately confirmed as his successor at the helm. It was the first time he had taken a main managerial position since an unsuccessful spell in charge of Spanish lower-league side Palafrugell almost a decade earlier, but he nonetheless led Barcelona to another La Liga title. He underwent surgery for cancer in December of that year, but remained as manager until he was forced to resign for health reasons in July 2013. He died in April 2014. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Bob Paisley - Liverpool A Liverpool stalwart throughout his playing career, Paisley returned to the club first as physio and then assistant manager to Bill Shankly. When Shankly retired in 1974, Paisley was promoted to the top job despite some reluctance as a successor - Paisley had once said: "Bill loves it. He likes the razzmatazz. I'm a backroom boy. Always will be." His managerial career at Anfield proved a huge success and he won six league titles and three European Cups during his nine years in charge. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager

Why Craig Shakespeare proves the folly of promoting an assistant to become manager

Another one bites the dust. To the list of assistant managers who have failed to make the cut in the main managerial hotseat we can now add Craig Shakespeare. Just eight games into the new season, Shakespeare has been shown the door at Leicester City with the club languishing in the Premier League relegation zone. The Leicester job was Shakespeare's first taste of management (aside from a one-game caretaker role more than a decade ago) and he had grown accustomed to life as a number two behind Claudio Ranieri. But when the Italian was controversially sacked in February he first took the role on a caretaker basis before he was appointed permanently this summer. Despite the initial upturn in fortunes that his appointment brought (and the subsequent awarding of a three-year contract), it was difficult to deny the the temporary feel to his stewardship. So it proved. Is it possible for an assistant to be promoted with success? A glance at the history of assistants taking the step up shows something of a common theme. Promoting from within after a manager has been sacked rarely yields positive results unless the the former assistant was sufficiently removed from the previous regime. Conversely - and unsurprisingly - those that have the benefit of following in the footsteps of greatness tend to succeed. Is it the case that their faces are just too familiar to ditch the association with past unsuccessful regimes or are they tactically incapable of breaking clear from a previous era? Here are some examples of when promoting from within worked - and times when it didn't. John Carver - Newcastle United The most caring of caretaker managers, Carver has taken temporary charge of clubs on numerous occasions in his coaching career. Brief stints at Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield United and then Newcastle again paved the way for him to finally be given a (slightly) longer crack at the big time - without great success. John Carver did not last long at Newcastle Credit: afp Alan Pardew's departure in early 2015 saw Carver first promoted to a caretaker role before he was given the managerial job on a temporary basis until the end of the season. There were no guarantees over whether he would stand a chance of gaining the job permanently, but he was given the task of finishing in the top half of the table. Instead he oversaw a run of eight successive league defeats, only narrowly kept the club in the Premier League and was promptly sacked when Steve McClaren was appointed in June. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Roberto Di Matteo - Chelsea The case of Shakespeare bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Di Matteo at Chelsea in 2012. The Italian had worked under Andre Villas-Boas as assistant manager from June 2011, prior to stepping up to the main role on a caretaker basis when Villas-Boas was sacked in March the following year. Di Matteo guided Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph, an FA Cup final victory and was rewarded with a two-year deal to remain as manager on a permanent basis. Yet, just like Shakespeare, his spell in charge was short-lived and he was ditched by November following a poor start to the 2012/13 season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom (despite his success when caretaker) Ray Harford - Fulham, Luton Town, Wimbledon and Blackburn Rovers Surely no one can challenge Harford for number of promotions from assistant to permanent manager. He made his first step up at Fulham in 1984, where he began his reign by keeping the club in the First Division, but resigned after they were beset by financial problems and relegated the year after. He then climbed the same ladder at Luton Town, where he had great success, guiding them to victory in the League Cup final before a relegation battle saw him sacked in 1990. Ray Harford made the step up to manager on four separate occasions Credit:  Getty Images The third move from assistant to manager came later that year when Bobby Gould was sacked as Wimbledon manager, but he resigned in October 1991 to take up a role as Kenny Dalglish's assistant at Blackburn Rovers. Despite vowing that he would never again step up from No 2 to the manager's chair, he did just that when Dalglish quit in the wake of the club's Premier League title triumph. They finished seventh in Harford's first season in charge and he then quit in October 1996 after the club failed to win any of their first 10 games. Manager material or better in the backroom? On the balance of his four tenures: Manager Sammy Lee - Bolton Wanderers 'Little Sam' has made a decent career out of being an assistant manager, but his time as the man in charge did not go so swimmingly. The former Liverpool midfielder gained his nickname during his time as No 2 to Sam Allardyce at Bolton in 2005. When 'Big Sam' departed the club in April 2007, Lee was asked to step into the manager's role but managed to win just one league game from 11 matches and was sacked in October. He has since returned to the coaching ranks, thriving in his various behind-the-scenes roles. One who perhaps did not flourish in the limelight. Manager material or better in the backroom? Backroom Martin Jol - Spurs The Dutchman had never plied his managerial trade outside of his native country when he was recruited to be Jacques Santini's assistant manager at Spurs in the summer of 2004. Alas, Santini lasted just 13 games before his tenure ended and Jol was confirmed as his replacement. Martin Jol secured European football for Spurs Credit: action images He was a quick hit as manager, turning around the club's fortunes and narrowly missing out on a Uefa Cup spot in his first season in charge. The club came within a whisker (or a dodgy meal) of making the Champions League the following campaign and Jol guided them to another fifth-place finish the next year. He lost his job early in the following season. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Tito Vilanova - Barcelona Vilanova climbed the Barcelona ranks with Pep Guardiola, serving as assistant for Barcelona B and then the main Barcelona team until 2012. When Guardiola announced his departure that April - a year after guiding the club to a Champions League and La Liga double - Vilanova was immediately confirmed as his successor at the helm. It was the first time he had taken a main managerial position since an unsuccessful spell in charge of Spanish lower-league side Palafrugell almost a decade earlier, but he nonetheless led Barcelona to another La Liga title. He underwent surgery for cancer in December of that year, but remained as manager until he was forced to resign for health reasons in July 2013. He died in April 2014. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager Bob Paisley - Liverpool A Liverpool stalwart throughout his playing career, Paisley returned to the club first as physio and then assistant manager to Bill Shankly. When Shankly retired in 1974, Paisley was promoted to the top job despite some reluctance as a successor - Paisley had once said: "Bill loves it. He likes the razzmatazz. I'm a backroom boy. Always will be." His managerial career at Anfield proved a huge success and he won six league titles and three European Cups during his nine years in charge. Manager material or better in the backroom? Manager

Football League: Sheffield United keep pace at top while Luton hit seven

Football League: Sheffield United keep pace at top while Luton hit seven

Football League: Sheffield United keep pace at top while Luton hit seven

Football League: Sheffield United keep pace at top while Luton hit seven

Chris Basham leaps to power Sheffield United in front against Ipswich at Bramall Lane.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United goalscorer Chris Basham celebrates with teammates after the match Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Dominic Iorfa in action with Sheffield United's Enda Stevens Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Dominic Iorfa in action Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Grant Ward in action Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Flynn Downes in action with Sheffield United's John Lundstram Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Dominic Iorfa in action Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Martyn Waghorn shoots Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Martyn Waghorn shoots Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Chris Basham celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Chris Basham celebrates scoring their first goal Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Chris Basham scores the first goal Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Kieron Freeman and Cameron Carter-Vickers collide resulting in Freeman being stretchered off Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Paramedics attend to Sheffield United's Kieron Freeman Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Kieron Freeman is stretchered off as manager Chris Wilder shakes his hand Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's John Lundstram in action with Ipswich Town's Tristan Nydam Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Kieron Freeman Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Sheffield United's Chris Basham in action with Ipswich Town's David McGoldrick Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town

Soccer Football - Championship - Sheffield United vs Ipswich Town - Bramall Lane, Sheffield, Britain - October 14, 2017 Ipswich Town's Dominic Iorfa in action Action Images/Paul Burrows EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Missing World Cup Means Unusual Road Ahead, Roster Turnover for USMNT

American soccer fans are dealing with unprecedented disappointment following the U.S. national team’s stunning World Cup qualifying failure Tuesday night in Trinidad. Now, as a result of that failure, the team itself faces an unprecedented drought.

With no World Cup trip in 2018 and no CONCACAF Gold Cup (presumably) until 2019, the USA faces a deflating 20 months without any meaningful, official competition. That means nothing but camps and friendlies for nearly two years. The last time the U.S. men went even a single calendar year without a competitive match was 1987, although that ignores the Olympic qualifiers that were contested (it wasn’t a U-23 competition back then). In 1986, the last time the USA missed the World Cup, the national team played just twice—against Canada across three February days in Miami.

Those were American soccer’s dark ages. There was no NASL (it folded in 1984) and no MLS (launched in ’96). The men were an afterthought and the women’s national team barely existed. Obviously, the sport is in a far different place now then it was 30 years ago. But that simply magnifies the extent of the qualifying debacle and the rarity of the road the national team now faces. It’s going to be long, and it’s going to be strange.

The key is to make it as productive as possible.

On Friday, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati is scheduled to speak to the media. Regardless of whether he announces coach Bruce Arena’s departure, it’s probably safe to assume the manager partly responsible for American soccer’s 2018 summer vacation won’t be on the job for long. It’s time to turn the page, whether that’s now or after the federation’s presidential election in February. Gulati hasn’t revealed whether he intends to run for a fourth term.

Arena spoke with The Washington Post on Thursday afternoon.

“Obviously, I have no interest in going on a four-year cycle right now,” he said, adding that he’s already chatted with Gulati and intends to so again. “I’ll do whatever is right. That is the approach I’m going to take.”

If Arena steps (or is pushed) aside soon, there are coaches already on the USSF payroll who can fill in. The most obvious candidate is Tab Ramos, who’s been the U-20 national team manager since 2011. If the U.S. senior side is about to get younger, it makes sense to use a coach familiar with those players—at least in the interim. Ramos also was a first-team assistant under Jurgen Klinsmann. U.S. U-17 coach John Hackworth, formerly of the Philadelphia Union, and U-19 coach Brad Friedel also have experience training pros of different ages.

The months before a World Cup are pretty barren if you’re not getting ready for the competition. There are only two FIFA international windows between now and kickoff in Russia—one next month, when the final qualifying playoffs will be contested, and one in late March. Nailing down November friendlies was put on hold as national teams awaited their World Cup fates. Had Panama’s Román Torres not scored in the 88th minute on Tuesday night, for example, the USA would be headed to Australia for a playoff. Instead, the Americans are free to help another country prepare for Russia.

Regardless of who's in charge, there’s really no reason to see the November friendlies as anything other than the start of the long road toward rebuilding the national team. It’s a FIFA window, so access to the full complement of potential players is available. The public appetite for a domestic friendly may be minimal. In addition, eight teams will be concluding MLS Cup quarterfinal series on Nov. 5, the day before the window opens. Some players will want to remain with their advancing clubs, others will be spent after a long season. The opportunity to bring in European-based players who Arena was unable to integrate during his tenure—whether they were overlooked or too young and inexperienced for a short-term assignment the manager believed required international seasoning—is an intriguing one.

Which brings us to the primary question facing the men who failed. Who sticks around and who is done? The USA hasn’t faced such a definitive chapter change in decades. Usually it was one group bleeding into the next as tournaments and qualifiers came year after year. Now there’s nothing until 2019, and qualifying for the 2022 World Cup likely won’t start until 2020. By then, Christian Pulisic will be a grizzled 22-year-old.

Whether Arena’s replacement targets the construction of a reasonably mature national team by 2019 or 2020, or whether the end goal really is competing to win in 2022, there’s time for a significant refresh. Those who have little or no chance of making it into the meat of the next Hexagonal likely will be pushed aside. That list starts with legends: Clint Dempsey, 34, and Tim Howard, who’s 38. There will be a significant segment of the U.S. fan base that wants to see Dempsey break Landon Donovan’s all-time scoring record (imagine if his shot off T&T's post had gone in and Dempsey's record-breaking goal sent the USA to Russia), and there’s time for that. Both Howard and Dempsey deserve to exit under better circumstances, but it’s hard to imagine either playing in 2019.

Other, less-decorated veterans also are close to the end of the line, if not at it, because of their age or because they’ve maxed out their international potential. In November or in January—if there’s a January camp—it wouldn’t make a ton of sense to see the likes of Nick Rimando, Omar Gonzalez, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya, Dax McCarty and Chris Wondolowski.

There’s a third set of vets who will remain useful during the transition but likely will be a bit past their peak by 2022. There’s no reason to say an immediate goodbye to Brad Guzan, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, Jozy Altidore, Jorge Villafaña and others of that ilk. They’re still good players with something to contribute (or prove), and they’ll be helpful both on the training field and in 2019-2020 once meaningful matches return. They all may have just wasted their last chance at a World Cup, however.

Players who are now 25 or under like Pulisic, DeAndre Yedlin, Bobby Wood, Paul Arriola, Kellyn Acosta, John Brooks, Cristian Roldan and Jordan Morris are in place to become part of the long-term core throughout the next World Cup cycle.

If there’s going to be anything that excites U.S. fans during the misery of the next year, it’ll be the chance to see the next generation of senior internationals get a head start. That’s one reason why scheduling two November friendlies in Europe might make sense. Many of the men who might make a difference in Qatar in 2022 are now building up their resumes at clubs abroad. The time might as well be now to start investing in the international futures of midfielder Weston McKennie (Schalke 04), goalkeeper Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), defender Matt Miazga (Vitesse on loan from Chelsea), defender Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United on loan from Tottenham), midfielder Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), midfielder Emerson Hyndman (Bournemouth), midfielder Luca de la Torre (Fulham), forward Haji Wright (Schalke 04), forward Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen) and several others. And why not give 2014 World Cup round-of-16 goal scorer Julian Green another look? He’s cap-tied, after all.

There are MLS prospects as well who might be ready for an earlier-than-expected introduction to January camp. At this point, there’s no reason not to take a long look at goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), defender Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), defender Erik Palmer-Brown (Sporting Kansas City, though reportedly headed to Manchester City), midfielder Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls) and maybe even some of the current U-17 national team stars, like D.C. United's Chris Durkin and Atlanta United's Andrew Carleton.

Bring them in, give them a taste of wearing the colors, integrating with new teammates and dealing with the media. The federation may as well make it a priority to start the seasoning now, because by the time the big games roll around again, it'll take a new generation to tackle the stain of this week’s failure.

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes