Jose is still special
It was all about him, but then it was always going to be.
An understated arrival it may have been, but there’s no doubt that Jose Mourinho has the ability to galvanise a group of players.
Joining Tottenham, who’d not won away since January, and not scored three goals away from White Hart Lane in the same time frame, the Portuguese immediately put his ‘fingerprint’ as he called it, all over the Spurs XI.
They were workmanlike if not out of this world in the first half, but still good enough to be 3-0 up at the London Stadium after just 47 minutes.
Two late goals from West Ham gave the scoreline a more balanced feel, but it wasn’t in any way indicative of the match itself.
It was Spurs fourth win in a row at the stadium, and the most the Hammers have managed there is three. Significant?
In any event, Jose’s back… and he’s still special.
Liverpool’s title pedigree enhanced by late show
Crystal Palace away has often proved to be a difficult game for Liverpool in the recent past.
Who can forget Luis Suarez’s tears after the 3-3 draw in 2014 which confirmed the Reds wouldn’t win the title that season after looking odds on at one stage.
Not anymore. Jurgen Klopp has got the Midas Touch, and once again when it looked like his team had blown the opportunity for three points, his strikers came up trumps.
Once Wilfried Zaha had equalised Sadio Mane’s goal with eight minutes left, and with Palace in the ascendancy, a draw would’ve been an acceptable result.
But Klopp doesn’t do acceptable. He, perhaps more than any of his players, is the driving force behind this incredible run of form – just one loss in almost a season and a half of Premier League football.
With five minutes left, Roberto Firmino’s goal handed Liverpool the win and kept them eight clear at the top.
What’s most impressive is the motivation and hunger from this team to stay there, something that has rubber-stamped their title pedigree.
Chelsea get the blues at City
For the first 30 minutes of this encounter, there was only one team in it, and it wasn’t hosts, Manchester City.
Chelsea led through N’Golo Kante on 21, and it was no more than Frank Lampard’s side deserved.
Indeed, City really should’ve been put to the sword before Kevin De Bruyne got his side back into it against the run of play.
There was no denying the quality of Riyad Mahrez’s winner before the break, or City’s ability to hold on to their lead, but Chelsea will still feel hard done by.
The loss sees both teams swap places, but with the visitors out-passing a side who are renowned for it, Lampard does at least have some positives to take from the match.
It’s… Jamie Vardy
Whisper it quietly, but Leicester could become Liverpool’s most serious challengers this season.
It’s gone under the radar that after 13 games they have the best defence, are the second highest scorers in the division, and in Jamie Vardy they have the Premier League’s top marksman.
With Brighton not at their best of late, it was always going to take a special performance to beat Brendan Rodgers’ side, and to their credit, the Seagulls held out until the 64th minute.
A breakaway from Vardy and assist to Ayoze Perez gave the visitors the lead, with his twice-taken penalty on 82 giving the Foxes all three points.
With no pressure on them whatsoever Leicester are playing with freedom and enjoyment, and those teams around them need to keep a close eye on them.
In Vardy too, they have a spectacular marksman who will go all out to fire them to another unlikely top flight title.
Emery has no defence
Although it would take a brave chairman to relieve Unai Emery of his managerial duties at this stage, the performance from Arsenal over 90 minutes against Southampton spoke of a team who are rudderless.
Since when have the Saints come to London and managed to get an incredible 21 shots at goal?!
There is no cohesion, particularly from the back four, who were half asleep when the visitors took a quick free-kick which ended with them opening the scoring.
Even the free-flowing football for which the Gunners are renowned has disappeared and, dare we say it, they look ordinary.
Alexandre Lacazette was their hero, cancelling out Danny Ings’ opener and then salvaging a point in the 96th minute after Ward-Prowse had given the Saints what looked like a winner.
Emery looks lost, and that’s a worry.