SUNDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER PL TALKING POINTS: A HEROIC UNITED COMEBACK & ANOTHER DEFEAT FOR ARSENAL
Southampton 2-3 Manchester United
Cavani is United’s best striker
It’s taken Edinson Cavani 126 minutes to score three Premier League goals since joining Manchester United last month. Anthony Martial on the other hand is yet to find the back of the net in the PL this season, making it pretty obvious the 33-year-old is the best forward at the club.
Marcus Rashford & Mason Greenwood were the pair that started in front of United’s midfield diamond with Martial missing through illness, but both severely struggled centrally.
At half time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were 2-0 down to Southampton, thus resulting in the introduction of Cavani.
And 45 minutes later Cavani had certainly stamped his mark on the game, assisting Bruno Fernandes to bring United back into the game and then scoring twice, including an injury time winner, to seal the points.
You can most definitely see why the veteran has 341 professional goals before heading to Manchester, with his finishes on the South Coast looking so simple but his incisive movement and perfect timing made them seem that way, the true sign of a great striker.
Saints unwanted record
Since the start of the previous season, Southampton have dropped 25 points from winning positions and for the second time this calendar year they have let a two-goal lead slip.
James Ward-Prowse once again showed his quality from set pieces delivering a corner straight onto the head of Jan Bednarek and another sublime direct free-kick, his third of the season.
But by the final whistle it was a different emotion for Southampton as Cavani inspired United to a second half comeback which left Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team with no points to show from their first half efforts.
Unfortunately, it’s becoming a slightly reoccurring theme for Southampton who seem to struggle to kill of teams and therefore allow them a route back into the game far too easily.
There’s no doubt Hasenhuttl is the right man for Southampton but he will want to remove this mentality of dropping points when in control of games.
Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Losing was simply not an option
The top spot in the Premier League beckoned for the winner of the usually fiery Spurs vs Chelsea fixture at Stamford Bridge, but there were absolutely zero flames in this game and it certainly had the vibe of, we’ll take a point.
Olivier Giroud & Mason Mount had the best chances of the game with the latter forcing Hugo Lloris into a diving save but minus that the action was limited.
Jose Mourinho, in the eyes of some, returned to his frowned upon ways of parking the bus, but after years of expansive football under Mauricio Pochettino that brought no success, I’m sure Spurs fans will understand it’s very much a results business and that was exactly what the Portuguese coach got.
The visitors will undoubtedly be happier with a point, that was enough to take them back to the summit, and during a tough spell of games, four points from six against Manchester City and Chelsea will definitely bring joy to all in the Tottenham camp.
A special day for Joe Rodon
Following the injury to Toby Alderweireld, Jose Mourinho needed to make a big decision regarding who he picked to partner the in-form Eric Dier and surprisingly he went with the un-experienced Joe Rodon.
After signing for Spurs on the EFL transfer deadline day, the Welsh international would soon take the spot of back-up centre-back ahead of both Davinson Sanchez & Japhet Tanganga.
Clearly Mourinho had seen something in training that resulted in him being picked over two defenders with much more top flight experience.
Nonetheless, after just 15 minutes of game time in a Spurs shirt, Rodon started alongside Dier and helped ensure Spurs kept a fourth clean sheet in five games.
Despite two slight errors, including one in the final stages of the game, it was an all-round solid starting debut for the 23-year-old and with Ledley King coaching him it could be the start of an illustrious career in North London.
Arsenal 1-2 Wolves
The horrific injury to Raul Jimenez
On a day where Wolves should be celebrating their historic first win at the Emirates, everyone’s thoughts were with Raul Jimenez who suffered a terrible injury just five minutes into the game.
The Mexican forward clashed heads with David Luiz following a Willian corner and it was pretty obvious to see how serious the injury was.
After a delay of nine minutes where Jimenez received treatment and was stretchered off, the game continued with David Luiz amazingly remaining on the pitch.
Despite still bleeding from his wound, the Gunners defender played on until half time, when he was eventually withdrawn, but to me that was 35 minutes too late.
Being part of such a horrible challenge, Luiz should really have been taken off as a precaution as he was clearly affected physically and mentally by the incident.
Thankfully it’s been confirmed that Jimenez is conscious in hospital, after it looked as though it could’ve been far worse.
What has happened to Arsenal?
After starting the month with a superb hard-fought three points at Old Trafford, Arsenal have ended November with a limp defeat to Wolves which summed up all their Premier League performances since the victory against United.
On the balance of play Arsenal really didn’t deserve anything from the final Super Sunday fixture as Wolves were sharper, quicker and clearly just wanted it more.
But this wasn’t a one-off performance from Mikael Arteta’s side, it’s been a running theme over the last few games and this really was the tip of it.
And up next for Arsenal is the North London Derby, which on the balance of form should be a comfortable victory for league leaders Spurs.
Against all the odds they won the community shield and FA Cup just a few months ago with some brilliantly determined performances but off their most recent displays it will be an amazing achievement if the Gunners can finish in the top half.