With new Fulham head coach Rene Meulesteen speaking to the media for the first time since his appointment under manager Martin Jol, some things have been made painfully clear:
Martin Jol has lost some responsibilities to his new inferior.
“Martin is obviously a very experienced manager in the game,” Meulensteen told Sky Sports. “I think it comes to a time in his life – as a manager as well – when he has got experience and he wants to step back a little bit and let the groundwork over to somebody like myself. I think we can work perfectly well together.”
It is unclear exactly what “groundwork” Meulensteen is referring to, but given his background as a training and tactical expert, one could speculate that Meulensteen will take over most of the training duties as well as probably much of the tactical instruction and decision-making on matchday as well.
Martin Jol’s main responsibilities will most likely be headlined now by more figurehead duties as well as those in the transfer market and headlining decisions.
Jol’s connections and persuasive abilities were most likely too valuable with the January window coming up for owner Shahid Khan to part with.
Despite a relatively disappointing summer window for the Cottagers considering the vast amount of holes they needed to fill, Jol still has the power to lure players such as #1 Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenburg to the Cottage, just like he did with Dimitar Berbatov over a year ago.
However, with the club struggling on the pitch to perform up to the standards they’ve set the last few years with strong mid-table finishes, and the danger of relegation looming, something had to be done to shore up Jol’s static tactics on matchday.
Meulensteen has already made his coaching debut with Fulham, on the staff that saw Fulham beat Crystal Palace 1-0 in a friendly behind closed doors. The match served as work for those who were not selected for international duty, and probably helped to experiment with some fresh tactics and ideas brought in by the newly-hired Dutchman. Adel Taarabt was the lone goalscorer in the match.
The European tournament week left us with just five Premier League clubs in action on Saturday, but we still saw some sensational goals and stunning saves.
[ MORE: PST talks with Michael Bradley ]
For the most part, we saw expected results aside from West Ham’s failure to capitalize against visiting Middlesbrough.
Here, recapped, is our Saturday in England’s top flight.
Swansea City 1-2 Liverpool — RECAP
James Milner converted his fourth penalty kick of the season to complete Liverpool’s road comeback over Swansea City, casting further doubt on Francesco Guidolin‘s time as Swans boss. Roberto Firmino equalized off a Philippe Coutinho free kick after Leroy Fer gave the hosts an early lead.
West Ham United 1-1 Middlesbrough — RECAP
West Ham will be happy to have “stopped the rot” and not lost a fifth-straight game, but it took some “pure magic” from Dimitri Payet to avoid another loss at the Olympic Stadium. Cristhian Stuani netted early to give Boro a road lead, but Payet dribbled through the 18 before cutting the ball across his body and past Victor Valdes.
Hull City 0-2 Chelsea — RECAP
The Blues ended their three-match winless skid in style, working very good possession and build-up before breaking through after the hour mark with Willian and then Diego Costa. Chelsea now starts a brutal five match run which includes Premier League matches against Leicester, Manchester United, Southampton, and Everton.
Sunderland 1-1 West Bromwich Albion — RECAP
Nacer Chadli has proven a good buy for the Baggies so far, as the ex-Spurs man scored again, but Patrick Van Aanholt continued his knack for big goals by pulling back a point for the woeful host Black Cats.
Watford 2-2 Bournemouth — RECAP
The Cherries had a pair of leads thanks to Callum Wilson and Josh King, and Jack Wilshere hit the post twice in a game the visitors could have and maybe should have claimed. But Troy Deeney and exciting sub Isaac Success nabbed goals for the Hornets as the two sides split the points.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is celebrating his 20th year in charge of the storied Premier League club, and the accomplishment bears discussing.
In an age of managerial turnover, the Frenchman has maintained a consistent hold of the Gunners, and is widely viewed as a wonderful company man.
[ MORE: PST talks with Michael Bradley ]
In the above video, several former Gunners join media members to discuss the genius that is Wenger.
The intensity from Chelsea’s players in their 2-0 victory at Hull City was a sight for Antonio Conte‘s sore eyes.
Actually, that might be understating it.
“I like it when the team plays in this way,” Conte said after the win. “I like it so much.”
[ MORE: Hull City 0-2 Chelsea ]
The Blues controlled the match at the KC Stadium long before Willian and Diego Costa hit bullets past a helpless David Marshall to seal Chelsea’s 11th, 12th, and 13th points of the young Premier League season.
Conte loved the industry from his club in breaking a three-match losing streak.
From the BBC:
“We are working very hard and I am sure we can improve a lot if we continue to work in this way. I am pleased for all the players because in these situations because we have a clean sheet. In previous games we conceded too many goals. To finish with a clean sheet is very important. We also scored two and the performance is good. We must follow this with work, work, work!”
“We can improve and we must improve a lot and continue to work. After these two defeats it’s not easy to work because two defeats for Chelsea are heavy defeats. But this was a good answer.”
Yeah… he’s pretty intense. Is anyone going to take his “work, work, work” soundbite and work it into a Rihanna remix?
The Blues will need to work, as the schedule starts a brutal run after the international break: home to Leicester City and Manchester United, away to West Ham in the EFL Cup, and then on the road to Saints and home for Everton.
To hear West Ham goalkeeper Adrian describe it, the Irons should start streaming their training sessions so we can see more magic from Dimitri Payet.
West Ham’s talisman rescued a point for his struggling club when he essentially worked six Middlesbrough players and delivered a terrific finish in a 1-1 draw at Olympic Stadium in London.
[ WATCH: Payet’s wondergoal ]
Adrian says they see that a lot.
“Payet is like that in training,” the goalkeeper said. “He scored like a Lionel Messi goal at Barcelona. It is a massive goal to us.”
[ MORE: West Ham 1-1 Middlesbrough ]
The goal truly was massive, as the Irons avoided losing five in-a-row. They are still in the relegation zone, but baby steps.
Here’s WHUFC head coach Slaven Bilic:
“It was an unbelievable goal, it was a pure magic. It was only a shame it wasn’t a winning goal. We needed that moment of class from our best player to lift the whole team up.”