We’ve learned plenty from Week 13 of the 2022-23 Premier League season, and there’s still a match between Hammers and Cherries to entertain us on Monday.
West Ham hosts AFC Bournemouth at 3:15pm ET Monday (Watch live on USA Network and stream online via NBCSports.com), the final act of a weekend that saw a stunning stat.
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Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool combined for a total of three points between them, as Manchester City was the lone “Big Six” team to pick up all three points.
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Or is it “Big Seven” now? Read on…
Here’s a look at 10 things that stood out, as our writers Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Andy Edwards (AE), and Nicholas Mendola (NM) share their observations from across the most recent PL games.
1. Van Dijk misses big chances as Liverpool definitely out of title race (Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool): Virgil van DIjk tried to set up Roberto Firmino in the first half instead of nodding home from six yards out. Late on he was totally unmarked but Dean Henderson saved his header which was straight down the middle of the goal. Of course, Van Dijk is a colossus of a defender but he had Liverpool’s best two chances and squandered them both. That lack of focus when it mattered most has cost Liverpool dearly this season and even if their levels have only dipped about 10 percent, it makes a huge difference for what Klopp demands from them. Klopp said a few weeks ago they were out of the title race and after a few dogged wins it looked like they could be back in it. But this defeat to Forest proves they will not be title contenders this season. (JPW)
2. Newcastle’s in the discussion (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle): There’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of season to be played but there’s very little in the first three months of the season that shows Newcastle cannot be a serious part of the top seven fight and perhaps even compete for a cup. The club is doing it without Jonjo Shelvey having a kick this season until the final moments of this match and with Allan Saint-Maximin missing for some time. And we know there’s a segment of Newcastle fans just happy to see their Premier League status appear safe in October for the first time in years. With Villa, Saints, and Chelsea the final three fixtures before the World Cup, Newcastle should enter the winter break in the mix. (NM)
3. Early goal remains key for Gunners (Southampton 1-1 Arsenal): Arsenal have set the tone early in games all season long, flying out of the traps and scoring early when they’re on top. The rest then usually takes care of itself as Arsenal can sit back and tempt opponents to take more chances to get back in the game. It is clearly something Mikel Arteta is demanding and this young team is full of energy, pace, and excitement. Sometimes the game is as simple as starting fast and then having the right to control the tempo. However, maybe fatigue kicked in Sunday and the Gunners couldn’t get over the line to make it 10 wins out of 11 to start the season. (JPW)
4. Man City not at its best, but Erling Haaland still is… (Man City 3-1 Brighton): When a side has a goalscorer of Erling Haaland’s quality and consistency, they’ll win more games than not even when they turn in a 5/10 or 6/10 performance (by their own standards). That’s the biggest difference between Manchester City this season and in years past. Saturday’s game is one they might have very well drawn a season (or two or three) ago, as they created just a handful of scoring chances and found themselves uncharacteristically out-possessed and out-passed. As for now? They have the undisputed best striker in the world to make the absolute most of those key moments that too often went against Man City before his arrival, and he’s putting up the most gaudy, absurd numbers we’ve ever seen in the Premier League. (AE)
5. Class of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen gives United sturdy foundation (Chelsea 1-1 Man Utd – Player ratings): The experienced duo of Christian Eriksen and Casemiro got Man United off to a fine start at Chelsea as they ticked things over nicely in midfield and gave the visitors a foundation to get something from the game. It wasn’t their fault Antony and Marcus Rashford missed chances. The way Eriksen and Casemiro were so calm under pressure was incredible to watch up close and their movement off the ball makes everything look so easy when they’re on it. And then of course Casemiro had the quality to finish when it mattered most. (JPW)
6. Everton’s loaded midfield delivers as McNeil flashes off the bench (Everton 3-0 Crystal Palace): On a good day for Everton midfielders, Dwight McNeil flashed for Frank Lampard when he entered the fray with the Toffees holding the lead. McNeil drove the ball into Palace territory before working a very stylish 1-2 with Alex Iwobi to round out Saturday’s scoring. It’s a cluttered midfield for Everton now that Frank Lampard’s helped Iwobi to another level, as Amadou Onana (just 21 years old), Idrissa Gana Gueye, McNeil, and James Garner give him a well-stocked cupboard at a position he knows better than most. (NM)
7. Coaching change, positional tweaks propel Villa to huge win (Aston Villa 4-0 Brentford): Sure there will have been emotions after Steven Gerrard was fired by Villa, but credit caretaker boss Aaron Danks for making some lineups moves that may’ve been coming from midweek anyway. Leander Dendoncker was immense in place of John McGinn, and playmaker Emiliano Buendia showed why any of his absences from the Starting XI were questioned by supporters. Ollie Watkins was more of a winger on Sunday and Leon Bailey was splendid on the left. (NM)
8. Finishing continues to betray Marsch, taking Elland Road to full boil– (Leeds 2-3 Fulham): Jesse Marsch has not done what he needs to do to inspire confidence out of Patrick Bamford, it seems, as Leeds’ center forward continues to get himself into position for goals but do anything other than put the ball over the line. Bamford had terrific chances in the 1-0 loss to Arsenal and the 2-0 loss to Leicester City, and he missed a prime chance to put Leeds ahead after coming on for scorer Rodrigo. Bamford was 1v1 with Bernd Leno and was denied by the Fulham keeper, and he later just missed reaching a cross from the right that could’ve given Leeds a late lifeline. Instead, Leeds will face another week of questions about their boss. (NM)
9. Quality strikes prove Leicester’s false position (Wolves 0-4 Leicester City): There is so much quality in this Leicester City side that it has been so surprising to see where they are in the league. Youri Tielemans’ strike was incredible and the movement and finish on Harvey Barnes’ effort was Leicester at its very best. And we all know what James Maddison can do. Leicester can carve opponents apart and now they have confidence back and they’re winning games. That will push them up the table very quickly. (JPW)
10. Kieran Trippier is ideal right back for Newcastle (and post-Reece James England) (Spurs 1-2 Newcastle): Who knows how long this can last — he’s 32 but still runs like a 25-year-old — but right now Kieran Trippier looks the perfect mix of adventure, grit, and wisdom in one right back. Eddie Howe’s general leads from the right side. Right now, he looks the top option for start for England at the World Cup following the injury to Reece James. The ex-Spurs back also highlights everything the club is missing on its right flank, but we’ll leave that for the Tottenham fans to lament. (NM)