Jurgen Klopp is definitely finding out about life in the Premier League – and about his squad.
We’ve put together timelines for all the weekend’s Premier League games showing when each team was at its most dangerous and what patterns emerged in the game.
Lines show how each team’s shot tally increased during the match, with circles showing their goals. Columns on the right show how many shots were on and off target.
Andy Carroll exploits Liverpool’s weaknesses
You’d be forgiven for searching for the little red circle on Liverpool’s line, given the momentous amount of shots they got off against West Ham – surely one of those 23 must have gone in? But, with a scarcely believable ONE hitting the target, Adrian’s day in the Hammers’ goal was a lot quieter than it looks at first sight.
Liverpool’s old foe – balls into the box – left Jurgen Klopp looking bemused on the touchline, as headers from Michail Antonio and, inevitably, Andy Carroll, gave West Ham a deserved three points. Determined defending at the other end, with a number of blocks and one clearance off the line, mean the Irons picked up six points off Liverpool in a season for the first time in 52 years.
It has been obvious for a few seasons that if Liverpool hope to reach the top four a re-think at the back is needed, but on Saturday’s evidence the German might need to make a few additions in the forward areas as well.
Chelsea are starting to look a team again
Although both goalkeepers were tested four times in south London, Crystal Palace were the only team who had to pick the ball out of the net.
But, despite what the scoreline suggests, it was actually Palace who had the better chances before Chelsea opened the scoring. Fraizer Campbell should have done better for the hosts after a good ball was fizzed across the box, but the 28-year-old’s shot could only be directed wide. The Blues scored with their next attempt following a good counter attack.
It may appear that Palace stuck with Chelsea in terms of shots taken, but in truth the game wasn’t that tight – Alan Pardew’s men never looked like scoring, and Chelsea could have had more, had Diego Costa finished a difficult chance on the volley. The game will have given both managers an idea of where they’re at and where needs strengthening if both are to achieve their aims this season.
Wayne Rooney still has a classy finish in him
Swansea had been a bit of a bogey team for Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United but a return to form for Wayne Rooney came at a good time for the manager. In what was a more attacking display than we’ve become used to from United the wide areas were utilised well, resulting in Anthony Martial’s first goal since the defeat against Norwich – a goal that looked like it might be coming.
Swansea managed an equaliser with a lot less of the ball and were unlucky not to score more despite creating less than United – Andre Ayew was particularly unlucky with a great header returning off the post, while goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski came close from a corner with practically the last kick of the game.
It was a win – and a performance – that may have bought Van Gaal some time, especially with the link-up play in forward areas looking more natural, but it will need to be followed by a similar performance in their next league match against Newcastle. It will help if Rooney can build on his deft finish here.
Manchester City are still lacking
Two late goals saved City’s skin in a game where they didn’t look like ending their run of games away away from home without a win, which had been ongoing since September.
But despite losing, Watford were the better team throughout and fashioned the better chances – due largely to persistence and some very nervous City defending. For Manuel Pellegrini, Sergio Aguero’s late winner will give hope that his team can embark on a sequence of wins to close the gap with Arsenal at the top, but the Argentine’s first goal in five – two minutes and 36 seconds after Yaya Toure equalised – may have only papered over the cracks in City’s title push.
The Hornets, meanwhile, showed they deserved their place in the top ten at the start of the new year, with good performances across the pitch.
Arsenal got there in the end
Laurent Koscielny may have scored the winner for Arsenal but Petr Cech should receive just as much of the credit for helping the Gunners start the new year with three points. Newcastle’s strikers were wasteful – evidenced by their nine shots off target, the majority of which should have tested Cech – but the veteran keeper still had to make six strong saves to keep Arsenal in the game.
Arsene Wenger’s men had very little going forward until the goal – a second phase tap-in from a corner – forced Newcastle to go full throttle. Ironically the Magpies looked less likely to score in this period than they had in the preceding stages, and Arsenal as usual looked dangerous on the counter attack.
Aaron Ramsey almost scored the goal of the weekend late on, and Mesut Ozil had a good opportunity to rubber stamp the win, but ultimately just the one was needed against a Newcastle side who didn’t look like relegation contenders. Steve McClaren will be hoping his team can create as many chances in their next few matches, but that they’ll also be able to finish them.
Tony Pulis gets one over Stoke
This chart may make it look like the first half slightly edged the second in this contest, but the game didn’t come to life until Stephane Sessengnon notched for the Baggies after 60 minutes.
A Stoke equaliser duly arrived but Mark Hughes’ side – who’ve been picking up points regularly and came from behind in their previous match – weren’t able to build on it, due to Geoff Cameron getting sent off immediately after their goal.
Instead, late pressure from Tony Pulis’ side resulted in a final minute tap-in from Jonny Evans – leaving Stoke 10th ahead of their Capital One Cup semi-final tie with Liverpool, and West Brom quietly going about their business in 12th.
Jermain Defoe is the difference
If Sunderland are to avoid the drop this season, performances like the one put in by Jermain Defoe will be necessary. The 33-year-old proved he still knows his way to goal if given the ball in the box – and you can’t help but feel Aston Villa would have left the Stadium of Light with the points had Defoe been on the other side.
Instead, and despite a strong start and wonderful equaliser, the Villains are now without a win in 18 league matches. If there is any glimmer of hope for them it’s Adama Traore, whose determined run lead to Carlos Gil’s volleyed equaliser.
Sunderland are now seven points above bottom placed Villa, despite being just one place in the table above them, and even though 2016 has only just begun Villa’s relegation seems inevitable.
Tottenham are the real deal
If ever one of these timelines told the story of a half, it’s this one. Tottenham completely dominated the first 45 minutes at Goodison Park, but still would have gone in behind had it not been for Dele Alli’s brilliance.
The 19-year-old needed only two touches to score from a long Toby Alderweireld pass, controlling first with his chest before striking the ball into the net as it came down. It came after Harry Kane and Ben Davies had struck the woodwork, and after Tottenham old boy Aaron Lennon scored with Everton’s first attempt of the game.
But if Tottenham had the first-half then the second belonged to the Toffees. Roberto Martinez’s side peppered the Spurs goal towards the end of the match, but an entertaining game ended with Everton’s eighth league draw of the season, and their second against Mauricio Pochettino’s fourth-placed Tottenham.
Norwich and Southampton need a real poacher
Norwich’s final shot of the game with just under 15-minutes remaining saw Alex Neil’s men pick up the three points against 10-man Southampton.
Saints had the best of the first-half but missed a clinical finisher – Shane Long was unable to convert any of the chances given to him. Norwich actually suffered from the same problem, with Dieumerci Mbokani missing a few golden opportunities.
Ultimately the red card had the biggest impact on the game, with Alex Tettey’s smart side-foot finish coming just three minutes after Victor Wanyama received his second yellow card, and Ronald Koeman’s men weren’t able to muster a shot following going down to 10. The victory leaves Norwich just one point behind Saints and six clear of Newcastle in 18th.
Bournemouth show a different side
After scoring in 18 consecutive league matches Leicester have now failed to score in their last three – although their three shots on target look pretty good compared to Bournemouth failing to test Kasper Schmeichel at all.
Bournemouth had a good first 45, and probably should have been ahead through Josh King, although Jamie Vardy also struck the post. After Simon Francis was sent off in the second-half Leicester had more opportunities to shoot, but Riyad Mahrez saw the resulting penalty saved and when neither him nor Vardy was fully firing, nobody else looked likely to step in.
The Cherries put in a determined performance and were largely responsible for the Foxes failing to score, as Leicester passed up a chance to return to the top of the table. A gritty performance from Bournemouth showed they are capable of toughing it out as well as putting a few passes together.