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EPL results 2021, Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo, Liverpool FC, Sir Alex Ferguson, Chelsea, Leeds United, fixtures, PL table, latest news



The Premier League is back on hiatus for the final international break of the year and the Premier League table is beginning to take shape, despite more dropped points for its main protagonists.

Manchester United are continuing to come to grips with how to best manage their plethora of world superstars, while Chelsea have successfully navigated a tricky start and Arsenal have come back from the brink of disaster.

Here’s five things we learned from last weekend’s Premier League offering…

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Mbappe: I want to leave PSG | 00:28


Man United have won just two of their last seven league games at Old Trafford – with two draws and three losses. It’s a significant slump after winning eight from the 10 Premier League games at home before this run.

There’s plenty of reasons for concern. Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be somewhat exposing a broader problem of United being a team of individuals. And should he have been starting against Everton in the 1-1 draw on the weekend anyway? Sir Alex Ferguson believes so.

Ferguson was spotted chatting to former UFC champion and United fan Khabib Nurmagomedov in the directors’ lounge at Old Trafford after the game, and questioned coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s line-up.

“I also think that when they saw Ronaldo wasn’t playing …” Ferguson said in a now-viral video. Nurmagomedov interrupted: “He came on in the second half.”

Ferguson replied: “I know but you should always start with your best players.”

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Solskjaer, who played under Ferguson for 11 years from ’96 to 2007, has a difficult juggling act to manage Ronaldo’s playing time. Ronaldo handed United their sole win of their last four matches when he scored the winner in the dying embers against Villareal in the Champions League last week. He has now scored five in six games since returning to the club.

United sit level with cross-town rivals City as well as Everton and Brighton on 14 points, just two shy of ladder-leaders Chelsea.

And while there was good news for Solskjaer in Anthony Martial ending a long goal drought, there’s no doubt that his team selection will come under even greater scrutiny in the weeks to come.

He hasn’t lifted a trophy since arriving at the club in December 2018. With the great trophy-winner Ronaldo at the club – and making no bones of his desire to win immediately – the pressure is growing on Solskjaer.

Now even his former mentor is adding fuel to the flames.

Brentford leave it late to beat West Ham | 01:30


Leeds United were one of the most watchable teams in the Premier League last season with goals galore guaranteed – at both ends.

Yet this season has begun at a much slower pace, with three defeats and three draws from their first six games before finally breaking their duck against Watford on the weekend.

So poor their form has been that losing to them will now cost you your job – if you’re a Watford manager with an owner with an unsteady trigger finger, anyway.

Victory lifted Marcelo Bielsa’s men out of the bottom three and is a temporary cure to the ‘second-season syndrome’ so many suffer from after being promoted from the Championship.

Their surprise factor has gone as teams are coming to terms with how to best combat Leeds’ high-intensity pressing game and constant positional rotation, while the strength in depth looking a lot leaner than it did last season.

Goals have dried up along with Patrick Bamford’s form and Leeds seem incapable of playing in slower tempos. The accelerator is always thrust to the floor and controlling the direction of the bus can be very tricky at such speeds.

They still have the potential to alarm and fatigue opponents, but are at huge risk of being alarmed or fatigued themselves.

Now they’ve finally got that win, a bit more calmness should spread around the team. “We knew the second season would be harder,” said Bamford. “It’s still early. No one is panicking.”

Salah scores a goal of pure ‘GENIUS!’ | 00:38


Chelsea signed Romelu Lukaku to fill the one gap you could find in a starting XI that had just won the Champions League, but now Thomas Tuchel is scratching deeper into his squad and is finding its depth greater than even he thought.

He started this weekend’s 3-1 win over Southampton with forgotten man Ruben Loftus-Cheek in midfield, a player tipped to take the Premier League by storm and be a mainstay in England’s starting XI by this point in his career, only to see loan moves and injuries disrupt any progress.

Yet here he is, back starting in a Chelsea midfield which is so packed full of international superstars it’s a surprise he’s still at the club.

He didn’t last the whole game though, with another forgotten man in Ross Barkley entering the fray, almost a year to the day that he helped Aston Villa put seven goals past then Premier League champions Liverpool.

He never managed to seize his chance at Villa after that though, and again faded into becoming a squad player living through the monotony of rotation, rather than the foil for Jack Grealish’s brilliance he had the potential to be.

The duo both looked good and suggested that there is plenty more to come from them this season, with N’Golo Kante’s fitness troubles and Saul Niguez’s arrival looking more and more like a luxury signing rather than one that is likely to transcend them at all.

“He does not have to love the situation but he needs to accept it in a positive way,” Tuchel said of Barkley earlier this season, and it appears that’s exactly what the former Everton man has done.

Chelsea wear down 10 man Southampton! | 01:27


While the current Premier League table may tell a different story for now, there doesn’t appear like there are too many candidates going to put up a fight to get into the top four now Leicester City appear to be going through a transitional phase and leaking goals at an increasing rate.

The Foxes find themselves in 13th place in the table with just two wins from their seven games so far with 12 goals conceded – more than any team not called Norwich, Newcastle or Leeds.

Leicester have been the team most likely to upset the apple cart at the top for the last few years, missing out on Champions League qualification on the final day in each of the last two seasons.

Brighton have started excellently and are on course for an unlikely Europa League challenge, while Everton under Rafael Benitez are up there while West Ham’s resurgence has stepped up a notch from the second half of last season.

And while Everton and Brighton are level on points with the two Manchester clubs, don’t expect that to last a fairytale season for either, with the top four looking too far ahead of any of the other teams in the league this season.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have the managers to steer their formidable squads comfortably to a top-four finish (at the very least) and Manchester United’s team of individuals, despite a managerial mastermind should be more than enough to cause them any real concern.

However, Europa spots are up for grabs with Spurs struggling and it might just be a resurgent Arsenal who are entering themselves into the conversation once again.

Leicester play out draw with Palace | 01:31


Watford were a surprise winner of the Premier League’s infamous ‘sack race’, as the first top-flight club to axe their manager this season.

Just five months after guiding the Hornets to promotion, Xisco Munoz was dumped after two wins from seven games left them on seven points.

The news followed a poor 1-0 loss to Leeds which left them in 15th entering the international break (although still four points above the relegation zone).

Enter Claudio Ranieri, who masterminded Leicester’s remarkable PL triumph in 2015-16.

Ranieri has rejected multiple Italian clubs this season after leaving Sampdoria at the end of last campaign.

But he has a big task on his hands – and history shows he might just struggle.

The last time he took the reins at a Premier League minnow was in 2018-19. He was appointed Fulham boss in November, but lasted just 106 days in the hot seat before being sacked, having won just three of 17 games in charge.

And his upcoming fixture list is nothing short of brutal. Liverpool is first after the international break. Then it’s Everton and Southampton. Then Arsenal, Man Utd, Leicester City, Chelsea and Man City before Brentford. Of those nine opponents, only the Saints sit below Watford on the ladder.

Ranieri has been handed a two-year deal at Vicarage Road. But the last time someone lasted two years as Watford boss was Malky Mackay between June 2009 and June 2011. Watford have had 15 permanent managers since then. Ranieri will have to be at his inspirational best, or number 16 could be coming soon.

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