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EPL news 2021, Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Arsenal, Chelsea, talking points, fixtures, results, Premier League table, latest

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Manchester United beat Tottenham to ease the pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this weekend but it Nuno Espirito Santo who was ultimately given the boot.

Chelsea took advantage of slip-ups from their title rivals to open up a three-point gap at the top of the Premier League.

The Blues beat Newcastle by the same scoreline at St James’s Park while 10-man Manchester City slipped to a surprise 2-0 home defeat against Crystal Palace and Liverpool squandered a 2-0 lead at home to Brighton to draw 2-2.

These are the big talking points from the action in the English top-flight.

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NUNO PAYS THE PRICE

Ronaldo stars in United win! | 01:32

Harry Kane looks a shadow of the player who won a third Premier League Golden Boot trophy last season – and it cost his manager Nuno dear.

The England captain, denied a move to champions Manchester City in the transfer window, was anonymous in Tottenham’s limp defeat by Manchester United on Saturday, with his team failing to muster a single shot on target.

Kane, 28, was apparently singled out for criticism from the stands and former United midfielder Roy Keane believes he has not recovered from being denied his summer move.

“You do have to have sympathy with the manager when you think when he’s come in here you’re thinking ‘I’m going to be working with a world-class striker in Harry Kane’ but that saga is just dragging on,” he said. “Kane hasn’t recovered from it and the team haven’t.”

And ultimately, it was the failure to get Kane firing which cost Nuno his job.

Only relegation-bound Norwich have scored fewer goals in the Premier League this season than Spurs, while no team is averaging fewer shots on goal per game that Tottenham.

Ultimately he was just the wrong man at the wrong time and Spurs realised their mistake early enough to rectify it.

Antonio Conte will come in and shake everything up and inject some much-needed energy and workload into this lethargic Spurs side.

Ronaldo’s little jab at media critics | 00:48

RONALDO BUYS OLE SOME BREATHING ROOM

Amid all of the clamour to make radical changes, starting with benching Cristiano Ronaldo as a result of his poor workrate without the ball, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer kept faith in the Portuguese superstar.

He did bin a different part of the ‘United DNA’ which he has fawned over however, with the wingers dropped to the bench in favour of five at the back and a strike duo with a combined age of 70.

But they, along with Bruno Fernandes, were the ones who did the damage with Ronaldo’s excellent display reminding everyone why you simply cannot drop him, despite what the analytical wizards may say.

“We knew before the game that we had a tough week,” Ronaldo told Sky Sports.

“We had results that we didn’t expect, the team was under pressure and a little bit sad, but we knew today that we would answer. We played good. My job is to help the team with my experience, goals, assists and I did today – feel so pleased for that.

“In terms of the team, it was an unbelievable performance. I hope this time we changed the page. It’s not only the coach that many people point out, it’s the players as well. I believe that something happened for a reason and we have to be happy this afternoon.

“It’s normal [criticism], the club is so big. The criticism is so big, it is always there. It doesn’t bother me, I know that one day we are perfect and another day we are crap. Sometimes life is like that and we have to pass through the bad moments.”

However, despite stumbling on a winning formula, it’s not really a sustainable one, with it restricts United’s biggest young talents like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood to bit-part roles from the bench.

The coming week is massive for Solskjaer and although the pressure has subsided with the 3-0 win over Spurs and Nuno’s subsequent sacking, it will ramp right back up if he is unable to find a way past Atalanta in the Champions League and Manchester City on Saturday night (AEDT).

Fixtures against Chelsea and Arsenal are also on the horizon and although the looming shadow of Antonio Conte has gone, it really is a make or break season for Solskjaer.

Through lack of alternatives, he may yet survive this torrid run now and go at the end of the season, when it is easier to find a replacement.

ARSENAL’S LUCKY CHARM GOALKEEPER

Ramsdale pulls off “save of the season” | 00:39

Aaron Ramsdale has yet to taste defeat in an Arsenal shirt after missing the club’s torrid start to the Premier League season.

Mikel Arteta’s team were bottom of the table after three games but are now unbeaten in nine matches in all competitions and on the fringes of the top four.

Ramsdale impressed in Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of in-form Leicester on Saturday, keeping the Foxes at bay with a string of saves including a stunning stop from a James Maddison free-kick.

Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal spent an initial £24 million on the Sheffield United player in August but he has impressed since replacing Bernd Leno.

“When you want to win games consecutively, you need big individual performances,” said Arteta.

“You can win in different ways but it’s for sure that your goalkeeper has to stand out… In big moments today, I think he was superb.”

The Gunners’ young squad has gelled together well and relieved the early-season sack pressure on Arteta.

Ramsdale has been a big part of that and now there appears to finally be a foundation to build a squad capable of getting Arsenal back to where they want to be, even if it is still a couple of seasons away.

CHELSEA’S WING-BACK WONDERS

Chelsea thump Newcastle to go top | 01:23

Chelsea have conceded the joint-fewest goals in Europe’s top five leagues this season – just three – which is the same total as Serie A leaders Napoli.

Thomas Tuchel’s men were the only winners among the leading pack this weekend as closest rivals Liverpool and Manchester City both dropped points.

Chelsea have only played 10 games but are on track to beat the all-time record for fewest goals conceded in a Premier League season – the mark of 15 set by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in 2004/05.

The team’s defenders are also making their mark at the other end of the pitch.

Reece James – who scored twice in the 3-0 win at Newcastle – and fellow wing-back Ben Chilwell have now scored seven league goals between them this season.

It brings back memories of the Blues’ ruthless attacking full-backs under Antonio Conte which saw them win the Premier League in 2017.

With every passing week, you get the impression that these full-backs can inspire them to another title tilt.

Hammers get it done over Villa | 00:59

BLEAK REALITY FOR NEWCASTLE

You can have all the money in the world but that’s not going to save Newcastle’s dismal season from getting even worse.

When Chelsea were bought, they were in the Champions League already, Manchester City were in mid-table, and both were purchased while the transfer window was still open.

But Newcastle are 19th with four points from 10 games and are already six points adrift of safety even at this early stage of the season.

Steve Bruce clearly wasn’t the problem, the problem was years of neglect and lack of investment which has leg to this point.

Newcastle can sign new players in January but the lure of the club isn’t going to attract too many if the prospect of playing Championship football next season is as real as it is now.

They need a manager as soon as possible to start turning results around, and one that will strike confidence into prospective transfer targets in January.

“Newcastle were shocking, like, shocking – they offered nothing,” ex-Premier League star Jamie O’Hara told the talkSPORT.

“They just defended for 90 minutes and every time they won the ball back, they gave it away in midfield.

“It was honestly so bad. They’re there with Norwich, in terms of how bad they are this season.

“They are in serious trouble. If Newcastle think that they are going to rock up and get out of trouble in January, they’re mistaken, because they’ve got a long way to go.

“As a group collectively at the back, they are miles off it. Like Championship level.”

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