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5 talking points from this weekend's Premier League action

We assess David Moyes’ struggles with United, Everton’s well-earned draw with Arsenal and more.

United manager David Moyes is under pressure following two straight home losses.
United manager David Moyes is under pressure following two straight home losses.

1. Paulinho can thrive at Tottenham

MOST OF TOTTENHAM’S new signings have been criticised since joining the club, and this is perhaps understandable after they spent over £100million in the summer on new players only to lose 6-0 to Man City recently.

Yet a player who appears to be one of the club’s more astute purchases is the Brazilian international Paulinho.

The 25-year-old got the all-important equaliser as Spurs earned a hard-fought win over Sunderland.

Of course, he is far from the finished product, but if Paulinho can improve his finishing slightly, Tottenham could have a midfielder capable of scoring 10-plus goals a season.

2. How many games can David Moyes afford to lose?

Every time Man United suffer a setback under David Moyes, the message is always the same.

Well informed and reliable sources close to the club, including Gary Neville, have continually insisted that Moyes isn’t going anywhere and that the Scottish manager will be given time to build a team — as his predecessor Alex Ferguson was.

Nevertheless, two home losses in a row against Newcastle and Everton has prompted many to question whether such patience is justified.

If their rivals for a Champions League spot continue to pull away from them in the table after the New Year, it would be no surprise if drastic action was taken, despite suggestions to the contrary.

3. Teams now fear coming to Anfield

In the days of Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley, Anfield was regarded by opposition teams as one of the most formidable grounds to visit in football.

The legendary stadium has not quite held the same standing in recent times, though if Liverpool continue to perform as they have been of late, it may well regain its foreboding aura.

They have nine goals in their past two games alone — over half of which have been scored by Luis Suarez, who is unquestionably the best striker in the league at the moment — against Norwich and then West Ham yesterday.

While their away form hasn’t always been exemplary, they have a perfect record at home save for a single 1-0 loss to Mauricio Pochettino’s impressive Southampton side.

And with Suarez in such fine form, the Uruguayan may well just propel the Reds to a Champions League spot.

4. Man City look mentally fragile

Football writer and economist Simon Kuper has, in the past, calculated that statistically, the advantage of playing at home is the equivalent of a one-goal head start on average.

However, irrespective of such claims, Man City’s drastic inability to emulate their home form outside of the Etihad remains baffling.

Whereas they have routinely thrashed the likes of Tottenham and Man United at their own ground, away, they have been defeated by Cardiff, Sunderland and Aston Villa, while also failing to beat Southampton yesterday.

It’s difficult to identify precisely why they suffer from such inconsistency, yet it’s patently bad news for their title ambitions, as a team’s tendency to play to their potential only sporadically is suggestive of both mental fragility and a lack of leadership.

5. Everton show their Champions League credentials

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Super-sub Gerard Deulofeu. AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

Roberto Martinez looks to have augmented the tidy side, built by David Moyes, with a few gems and astute signings. Gareth Barry and James McCarthy held sway for large patches of this afternoon’s Premier League draw at The Emirates and full-backs Seamus Coleman and Bryan Oviedo were a constant threat.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was forced to dip into his bench to turn the tide and his triple substitution paid off as Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott set up Mesut Ozil’s goal. Martinez responded by throwing on 19-year-old Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu. The teenager scored a cracking goal within minutes of his intriduction and confirmed the Toffees as a side with realistic Champions League ambitions.

Additional reporting by Patrick McCarry

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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