A third of the way through the season, it’s fair to say that we know plenty about all 20 teams in the Premier League and their aspirations for the campaign.
For some, glory – either literally in terms of silverware or relatively based on their budget/size – awaits, while for others a long old season of despair beckons.
Some of those narratives were solidified in another tumultuous Premier League gameweek:
Winner: Jurgen Klopp
Something of a minor sickness bug swept through Liverpool’s squad last week, with Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez two to suffer. With Dejan Lovren injured and Alberto Moreno desperate for a rest, Jurgen Klopp had something of a defensive dilemma to solve.
The German is known for his sense of adventure, so perhaps his decision to field two midfielders – Emre Can and Gigi Wijnaldum – in a back three should not have surprised anybody.
It was a gamble that ultimately paid off, with Liverpool trouncing a Brighton side that was unbeaten in five on home soil 5-1.
Fortune clearly favouring the brave!
Loser: Paul Clement
Swansea’s trip to Stoke on Saturday had the feeling of a must win game for Paul Clement, the beleaguered Swans boss who looks the next likely victim of the Premier League managerial merry-go-round.
His side took an early lead through Wilfried Bony, but not for the first time this season they capitulated under the pressure and eventually went down 1-2.
The result leaves Swansea pinned to the bottom of the table, with a four-point opened up between them and West Brom in seventeenth. Clement maintains that he has retained the support of the board, but with the busy festive period coming up they may just feel that a change in momentum is essential before the Welsh side get left too far behind.
Winner: Sam Allardyce
Somehow, Big Sam Allardyce took the plaudits for Everton’s 4-0 midweek win over West Ham despite having literally nothing to do with the result – it’s fine work if you can get it.
His first proper game in charge came on Saturday; a home date with Huddersfield, and as first games go they don’t come much more agreeable than that.
And so it proved, with the Toffees running out 2-0 winners courtesy of goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Everton are up to tenth now – fears of relegation well behind them, and now Allardyce can enjoy a free run of a season up on Merseyside.
Loser: Davinson Sanchez
With Toby Alderweireld out injured for the foreseeable future, Tottenham could really do with all hands on deck in defence. Hence, Davinson Sanchez’s unnecessary red card against Watford will not have pleased Mauricio Pochettino.
The Colombian elbowed Watford’s Richarlison early in the second half of their contest, and was duly shown his marching orders. Spurs managed to hold on in a 1-1 stalemate.
Tottenham will now be without Sanchez and Alderweireld for fixtures against Apollon Limassol, Brighton and Burnley; not disastrous by any means, but any more dropped points could prove catastrophic to their top four hopes.
Winner: David de Gea
The scoreline may have read Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United, but the actual context of the game was rather different.
Defensive errors cost Arsenal dear and ultimately gift-wrapped United’s win, but it was a superhuman performance from David de Gea that prevented the Gunners from running up a tally of three or four goals themselves.
The nature of the modern game dictates that all of the power is in the hands of the players; if de Gea wants to move to a Real Madrid, a Barcelona or a PSG, then he will.
In big games like this, a monumental performance like the Spaniard’s acts as the perfect reminder of his talent.
Loser: The Arsenal Defence
Given all the hard work of the Arsenal frontline in creating countless glorious chances – and being thwarted by de Gea’s brilliance – ultimately it was the Gunners’ rearguard that cost their side the three points here.
Laurent Koscielny gave the ball away for United’s first, while Shkodran Mustafi dawdled in possession and was robbed of the ball by Jesse Lingard – 0-2 to the Red Devils.
Lingard added a third later on to secure three priceless points for United, and leave Arsenal’s backline feeling rather sheepish.