Premier League winners and losers
6 days ago, 16:07
Wolves, raising their game again
A wonderful win. Having conceded the opening goal to Chelsea to seemingly extend a run of dire form, Wolves could easily have allowed their heads to drop and lost by two or three goals. Instead they responded with a gutsy, gritty second-half performance that shows why they will not be relegated.
Were Wolves to only play top-half teams they would be laughing. No club has caused the Big Six more problems. Nuno’s side have drawn with Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton, caused Tottenham significant problems and beaten Chelsea. They have an ability to reduce games against lofty opponents to a version of chaos, with the 3-2 Tottenham defeat as the perfect example. Those matches become 50:50 coin tosses played on the edge. Given the strength of those opponents, that’s the best they can hope for.
Now Nuno must eliminate the sloppiness against bottom-half sides. Do that, and Wolves can again look up towards the top six with hope rather than wild optimism.
He’s 18, he’s English and he plays with the composure and confidence of a veteran pro. Wolves’ project might be built around Gestifute talent, but in Gibbs-White they have one of the most exciting domestic talents and will surely now provide him with regular opportunities. Bugger me it’s hard not to get giddy about England.
Winners partly because they kept up their unlikely pace in pursuit of Manchester City, but mainly due to the style in which they did it. Jurgen Klopp picked a front three more surprising than the Sugarbabes circa 2010, but still eventually delighted in victory.
The list of players absent from Liverpool’s starting XI on Wednesday: Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Adam Lallana, Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There is a strength in depth, when all are fit, that supports Liverpool’s improved ambitions.
But Liverpool also did something fairly unusual on Wednesday: They won from a losing position. They had won just once after conceding the first goal of a league game since December 2017, and must continue to show that resolve if they are to hang on to City’s coattails. It seems faintly ridiculous given City’s dominant start, but Liverpool will go top of the Premier League with a win on Saturday lunchtime.
The potential saviour of Newcastle’s season on the pitch, while takeover talk again teases supporters with hope. Three goals in his last four matches have earned his team four points. That’s the difference between being 14th and level on points with the bottom three.
Just another Harry Kane season, in which every other Tottenham player gets a rest and Kane merrily carries on like he’s a bloody robot. He has looked slightly fatigued at times – how could he not? – but the output barely drops below consistent brilliance. Nine goals makes him the second top scorer in the Premier League, and on Wednesday he added his second assist too.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette
From Monday’s Winners and Losers:
Category: sports football