Premier League 2021/22 talking points, results, news, reaction, scale, Chelsea form, Ralf Rangnick, Manchester United
Ralf Rangnick won his first game as Manchester United’s interim manager this weekend after the Premier League’s top three swapped positions with Manchester City now in charge.
Newcastle have finally tasted victory to give new manager Eddie Howe hope they can escape relegation while Steven Gerrard won his third game in four since joining Aston Villa.
Here are three talking points of action in England’s top flight.
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“NOT GOOD ENOUGH”: Arteta fuming as gunners are shot down
RANGNICK RESTORATION ‘ORDER’ IN UTD
Ralf Rangnick got a glimpse of the work ahead to ensure the Red Devils don’t miss the top four.
The energetic style on which the 63-year-old has built his reputation in German football was showcased early on at Old Trafford, just days after his arrival to replace sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But United struggled to maintain that intensity or to shatter Palace until Fred’s beautiful strike from outside the box 13 minutes to go.
A first clean sheet at home of the season gives Rangnick a platform to build on, but that was more due to visitors’ caution and a glaring dud from Jordan Ayew than excellent defense.
United are now sixth in the table after a second straight win, just three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.
However, Rangnick has a tantalizing run of fixtures ahead, with Norwich, Brentford, Brighton, Newcastle and Burnley before the end of the year.
United great Gary Neville said Rangnick got the “order” he wanted in the victory over Crystal Palace.
“I really enjoyed it,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show. “Was it flamboyant football?” Was Manchester United at their best in the past hour? It was sometimes a fight.
“… 48 hours to be with their squad and let’s be clear over the past six to seven weeks Manchester United have been a mess defensively. They haven’t been cleansed at home in 16 appearances.
“They were conceding goals like you wouldn’t believe, getting beaten at home against Liverpool and City. All the teams above have cut them through. What Ralf Rangnick would have wanted yesterday was order. Order in the performance and think we got it.
LIVERPOOL’S FORGOTTEN LEGEND DONE WHEN IT MATTERS
Divock Origi marked his 100th substitute appearance for Liverpool on Saturday with the last in his collection of crucial late goals.
Jurgen Klopp’s men had dominated Wolves at Molineux but couldn’t find a way until the Belgian striker struck in the 94th minute, triggering scenes of delirium from the Liverpool bench.
Other memorable Origi moments included an 87th-minute strike in the 2019 Champions League final victory over Tottenham and a last-minute winner in a 2018 derby against Everton.
“He’s a top striker, a top boy,” said Klopp, who described the 26-year-old as a “legend”.
“He’s been here at Liverpool for a long time already – he came here very young and scored some of the most important goals in club history.”
PROBLEMS FOR CHELSEA WHEN THE DESPERATE MOVE HAS A RETURN OF FIRE
It’s too early to talk about serious problems for Chelsea after suffering their second Premier League loss of the season to top-flight West Ham.
But they have now dropped points in three of their last five league games as Manchester City and Liverpool hit the gas.
The Stamford Bridge squad are built with tough stuff under Thomas Tuchel and the game at London Stadium was only the third time in 53 games under the German they had conceded more than once.
Tuchel admitted that the winner of West Ham over Arthur Masuaku was an abnormal goal, but bemoaned earlier mistakes.
He will be concerned about the lack of goals from his main attackers, especially Romelu Lukaku, who was used as a substitute at London Stadium.
Defender Reece James and attacking midfielder Mason Mount are the club’s top scorers this season, with five goals each in all competitions.
Big summer signing Lukaku has struggled with form and fitness this season and hasn’t scored since mid-September after a strong start at Stamford Bridge.
Tuchel admitted he made a mistake playing Lukaku against West Ham United after admitting the striker was not at the level of fitness required to play an influential role.
“It’s my fault,” said the German boss of Lukuka, who came on after half-time.
“I don’t think he’s ready for 45 minutes physically, but we still decided to bring him up to his level because we lost Kai (Havertz).
“Kai was instrumental in the set-piece defense, which is a huge threat from West Ham, so that’s for me. I made the decision so it’s my responsibility.