What the EPL?!: ‘Spursy’ PL first puts focus on ‘rash’ Ange tactics, Gunners celebrate ’60 million down the drain’


Ange Postecoglou had the perfect start to life as a Premier League manager, picking up the first three Manager of the Month awards – something that had never been done before.

The number three and firsts have continued to play a role for the Aussie boss of Tottenham, albeit in a far less satisfying way.

The 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa on Monday was Spurs’ third-straight loss. Never before has a Premier League outfit lost three straight after going their first ten games unbeaten.

It has happened just twice before in top flight history – Huddersfield Town in 1924-25 and Sheffield United in 1971-72 – and only four times previously has a PL team lost three straight matches when having scored first.

Asked if he was concerned about losing leads, Postecoglou countered: “No, because the players played an outstanding game of football and as a manager that’s all you can ask for. You can’t ask for any more than that from your players.”

Tottenham are the first team in Premier League history to go unbeaten in their first 10 games of a season and then lose their next three.

Mate. ???? pic.twitter.com/2vvBzKknZq

— Squawka (@Squawka) November 26, 2023

Three is an unlucky number? Spare a thought for classy Korean striker Son Heung-min who netted an incredible three times against Villa only to have all of them ruled out by VAR for offside. He should have had four ruled out goals to be fair, missing an easy chance that was also brought back for an upraised flag.

Do Tottenham have to hand back the Premier League title they’d won in October?#Spursy https://t.co/bhec2VS7rC

— ???? ???????????????????? ???????????????????? ???? (@Chris_Mills_) November 26, 2023

Tottenham have been smashed by injuries, though that is a similar story at other clubs this season, too.

The workload of players is becoming a hot topic again, especially as the impacts of last year’s mid-season World Cup appear to be taking a toll on some players.

There was a setback for Spurs’ Uruguayan midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who was making his first start after an eight-month ACL recovery and was forced off injured.

But injuries only go so far in explaining the issues – with critics suggesting the Aussie manager needs to get his defence sorted, and fast.

Spurs’ next game takes them away to Manchester City before a derby against West Ham and then a clash with Newcastle, who have beaten Arsenal and Chelsea in the past three weeks.

“You always feel like you’ve got a chance against Tottenham because some of their defending is rash, some of their defending is really poor,” said Tim Sherwood on Optus Sport. 

Ange Postecoglou, Manager of Tottenham Hotspur reacts during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on November 26, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

“I think they’re a very good defending side when they’re winning the ball back in their opposition half but in their own half their defending is quite rash.”

Roy Keane added on the second half winner from Ollie Watkins: “Just really poor defending from Spurs.

“You’ve got to get tight and you’ve got to be aggressive; they’ve just switched off at the wrong time. Brilliant goal for Villa, lovely finish, but defensively from Spurs, really Spursy.”

‘Superstar’ needs to kick on

Eric ten Hag’s Manchester United are still far from convincing, but three straight wins have carried them into sixth on the table, six points behind leaders Arsenal.

Remarkably their 3-0 win at Everton – making an already angry crowd even more furious following their PL points deduction – took their goal difference to 0.

That’s 17 worse off than seven-placed Newcastle, who smashed a dire Chelsea 4-1 (has so much money ever been spent for such little return?).

Despite the gulf in the final score, Man United didn’t have everything their own way and Everton really should have been on the scoresheet in a frantic first half.

The good news for fans though is the rise of some Red Devils youngsters. The Alejandro Garnacho wonder strike will almost certianly be Goal of the Season, but there was an almost as crucial moment at the other end as 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo came up with a desperate goal line clearance.

Peter Drury commentary of Garnacho’s goalpic.twitter.com/J0JQkwLINv

— Manchester United Die Hard Fans (@DieHardUtdFans) November 26, 2023

The trick is for Garnacho, in particular, to kick on and for the United forwards to start adding more goals. As good as the goal was it was his first in the Premier League this season in 11 matches, including six as a substitute.

“The kid’s a superstar, he’s been a superstar since he burst onto the scene,” said former United player Owen Hargreaves. “Sometimes he’s more impactful when he comes from the bench but today, in that moment, he just changed the whole game.

(Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

“He has moments for a young man at just 19-years-old that are quite rare actually. He does have a superstar aura about him.”

Garnacho celebrated in Cristiano Ronaldo-style, but superstar seems premature despite his flashes of brilliance.

Everyone else

“Sixty million down the drain, Kai Havertz scores again” was how Arsenal fans – and his fellow players – seranaded the Germany international after his late winner at Brentford.

The Gunners went top with the win that was hard fought against a determined Bees outfit.

It took a genius cross from the right from an otherwise subdued Bukayo Saka to set up Havertz’s winning header.

Odegaard singing ‘60 million down the drain, Kai Havertz scores again’ pic.twitter.com/AlHjRQA8pj

— Martinelli Madness (@cfet13) November 25, 2023

It could have been a lot different due to Aaron Ramsdale’s first-half horror show in the Arsenal goal. Having been dropped for David Raya – unable to face his parent club – Ramsdale was in meltdown mode and clearly trying too hard. After one shocking moment, it took a brilliant clearance from Declan Rice to preserve the clean sheet.

Brighton’s Lewis Dunk became the first player in 12 years to receive a straight red for dissent, although Anthony Taylor couldn’t even do that right.

At first, Taylor pulled out a yellow, then seemed to realise he wanted to show red instead. The incident was at first reported as two yellows although later clarified.

????| This PENALTY was given to Nottingham Forest against Brighton and a red card for Lewis Dunk

Right decision?

— Red Card Alert (@collinabanter) November 25, 2023

There is still doubt over what was said – various guesses from amateur lip readers suggest Dunk called Taylor a “fucking bellend” or a “bald prick”.

Luton won their first-ever home Premier League game, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 and prompting a lovely tribute from lovely Palace manager the lovely Roy Hodgson.

???? Roy Hodgson on Luton Town fans loyalty and the rise back up the leagues.

Fair play Roy!????????pic.twitter.com/BZoPVjsNA8

— We Are Luton Town (@wearelutontown) November 26, 2023

New Chelsea captain Reece James was sent off for a couple of soft yellows at St James Park as veteran fullback Kieran Trippier put on a clinic for the Magpies.

Chelsea, with one win from five games, are down in 10th – a full 14 points off top spot and 12 behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, who have won four out of five for Unai Emery.

Liverpool took a point from Man City and Reds striker Darwin Nunez got into a heated argument with City manager Pep Guardiola afterwards.

Erling Haaland scored his 50th goal in 48 Premier League games – he really is a cheat code (just maybe for the FFP…)

I love Darwin Nunez. The kid just has such an insane winning mentality. I do wonder what was going on here. Did he ask Pep about the 115 charges?#darwizzy #ynwa #lfc #liverpoolfc #ynwa #klopp #darwin #darwinnunez #nunez #MCILIV #PremierLeague pic.twitter.com/Se3gK8YSfR

— jesperbkk (@jesperbkk) November 26, 2023

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