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Lampard is Mourinho-proof; Majestic Ndombele; no Partey for Arsenal and 2020’s best signing - talking points

·7-min read
 (Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Another action-packed Premier League weekend saw Tottenham hold on to top spot after blunting Chelsea before Arsenal confirmed their worst ever start to a Premier League season and after Manchester United came from behind to beat Southampton and Manchester City rediscovered their scoring touch.

Here are the big talking points from the weekend action…

1. Majestic Ndombele can still improve

Tanguy Ndombele was the only Tottenham player to start three times last week, reflecting the maverick midfielder’s importance to Jose Mourinho, but his fitness remains an issue. As Ndombele tired against Chelsea, so the visitors' threat diminished, as Spurs settled for a point at Stamford Bridge. Ndombele has quickly gone from outcast to essential but he is still not fit enough, having been replaced on the hour in his last five starts. Spurs have the perfect understudy in Giovani Lo Celso, but they will surely go up a level when Ndombele is able to complete a full 90 minutes. Dan Kilpatrick


2. Chelsea loanee Gallagher continues to shine for West Brom

It has come as little surprise to anyone at Chelsea or Charlton that Conor Gallagher already looks at home in the Premier League. The 20-year-old is highly thought of at Stamford Bridge and Charlton manager Lee Bowyer knew it would not be long before he announced himself in the top-flight after his six-month loan spell at Charlton last season. Gallagher was arguably the best player on the pitch when West Brom played Tottenham a few weeks ago and his long-range goal gave Slaven Bilic’s men their first Premier League win since their promotion as they beat Sheffield United 1-0 on Saturday. He looks a real talent. Simon Collings

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

3. Lampard won’t fall for Jose’s mind games

Frank Lampard knows Jose Mourinho too well to be caught up in his psychological warfare. It was remarkable the Special One could keep a straight face as he declared Tottenham a pony in a horse race in the battle for the Premier League title. Arsene Wenger may have been wound up by such nonsense – but not so Lampard. He brushed it off, much in the same way as he refused to be lured into the trap Mourinho set on the pitch. How the Spurs boss would have loved to have seen Chelsea over-extend and leave gaps at the back. But Lampard’s team were too disciplined to give their rivals the chance to pick them off – and on another day Tammy Abraham, Hakim Ziyech and Olivier Giroud would have converted one of their chances to take all three points. James Robson

POOL/AFP via Getty Images
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

4. Phillips and Pickford impress in front of Southgate

Gareth Southgate was in attendance at Goodison Park to see Leeds beat Everton 1-0 on Saturday, where two men made an impressive case to the England manager. Kalvin Phillips, who was given his first England call-up in September before he had played a minute in the Premier League, was man of the match as he dictated a dominant Leeds display and kept James Rodriguez quiet. At the other end, Everton's Jordan Pickford put on a confident showing in goal after a tough start to the season. Southgate has stuck by his No1 and will be encouraged by what he saw. Jack Rosser

5. Chorley eyeing Premier League big boys after FA Cup scalp

The video of Chorley players belting out Adele’s Someone Like You in their dressing room after they stunned Peterborough in the FA Cup has been viewed over 1.5 million times after it went viral. In what has been a difficult year, the celebrations from the non-league minnows were a reminder of what football is all about. The National League North side, managed by primary school headteacher Jamie Vermiglio, are into the FA Cup third round for the first time in their history and the players will be glued to the draw on Monday evening in hope they get one of the Premier League big boys. Jack Rosser

6. Fernandes looking like the signing of 2020

Another game, another goal for Bruno Fernandes, who has to go down as the best signing of 2020. As we approach the end of the calendar year these are the sort of questions that will be assessed. And without Fernandes’ move to Old Trafford in January, things would look very different at Manchester United. He is the man who sparked their turnaround in form that fired them to third in the table when they looked as good as out of the top four race last season. And just when they looked set for their fourth league defeat of the season on Sunday – trailing 2-0 to Southampton – he popped up with his 10th goal of the season to inspire a comeback win. He cost £47million – but to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he’s priceless. James Robson

Getty Images
Getty Images

7. Arsenal have to wait even longer to Partey

As if Mikel Arteta’s problems couldn’t get any bigger, he now has to wait even longer for Thomas Partey to return. When the midfielder injured his thigh against Aston Villa on November 8, it was hoped he could be back after the international break two weeks later. Partey, however, has since struggled to come back and the injury is worse than first feared. Arteta confirmed after Arsenal's 2-1 loss to Wolves that the Ghanaian will now be out for “a few more games” and that is a blow to the Gunners. In a season that has failed to get going yet, Partey has been a rare bright spark. Simon Collings

Pool via REUTERS
Pool via REUTERS

8. Hodgson’s strong message for Palace players

After Friday's loss to Newcastle made it two straight defeats for Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson laid down a clear message. Hodgson is usually the first to defend his players but after losing to Burnley and Newcastle, that changed. "It is up to every player to make certain that he is at his absolute best to give everything to the team," he said. "If they don't, for whatever reason, that is something they will have to take some responsibility for." Palace visit West Brom this weekend and Hodgson now he's left looking for answers from his squad. Jack Rosser

9. Klopp not giving up in his fight against broadcasters

There are no signs of time healing Jurgen Klopp’s relationship with broadcasters – especially after Liverpool suffered yet another injury in their 1-1 draw at Brighton. James Milner was the latest Liverpool players to break down as they struggle to cope with the hectic schedule – and Klopp was quick to hit out on BT Sport following his side’s lunchtime kick off. The question is whether his protestations are just falling on deaf ears. He is desperate to see five substitutes reintroduced and it’s clear it’s not a fight he’s willing to give up any time soon. James Robson

Getty Images
Getty Images

10. Pirlo’s Juventus lose further ground in Serie A

Andrea Pirlo continues to struggle at Juventus. The Italy legend has had a difficult start to life in management and a 1-1 draw with promoted minnows Benevento leaves Juve six points adrift of Serie A leaders AC Milan. Pirlo defended his decision to rest Cristiano Ronaldo on Saturday and Juve, who have won nine consecutive titles, face a real fight to their dominance of Italian football. AC Milan were missing Zlatan Ibrahimovic because of injury but still beat Fiorentina 2-0 and look a real challenge to Juve this season. Jack Rosser