It was the case of same old, same old in the Premier League this weekend in many respects, as Manchester United won for the sixth time on the bounce, Southampton lost their fourth successive fixture and diving was at the forefront of the mind of numerous pundits.
However, there were some thoughts to be taken out of the action, with five of the most notable listed below.
… That the real Robin van Persie has finally stood up
Having scored only three times in the first 12 gameweeks of the season, there were doubts if Van Persie’s best days were clearly behind him and that his days in the Man Utd starting line-up were numbered.
However, four goals in as many fixtures have eased these thoughts as the Dutchman has not only become more involved with link play, but is shooting more frequently.
… That Brendan Rodgers makes the same mistakes in Manchester
Looking back to the earlier rungs of the season, Liverpool lost 3-1 at Manchester City. All three goals that day came from attacks down the Liverpool left and Gary Neville highlighted how over half of the second-half attacks from Manuel Pellegrini’s men came down that zone.
Almost four months have since past and in Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United the Red Devils profited in the same zone, attacking over half the time in that area.
Failing to learn from mistakes is problematic and with Brendan Rodgers still not giving attacking left-back Alberto Moreno enough protection, results are unlikely to improve soon.
… What Olivier Giroud’s braces mean
In-play betting fans could potentially have the most to gain from an interesting trend developing when Olivier Giroud scores twice for Arsenal in the same game.
His last three braces for Arsenal now have all ended with the Gunners securing a 4-1 victory, with the successes over Sunderland, Everton and Newcastle all being secured at the Emirates.
… Which type of opposition Stoke get best results against
It seems quite unusual that a team gains better results against opposition above them in the league standings, rather than those struggling below them.
But this is what is occurring at Stoke, who have taken only three points from the nine teams below them this season, with a record of three draws and no victories from seven games.
However, from the 10 teams above them, the Potters have won five of eight and lost only twice – at Manchester United and Southampton. They should be in Champions League contention with this sort of record against the top half.
… That Gareth McAuley is the most critical player to West Brom’s survival bid
McAuley has only returned for two Baggies league matches so far and this has resulted in four points and no goals conceded to give them a three-point cushion from the relegation places.
Interestingly, he has partnered Joleon Lescott in central defence for the draw with Hull and victory over Aston Villa and keeping this pair fit may prove the biggest factor as to whether they stay up or go down.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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