In a weekend highlighted by derby drama, Liverpool stunned Everton at the death, Arsenal rallied to beat Tottenham, but Burnley’s struggles continued.
Here, Press Association Sport highlights five things we learned from the Premier League weekend.
In the rich history of the Merseyside derby, there have been few like Divock Origi’s stunning stoppage-time winner in Liverpool’s 1-0 victory. Virgil Van Dijk’s mis-hit shot had been given up by Liverpool and Everton players alike as it looked to be sailing over, but Origi kept the pressure on Jordan Pickford and when he failed to deal with a ball which bounced twice off the crossbar, Origi capitalised for the most extraordinary of derby winners. It could be a critical moment in the season as Liverpool kept on the coat-tails of Manchester City, closing the gap back to two at the summit, and ensures that Origi – a man whose Anfield career has looked to be over before now – ensures his name will live long in the memories of Liverpool fans regardless of how many more times he may appears for the Reds.
|ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£ï¿£|— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 2, 2018
🔴 NORTH LONDON IS RED 🔴
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AND NEVER, EVER FORGET IT! 😎 pic.twitter.com/E8KeROIHwU
Replacing a manager who has been at a club for so long as to have effectively taken charge of every single detail of operations is a huge challenge – as Manchester United have discovered. Most expected Unai Emery to face the same challenges at Arsenal, but since the season began with back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery has done a hugely impressive job of injecting energy and belief into an Arsenal side who had grown stale. He had already earned the confidence and support of a fanbase who had grown restless under Wenger, but Sunday’s stirring victory over Tottenham took his stock to new levels. A table of results based on half-time scores this season would have Arsenal down in 19th place, but after another come-from-behind win they are up to fourth and look very capable of making a return to the Champions League.
Technically Manchester United are closer to the top four at the end of the weekend than they were before it – eight points adrift rather than nine – but the 2-2 draw at Southampton did nothing to convince doubters they are capable of forcing their way into it any time soon. Playing a Saints side bereft of confidence, United were once again only stirred into action once they had fallen behind, and produced another largely negative display in a 2-2 draw against a team that, before kick-off, looked there for the taking. Two of United’s next three fixtures pit them against Arsenal and Liverpool, the latter clash coming at Anfield on December 16, and unless they can find a spark very soon they could find themselves out of the reckoning before Christmas.
When Southampton raced into a 2-0 lead just 16 minutes into their Saturday evening fixture against Manchester United, it seemed like Mark Hughes might be getting the result he so sorely needed as speculation about his future intensified. But though the final 2-2 result was better than what most people expected before kick-off, the Saints’ inability to capitalise on the hot start means they still only have one Premier League win all season.
Burnley’s 2-0 loss at Crystal Palace has left the Clarets in the relegation zone – a far cry from their dizzying seventh-placed finish last season. The distraction of Europe was a possible excuse for a slow start, but they were quickly knocked out and with the season now 14 matches old and with only nine points on the board, alarm bells are starting to ring at Turf Moor. Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal are all on the fixture list before the month is out, meaning things seem likely to get worse before they get better.