Talking Points from the Premier League weekend
HAS BALE LOAN SPELL BEEN WASTED
Watching Gareth Bale score a stylish hat-trick for Tottenham Hotspur in the 4-0 win over Sheffield United was a bittersweet moment for the club’s fans.
The Welshman’s return on loan from Real Madrid to the club he lit up during his first spell has been something of a damp squib with former manager Jose Mourinho reluctant to give Bale a regular starting place.
The 32-year-old has still managed nine league goals from eighth starts, however, and the way he dispatched his first Premier League hat-trick since 2012 will only add to the sense of frustration amongst the club’s fans.
Bale is due to return to Real Madrid at the end of the season but fans will hope that now Mourinho has gone, there could be the possibility of him extending his loan spell.
“I think the decision and the priority right now is to make sure he’s happy in training and we get a happy Gareth Bale next week,” interim-manager Ryan Mason said.
INJURY WOES MOUNT FOR ARSENAL
Arsenal secured a routine 2-0 victory at Newcastle United but an otherwise perfect Sunday afternoon was spoiled by a hamstring injury to centre back David Luiz.
With Kieran Tierney and Alexandre Lacazette yet to train and unlikely to be available for Thursday’s season-defining Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal, Luiz’s loss represents a further blow.
“We’re losing big players,” Arteta said. “It’s a shame because David had made a big effort to be available again after surgery on his knee and today it looks like we lose him again.”
HAVERTZ AND WERNER FINALLY COMING GOOD
Kai Havertz has endured a difficult first season at Chelsea since his 75 million pound ($103.60 million) transfer from Bayer Leverkusen but some tough love from new manger Thomas Tuchel appears to be getting a tune out of the young forward.
Tuchel has not spared Havertz from criticism since he arrived to replace Frank Lampard, but he was full of praise for him after his double in the 2-0 win over Fulham.
Likewise fellow German Timo Werner is finally prospering at Chelsea and looking much more like the player who scored so routinely for RB Leipzig.
If part of the reasoning for offloading club great Lampard was to hire someone who could get the best out of those two huge investments, it appears to finally be paying off.
EVERTON’S HOME FORM WILL COST THEM EUROPEAN PLACE
A 2-1 home defeat by Aston Villa on Saturday left a huge dent in Everton’s hopes of qualifying for Europe, but no one should be at all surprised as Goodison Park has become something of a curse for Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
They have won only five of their 17 home games this season, losing eight — a stark contrast to their away form which has yielded 10 wins from 16.
Even Ancelotti appears at a loss to explain it.
“We were in good momentum and good form and then another bad performance at home. It is a completely different team, a completely different attitude,” the Italian said.
“Of course we could do better at home. Away was different. It’s all unbelievable — it’s unbelievable the run we had away and it’s unbelievable the run we’ve had at home.”