Sport PL hits and misses: Conte brings the noise; Utd made to pay

09:51  22 november  2021
09:51  22 november  2021 Source:   skysports.com

Tottenham boss Conte visited Mason in hospital after head injury

  Tottenham boss Conte visited Mason in hospital after head injury Ryan Mason suffered a fractured skull while he was playing for Hull City at Antonio Conte's Chelsea in 2017. The former Tottenham midfielder is now first-team coach working with Conte.Mason sustained a fractured skull while he was playing for Hull City at Conte's Chelsea back in 2017.

Conte bringing back the noise at Spurs

He has only witnessed two games so far, but Antonio Conte doesn't do matches at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium by halves. Following that chaotic victory over Vitesse Arnhem here in the Europa Conference League, his side staged a brilliant comeback to ensure momentum remains intact under their new ebullient head coach.

Conte cuts a frustrated figure during the first half © PA Conte cuts a frustrated figure during the first half

As Andre Marriner blew on his whistle for a final time, Conte turned to his bench and the first person he hugged was Sergio Reguilon. The match-winner looks set for a very important role under the Italian. Noticeably, Steven Bergwijn brushed past him in disappointment at having not been called upon, but that is the mentality under Conte. It is his way or the highway.

Antonio Conte tells John Terry to cut down on the biscuits

  Antonio Conte tells John Terry to cut down on the biscuits Conte, 52, spent just one season coaching Terry, 40, while the pair were at Chelsea together, with the former England captain lifting the Premier League title before leaving Stamford Bridge. Terry has since embarked on his own coaching career, spending three years as Dean Smith's assistant at Aston Villa and is now biding his time over his next move, while Conte has recently taken the helm at Tottenham. © Provided by Daily Mail ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Yet that has not stopped the Italian from checking in on his former star and providing dietary advice.

Tottenham 2-1 Leeds - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match statsPremier League results | Table

Conte is constantly active and he will try to turn this world-class stadium into a fortress under his stewardship. He has now won each of his last 17 home league games as a manager, with the previous 16 all coming with Inter. The Italian has won his first home league match with each of his last five clubs (Siena, Juventus, Chelsea, Inter, Spurs).

The last time Spurs were here in the league fans turned on Daniel Levy and the board and dispersed in their droves long before their 3-0 loss to Manchester United was confirmed.

That United win papered over the cracks and they remain in disarray as Tottenham acted to prise away one of the few elite managers available.

Neville: It could turn ugly if Man Utd don't respond

  Neville: It could turn ugly if Man Utd don't respond Things could get even uglier for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Man Utd if they fail to produce an immediate response at Watford, warns Gary Neville.United were humiliated 5-0 by rivals Liverpool and then played off the park by Manchester City in their one-sided, 2-0 derby defeat in early November, leaving them nine points adrift of Premier League leaders Chelsea at the 11-game mark.

"I have a great passion and I want to transfer it in all the environment," Conte said. "When it comes to passion, you either have it or you don't.

"This win is very important because we struggled today. We played two different games and they beat us on the tactical aspect in the first half. To play against Leeds and against Marcelo Bielsa is not easy. We must be satisfied. This is only a point from which to start for the rest of the season."

Conte has brought the noise back and here was the perfect example of why Spurs wanted him all along.Ben Grounds

Square pegs in round holes at Leeds

Such is Leeds' growing injury list, 15-year-old Archie Gray even travelled south with the squad for the Tottenham loss, with head coach Marcelo Bielsa confirming that he had contemplated included him on the bench.

The grandson and great nephew of Leeds legends Frank and Eddie Gray, he has eight years to go before being classed as overage in Premier League 2.

Revealed: How far Man Utd have fallen since Sir Alex

  Revealed: How far Man Utd have fallen since Sir Alex Manchester United would only be fifth in a Premier League table representing the nine years since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club. United have had four permanent managers since Sir Alex departed in 2013 and are now seeking a fifth after sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. © Getty The Norwegian left the club with United sat eighth in the Premier League table and 12 points adrift from league leaders Chelsea. It is not quite the start many fans were expecting after a runners-up finish last term preceded a stellar summer transfer window.

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Despite such a paucity of options at present, made worse by the absence of Raphinha through illness, Leeds found a formula to deservedly lead Spurs at the break as they utilised Mateusz Klich in a false nine position alongside another precocious talent in Joe Gelhardt.

"We've picked up injuries to players in the same position and during the same period," Bielsa lamented post match.

Kalvin Phillips was even forced to play out of his natural position in the Leeds defence before he was later moved into midfield as the visitors were forced to chase the game.

Tottenham eventually wore down their opponents and such was their transformation after the break, the hosts even covered more distance than Bielsa's men (112km to 108km) to underline how Leeds are down to the bare bones.

Bielsa sought several solutions in the second period to swing the tide back in his favour, but Spurs' comeback was as much about the improved fitness Conte is installing as it was about Leeds' need for resources in the January window.

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  How much would Man Utd have to pay PSG for Poch? Manchester United will have to pay £8.4m if they want to prise Mauricio Pochettino away from PSG, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson. Pochettino is interested in replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford and he is Manchester United's first choice to take over permanently from the Norwegian, who was sacked on Sunday.

Two points above the relegation zone, Bielsa knows he can't keep working up creative new ways of plugging square pegs into round holes.Ben Grounds

United made to pay for dithering on Solskjaer

No-one likes to see managers sacked, aside perhaps from their accountants, but sometimes you have to know when the time is right.

There is certainly a balance to be struck. Look at Tottenham, who have spent two years looking for a man who can match Mauricio Pochettino, let alone better him, and short-termism has plenty to answer for in football.

Approaching £500m, three seasons, no trophies and a 5-0 tanking by Liverpool should have been enough for the Manchester United board to realise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was no longer the right man.

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Clearly, the players realised it. They did not so much down tools but never picked them up against Manchester City before the international break, and whatever their manager's game plan was at Vicarage Road on Saturday, they were totally incapable of enacting it as they lost 4-1 to Watford.

Watford 4-1 Man Utd - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

This has been on the cards. David de Gea pretty much said the same. "We've been bad for a long time," were his exact words after a fourth league defeat from five.

European hits and misses: Spurs, Conte back to square one

  European hits and misses: Spurs, Conte back to square one Antonio Conte handed Spurs reality check on night Alfredo Morelos sings for Giovanni van Bronckhorst, West Ham get the job done, and Leicester finally get going.The warning signs were there, staring Tottenham right in the face, on Sunday.

It was enough for Manchester United, finally, to act. But the regime which follows Ed Woodward's departure by the end of this year must be more decisive to avoid a repeat performance of Ole's demise.

Such a club great deserves putting out of his misery before it gets to the point of his players - in this case Bruno Fernandes - arguing with fans booing the manager from the stands.

United have been found wanting in so many departments since Sir Alex Ferguson's departure. This is just the latest.

Things improved under Solskjaer's tenure, the 'toxic' dressing-room atmosphere talked about under Jose Mourinho appears to have vanished, and the first XI, at least, isnot far off rivalling any other across the league.

But United are, underneath it all, as far away from ruthless off the pitch as they are on it. This decline has been weeks, months, in the making, and their hesitancy has left them 12 points off Chelsea. Whoever follows Solskjaer must work under a boardroom for whom winning is everything, or bridging that gap will be hard work.Ron Walker

Gerrard shows conservative approach

You'd be forgiven for expecting Steven Gerrard to come out with a gung-ho approach in his first game as a Premier League manager, in front of a big home crowd desperate for entertainment, and having come from a league where his Rangers side dominated possession, chances and, well, everything.

But this was a considered tactical offering against a Brighton side who dominate the ball and get numbers back at double speed.

Patience was the name of the game on Saturday as Villa stood firm for long periods of simply watching Brighton pass the ball around the middle and defensive third. At times, the packed Villa Park crowd moaned and groaned at a perceived lack of ambition in possession, but when Brighton blinked first and left players upfield, Villa pounced superbly.

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  Man Utd aim to appoint Rangnick in next 24-48 hours Manchester United hope to reach an agreement with Lokomotiv Moscow for Ralf Rangnick to be released to become the club's interim manager in the next 24 to 48 hours. Negotiations between the clubs have been positive, with Rangnick currently manager of sports and development at the Russian club. © Associated Press Rangnick, 63, will apply for a work permit once an agreement is reached, with the German expected to remain at United for two years beyond the season in a consultancy role.

Aston Villa 2-0 Brighton - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

"We wanted to pack the midfield, and when our moments come, we wanted to go and hit the opposition," he said after the game. It perhaps wasn't pretty, but it worked.

Ironically, it came through excellent work from sub Ashley Young from central midfield - Dean Smith had been criticised for playing Young in that position - and Ollie Watkins showed why he is Villa's main attacking threat with strike-partner Danny Ings off the pitch.

Villa smelt blood and continued to push for a second with Brighton committing.

Gerrard's doubters will have been impressed by that tactical dexterity. Appointing him was a risk, given Villa had lost five straight games and had five tricky games on the horizon. But playing like this, they will be absolutely fine.Gerard Brand

Rodri's midfield masterclass for City

Rodri is into his third season at Manchester City but he has perhaps never been more appreciated than he is right now. The Spain international midfielder was the standout performer in City's 3-0 win over Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Man City 3-0 Everton - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

His stunning goal early in the second half capped his performance - a rocket that beat Jordan Pickford's outstretched arm to end any hope of Everton getting back into the game. It was a marvellous moment but he brought so much more than just that strike.

"Even before his goal, he was the best player on the pitch in the first half," Gary Neville told Sky Sports. "He was breaking everything up and keeping Everton pinned back and then his goal in the second half was just absolutely world-class. What a strike."

His metronomic passing sets the tempo for the team. He found a team-mate with 108 passes against Everton - more than anyone else on the pitch. No City player made more tackles either as he helped to control those counter-attacks, a key aspect of his role.

Rangnick has tools to work with at Man Utd

  Rangnick has tools to work with at Man Utd Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea showed there are tools for incoming interim manager Ralf Rangnick to work with.Ralf Rangnick has not taken charge yet - his first game as interim manager is likely to be Thursday's meeting with Arsenal - but the way in which Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes sprinted towards the blue-shirted defenders in possession showed his influence may already have taken hold.

Fernandinho set the standard in midfield and in that first season at the club it was a standard that Rodri found difficult to hit. But he is 25 now, fully assimilated into Pep Guardiola's system, and he is more than a part of it - he is a reason why they are so good.Adam Bate

Everton's issues run deeper than injuries

The mitigating factors were there, even before a ball was kicked.

Everton travelled to the Etihad Stadium, a venue where they had failed to win on any of their previous 10 visits, without attacking focal point Dominic Calvert-Lewin, without midfield lynchpin Abdoulaye Doucoure, without the defensive might of Yerry Mina, three key players as responsible as any for their bright start to the campaign.

But Everton's issue ran much deeper than injuries on Sunday, as they felt the full force of Manchester City without so much as attempting to lay a glove on the Premier League champions.

Take three key players out of any squad in the division, even Manchester City to an extent, and you'd likely witness a drop-off in performance similar to Everton's showing. But when set against a backdrop of six-game winless run - their first in the top-flight since January 2018 - and a run of just one Premier League victory in eight, alarm bells have to be ringing at Goodison Park.

It wasn't the sobering playing off the park City often dish out on their home patch, but it wasn't far from it. There were positives to be drawn from 44 minutes of dogged resistance, but when the Toffees were unpicked by Joao Cancelo's exquisite assist and Raheem Sterling unerring finish, the writing was on the wall, and an insipid counter-attacking threat offered no hope of anything else.

Everton's campaign will not be judged on trips to the home of the champions, and there is still hope of a return of their early-season promise when their key personnel rise from the treatment table. But Rafa Benitez, the most-contentious managerial appointment at Everton in recent years, needs to start delivering on a consistent basis to prevent the support base from turning.Jack Wilkinson

Positives for Newcastle but no quick fix

It was not the first game Eddie Howe would have envisaged when he was named Newcastle boss, but he would have been pleased with plenty of what he saw from his side from his hotel room as they drew 3-3 with Brentford.

However, Howe, who was unable to be in the dugout at St James' Park for his first game in charge after testing positive for Covid-19, would have also been given a glimpse of the huge task he faces at the club.

Newcastle 3-3 Brentford - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

Assistant boss Jason Tindall, who took charge alongside Graeme Jones in the absence of Howe, re-iterated as much after the game.

He said: "When we arrived at the football club, the team were where they were and since we've been here, we've just tried to implement our philosophy on the group of players as quickly and the best we can. It was never going to be such a quick fix to do that.

"We can't focus on the league table. We can't focus on anybody else other than ourselves. We've still got a lot of work to do, but today, there were a lot of positives to take into next week."

The league table does not lie, though. The topsy-turvy draw with Brentford meant Newcastle, who are still waiting for their first Premier League win of the season, slipped to the bottom of the table and that will not make pleasant reading for the club's new owners.

In a 38-game Premier League season, three of the four sides who failed to win any of their first 12 games of a season have gone on to be relegated, so while there were positives for Howe to take, he, and the owners, will not want to take too much longer to get that first win and start climbing up the league table.Oliver Yew

Immediate impact as Smith inspires Norwich comeback

Before the 2-1 victory over Southampton, the last time Norwich came from behind to win a Premier League game was in May 2016.

There have been 36 occasions where the Canaries have fallen behind and failed to turn it around and pick up three points.

But after a half-time team-talk from new boss Dean Smith changed the course of the game, it would appear unlikely they will have to wait that long again.

Norwich 2-1 Southampton - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

Despite bringing youngsters Billy Gilmour and Todd Cantwell back into the side after they were surprisingly underused by former boss Daniel Farke, Smith watched his new charges struggle before the break.

He knew Norwich were lucky to be level and sent his side out with renewed vigour - as well as hooking off Cantwell and replacing him with Josh Sargent.

They played higher up the pitch, pressed their visitors and looked like a side who believed they could pick up all three points.

It was the sort of intervention you need from a manager when you are bottom of the league and struggling.

At the end of October, the Canaries squad looked short of fight as they lost 7-0 at Chelsea.

In Smith's first game, the fight they showed suggested all is not lost in their battle for survival.Matthew Storey

Chelsea's wonderful wing-backs do it again

There has been so much spoken about Chelsea's wing-backs this season and with good reason given that Ben Chilwell and Reece James are the top-scoring 'defenders' in the Premier League. But their role in their 3-0 win at Leicester was critical.

Right from the outset, they were threatening in behind the defence and both players registered assists in the opening half an hour of the game. When they provide the width high up the pitch it becomes a five-man attack and opponents struggle to stop them.

Leicester 0-3 Chelsea - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

But what was noticeable at the King Power Stadium was the variation in the threat. James, in particular, would drift inside and either drive at the defence from there or take on a playmaking role in the middle. In this form, he looks like the complete player.

"I think the whole team understands better and better when we can take risks, when we can change positions," Thomas Tuchel explained after the game. "Not to be overconfident and do crazy stuff but to have that freedom in our offensive movement.

"I think the wing-backs can adjust their positions to half positions to support our attackers. It is a matter of repetition and understanding with each other in the moment. We want to be dangerous from certain spaces and accelerate the game from certain spaces."

The result is that while the two formations on show at the King Power Stadium were ostensibly similar, Chelsea looked much more fluid. The man on the ball always had options. It is a team that is growing together and their young wing-backs are leading the way.Adam Bate

Neves helps Wolves halt Hammers' progress

West Ham have been brilliant this season, but as we entered a third international break, the question was 'for how long they could sustain it?'. The Liverpool result, the Hammers' fourth successive league win, saw David Moyes' team replace the Reds in third place in the table, going three points behind leaders Chelsea.

Wolves 1-0 West Ham - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

But as Moyes strode on to the pitch at the full-time whistle at Molineux, he could acknowledge that for one of the very few times this campaign, his team had deservedly been on the end of defeat as they lost 1-0 to Wolves.

Declan Rice withdrew from the England squad last week because of illness and he looked well short of his best here following the praise heaped upon him by Glenn Hoddle as "the best player in the Premier League".

Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves patrolled the midfield area to lay the foundations of a third straight home league win for Wolves. The latter, in particular, sparkled with 42 passes into the opposition half, more than any other player.

West Ham have clearly bought into Moyes' methods after two years in charge, but after far less time in the dugout, Bruno Lage is showing encouraging signs of his players following the same upward trajectory.

This is no more than a setback for West Ham, Moyes will hope, and there is the Europa League trip to Rapid Vienna on Thursday that will provide his players with an instant opportunity to respond. One of the cornerstones of Moyes' success at West Ham has been his ability to call upon a settled side with just four changes to the starting XI prior to Saturday.

But with a raft of games coming up over the next month, this was not the perfect start to life without Angelo Ogbonna, whose season-ending injury will no doubt be addressed in the January window after the Czech businessman Daniel Kretinsky completed his purchase of a 27 per cent stake in the club this week.

The Hammers were hoping to go a ninth straight league game unbeaten for the first time since the 1985/86 season - when they finished third - but having suffered defeat on the road for the first time in any competition this term, this was not so much a reality check as a reminder that any drop in standard in this division will undoubtedly get punished.

You have to go as far back as the 1975/76 season for the last time West Ham started a top-flight campaign this well, but 16 games without a win meant this would eventually finish that term 18th. The wheels are not expected to come off as drastically this time around and this blip should sharpen the focus, with Manchester City next up in the league at the Etihad.Ben Grounds

An opportunity missed for Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace and Burnley played their part in one of the most entertaining games in the Premier League season so far as they drew 3-3 at Turf Moor, but there was no question that the visitors needed to be more defensively disciplined to stop Burnley from profiting off set-pieces.

Burnley's greatest strength lies in their ability to win aerial duels and capitalise in those moments, but Palace looked vulnerable every time a ball was directed into the box.

Burnley 3-3 Crystal Palace - Match report and highlightsHow the teams lined up | Match stats

Patrick Vieira said post-match: "For the neutral it was a good game, but it was disappointing because they had space to score more goals. When you look at the chances they had at the end it was a challenging game.

"Burnley are really strong physically and at set-pieces they are a danger. It is a big part of the game we need to improve."

Christian Benteke was instrumental in keeping his side in the game in an enthralling first half in drenched conditions at Turf Moor, but a third successive Premier League win would have lifted Palace into sixth.

Defending set-pieces better could prove vital for Palace if they are to claim maximum points in their next two games against Aston Villa and Leeds United.James Kilpatrick

Rangnick has tools to work with at Man Utd .
Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea showed there are tools for incoming interim manager Ralf Rangnick to work with.Ralf Rangnick has not taken charge yet - his first game as interim manager is likely to be Thursday's meeting with Arsenal - but the way in which Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes sprinted towards the blue-shirted defenders in possession showed his influence may already have taken hold.

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