looks back at the weekend's action.
Is this the end of the Pochettino era?
It is amazing how quickly these things unravel. Tottenham’s form towards the back end of last season could be explained and excused by them prioritising the Champions League with a top-four place virtually secured.
But there is far less leeway this season. Tottenham have collapsed.
Perhaps we should have seen this coming. When Mauricio Pochettino admitted that he would have left the club this summer had Tottenham won the Champions League final, he was inadvertently revealing that he feared for the club’s continued Premier League overperformance (in terms of money spent and wage bill).
It reminds of Jurgen Klopp’s final months at Borussia Dortmund, where results fell off a cliff after cracks started to appear.
Klopp was unable to keep pace with Bayern Munich as the squad came to the end of a cycle and the budget was lacking to freshen up the squad.
Pochettino did sign four players this summer, but too many arrived late, two are currently injured and one was sent out on loan as part of the deal.
The big question is how quickly things move on.
Pochettino will know his reputation within the game has not yet been negatively affected — big clubs will still consider him an excellent appointment — but neither he nor Tottenham can afford to let this dismal run continue for too much longer.
Improvement is needed quickly or the unthinkable change will come.
Manchester City’s flaws exposed to leave title bid creaking
Any team in the world would and will struggle without Kevin de Bruyne, whose artistry makes him the creative leader of Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and whose absence leaves a hole that not even David Silva can fill.
Add in a bad day for Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero and a central midfield that consistently lost possession and you have enough reasons for Wolves’ shock 2-0 victory.
But it is City’s defensive incompetence that offers the most evidence for making Liverpool official champions elect.
The lack of reinforcement over the summer was a major misstep that has been exposed by the serious injury suffered by Aymeric Laporte.
Fernandinho is trying his best, but Joao Cancelo filled in at left-back, Kyle Walker has regressed badly and Nicolas Otamendi remains a liability.
There is no fear factor when facing City at the moment.
Of course they can and still win games by scoring in threes and fours, but if you unnerve them in midfield and target their fragile defence then you can find joy. The same is simply not true of Liverpool.
Ole is in strife too, but is Silva the next to lose his job?
If Pochettino’s reputation would not take too much of a hit post-Tottenham, Marco Silva’s is quickly being trodden into the dirt. Everton made a concerted effort to land their man, but right now it appears to have been a foolish pursuit.
Silva has been permitted to spend over £200m as Everton manager, but on current form has only made them worse.
If the lack of natural No 9 was counteracted by a solid defence in the second half of last season, that defensive certainty has been lost.
The issues in front of goal continue.
Everton have now lost four consecutive league games for the first time since January 2015, including losses to Bournemouth, Sheffield United and Burnley.
That is unacceptable. If Silva lasts the week he should consider himself fortunate.
Liverpool continue to grind on
Another week, another Liverpool victory despite them failing to produce a complete performance.
Their rivals might consider them fortunate to beat Leicester as they were fortunate to beat Sheffield United, but the best find a way and right now Liverpool are the best in Europe at doing it.
This Liverpool is not like Brendan Rodgers’ 2013/14 side, who attacked at will but left themselves vulnerable to the counter attack and individual defensive mistakes.
This Liverpool is not like Jurgen Klopp’s 2018/19 side, who were defensively watertight and relied upon the individual and collective brilliance of the front three to win matches.
No, this is a new Liverpool, one that Klopp believes plays as a more complete unit and in doing so might concede a few more goals but will score many more; the statistics vindicate his belief.
As this semi-miraculous run continues, the reasons to doubt their title credentials fall away.
Watford’s profligacy could cost them their Premier League future
Last season, Watford’s shooting accuracy was 49% and their shot conversion rate was 11.9%.
For those measurements, they ranked fifth and eighth in the Premier League respectively.
There is no one reason for their terrible decline from upper mid-table to relegation favourites, but the decline in their shooting statistics is surely more important than most.
This season, their shooting accuracy is 40% (joint-18th in the league) and their shot conversion rate has dropped to 3.5%.
That is easily the worst in the league, and shows no sign of improving.
Quique Sanchez Flores has not has the immediate impact he would have liked, but when you watch Andre Gray scoop the ball over the bar from six yards with the goal entirely open, you do have some sympathy for Watford’s new manager.
If their potency in front of goal doesn’t improve, Watford are doomed.
Norwich suffering a post-Manchester City slump
In 2013/14, Cardiff City beat Manchester City at home early in the season.
They unnerved and unsettled their lofty opponents, stuck to their own game plan and ended up as 3-2 winners.
But that victory was not the start of something beautiful. Cardiff won only two of their next 13 league games and plummeted down the table. They were eventually relegated.
In 2019/20, Norwich City beat Manchester City at home early in the season. They unnerved and unsettled their lofty opponents, stuck to their own game plan and ended up as 3-2 winners.
But, right now, that victory doesn’t look like the start of something beautiful. Norwich have conceded nine goals in three straight defeats to Burnley, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa since that City win.
For all the positivity it understandably produced, Norwich have lost 75% of their league matches this season.
They must push on again, in the midst of an astonishing injury crisis.