Another United starlet emerges?
Let us not get too romantic; if Manchester United did not have so many injuries, then their latest youth product banging in goals would not be near the first team. That said, it is pleasure to see a local player seizing his chance when finally given it. His midweek strikes were followed up by a brace against Arsenal on Sunday, who themselves look like hitting their routine seasonal collapse around March. He also ran well, giving the Arsenal defence the sort of trouble on the back foot as Theo Walcott should have been causing United. His challenge now is to develop this bright start into a sustained push for the first team: be a Beckham, not a Macheda.
Top two seize chance
It is curiously arousing to type that the Premier League’s top two teams are Leicester and Tottenham, and that both secured late victories to continue their unlikely pushes toward the domestic summit. Both were games that they should have won on paper: home ties against teams fighting relegation. However, this season more than most has shown David frequently bettering Goliath. Swansea took the lead at White Hart Lane and defended very well until the late double blow. Norwich meanwhile never looked truly overrun, and missed a glorious chance to take the lead from a corner. Both of these games were classic banana skins, and both title challengers passed them with encouraging grit.
Diamond in the rough
Stranger still was that this weekend’s best game involved two of the league’s least entertaining teams. Crystal Palace have been torrid for weeks, while Pulis has been almost dogmatically boring with this tactics at West Bromwich Albion. On Saturday, these unlikely ingredients combined to make for a thriller. The Baggies took a rapid three goal lead thanks to finally understanding that playing strikers and creative midfielders can actually make you score more often. Palace then recovered in the second half and really threatened, as well as having two very good penalty shouts turned down. It ended up a lower-table classic that gives the league its reputation – more of the same next week, please!
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisDWorrall