English Premier League Weekend Review: Are Arsenal Really The Worst Off Team In North London?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp looks thoughtful during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on August 22, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Talking points from the weekend's English Premier League matches, including why Tottenham could have come off worse than Arsenal, the work still to do at Chelsea, and Liverpool's resurgence.

* Are Arsenal really the worst-off team in North London? It's tempting to think so given the extent of their humiliation, but in reality, silver linings may not be in short supply. Looking at how Manchester United went out and eclipsed City's earlier triumph, and the stories of Liverpool and Everton, might reveal how football's hierarchy remains constant: Some teams are just bigger and better than others, and always will be. And Arsenal will surely rebuild after this ultimate defeat. They have the money and inclination to do so, and a manager with a vision. Not far away, at White Hart Lane, the game looks up on Harry's venture. Spurs' refusal to gamble on requalification for Champions League football in the wake of their fourth-place finish has cost them dearly, with a loss of form to their frontmen contributing to a failure to live up to the expected standards. The way ahead for them is unclear, and a decline as the likes of Modric and Bale are sold off and not replaced seems inevitable. What could've been a golden era looks more and more like a false dawn, and in the 5-1 against City, Spurs' status as a second-class club unable to realistically compete with the top sides in England was laid bare. There is much soul-searching to be done in North London, but Spurs look like a spent force.

* And while of course City were excellent at White Hart Lane, the 5-1 says more about Spurs than it does the Blues. And what it says is not pretty - Spurs were appalling across the pitch, their defenders neither aggressive or intelligent enough to cope with Edin Dzeko, their midfielders showing a total lack of ability to gain control of the game, and their attacking play pedestrian, obvious, and single-minded. It was a truly wretched display, and Spurs suddenly look far less than the sum of their parts.

Phil Jones could bring about the end of Rio Ferdinand's status as first-choice as Manchester United quicker than anyone anticipated - as well as being a physical monster and defensively superb, Jones' passing and sheer drive from centre-back was key to the way United went about their relentless assault. He fits in with the new dynamism and mobility of this United side, with Cleverley replacing Carrick, and Welbeck replacing Berbatov - and on current form, his place in the United team could not be more deserved.

* Before Manchester's wholesale evisceration of North London, it will be quickly forgotten that the most-talked-up performance of the weekend was Liverpool's defeat of Bolton. Upon reflection, it was a routine win - a controlled game, a good, but no great, ratio of chances converted. But with a club in Liverpool's position, there is no such thing as a routine win - there may have been little to frighten top-class opposition, but reds fans will be more than pleased that they are swatting away such sides with nonchalant ease.

* Another win for Chelsea, following another scare, after another poor display. Winning whilst playing poorly, so goes the cliche, is a sign of a good team, but while United had many displays like this last year, this was Norwich City at Stamford Bridge. What will be most alarming for Villas-Boas was the ease with which Norwich - a team not blessed with pace up front - were able to get behind the Chelsea backline. Perhaps a result of playing a higher line, but no Premier League defence should be regularly allowing a hulking brute like Grant Holt to elude their attention. Chelsea have much work to do, and quickly.

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