Crystal Palace 2 1 Tottenham 3 Things We Learned

Premier League on New Year's Day: 5 things we learned as 2015 started with a bang

Premier League on New Year's Day: 5 things we learned as 2015 started with a bang

Via

The Premier League offered up an early treat on the opening day of 2015 as football fans were treated to a real festive feast on New Year”s Day.

There was an eight-goal thriller at White Hart Lane, six goals at St James” Park, five at the Etihad and four at Anfield as 33 goals were plundered across 10 games.

Unfortunately for supporters at Aston Villa, they didn”t see any. They”ll tell you that”s no surprise.

Anyway, here”s a look at five things we learned on the opening day of 2015:

Harry Kane continues his impressive march

Action ImagesIcon: Kane has hit 17 goals in all competitions for Spurs this term

If there was one footballer in England who would have been happy for 2014 to carry on and just not bother turning into 2015, then it would have been Tottenham striker Harry Kane.

Rewind 12 months and Kane”s career looked to be meandering; never mind failing to take off, he”d not even made it down the runway. Loan spells in 2012-13 at Norwich and Leicester had proven disappointing, with Kane scoring just twice in 13 Championship matches for the Foxes, having been discarded from a loan spell at Carrow Road after just three scoreless games. What followed were four months as part of Andre Villas-Boas” first-team squad, were he featured for just eight minutes of Premier League action.

But since being utilised by Tim Sherwood at the back end of last season (scoring three times in the last six matches) Kane has set about refusing the notion that he can”t make it at White Hart Lane – becoming a cult hero in the process.

Harry Kane: PL starts & Goals

10

Starts

7

Goals

3

Assists

As of January 1

"He”s one of our own" sing the Spurs fans about the 21-year-old, and Kane”s enthusiasm and growth, particularly under Mauricio Pochettino, has become infectious; so much so that he is now probably the second name on the Argentine”s team sheet, behind only Hugo Lloris.

Kane has forced his way into the starting XI with an outstanding scoring run in the Europa League (seven goals in as many games) and is now netting regularly in England”s top flight, with his brace against Chelsea making it five goals in as many games.

But more than that, his development into a complete centre-forward has been staggering. More confident, he looks quicker, stronger, more assured with his touch, happier to rough-up centre-halves and is a non-stop buzzard at the point of Spurs attacking play. Continue like this, and talk of England will turn to "should he start" rather than merely whether he should be called up or not.

Arsene Wenger deserves more

Arsene Wenger looks dejectedVIEW GALLERY

In the 85th minute at St Mary”s Stadium, with his side having been pretty dismal and trailing 2-0 to Southampton, Arsene Wenger sat in the dugout, with his hand rubbing his brow.

At that moment a fan ran in front of the Frenchman, arms outstretched, angrily looking for answers. It”s something that Wenger, after that barrage at the train station following his side”s last defeat, doesn”t need, nor deserve.

But on the field, his side have looked like getting it together in recent weeks, producing what they always produce and doing as they always do: finishing in the top four. And while that isn”t enough for some, you have to marvel at their consistency to do so.

However, the level of their performance on the south coast varied wildly from recent matches. Wenger said the Saints were "beatable" and he had a point; Ronald Koeman”s side certainly didn”t look at their best defensively.

But that doesn”t take into account the wild variance of his own side. Good enough recently to take 10 points from a possible 12, they were a couple of levels below a level today that you would merely deem acceptable, given the talent they have at their disposal.

Wenger expects better from “fans” barracking him at a train station. He deserves more than fans running towards the dugout to remonstrate. He now deserves a response from his players, who in another “big” game, let him down.

Manchester United still some way away – but why?

Michael Carrick in action with Stoke's Mame Biram DioufVIEW GALLERY

Louis van Gaal saw Manchester United draw 1-1 at Stoke City in the opening match of 2015 and was left unhappy with his side”s defending, moaning at their inability to deal with Peter Crouch at set-pieces.

On social media, some United fans continue pointed towards the result as a step forward, that the side are one in transition and that third should be the limit to their expectations this term. What rubbish.

In Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, United had a front four that – going on their last transfer fees – cost a combined £147million, and all of whom are proven match winners. Throw in £28million Luke Shaw, £26million Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick playing extremely well and the outstanding David De Gea, and I”m sorry, but you SHOULD be winning at Stoke and you SHOULD be challenging for the title. To say that they shouldn”t is to pay too much attention to the club”s propaganda.

Van Gaal undertook an extremely-expensive remodel in the summer, paying huge fees and massive wages. Why didn”t he purchase a midfield general to dovetail with Carrick? Why didn”t he spend on a defensive leader? No one said he had to spend all his money on attacking players.

Filling both areas were necessities in the summer. But van Gaal elected not to. Now his side effectively play with a chasm between Carrick and Rooney/Mata – Angel Di Maria”s return will help, but his exact role has been undefined thus far – and three centre-halves, new to the system, who, in all honesty, their manager doesn”t particularly look as though he rates.

So why didn”t he buy a defender in the summer? Maybe if he had done, they”d be closer. For the overall value of their squad, they should be.

No New Year cheer for Paul Lambert

Action ImagesStruggling: Villa fans aren”t overly-endeared with their manager nor his side

It”s claimed that misery loves company, and at Villa Park over 27,000 Aston Villa supporters settled down to watch their side offer yet another damp squib of a performance.

There were plenty of Premier League goals to open the New Year. But unsurprisingly, Paul Lambert”s Villans failed to add to their paltry total of 11 goals this season as they draw 0-0 with Crystal Palace.

Supporters in claret and blue are starting to run out of patience with the tactics of their manager, after seeing his side draw a blank for the fifth time in 10 home games this term; Christian Benteke is the prototype for the modern-day No.9, but behind him is an insipid side who lack creativity, class and look scared to try to penetrate their opponents – whoever they may be.

But it isn”t anything new. Since Lambert”s arrival at the start of the 2012-13 campaign, Villa average just 1.01 goals per game in the Premier League, while they”ve won just 13 of 48 matches in front of their own supporters – failing to score in 19 of those matches.

Now, given their dismal goalscoring figures and utterly abysmal home record – two wins from 10 games – it”s laughable that the Villans sit 12th in the Premier League and something of an indictment over the “quality” of the division as a whole.

It”s also laughable that owner Randy Lerner – who lest we forget handed Lambert a four-year deal back in September – isn”t now asking serious questions of his manager; namely, can you rectify these problems?

Certainly, it doesn”t seem he can.

There”s plenty of fight left at the bottom

John PowellFighting: Rock bottom but Leicester aren”t giving up

The start of 2015 and it”s unusual for the fact that the bottom six ALL avoided defeat as they continue to scrap and battle for their lives.

Steve Bruce”s Hull City made it two wins in three games with a 2-0 triumph over Everton to be the big winners of the sextet, moving out of the relegation zone. QPR, leading 1-0 against Swansea until injury-time, will feel pained at conceding late to Wilfried Bony – though they still almost claimed an even later winner through Charlie Austin.

Leicester City showed tremendous fortitude to come from two down at Anfield to draw with Liverpool, while Burnley fought back THREE times to share the spoils at Newcastle. Crystal Palace meanwhile took a point from Villa Park.

And West Brom, having announced Tony Pulis as their new manager – a man who has never been relegated – took a point from West Ham, with Saido Berahino back among the goals.

All six are struggling, along with Sunderland – who themselves fought from two down at Manchester City before succumbing to Frank Lampard – but all are fighting for their lives.

The next five months promise to be busy at both ends of the table.

In pictures – All the action from the 3pm kick offs:

Abel Hernandez falls in the penalty area as Everton's Gareth Barry looks onVIEW GALLERY

Poll loading …

Crystal Palace 2-1 Tottenham: 3 things we learned

Via
Crystal Palace 2-1 Tottenham: 3 things we learned
Alan Pardew got off to a flyer as Crystal Palace manager on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Tottenham at Selhurst Park.Here"s what we learnt from the game:Pards inspires despite key absenteesAlan Pardew is our king. Let"s not fight this anymore - it"s just the way it is. Today"s result is the…

Manchester United vs Southampton: 11 things you need to know ahead of Old Trafford clash

Via
Manchester United vs Southampton: 11 things you need to know ahead of Old Trafford clash
The race for the Champions League places shows no signs of slowing down and Southampton visit Manchester United on Sunday with both sides keen to bolster their respective chances.These two teams met just last month with Louis van Gaal"s side coming out on top with a 2-1 win at St Mary"s.Robin van…

Man United 0-1 Southampton: 5 things we learned

Via
Man United 0-1 Southampton: 5 things we learned
The battle between third and fourth in the table had a distinctly unique flavour this season, as Southampton visited Manchester United.Things are getting congested among the chasing pack, with Arsenal and Tottenham hot on their heels, so there was even more riding on the outcome at Old Trafford than

Premier League weekend: 6 things we learned as clinical Chelsea take two-point advantage at top

Via
Premier League weekend: 6 things we learned as clinical Chelsea take two-point advantage at top
The destination of this season"s Premier League title is back in the hands of Chelsea after they took a two-point lead following Manchester City"s slip-up on Merseyside.Out-of-form Everton helped Jose Mourinho gain the advantage in the title race, as City lacked a clinical edge and slumped to a 1-1…

New Year's Day Premier League: 6 things to watch as leaders Chelsea head to improving Tottenham

Via
New Year's Day Premier League: 6 things to watch as leaders Chelsea head to improving Tottenham
The festive period continues and the football carries on coming thick and fast as Thursday brings with it a veritable feast of New Year"s Day action.While Louis van Gaal has spent much of his Christmas moaning about the schedule, supporters across the land have been out in force, with the first…

Premier League fantasy football tips: Who to pick and who to avoid on New Year's Day

Via
Premier League fantasy football tips: Who to pick and who to avoid on New Year's Day
What"s the most stressful thing about the festive season? The last-minute shopping? The fake smiling at the pair of socks your granny"s bought you? The Boxing Day cheese sweats? New Years plans?None of the above. It"s the constant tinkering you need to do to your fantasy football team, of course.The

Premier League predictions: Will Chelsea and Manchester City kick off 2015 by getting back to winning ways?

Via
Premier League predictions: Will Chelsea and Manchester City kick off 2015 by getting back to winning ways?
More football? You"d better believe it. The hectic festive period rumbles on with a full slate of games on New Year"s Day as the second half of the Premier League season gets underway.With all 20 teams in action, your New Year"s Day hangover should be taken care of, thanks to five or so consecutive…

Tottenham v Chelsea: 11 things you need to know ahead of New Year's Day meeting

Via
Tottenham v Chelsea: 11 things you need to know ahead of New Year's Day meeting
Chelsea head to Tottenham Hotspur on New Year"s Day looking to record their second win in a week over their London rivals.Jose Mourinho"s side ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Mauricio Pochettino"s visitors back on December 3, but Spurs have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes since.They are…

FA Cup third round: 5 things to watch as Premier League clubs join the party at last

Via
FA Cup third round: 5 things to watch as Premier League clubs join the party at last
The FA Cup resumes this weekend to bring the curtain down on a hectic period of festive football.At this stage last year the magic of the cup was in full flow; Swansea City knocked Manchester United out to pile even more misery on David Moyes, Nottingham Forest smashed FIVE past Big Sam"s hapless…

FA Cup third round: 5 things to look out for on Sunday as the big hitters enter the scene

Via
FA Cup third round: 5 things to look out for on Sunday as the big hitters enter the scene
A second packed day of FA Cup third round action gets underway on Sunday and it has plenty to live up to after some great games on Saturday.Can we hope to see that fabled magic of the FA Cup after it threatened to emerge on Saturday before ultimately going down as a no show?Will there be giant…

Liverpool to delay Berahino bid until Borini departs? Transfer news and gossip from Monday's papers

Via
Liverpool to delay Berahino bid until Borini departs? Transfer news and gossip from Monday's papers
The transfer window is open, and things are in full swing.Teams can cut, trade and roll the dice as much as they like and, if speculation is to be believed, it could be a rather busy few weeks.We will keep you up to date with all the latest rumours, done deals and analysis all through January.The…

Premier League weekend betting guide with the Mirror Football app

Via
Premier League weekend betting guide with the Mirror Football app
There are some fascinating games affecting the top and bottom of the table this weekend, while Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool all appear to have winnable games as they strive for the Champions League places.And in the game of the weekend, third-placed Manchester United face fourth-placed…

Arsenal vs Stoke: 11 things you need to know as Potters look to do double over Gunners

Via
Arsenal vs Stoke: 11 things you need to know as Potters look to do double over Gunners
Arsenal will again look to Alexis Sanchez to continue his fine run of form as they try and close on the teams above them in a tight battle for a Champions League spot.Arsene Wenger has said that the Gunners need to keep the Chilean superstar fresh and could give him a rest at some point, but at the

FA Cup Third Round replays round-up: Fulham beat Wolves on penalties after Molineux thriller

Via
FA Cup Third Round replays round-up: Fulham beat Wolves on penalties after Molineux thriller
 VIEW GALLERY Fulham booked their spot in the FA Cup Fourth Round after a thrilling replay at Molineux.Cauley Woodrow headed the visitors into a first-half lead, with the Cottagers" first goal since December 20.However, the tie swung both ways in a remarkable five minute spell which yielded three…

Jermain Defoe's return and 5 other things to look for in the Premier League this weekend

Via
Jermain Defoe's return and 5 other things to look for in the Premier League this weekend
The Premier League gets back down to action this weekend and an old favourite is returning to his former stomping ground.Jermain Defoe was handed a heroes" send off 11 months ago as he said goodbye to White Hart Lane and Tottenham Hotspur, moving to Major League Soccer and FC Toronto.But now the…

Marouane Fellaini saves Manchester United plus 4 other things we learned from Saturday's action

Via
Marouane Fellaini saves Manchester United plus 4 other things we learned from Saturday's action
It was an away day special in the Premier League on Saturday as five of the six 3pm games went the way of the visitors.At Loftus Road, Manchester United defeated QPR 2-0 while a rampant Chelsea smashed five past Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.Elsewhere, Liverpool compounded Paul Lambert"s woes at…

Gus Poyet fumes as Jermain Defoe denied penalty on his Sunderland debut

Via
Gus Poyet fumes as Jermain Defoe denied penalty on his Sunderland debut
Gus Poyet was furious that Jermain Defoe was denied a penalty as he returned to White Hart Lane in a Sunderland shirt. The former Tottenham strikersigned from MLS side Toronto just in time to make his debut for the Black Cats at his old stomping ground yesterday, and had a strong claim for an early…

Arsenal news and transfers: Gunners to arrange talks with Roma striker Mattia Destro?

Via
Arsenal news and transfers: Gunners to arrange talks with Roma striker Mattia Destro?
Here are all the latest Gunners stories from today"s Daily Mirror...Wenger hails Cazorla after win over CityArsene Wenger hailed the performance of Santi Cazorla following Arsenal"s 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad.Cazorla scored the Gunners" first goal from the pen alty spot after…

Will the January transfer window make any difference to the title race? Football Manager 2015 reveals all

Via
Will the January transfer window make any difference to the title race? Football Manager 2015 reveals all
Stop all the football - close the gates of all the stadia, pull big tarpaulins over the training ground pitches, send the players off on their ludicrously expensive holidays to Dubai early.Why? Because we already know what"s going to happen - including who"s going to win the league.But how?Simple:…