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Another week, another Premier League matchday in the books (Well, mostly in the books. Sorry, West Ham and Bournemouth, who still have to play their Monday match as of my writing). And while it could have been easy to write off these 10 fixtures as a largely uninspiring slate of soccer matches, we did see plenty of storylines emerge.

With that in mind, let’s pull back some of the layers and check out the biggest winner and losers of the weekend. And, if your club ended up on the wrong side of the ledger, fear not. This unconventional campaign means there will be more matches before you can even catch your breath.

Winner: Newcastle United

At the risk of allowing sportswashing to work, I’m going to keep my focus on the pitch for this one. Newcastle traveled down to London and dispatched Tottenham Hotspur in what ended up being a pretty comfortable victory. The Magpies now sit in fourth place, level on points with Chelsea (although the Blues have a game in hand) and a point ahead of Manchester United.

Making things even more impressive is Newcastle’s strength of schedule. Thus far, they’ve played four of the big six, earning two draws (against Manchester City and Manchester United), one victory (against Tottenham), and one loss (which came deep into stoppage time against Liverpool). While there are no easy games in the modern Premier League, that suggests the Northern club should pick up plenty of points as they cycle through the bottom half of the table.

Add in the fact that Newcastle have no European commitments and a slightly less hectic schedule, and it seems like the Magpies have a good chance to at least earn Conference League football next season. Can they make a legitimate push for Europa or Champions League places? Only time will tell, but things are trending in the right direction.

Loser: North London

Through the early weeks of the Premier League season, both Arsenal and Tottenham have found themselves in a pretty good place. While that’s still true, at least in terms of the table, this weekend was a bit different.

The Gunners dropped points for only the second time this campaign, drawing with Southampton. While Mikel Arteta’s men didn’t play the worst game we’ve ever seen — they didn’t get some of the breaks they’ve been getting this year and then ran out of gas in the second half — the match did continue a running theme of depth and fatigue. Arsenal have been playing pretty strong teams in the Europa League in order to avoid finishing second in their group and facing another round of matches. While that approach has its merits, it seems to be taking its toll on the squad.

Is this draw the end of the world? No. Was it enough to make Gooners everywhere fear another collapse? Yes.

On the other side of the North London divide, Spurs have now lost two consecutive matches. While that’s not a huge shock — Manchester United and Newcastle are both in-form clubs — the performances haven’t exactly been inspiring. Antonio Conte’s system is great when it works, but when things aren’t clicking, his teams can seem stagnant and unable to control the match. We’ve gotten the latter Tottenham on back-to-back occasions.

Can getting some players back, like Dejan Kulusevski, improve things? Probably. Are matches like the ones against United and Newcastle the risk you take when you play a game of fine margins, largely predicated on your opponent’s mistakes? Yes.

And that’s the rub for Tottenham.

Winner: Manchester City

After going two matches without scoring a goal, Manchester City faced a tricky date with Brighton. And while things were a bit touchy during the early second half, the defending champions showed their quality.

Erling Haaland was back on the score sheet, and he could have had even more if VAR awarded him a deserved penalty in the first half. Kevin de Bruyne’s goal, which restored City’s two-goal lead after Brighton made it 2-1, is also worth pulling out to highlight a larger point. At that point in the match, Pep Guardiola’s squad wasn’t exactly struggling, but it seemed like they were being sucked back into a contest. At that point, though, the Belgian stepped up and buried a bolt from the blue.

While it doesn’t always click, that’s the quality Manchester City has. It seems incredible that they can still be underestimated, but underestimate/overlook/forget them at your own risk.

Loser: Steven Gerrard

Gerrard could have been on this list by virtue of losing his job. Villa’s performance on Sunday, however, confirmed his place as one of our losers. His former club brushed Brentford aside 4-0, putting 11 shots on goal in what could be a season-changing performance.

Beyond that result, the way in which Villa played has gotten some, like Alan Shearer, wondering if Gerrard lost the dressing room (h/t football365). While it’s impossible to know what things were like behind the scenes, the way the (now former) manager handled Tyrone Mings’ certainly suggests that there could have been some internal tensions in the squad.

With all of that being said, though, Aston Villa will travel to Newcastle for their next match, putting that new manager bounce to the test.

Winner: Erik ten Hag

The Dutchman made a big call by dropping Cristiano Ronaldo, and while his Manchester United squad didn’t win, they put in a worthy performance to earn a draw at Chelsea. That reality (combined with the near-universal praise of ten Hag) will be massive for his status within the club.

At the risk of making it seem like players are perpetually plotting a coup, managers need to prove their authority and get everyone to buy in. Had United collapsed against Chelsea, we might be singing a different tune. But ETH pushed his chips into the center of the table and won a big bet. It seems like his players, barring Ronaldo, of course, are buying in, and the general consensus is that he made the right call.

Things can still get uglier, though, and goodwill only goes so far if you aren’t winning matches. As of now, though, ten Hag’s stock is rightfully rising.

Loser: Roy Keane


Cristiano Ronaldo Continues to Prove He’s His Own Worst Enemy

At this point in time, Roy Keane’s reputation has made the transition from being a hard man on the pitch to being the grumpy man on Sky Sports. When it came to Cristiano Ronaldo, however, the former Manchester United man suddenly changed his tune.

If you spend a few seconds on Youtube, you can find clips of Keane calling United performances embarrassing, saying things aren’t good enough for a club of their stature, and the like. When it came to Erik ten Hag leaving Cristiano Ronaldo out of the squad, though, the Irish midfielder wanted to see things from CR7’s perspective and make excuses for his behavior. In this instance, it seems, some players can be bigger than the club.

Imagine what would have happened if someone like Paul Pogba had refused to come on as a substitute and left the stadium early. Plenty of pundits, including Keane, would have called him a dressing room cancer, said he was unworthy of playing for a club like United, and the like. Cristiano Ronaldo, however, should be understood as a fearless competitor who just wants to be on the pitch.

What prompted that change of heart? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo were teammates at Manchester United?

It’s a mystery that the world may never solve.

Have thoughts on this topic? Keep the conversation rolling in our comments section below.