It’s top marks for history-making Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his Man Utd team as we grade every Premier League team this weekend.
Man Utd have won all six Premier League games under their caretaker manager, winning 1-0 against Tottenham on Sunday. Liverpool also maintained their lead at the top with a 1-0 win against Brighton.
Arsenal lost 1-0 to West Ham as the cracks start to show under Unai Emery, while Chelsea, Everton and Southampton also won. Here, we give each team a grade based on their performance this weekend.
Manchester United – A+
History for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer! Manchester United’s win at Tottenham has seen him equal Matt Busby’s all-time record of winning his first five league games in charge of Manchester United. A sixth straight win in all competitions also sees Solskjaer confirm the best start of any manager in Manchester United’s history.
And Gary Neville, speaking on the Gary Neville podcast, was full of praise for his former team-mate. “At Wembley, it was the acid test [for Solskjaer]. It was the moment where people said could he live in a big game and could he live against the big managers.
“Second-half I thought it was about spirit, desire and hanging on a little bit. The players were playing for the manager. But in the first half, he caught Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham out. There’s no doubt about that.”
The United players also deserve a lot of credit, especially goalkeeper David de Gea. The Spain international made 11 saves in the match – only against Arsenal in December 2017 has he ever made more in a Premier League match (14).
This was the most saves he’s ever made in a top five European league game while also keeping a clean sheet, helping United to a victory which moved them to within six points of the top four. (Oliver Yew)
Liverpool – A-
“It’s not opera football but it’s still a really nice song,” was how Jurgen Klopp summed up Liverpool’s win over Brighton.
They only scored once – from the penalty spot – but they controlled the game and produced an assured performance after back-to-back defeats to start the new year. Liverpool’s defensive improvement has been one of the features of this season and this victory was again built on a solid foundation, with Fabinho impressing as a makeshift centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk. (James Walker-Roberts)
Chelsea – B
Chelsea picked up an extremely positive result against Newcastle to strengthen their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League.
However, not everything is rosy at Stamford Bridge. The Blues were far from their best against Newcastle with head coach Mauricio Sarri once again bemoaning his side’s mentality.
“We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the end of the first half we were in trouble,” he said. “We need to improve in the mental reaction because after the first goal something happened. We stopped playing for 20 minutes. But it was really very important to gain points today. That was enough.”
Sarri is also not happy with the options at his disposal in terms of his squad. He admitted he wants to sign a replacement for Cesc Fabregas and the club have been linked with a move for Argentian striker Gonzalo Higuain.
Will Sarri get what he wants? The final 18 days of the transfer window could prove to be crucial in Chelsea’s season. (Oliver Yew)
Arsenal – c
Not only were Arsenal poor at the back again against West Ham, they offered precious little going forward. It was all too predictable, too safe. Unai Emery has to instil some confidence back into his beleaguered side who have now won only one of seven on the road. The answer is bigger than Mesut Ozil’s return, but some zip and creativity in midfield is certainly a must. (Ron Walker)